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“Home away from home”
Review of Sugar's Monkey

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Sugar's Monkey
Ranked #3 of 6 Playa Grande B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Home away from home”
Reviewed 23 February 2013

Just back from my 2nd stay in 2 months at the Playa Grande Inn. Im a New Yorker and world traveler and have stayed at a wide range of tropical locations. Something special about this place will make you want to return again and again.

First a bit about Playa Grande itself. Beautiful location, wide sweeping beach, amazing sunsets, sleepy little town, definitely not over developed like other parts of Costa. If you are either an avid or improving surfer, this is the place for you. Extremely consistent surf- surf every day. Many peaks, A frame waves and a sand bottom mean you can spread out and enjoy. Range of surf shops so you can rent high quality boards (save the airline board fee) and pick up anything you may need. Enough small restaurants and bars to give you a destination and variety but very unassuming. Feels very far away from the hustle and bustle of Tamarindo, but easily accessible if you crave the occasional night out on the town. Locals and expats all extremely friendly and welcoming.

Now to PGI. I have stayed in almost every option of accommodation in Playa Grande,from the $3000/week homes on the beach to the $125/night "suites" and Playa Grande Inn has become my go to place to stay. I will preface this by saying, it really depends on what you are looking for - nothing fancy here, but perfect for what i was looking for. I am a solo lady traveler, in Playa Grande to improve my surf. PGI is super close to the beach, easy on the pockets for longer surf trips, Justen (the manager), Lindsay, Lynn and the staff are extremely friendly, always looking out for you and trying to ensure you are comfortable and happy. Lynn's smoothies, juices and granola (try her yogurt bowl) are great after an early surf session. The outdoor shower to wash off from the beach is very convenient and refreshing. The pool is not large but a huge luxury during the hot middays when your waiting it out for high tide for the waves to work. Hammocks and sofa in the common area are great for lounging.

Justen is always hosting some sort of mellow event, from football bbqs to poker nights which gives you the option to get to know other guests or some of the locals and expats if you choose. take it from someone who usually stays to her self, this is amazing group of people you should let yourself get to know.

rooms are nothing fancy, but clean and safe. justen is always fighting the fight to improve the place and when I was there last month ordered brand new tvs for common area and some brand new air conditioners for the rooms (critical as it gets hot midday). rooms are not large but are comfortable, most with desks, and all with high speed internet access. i stayed on the top floor which i believe was a bit more quiet than the bottom rooms. I have also stayed in the 2bedroom apartment with kitchen which i would recommend a splurge on.

long story short, i would highly recommend for your next surf trip. people were great, unbeatable location, super friendly consistent waves, great vibe. relatively no frills though, laid back, not for the prima donna.

Room Tip: 2nd floor more quiet. ask for room with a new AC. definitley recommend a splurge for the 2 bdrm ap...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank beth p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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144 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
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English first
Muntinlupa, Philippines
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2013

My recent trip to Playa Grande, Costa Rica and stay at Playa Grande Inn left me underwhelmed and did not meet my expectations.

First the pros, the hotel is very close to the beach and surf spots - a 2 minute walk to the beach entrance where you can watch spectacular sunsets. There is a smoothie and juice bar at the hotel - a separate business that is run by a lady named Lyn. Excellent fruit smoothies, juices, granola and granola bars - this was my daily breakfast while I was there.

WiFi internet is fast and available throughout the property, making the absence of TVs and phones in the rooms alright.

Now for the cons:

1. The room - The pictures here don't lie. The hotel has very basic rooms. The room I stayed in had a bed, a desk and chair and that's it. No closet - only a hook on the door and 3 hangers to hang your clothes. No shelves for anything, only a small desk. What you can't tell from the pictures is that the walls of each room are very thin and you will hear every bit of noise your neighbor makes. As with all the noise from the pool area and the bar. Doesn't make for a relaxing night of sleep...
As for housekeeping - it was ok. I did not get my room cleaned until after my second night which was no big deal as I was by myself.

2. Bathroom - No hot water and low water pressure. I've posted a picture here of the shower curtain rod held up by a piece of wire - it looked like it would collapse.

3. Service - Some friends of mine were staying at PGI so I decided to join them there. They had been there for a month so when I arrived, my friends welcomed me into the resort, checked me into my room ("key is on the door, just let yourself in..."), told me how billing works (everything is on a tab system), gave me a WiFi password, facilitated renting a car and renting a surfboard for me, made suggestions on what to see and things to do in Playa Grande- everything that the staff/ management were supposed to do. It was extremely casual and as a guest felt like I would've been neglected had my friends not been there. I met Justen (the manager) and spoke to him 2 times during my stay, apart from emails I sent before I arrived. He seemed a bit indifferent. As a guest, I don't think I should be the one to first make an effort to warm up to the hotel manager.

