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“Nicest place in Jaco”
Review of Hotel Club del Mar

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Hotel Club del Mar
Ranked #7 of 40 Hotels in Jaco
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 March 2012

This is our second time to Jaco. Our first visit almost ended in a bad trip until we stumbled upon this place. Top notch rooms and service on our first trip. Our second trip the rooms were still top notch but some of the help was a little slack in duties and had to be reminded several times for water or drinks. A chat with the owner and the staff got hopping like rabbits. Phil runs a tight show there and really believes in top service. The condo rooms are only a few feet from the beach. What a beautiful sight at sunset. The food was good to excellent. Breakfast was always generous portions but for some reason they just don't get it when you say over easy eggs. Maybe the translation get lost somewhere. The fruits and meats were always good. The daily specials top notch. The large pool was really nice to sit by for a sunburn.
Televisions in the living rooms and bedrooms. A full kitchen and nice size baths.
The resort has all amenites one could want. All of the staff is courteous and polite.
Our next trip to Jaco will be Club Del Mar and only Club Del Mar.

Room Tip: Ask for a condo near the water.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank t d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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243 - 249 of 409 reviews

Reviewed 28 February 2012

Summary (Detail below)
Basically you pay well over 200 dollars per night to be next to a free, public picnic & barbecue area, campsite and car park etc., which sits between the hotel and the beach, obscuring the view and which the management maintains for the public for free. Phillip the owner provides the ‘Commune’ with free unlimited water for washing down, drinking, cooking etc, as well as tables and benches, positively encouraging all these people. We even had a tent, 5 metres from our patio one day-see photo. These people pay nothing so basically you are paying for them to be in your face making loads of mess and noise and blocking your view of the Pacific. Please don’t take my word for it – see my photos which show how awful the view is and which also show the Owner strolling through it all. I also have video clips which I can email to anyone who wishes to see more. I can assure you that the large numbers of people shown are NOT hotel guests. I cannot begin to describe how frustrating this was. As if this weren’t bad enough, the wooden platform for all the exercise classes, kick boxing, early morning kids club etc was less than 2 metres from our suite. It was bad enough being woken by kids but listening to what the yoga girls got up to the night before was really not our thing!!!

Shame on the management! This must be one of the most idyllic hotel spots on earth but if you do go then be prepared to spend a LOT of money to stay on a campsite come car park.
The management are regally messing this up!! We feel we owe it to other travellers to be entirely objective, factual and show pictures and give detail so that others can make an informed decision on whether to stay here. We paid almost 3000 dollars for 13 nights, becoming increasingly annoyed with the situation. Had we known what we know now, had seen pictures of what it really looks like a lot of the time, and had the opportunity to read a review such as this before travelling, we would never have booked this hotel. I am amazed that this doesn’t feature more often in TA reviews as we heard many fellow guests complaining about it and how untidy it all looked and about the potential security risk.

I should acknowledge that we paid for a one bedroom suite at 215 dollars per night but as they only have four and these were already booked, they gave us a free upgrade to a 250 dollars per night two bedroom suite. We were very impressed initially although I should add that when we checked that there was no mistake at reception, the receptionist calmly stated very innocently, and I quote, “they’d rather do that than lose the booking’!

Read on for detail on this and other issues.

Noise and disturbance
Without doubt the biggest problem in this hotel. We stayed in a 2 bed condo just maybe 30 metres from the sand which, when not blocked by loads of 4x4s (which was most of the day), had wonderful, full ocean views from both the master bedroom and the salon (we were in suite 14). The list of noise and disturbances is as follows.

