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“Bad start, perfect ending”

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Xandari Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 26 Hotels in Alajuela
Certificate of Excellence
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Bad start, perfect ending”
Reviewed 31 December 2012

We arrived at Xandari Resort having left the UK in the freezing grip of winter some 20 hours earlier. It hadn't been the most perfect of journeys, the reasons for which I won't bore you with, but we were mighty glad to see the warm colours of Xandari's reception area and our welcoming suite.

Everything at Xandari is full to bursting with glorious colour. Even the birds, which are plentiful in the hotel's gorgeous grounds, are brightly painted in shades of scarlet, petrol green and vivid blue. This really is an assault on the senses - in a good way! Mosaics cover walls, artwork canvases abound, sculptures decorate public areas and fountains splash over tropical plants in the gardens. If you were going to design paradise, this wouldn't be a bad place to start!

Staff were welcoming, warm and friendly with none of the subservient attitude that can, at times, make us tourists feel slightly ill at ease. The gardens and swimming pools are to die for and views across Alajuela change from spectacular by day to star-studded with lights at night. Hummingbirds flitted across our expansive terrace and a wide variety of birds visited the feeding station perfectly positioned near the restaurant.

Our room was vast! Bedroom, sitting area, kitchen area, and a massive bathroom with sunken marble bath, separate shower, outside shower (completely private) and twin vanity units. The villas are individual and set well apart from each other, approached by a gate and mini garden area, giving the feeling of your own little house. Outside our room was a terrace with twin sun loungers.

The gardens are extensive and perfectly maintained. There are lots of trips that are fairly easy to do from Alajuela and our three nights here only allowed us to scratch the surface. It's not cheap but we enjoyed our stay immensely and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Room Tip: We stayed in an Ultra Villa (no. 21) - beautiful!
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ruth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (160)
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English first
Charlotte
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2012

The views are spectacular - all I need, every day, for the rest of my life. The rooms are beautifully appointed. The restaurant serves wonderful food at very reasonable prices. The perfect beginning and ending to our Costa Rica trip, but we may stay longer on future trips.

Room Tip: Both rooms we stayed in were amazing.
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank momandmore0120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
Level 6 Contributor
160 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 December 2012 via mobile

This was an incredibly unique place for our family of five. The Spa was very peaceful and the massages were thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family. The artistic decor is persuasive throughout the resort which makes it such a unique place to stay. The gardens in the grounds are impeccably manicured and we spent a couple hours hiking the grounds and visiting the multiple waterfalls on the property. We had a dinner at their restaurant and the food was great. Our only minor complaint was that the rooms do not have blinds on the windows, so if you prefer to sleep in a bit, you may find it difficult as we did. we also enjoyed the continental breakfast in the AM as it was full of fres fruit, juices and tasty muffins. All in all, we would highly recommend this resort to you, especially if you love a place with incredible grounds and views.

Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Ace65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 December 2012

The setting of Xandari is beautiful. However, as a hotel, it is overpriced and substandard.

The hotel apparently opened in 1996 and the owner hasn't changed the concept (back then the Internet was just starting), the mattresses or the bed linens since that time.

The grounds, swimming pool and spa are beautiful.

The following is what $400 per night buys you in the hotel:

There is no Internet except for a weak signal in the lobby. The owner says that his concept of the hotel is not for people to come to use the Internet. Maybe that idea worked in 1996. In December 2012, the lobby was filled with my partner and I trying to find signals for our laptops, the honeymoon couple next to us seeking to use their I-phone and I-pad, the large family running around the lobby with their respective devices scrambling to find a signal.

The Internet problem could be solved with a good installation by a professional IT company. The hotel doesn't seem to want to spend the money.

There is no television in the rooms. Again, this is not the owner's concept of enjoying Costa Rica. But the owner is not the customer. Maybe my partner and I would like to watch the news at night. Maybe the large family with five kids would like to have the television for their kids so that their kids do not run around the property screaming because there is nothing else to do. At $400 per night, the choice should belong to the customer, not the owner.

Their website advertises a television room in the lobby where you can relax and enjoy television and DVD's. The television is also from 1996 -- an antiquated, small, cathode-ray tube device that doesn't even exist any more.

Their website advertises a computer room off the lobby. The computer also hasn't been changed since 1996 -- just have a look at the huge cathode-ray tube monitor they use.

There is no excuse for any of the above. The tiny, sleepy country of Costa Rica has seven Walmart's, one of which happens to be located less than 10 minutes from the hotel.

Now to the room: it is large with a nice layout. The mattress has not been changed since 1996 and to try to cover this up, they throw a dirty egg crate mattress on top. The sheets are also old and dirty. No heavenly bed here for $400 per night. That would be too much to ask for.

The rooms have these modular, clumsy window shades that were popular in the 1980's and 1990's but do not keep out any of the light. At this hotel, whether you want to or not, you need to wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning because that is when the sun starts to shine inside the windows.

The bathroom towels were of decent quality. However, instead of placing a selection of shower gels and shampoos in the bathroom (which even a Holiday Inn Express does nowadays), they place one cheap bar of soap that does not even lather up and that is what you are expected to use the whole week at the $400 per night luxury hotel.

