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“Not as advertised”

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La Catalina Hotel & Suites
Florida
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Not as advertised”
Reviewed 25 April 2014

We wanted to get away for a few days and although this hotel was far out of the way from San Jose we decided to try it because it looked so nice on-line. it was not easy to find and included driving 2 or 3 kilometers on a very bad road with many potholes. In fact in some parts you could go only 2K per hour because you climbed out of one pot-hole and immediately down into the next. When we finally arrived it took them a long time to check us in and then they took as far from the main house to a section that looked like it had been build many years ago as an annex. We arrived in a dirty car-port with waste papers all over it and then had to climb two sets of stairs to get to our bedroom and when we finally got there we found it had no air conditioning (which we had been assured it did have).We did not even take any luggage into the place. We just drove back to the main building and told them we were leaving. The girl behind the desk talked for a long time to her manager and then asked us to wait for her to come. We waited a total of 30 minutes and then we left. It took us 45 minutes to get there but 3 hours to get back to San Jose because they had delayed us so much that we were stuck in rush-hour traffic. Since they had not even processed our credit card we did not expect it to be charged but we just looked (two weeks later) and found they had charged it. So now we have to waste more of our time to get a refund.

The most important things I told the woman when I called to book was that I MUST have Air Conditioning and it MUST be ground floor. They lied to us about both.

Buyer beware!

Room Tip: I doubt seriously if there is a good room. If there was, surely they would have shown it to us.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank drushton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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85 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Florida, United States
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2014

First of all, to address some of the negative comments in earlier reviews, let's say this first: THIS IS NOT A FIVE STAR RESORT. Right. Now that we've done that, let's talk about what it is. It is a charming place with great ambiance for those seeking relaxation in a laid-back location that is both secluded and close to the action. My wife and I stayed a week here and LOVED it. The resort is within a walled and gated 6-acre estate originally built as a playboy millionaire's mansion. It is located on a mountainside overlooking San Jose with beautiful views of the valley and city both day and night. It is secluded and sequestered from the teeming bustle of the city while still close enough that you are only minutes away from anything you want to do or obtain in town. There are suites, a restaurant/bar, a library, and lounge area in the main house, with other suites, a small spa, a "playroom" and a gym all retrofitted from various guest houses and quarters throughout the grounds. Our suite was one of these, with two stories that had balconies on each. We found the room to be clean, spacious, and well-appointed. The king bed was comfortable and all our linens were clean and nice. There are two pools, one for those who prefer to be nude, and one for those who don't, and an outdoor jacuzzi. All three were lovely, well-kept, and clean. The grounds are covered with gardens that if not meticulously manicured serve to create both seclusion and wide open spaces throughout the six acre compound with an abundance of trees, vines, shrubbery, and flowers with an eclectic and wide variety of colors and textures, and placements. Birds flock by the thousands and lend color, sound, and motion to the scenery. The food may not be gourmet quality, but is a good mixture of Canadian and American staples with authentic local fare added to the menu. It is fresh, cooked to order, and deliciously satisfying. The Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and though we found they indeed possessed a wide range of English fluency, we had no problems being able to be understood and eagerly waited upon, even sought out and asked what we wanted frequently. With all that being said, here's what we liked best that you will get at no "perfect" stuffy five-star. The REAL "Rock-Star" treatment, being able to do what you want, when you want, without the restrictions of a suffocating structure. There are no signs declaring the pools or jacuzzi "Closed at 10PM" or restrictive restaurant hours or menu choices. The restaurant is open from early to late, and you can just wander in and order whatever, whenever, however, and they will gladly make it how and when you ask for it. You are free to skinnydip at midnight without tiptoeing around looking for the security detail and hoping not to be scolded.The playground is open, and buzzkill is non-existent. Carmen, who manages the facility, is extremely helpful at suggesting and facilitating the reservation and setup of activities of all sorts across the country should you wish to tour, sightsee, or recreate outside the resort. We took advantage of this and had an awesome time at a variety of venues ranging from natural wonders to beach and shopping trips. Like another reviewer (Dec 4 2012) we were able to retain the services of Geovanny Mendez as a driver through Carmen. I would not recommend those uninitiated in the traffic patterns of Costa Rica try to do so in a rental. Geovanny proved to be a safe and affordable option, he is also familiar with not only every area of the country, but was a treasure trove of knowledge of local customs, language, food, plants, photogenic vistas, places to eat, and hidden prizes all along the route to where you set out to go. There simply cannot be anyone better at what he does, with his ever-present smile, wit, and knowledge, he made us wish our day trips didn't have to end. We were introduced to the unique beauty and and personality of this country through this resort, its staff, and our inimitable driver. We will be back, and cannot imagine staying elsewhere. Others may differ, maybe crave the rules and regulations and details of the finest hand soaps and the most closely-cropped hedges of a hoity-toity resort. Not us. We crave the laid-back charm of this place, and can't imagine Costa Rica any other way.

