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“Mosquitos, dead fish and litter - Oh my! Not good for a honeymoon!”

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Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Playa Hermosa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 June 2013

Sigh. I really have tried to like this hotel. I tried to base my dissapointment on the fact that we first stayed at Arenal Nayara one of the top Hotels in the country as a reason I was not enjoying myself.

Alas, no such luck. Came here for the second part of our Honeymoon. Showed up on a Wednesday and then left Sunday. The entire time it was seemingly abandoned as if we were the only ones there. Greeted at the front desk by a smelly, huge guy with sweat marks all over him when we arrived who promptly put bright blue plastic wrist bands on us to designate we had a 'Meal Plan'. He said, "Most you guys dont like it, but its easier for us." Oh. its easy for you. As in you dont have to WORK to ask us if we have a meal plan or not. either way we pay so I really didnt appreciate 'being branded like cattle' as another reviewer stated. we went on tours with other resorts amd people were laughing at our wrist bands. Bosque is obviously the only place that does this.

When taken to our 'Honeymoon suite' we were taken to a room with two beds! For a Honeymoon. What?!
They promptly switched our room to a king, however.

Throughout the stay we noticed the language barrier was much more apparent here. You need to know some Spanish to stay here. They have maybe two or three people that speak a fair amount of English.

The room was okay. It is obvious that this hotel is old and the interior has been heavily updated to overcome that. Not enough outlets. All the doors were sliding doors and very frustrating to open. Not only that but they are not sealed appropriately on the bottom or in the cracks of the door itself! It's very easy for bugs to get in. We had a Red Ant problem, a few lizards, Mosquitos etc... I felt itchy at night. I hated sleeping in this room as I felt we were constantly killing and getting bit by bugs!

The beach. Oh dear, the beach. I'm not picky about beaches but this was by far the dirtiest beach I've ever been to and not because the sand is black, that was expected!

No, there was litter everywhere. Too many locals roaming about, stray cats and dogs (one of them chased us, not all are nice and most are emaciated looking...gross. Poor things.) litter as in coke bottles, trash from locals and hundreds of dead fish that ended up stinking up the beach. Lots of locals approaching you to buy crud from them.

Also, there is a family that lives right next door to the resort. They have tons of chickens and dogs that end up running around this resort. In fact there is so much chicken crap around right in front of the main dining that it is impossible to eat without having flies swarming all over you and your food. I mean swarming. It's impossible to away them all away.

The waiter we had explained that the family once owned tons of land and then sold it, so they are rich by Costa Rican standards and they don't work but instead sit around getting drunk on Sugarcane moonshine all day. Ah. Good to know. There is no line designating who's property is whose and they were a bit territorial.

We were walking the beach at night after a sunset cruise and we walked in front of the property (which is hard not to do since it is literally next door. Their house is practically attached to the hotel.) and the owner came out and started walking behind us asking what we were doing! I mean, it must have been the owner but I can't be sure because it was so dark. All I know is being yelled at by strange locals in the dark after 6pm is not my idea of fun. He could have had a weapon for all we know.

The beach chairs - COVERED in ants, no cusions and all but maybe three that I saw were not broken in the seat part.

No monkeys. Where are these monkeys people are talking about? We did see an Iguana though. That's it besides the dead fish and dead puffer fish.

The water - not inviting and dirty looking. I did not get in the water
at all. Period.

Food - meh. It was edible enough but you get very tired eating the same place every day. They had enough selection to just get by for three days. Otherwise it gets monotonous. Steak was tough. Seafood was okay but make sure you like to eat Octopus tentacle before ordering anything seafood here. We were fine since we love sushi but I could see that as a big shock to some people.

The activities on this side of Costa Rica were pretty good. Boat tour was great. Sunset cruise was okay but it stormed really bad on the way back. The cruise though was hosted by some locals I guess they were not uniformed. They offered us snorkeling in a reef. No life jackets, just noodles. While other boats from other resorts had life jackets etc.. The boat had no lighting system for night time like boats are required to have in the U.S. so it's a bit scary.

The pool - looks great in pictures but very sad looking in person. The hot tub is maaaaybe a Luke warm if I'm being generous.

Oh, also if there are people here it's usually large families with kids. Screaming and crying kids are a normal occurrence here. If you don't like that, look elsewhere.

Overall... We stayed only 3 nights. By the second day I was wanting to just. Go. Home. :(

Customer service was rather poor. Everyone was very reluctant to talk to you or help you. They acted like they would rather be somewhere else, even the English speaking ones. After such great, easy service in Arenal it was a bit of a shock.

I will not stay here again. I've never written a review on here and never been inclined to give a bad one but I simply could not be happy with my stay here. Especially as this was a honeymoon and we were not treated or accommodated with anything special...or even a stocked wet bar.

Usually hotels have snacks in the room you can open and purchase.. Nothing was in these rooms. Only one package of coffee. No decaf. No tea.