4. Billing - When ordering drinks or meals at PGI everything is extremely casual. There is no printed menu or tariff sheet or even blackboard prices for anything. Nowhere does it say that service charge is standard. So what you pay for could very well be at the whim of the bartender. Doubly confusing as everything is in foreign currency. Drinks at the bar? Put it on my tab! But don't complain if there are errors later on. Nobody makes you sign for anything at the end of your meal or drinks.
My friends had complained about a few billing issues and were given the cold shoulder. "What do you expect for 20 bucks a night" was the response. I was not accurately billed at the end of my stay and had to pay for the balance on PayPal even though I asked for a bill the night before I checked out. Is a dollar here or a dollar there of a billing error worth complaining about. Probably not for the dollar value itself, but to reinforce the expectation of being honestly and accurately billed.

4. Value - I paid USD$50/ night - relatively cheap. However, I did expect more in terms of the room quality and service. Does relatively cheap equate to getting a poor quality room and receiving bad service? It seems to me that this is the hospitality philosophy that PGI operates on.
I've stayed in some places where US$50 gets you 3-4 star quality. This doesn't exist in Playa Grande (although I thought it did). However, there are places close by that would cost US$10-25 more per night, but the room quality (as shown online) are miles away from PGI. I can't speak for the service though. These are intangibles that can make or break a hotel stay - whether you are paying US$20/night, $50/night or $500/ night...

Room Tip: Most of the rooms are locate on the main wing. If you get the first or last room on the top floor, y...
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank globaladobo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 February 2013

You feel like it's your home away from home. The locals there go out of their way to make you feel like you belong to the community.. If you are missing your pets don't worry you will get a little loven from Carmen. All she asks in return is a rub between the ears. Hanging out and sipping on a beer can pass the time away while you wait for the tide your the most beautiful sunset in the world. Don't forget your cocktail at the bar before you stroll down to the log for the end of a perfect day... And don't forget to start your day with the best juices in CR at RAW!

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tracy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corpus Christi, Texas
1 review
Reviewed 19 February 2013

Stayed for three weeks with some GREAT people at the playa grande inn!! Clean rooms, KILLER pool,and great waves what more can you ask for :> They also have some insane food and the best smoothies on playa grande!!! Be back soon for some more tubes and Goodtimes!!!! You guys are the best! brett from padre

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank bamwave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
1 review
Reviewed 18 February 2013

Stayed at PGI in August 2012 for 5 nights and i couldn't have asked for a better experience. Justen was a fantastic host, and all his staff were all super friendly and helpful. Rooms were great value for money, clean, and over all really comfortable. Between the pool, ping pong table and bar area (complete with projector and Justens collection of almost every surf movie ever made) the amenities were outstanding and provided everything needed when waiting for the tide to fill in between surfs, or realxing after a day in the water. Food and drinks were great and at PGI, MarBar and Raw we had all meals covered for the entire trip. Food quality and service was excellent and all options are great value for money.
The highlight of the trip was a boat trip to Witches Rock and Ollies point, which Justen and his staff went out of their way to help organize for us. Huge thanks to Justen, Freya and Javier for hooking us up on a day when every other boat was booked out due to the good swell.
Playa Grande is a beautiful place with amazing surf, and the folks of PGI were excellent hosts. I will definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank A W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia Beach, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 February 2013

When in Costa, do as the Tico's. By this i mean relax, and enjoy your self. There's no better place than the Playa Grande Inn to just that. The atmosphere is friendly, The food is good, and the whole place is beautiful. I have never stayed at such a unique establishment. The pool is one of a kind, not to mention the underwater seats to eat your poolside breakfast every morning before paddling out. The Inn is only about a 30 second walk to the Beach. The Surf is consistent and every day you will have a rippable wave. Even if your not a surfer, you can still enjoy the ocean here. When it's Low tide, the waves aren't surfable, so that means everyone can swim and play without being in harms way. Aside from the Beach, there's tons to do around this small town. Justen, the man running the show will gladly hook you up with any kind of tour, adventure, or activity that you might be interested in. He knows everybody. You'll know every body in Grande too by the end of your stay. Everyone is just so friendly, and happy here. The community is tight-nit and welcoming to new people. PGI is the place to stay when coming to CR. Tons of great places to eat/drink, great weather, great people, and great Vibes are what makes this place click. Take my word for it.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MickUltra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 February 2013

Surf, geckos, iguanas and monkeys. The food is what you need to do two sessions in the water. The beer is cold and the crowd at the bar is fun. Great value for a clean room, hot water and huge commons area. I was glad there was no TV but the WiFi was super fast and I wish I had spent more time on the beach instead of checking my email.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank coldsalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sugar's Monkey

Property: Sugar's Monkey
Address: 250 Meters South of Minae, Playa Grande 50308, Costa Rica (Formerly Playa Grande Inn)
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Sugar's Monkey 2.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tropical life style Sugars Monkey is a small hostel where you can breath ocean; 150 mt from miles white sandy beach, welcomes its guests with pool surrounded of tropical garden where you can eat fresh and healthy food from our restaurant open from breakfast time till dinner. Eight room with air conditioning, ambient fans, private bathroom, shower and hot water; Two room settings: doble room for two occupancy and large room for four occupancy. Community space, gym and pool table are free for guest, Be Water surf rental and tour will happy to take you into waterworld ....... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Grande Hotel Playa Grande
Hotel Playa Grande

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