Here is the one negative thing I have to say about the hotel: the beds are rock hard. Other than that and a lackluster pool (but who needs a pool when the gorgeous ocean is right at your feet?), this hotel was incredible. We arrived from the Liberia airport at Sugar Beach around 11pm (our flight landed at 9pm, and with customs and travel to Potrero, we got in very late). The hotel restaurant closed at 9:30 and the night time hotel manager, Pablo, informed us that nothing in the area would be open at this time either. He apologized, gave us a bag of pretzels he had on hand, and offered to bring some water bottles to our room. We were wondering what was taking him so long with the water, and when he finally came back, it was with fresh guacamole and salsa from the kitchen. He made it seem like it was no big deal at all for him to do this- I thought it was incredible service.
The staff went out of their way another time to make our stay at Sugar beach wonderful. We scheduled a trip to Arenal Volcano with a tour company (we really didn't want to do one with a zip line, so we selected one that had other options), and while we were out on a sailing tour, the company we booked cancelled our tour to the volcano because other people who had scheduled to do the tour got sick and the company would not take out a group without a minimum of four people. The hotel staff, in the meanwhile, made lots of phone calls in an attempt to book us on a similar tour. When we got back from our sailing trip, the staff was extremely apologetic about the cancellation (which was in no way their fault) and explained to us all that they had been trying to sort out while we were gone. They managed to arrange a private tour for my husband and me for the same cost as the group tour we were suppose to go on by the time we got back from sailing! (A private tour would have cost a few hundred $ more normally). I can't state how impressed I am by how they went above and beyond.
Other things about the hotel: rooms are a good size, and aside from the mattress, comfortable. The balconies are spacious and the views of the beach and jungle are amazing. There are lots of iguanas and lizards roaming the property, supposedly some monkeys too, but we never saw any. The beach is beautiful. During low tide when there aren't waves you can see through the clear waters. There are pretty rock formations with lots of small trickling waterfalls and hermit crabs on either side of the private cove. The water was completely swimmable away from the rocky areas.
The restaurant: Victor, one of the waiters, was one of our favorite people we encountered on our trip. He noted that I didn't eat the red onions on my salad and asked me why and I told him I liked onions, just not the bad breath they give me when they are raw. Every other time we ate there he remembered to leave off the onions. Victor was always ready to give us honest advice and opinions on things to do, how it was to drive (we were planning on driving down the coast, but apparently the roads are terrible, so we took the main roads instead based on his advice). The food at the restaurant is decent. We ate there several times and I think the food varied on how good it was based on who was cooking it. You could order the same dish two days in a row (we took advantage of the free breakfast) and it would taste and look very different each time.
My only warning would be to avoid Maik the cab driver. We made the mistake of not renting a car until three days in, which left us dependent on Maik to take us to dinner a few times. He would charge anywhere between $30-50 US to go somewhere five minutes or less away. We asked his opinion on driving down to Samara, the best routes, anything to be careful of, etc. and he told us the police would try to pull us over at every opportunity and we would have to bribe them with large amounts. He also there are secret cameras all over the country that record traffic violations and then add the bill to the rental charge, amongst other things. I don't know if he was trying to finagle us into hiring him to drive us around or just being a jerk and try to scare us. I saw right through most of his tactics and other Ticans refuted everything Maik told us. In other words, rent a car.
I digress... if you're looking for a hotel that is semi secluded but still is accessible to all of the best tours Costa Rica offers, has stunning views, AMAZING staff... then this is the place for you. I would come back here again and again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are one of the few small hotels in Guanacaste, with a pristine secluded beach, surrounded by nature. Enjoy breathtaking views and experience the Pura Vida lifestyle. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sugar Beach Hotel Costa Rica/Playa Potrero, Guanacaste