Nothing romantic about this place at all. If you're a big family looking for a family friendly, beach resort and you're okay with bugs in your rooms then it's okay. Other than that.... Look elsewhere!!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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5  Thank KelLee87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James H, Owner at Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2013

Dear client,
We are really concerned about your comments, first we thank you for sincerely letting us know about some important flaws we need to improve. We would appreciated even more, if you would make these comments to our Residence Manager during your stay, so we could work more harder fixing some situations under our control and make your stay enjoyable.
Wrist bands are used in many hotels in this country for control and security issues –including big International hotel brands-, we also use then to identify our clients and ensure the beach chairs and other facilities will be exclusively for them (as all the beaches in Costa Rica are public). Normally our guests are fine wearing the wrist bands, but now we will analyze if we keep using them or not, in order to not bother our guests as you unfortunely were.
Bosque del Mar was completely renovated and reopened by the end of 2008, all buildings are now since then we run a preventive maintenance program every low season. As this low season just started a month ago, there are several things that we need to work on during the next weeks including doors fixing and beach chairs replacement. About room interiors, all our mattress are anti- allergic and all buildings are fumigated every 3 months.
The concept design was having a high level quality but low environmental impact hotel, that´s way you can find many sustainable practices in architecture and our daily operation. For example, our gardens were planted with low maintenance plant species and we water them with reusable water that we get from our treatment water system (pioneers in the area). We also fumigate surroundings constantly to avoid plagues, but the products and frequency cannot be so aggressive due we don´t want to kill all the insects and cause a big impact in gardens nature.
Many of our guests have congratulated us for our efforts in sustainability and the little jungle we try to keep around the rooms. They are normally aware that visiting a tropical country will probably include some insects –as they are part of the nature that people come to Costa Rica looking for-. It´s also normal for this season of the year, that rainy season is starting so some animals and bugs change their behavior temporality to adjust to the new conditions. Death fish or crabs may be found sometimes during this period due red tide and other nature issues. Anyhow, during our room maintenance we will be fixing doors to avoid insects.
The hotel has an employee working exclusively on beach cleanliness every day from 6 am – 5 pm. This person ensure all the beach chairs are clean, sweep the beach in front the hotel and surroundings, clean the waste baskets in the beach picks up all the nature waste as possible (leaves, stems, etc. that waves normally bring out the water). But as you may understand, is not easy to control all the tide natural waste and what neighbors do in their beach front.
Dogs, cats and other domestic animals (with owners or not) are also free to be in the public beach, even we don´t allow guests to bring in animals with them. For street dogs and cats, we will try to contact an organization who can take them to a shelter. Regarding the monkey that so many of guests are always so thrill to enjoy closely, they don´t live in the hotel property but frequently use our trees for feeding. As they are wild animals, we have no control on their visits.
Unfortunely the people selling things in the beach also bother us as a company, but again, as the beach is public and as long as they don´t do anything illegal, there is not much we can do. There are also many guests who enjoy sharing with locals and having a massage with the sound of the waves right in the beach under a tree (for some that´s an idyllic idea), this is also something popular in Costarican beach hotels.
Regarding the Sunset tour you had, we will contact our tour operator to check all the security and quality measures. About beach front lightening, we ensure lamps all around in front of our property but can´t make the neighbors do the same, anyhow we are also asking to the cruise tour operator to make sure they will land the clients right in front of our hotel and set up lightening from the boat to the beach when people is arriving.
Due Guanacaste´s hot weather and our energy saving practices, we daily turn on the jacuzzi´s water heater at 4 pm. Now we will put a sign with this info, and also letting the guests know that if they want to use it earlier they just need to ask our staff to turn it on.
Finally, there are several flaws you pointed out regarding our staff and service, that´s something that we will be strongly working on now because we really believe the soul of our company has to be the warm and personalized service.
We really sorry that your visit was not memorable for a Honey Moon, and wish we had the chance to fix all that was under our control if we know about the situation earlier.
Apollogies,

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Reviewed 19 June 2013

We felt this hotel was a diamond in the rough. The pluses were that it is right on the beach, rates were reasonable, hotel and grounds were pretty clean, ocean view suite was nice with second story porch that was private with hot tub. Wished they had screens on windows to sleep with the sound of ocean waves rather than the air conditioner, which was loud and right over our heads. Rooms had modern appointments and were spacious. Beach has black sand, most in the area do. Swimming was great at the pool and the beach. The beach chairs offered were in horrible condition and were very uncomfortable. Cushions would be nice, or more comfortable chairs. Felt that staff here was attentive and helpful, but they were not as friendly. My husband thought that for most working there, there was more of a language barrier than other areas we visited in the country. Get ready for lots of wildlife. Dozens of howler monkeys in the tree by the pool, iguanas at the beach and pool - big ones. Saw a 2-3 pound cane toad in the pool one night. Lots and lots of insects and gheckos, spiders, beetles, some in room. Dogs roam the beach, which was fun for us, as we made friends with a few. Food was ok in the restaurant. They made huevos rancheros special for us as part of the free breakfast buffet, all we did was ask. Staff was sometimes inattentive to pool area clean up at busy times in the day. People would leave their drink glasses and refuse out (no waste receptacles) and we had to clear off our table to sit under an umbrella. Saw many staff walk through the area and not notice this, which seemed strange that they wouldn't just tidy up.

