We recently returned from our 10th stay at Villa Caletas (3 Zephyr + 7 VC ) and thought it was about time to add our review. To make a long story short, we first discovered VC back in early 2005. Recent university grads at the time, cash was tight, but this being our first trip together, we wanted to treat ourselves to a something special. As such we decided to stay 1 night in the Standard Deluxe room. We were not disappointed. The place is stunning. The views are gorgeous, the ambience is warm and welcoming, and the hotel is well-appointed with unique art and design. It instantly became special for us, so when we decided to get married 3 years later; we both knew this was it. But I'll digress for now and give you my view of the good/bad/should know:
- VIEWS: some of the best I've seen in the world (and I've lived on 6 continents so I've been to a few inspiring places)
- ROOMS: We've stayed in the STD Deluxe, Villa, Jr. Suite, Sr. Suite Superior, Oriental, Egypto & Africana rooms .The more you spend the fancier the rooms get, but I'd gladly stay any of them again. All are well equipped, comfortable and most have great views.
- SERVICE: In all my stays I never experienced anything but top notch service. The staff in each department are well trained, ready to accommodate, helpful and genuinely very friendly.
- FOOD (*most of it: see below): The food is quite good, but not mind blowing. My main issue is the inconsistency in the offering: some dishes are excellent and some are mediocre at best.
- HOTEL: It's surrounded by nature, it's spacious, amenities such as the amphitheater and pools have been well thought out, there's lots of unique art, all the rooms are different and it just has a luxurious feel to it.
- VALUE: VC is not the cheapest place in the world, but compared to similar class hotels in CR I believe it offers good value. The rooms seem well priced and they don't try to gouge you too much on food/drink. Example: local beer is under $5, lunch plate $10-15 and dinner $15-30.
- PATRONAGE: this one of those 'little things' that bugs me. As mentioned, we've now stayed there on 10 occasions including a wedding at the Zephyr Palace, but every time we arrive we get the 'first time here' speech. I'm not expecting the red carpet, but as loyal customer it would be nice to at least get a "we're happy to have you back with us" as a means of acknowledging our patronage. Keeping guest records in a computer should be pretty easy.
- DINNER MENU: while I have had some amazing dinners there, I've had too many so-so dinners. it's usually the 'protein' dishes which are the let down. The formula goes like this: under-seasoned protein + cup of plain rice + steamed veggies which creates a very bland and boring meal. I've learned to order the pastas or risottos at dinner which are much better.
- STAFFING: the pool areas (in both CV and ZP) where we spend most of our time tend to be understaffed. There have been a number of times where I was ready to order food/drinks but saw no one for 30-60+ minutes. More so in the low season.
Things to keepin mind:
- ISOLATION: the location is outstanding, but it's also isolated. This means you're either at the mercy of the hotel's facilities or need to drive to Jaco for more options which is about 15 minutes away (taxi $10-15/way).
- BEACH: the Caleta's beach is rocky and not good for swimming. It's not a beach hotel. If you're looking for the best of both worlds, rent a car, go to the closeby beaches for the day and enjoy the pools/sunset in the afternoons at VC.
- BUGS: yes there are bugs outside but 1) this is Costa Rica and there are bugs period 2) the hotel is on a jungle mountain top. I've had no issues with bugs in general or in my room there.
- STEPS: the rooms are scattered over a hilly property. As they say, some rooms are 'a number of steps away'. Personally I prefer it this way as the separation creates privacy. However I can understand that some people would certainly not like to be in the furthest rooms.
- VACATION TYPE: VC is not a spot to for partying (besides special events) and it's not great for kids (I think they'd get bored quickly). It's great place for couples or mature families. It's meant for relaxing, romance, and an appreciation for its surroundings.
- SPECIAL EVENTS: they host a lot of special events, weddings mostly which means they tend to close off certain areas.
- FACILITIES: it's a boutique hotel with about 45 rooms. There's a small gym, a nice spa, a communal hot tub, 3 small pools by Hotel standards: one limited to the Jr. Suite Superiors, one at the Zephyr and one for VC (though some of the rooms have private pools). A bar at the beach that serves drinks and a bit of food , a bar at the VC pool, and 2 restaurants (one's often closed in the low season). Plus the amphitheatre which is great for sunsets. Tour desk, small gift shop.
- WEATHER: Late December to April is best weather wise. May to Nov is a gamble. For example when we arrived on Nov 14th, a couple we spoke to said it rained every afternoon while they were there, but we didn't get any rain for our 4 days. Personally I like the low season as we've been lucky with the weather and it's nicer when there are fewer people around.
For the personal reasons above and all it has to offer, VC is our favorite hotel in CR. Often people ask me "Manuel Antonio or VC" since MA also offers many high-end hill top hotels. If you're looking for diversity MA is tough to beat as there are many more options closeby including better beaches and a great (but touristy) natural park. However, I've been to a number of the high end MA-hotels, and if you're talking strictly hotel, I prefer VC. It's hard to explain but it just seems to have a better 'feel' to it. In the end, if you have time try both. But we know you'll love VC as have the many friends and family we've recommended it to.
We'd like to thank everyone at Villa Caletas for treating us so well and providing such great memories. You haven't seen the last of us,
Nic & Ana Gremion
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Villa Caletas, a luxury romantic boutique hotel inspired by tropical Victorian architecture with a touch of neo-classical influence shining like a jewel among resorts, prized not only for its location, design and décor, but also for its outstanding facilities and first class service. Villa Caletas expresses a truly unique combination of mountain and seaside resort. Nestled 1150 feet above the Pacific Ocean, this unique hotel overlooks the Nicoya Gulf to the crescent beaches of Jaco, Herradura offering spectacular 360-degree panoramic views. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Caletas Hotel Jaco
- Caletas Hotel Herradura
- Villa Caletas Costa Rica