Breakfast is supposedly included. But that's a basic, cold buffet. They are quick to come to your table to try to sell you their extras. It's a pity that $400 per night in a Central American economy with low labor and overhead costs does not even buy you a hot plate of eggs with your breakfast. Once again, just the owner's obvious pitch to nickel and dime his customers.

They have an Italian expresso machine that they let waste away because they use it for decaf coffee in the morning, while they serve filtered dishwater to the guests and call that coffee. Half of the occupancy were Europeans and they were all asking for expresso but that was not possible because of their illogical use of the machine.

The food was edible, but definitely mediocre in quality. I had filet mignon our last night and the meat was rancid. It caused me to be sick all night long in the bathroom.

While waiting for a table to be cleaned for breakfast, the waitress cleaned the dirty dishes from the previous guests but left the dirty placemats and dirty silverware expecting us to eat off of the dirty silverware of the previous guests. When we specifically asked her to change the dirty placemats and dirty silverware, she said that we could use the ones that were already there. We were overwhelmed and perplexed by this comment.

Our room 8 was infested with ants along the stained glass window (right next to the bed). Maintenance had to spray and clean the room. There should be some form of quality control before they sell their rooms, and this should have been caught beforehand.

This hotel needs to re-define itself and decide what it wants to be in the 21st century. It advertises itself as a luxury hotel. As a luxury hotel it falls way too short and does not meet the standards of a luxury hotel.

If it would simply advertise itself as a nature reserve and glorified campground, then maybe we wouldn't be so critical.

In any case, whatever the hotel is, it is definitely a complete rip-off at $400 per night. Save your money and just stay at the Holiday Inn Express down the hill. It doesn't have the natural beauty of Xandari, but it is a much better hotel.

Enjoy your travels and happy holidays.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Gili P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth, England
Level 6 Contributor
258 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2012 via mobile

Two days here with family just after arriving in the county. Just what we needed. Great food, excellent staff, very good accommodation and a sensational location. We tried pretty much everything on offer. Walking the trails is fund and not demanding, the girls did yoga and we all used the pool.
Very positive and welcoming staff culture. A great visit and if I'm here again it will be on the list.

Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank WanderingAcademic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Ramon, California
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 November 2012

Just returned after 2 nghts at Xandari. $20-$25 cab trip from San Jose airport. Up a hill with great view of city and mountains. Since it is owned by an American architect and his designer wife, the resort is like staying in a modern art museum. Our room had a stained glass window, several nice pieces of art on the wall, a great patio, and was very quiet. The breakfast was included. The melas we had were all right, but as most food in Costa Rica, not gourmet or memorable. Used a base for a tour to La Paz Waterfall. The hiking trail to several waterfalls on the property was well maintained, althoughthere are about 250 stairs:) Had a great welcome couples massage upon arrival in the spa with its own hot tub and view of the valley (reserve before you come to assure services available).

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank wndslr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2012

This was my second trip to Costa Rica, and my first with Xandari. I was a little worried about trying to find transportation from the airport as we were arriving quite late. I contacted Xandari and they arranged for us to be picked up at a very reasonable rate. True to their word, when we went thru the last doors at the airport, the driver was there waiting. A 15 - 20 minute ride and we were at our destination. The villas are really cute - brightly coloured with eye catching decor. Different than any place I have ever stayed before. A large private patio. There was also a private courtyard in the front that you could access from either the bathroom area or thru the main door. There is a gate you can lock to restrict access to the courtyard. Waking in the morning to the beautiful sounds that you only hear in Costa Rica was refreshing. The birds in that resort are phenomenal and numerous. From the large tree outside the back patio, we could see up close all the little birds that rested there. hummingbirds, tanagers, woodpeckers, - we even seen a Motmot. There are 4 or 5 km worth of trails you can walk, and they are well kept. At one point there are several waterfalls along the trails - well worth the time spent hiking on them. This place is huge, and if you take the time to explore the grounds, you will find orange orchard, a green house, some farm animals, etc etc etc. The staff were always very helpful, very nice and very accommodating. The food was really good. The one thing I didn't like was that shower has a glass wall on the end that looks out into the private courtyard - and if not for that, I would have provided a higher rating.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank love2seeNewPlaces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Xandari Resort & Spa

Property: Xandari Resort & Spa
Address: 1 km northwest of El Diamante Bar | Tacacori, Alajuela 4050, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Alajuela
#1 Romantic Hotel in Alajuela
#1 Spa Hotel in Alajuela
#6 Business Hotel in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Xandari Resort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Xandari is a 40-acre plantation with botanical gardens, orchid house and over 5 kms of nature trails including five waterfalls. Xandari is the creation of an architect-artist couple, with 24 spacious villas overlooking the Central Valley. Only 20 minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport. In addition, three fabulous swimming pools, including the new 125 ft. Long Sunset Pool with a stunning view, and two outdoor jacuzzis. The restaurant serves fresh, continental and Costa Rican menu, featuring many organic fruits and vegetables from our own gardens. Xandari Spa Village is harmoniously integrated with nature and consists of a Yoga Room and five private palm-roofed jalapas with jacuzzi perched on a mountain ridge, where natural ingredients are used in massages and body treatments. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Xandari Resort And Spa
Xandari Hotel Alajuela
Xandari Resort & Spa Costa Rica/Alajuela

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