Room Tip: Ocean suite was nice with outdoor tub, second story. We had 601. completely private.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Lolita545
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James H, Owner at Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 July 2013

Dear Ann,
Your comments are really important for us in order to improve those things that are not satisfying our guests.
We will be strongly working with our staff about attitude and service details. We are aware the language barrier may be a problem sometimes, so we are trying to get more training for them in order to get better communication with our clients.
During this low season, we will be starting our annual maintenance program, replacing some beach chairs and putting cushions to make them more comfortable, among many other tasks.
Thanks your letting us know your opinion.

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Reviewed 18 June 2013

We are a family of five with three kids ages 15,12 and 10. Our experience was wonderful. When we arrived we were greeted with passion fruit "mocktails" and excellent service. We reserved two rooms and the staff made certain the rooms were adjoining. The on site restaurant had a very nice buffet breakfast and the kids meals were great. Each morning my husband and I were met with delicious cups of coffee which was very easy to get used to! The beach was lovely and was practically deserted except for fellow hotel guests. I would highly recommend this secluded Costa Rica getaway!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Kate G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2013

Second stay at this beautiful resort, had to come back and get married right on the beach. Jose and Roberto took care of all the prepearations, Yorsi, Shirley and Carlos were great the whole time, Deybi, Daniel, and Gabriel took care of everything we could ever need, and my favorite front desk's were Guillermo (days) and Lindbergh (nights). The staff needs applause, because after a being a bit of a mess during my stay (cold-feet?!?), I felt like I was in good hands. The wedding was amazing, and we even stayed in the penthouse (3rd floor) which was the most amazing hotel room I have ever seen. Hats off to the staff, the food is amazing, and the rooms are legendary!!!

Room Tip: I prefer 2nd story facing the ocean, but even the first floor rooms are excellent. In fact, I toure...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank A-Train612
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2013

The good: the hotel grounds are simply gorgeous, and everything is clean and well-maintained. We found the staff to be generally friendly and helpful. Our room--a second-floor ocean-view balcony--was large and beautiful, and we adored the balcony with its whirlpool tub. The views were fantastic, especially at sunset. We had in-room massages, arranged through the hotel, that were simply wonderful.

The less good: we were generally not impressed by the food, though my husband's red snapper was delicious. The beach chairs are old and cracked. There was no service on the beach, although if you want a drink it's not a far walk to the restaurant and bar. Breakfast is not included in the room price. Because of things like this, the price we paid (in off season) seemed a little off from the value. Also, the other hotels and restaurants on this beach are generally quite a bit funkier and cheaper, so Bosque del Mar seems a little out of touch with its surroundings.

It IS a beautiful hotel, it just may have suffered by comparison with our first hotel in Costa Rica. (I may also be bitter because we did not see a single monkey in our 2 1/2 days there, and I really wanted to see monkeys!)

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jennifer F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2013

The staff at this hotel was incredibly friendly, the rooms are amazing from the Penthouse to the Junior Suite, you can't go wrong, and the beach is something to see. I would have given the hotel 5 stars if not a for a couple of minor issues (wristbands at check-in, lets get rid of those) and the need for some new beach chairs. That being said, I'd recommend this hotel anyone and would gladly go back. They did a wonderful job with my sisters wedding. We loved you Bosque del Mar!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Matt S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James H, Owner at Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2013

Dear Matt,
Thanks a lot for your comments and for trusting us to have such an unforgetable event as your sister wedding.
We are glad to let you know we have decided to eliminate the wrist bands (using other security and control measures instead) and beach chairs will be replaced and/or having cushions now.
We really look forward to have you staying with us sometime soon!

Best regards,

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Reviewed 30 May 2013

The hotel has its good and bad.

The good certainly out weighs the bad. The grounds to the resort itself are beautiful. Very open air layout. There is open air dining that serves all three meals with a good menu. The rooms are beautiful and very clean, and each has its own balcony. You will wake up to a variety of animals such as monkeys and birds.

The negative is the beach. This is CERTAINLY not a swimming beach. It is actually very depressing. There are SO many stray and starving animals there who are begging for food and look like they are are their last leg. The beach itself is rocky and dirty and the boats are docked close to the beach that it is not good to swim in as the water is dirty with oils, etc.

I would return to the resort itself but for sure avoid the beach.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James H, Owner at Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2013

Dear client,
We appreciate your comment regarding our hotel, we are aware several thing at the beach should be different but as in Costa Rica beach are public, there are two main things we actually can promise right now: 1. Trying to contact a dogs shelter in the area, who can take the stray animals and give them a new home and 2. Improving and supervising even more the staff we have in our beach front taking care of daily cleanliness.

Best regards,

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Additional Information about Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa

Address: Primera Entrada a Playa Hermosa 300 mts Oeste, Playa Hermosa 50303, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Hermosa
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Hermosa
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Hermosa
Price Range: £122 - £211 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A unique beachfront property in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste with a high-end boutique eco concept comes alive with Hotel Playa Hermosa Bosque del Mar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Bosque Del Mar Playa Hermosa Costa Rica - Guanacaste

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