Room Tip: We enjoyed our two-story balcony suite (room 112) very much. The views were awesome. There is a wide...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United States
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2014

Very little customer service here. Almost every single time I wanted something, I had to walk inside the main restaurant area and hunt someone down to place an order. For the days when people are out by the pools, there is no reason not to send someone out every 20 or 30 minutes to take orders. Also, there was one bottle of hot sauce for the entire hotel. It was gone on my second night, and I cannot eat Tico food without hot sauce. As far as the rooms, they are okay. Nothing special. The nights were quiet. The hotel grounds are nice, but the lounge chairs and poolside furniture could use an upgrade. Great view of the valley at night.

Room Tip: I like the rooms by the lower pool. Much more private, shady and a short walk to the restaurant/bar.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank sergeantsandbag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2013 via mobile

Everytime we go to heredia we love to go to la CAtalina! Staf is super nice and the ambience is great and romantic!
We love the idea that is an adults only hotel!
The views are fantastic!
Restaurant temptations inside the hotel is really good and with good music!

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TravisUT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newark, New Jersey
1 review
Reviewed 1 August 2013

I am from India and its rather rare to find an Indian in Costa Rica. The country is fascinating with natural sceneries all around. I stayed at La Catalina for a month and a half. I should admit the stay was indeed pleasant and satisfying especially because of the staff. They were very friendly and were more like a family. Since I was the lone guest for most of the time, they gave me complete freedom. I stayed in a room from where I can get the complete view of San Jose valley. Initial days I was a bit annoyed mainly because of internet - wifi connectivity became horrible due to heavy rain. The hotel staff tried everything, they even connected a new device to strengthen the signal strength was in vain. Finally they gave me a new room nearby a pool. It was a bigger one than the one I stayed earlier. Happy there was no change in room rates which is understandable because I didn't ask for it :P
Location wise this place is a bit remote and hilly (well most of Costa Rica is!). Its very difficult to reach here without knowing the place and without a car (get yourself a proper taxi driver who can speak English).
Staffs were really good and few of them speak English through which most of my communication with other staffs happened. Few of them taught me Spanish! It was pretty interesting. I spent most of my evenings with them talking about cultures and their where-abouts. They also invited me to the weekend parties that happens down the corner in a conference room. They create a pub-like environment and play some Latino songs. These parties get real wild sometimes! (you know what I mean)
Overall, I should say this was one of the best places I have ever stayed. I would recommend it to my friends. If I am going back to Costa Rica, I am staying here!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank ellji2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ontario
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2013

after travilling for a day to get to costa rica i like to stay at la catalina because it,s close to the airport. this time they put me in one of thier new rooms.the jacuzzie and king size bed were a nice treat.from the front porch the san jose valley was laid out like a carpet of lights below me,it was beautiful.the next morning i took a walk around part of this 6 acer estate and was surprised to see how many new flower gardens they added since my last visit,this place could be full but because of its size you would.nt know it.the staff and the food grate as always.

Room Tip: get a jacuzzi suit
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank snowman4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Pierce, Florida, United States
1 review
Reviewed 6 February 2013

i stayed at la catalina in late 2012. the hotel was beautiful and very well kept.because the main house was empty that week they let us stay in it for the same price as the smaller house. the view from where we stayed was amazing,every morning clouds would literally roll across the front yard it was really cool being that i am from florida and we are below sea level. the staff and my family became really good friends during our stay.they were very helpful and went above and beyond to make sure our stay was worth while.we went to costa to get away from the american lifestyle and i enjoyed seeing what central america had to offer. there are so many things to do in the area and la catalina is a perfect midway point for all of the activities you choose to do, i would like to thank the staff and the owner for providing such a great stay and i will be back for sure!!!!

Room Tip: The house on the hill top is the biggest,and has a carport and the view is sick!
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Bryan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about La Catalina Hotel & Suites

Property: La Catalina Hotel & Suites
Address: beside Cetal LaCatalina, Birri, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Birri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Birri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — La Catalina Hotel & Suites 3.5*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Catalina Hotel & Suites is an adult couples only, majestic private, gated resort, located a few miles just outside the City of Heredia which is just outside the Capital City of San Jose, on 6 lush acres inhabited by tropical flowers, trees, ponds and other gracious amenities like tennis court,gym,billiards,jacuzzi and 2 swimming pools.One swimming pool is nude and the other up to topless. Fully furnished hotel rooms, suites and villas are offered - studios, one or two bedrooms, and even romantic private villa enclaves ready for your enjoyment.Some weeks in the year are totally clothing optional.La Catalina has the best food in the area from North American to South American to Asian to Seafood.La Catalina has a great weekly entertainment program. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Catalina Hotel And Suites
La Catalina Hotel Birri
Hotel La Catalina
La Catalina Hotel & Suites Costa Rica/Birri, Province Of Heredia

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