1. Assorted activities on a grass verge between the low back wall of the hotel and the sand.
There is a grass verge between the hotel and the ocean and eventually the staff admitted that this is public land. Notwithstanding this, the hotel staff water and mow the grass, sweep the leaves, have outdoor tables and benches on it, ‘to make it look nice’ they say. However, the general public uses the area as a picnic, barbecue and camping area, particularly so at weekends. They actually bring small trucks and unload their gear, including more tables and chairs and full size barbecues. Frankly it looked like a ghetto! See footage including people´s dogs running around which we saw foul the grass unchecked! Unbelievably we even had a tent four metres from our salon door one day (see photographs), almost completely blocking our beach view. When we complained to the Owner, he claimed there was nothing he could do as it is public land. The occupiers moved the tent later that day by about 10 metres, still on the lawn outside the hotel, where it stayed for the best part of two days, just yards from your property!!! On top of everything else, this all made us very nervous about security with all our possessions just a few feet from all these people. (See below, the cleaners left our doors unlocked twice during our stay and we had to ask them to take extra care).
Our biggest gripe however is that the Owner actually lets all these people, and I’m talking about somewhere between 50 and 100, have UNLIMITED use of the water supply. See the photographs and videos. They use it to wash their surfboards, wash their children as they come from the beach, fill their water bottles to drink and cook. See photograph of the Owner walking past these people as they use, for FREE, the water that WE and YOU pay for. (Ironically, the instructions in your room tell you not to leave the tap running whilst you clean your teeth). If the Owner didn’t provide the water, I
can’t believe these people would be there spoiling hotel guests’ holidays.

2. Wooden exercise deck about 2 metres from your lounge window. Bear in mind the windows have no glass. They are anti bug mesh plus hardwood louvre slats. When you close them you shut out daylight. Instructions in the room say you should use daylight whenever possible and not electric light. When you open the slats you have the exercise classes which often start at 7 in the morning, in your room with you. Skipping on the wooden platform is pretty noisy but the punch bag for kick boxing thump, thump, thump etc is worse. Early morning kids club wasn’t much fun either! We were the closest but the deck is definitely within close proximity to many other suites Including all the 1 beds. Again see photos.

3. Immediately beyond the grass verge is the sandy beach. Great except that it usually, and I mean usually, has a line of parked cars and 4 x 4s right across your view. Parking on the beach is legal in Costa Rica, fair enough, but why, when the hotel has a perfectly good car park do they not ask the many surf and yoga etc trainers to use it? The Owner can’t do anything about the general public parking there, but why does he let the many trainers who use the hotel’s facilities for yoga classes, surfing etc., park there? Presumably they are paying to use the hotel’s facilities, so a condition should be that they park in the car park. We woke up to sun, sea, sand and 4x4s every morning, usually including the Del Mar Surf Camp 4x4.

4. Furniture moving on second floor if you are on the ground floor. We were on the ground floor and for most of our stay there was no one above us. On the few occasions there were or when we heard the cleaners working the sound of heavy wooden furniture on tiled floors was very intrusive.

5. Trucks breaking as they come down the nearby hill. Seriously we spent the first few days looking up to the sky for light aircraft! Not nearly so much of a problem though as the ‘campsite’.

Accommodation
Ours was a beautiful suite with colonial style decor in hardwood. It was very spacious and tastefully decorated with a useful washer and dryer. The kitchen had a toaster, blender and microwave but no oven.(?) As I normally roast vegetables every day this was a big drawback. The huge bed was very comfortable. Water pressure in the bathroom was adequate, as was the small hairdryer. The safe had enough room for an IPad but nothing larger.
Location
The hotel itself is in a beautiful spot at the south end of the beach. We walked into Jaco along the beach most days. It is a lovely walk of about 20 minutes and it seemed very safe. A cab back to the hotel was 4 dollars including small tip each time. Bit of pain though for the nightlife as you have to cab back into the centre and then back out again. A cab 3 times a day is an irritant. We did see macaws, squirrels and iguanas everyday above and around the hotel grounds.

Pool and area
Small but pretty but unfortunately almost permanently populated with very loud children, inflatables, balls etc. Also it's not often you see hotel management allow smoking IN the pool as well as glass containers around it. Early morning reserving of sun beds with towels is allowed with people then regularly going off for the whole morning or for surf lessons etc.

Restaurant
We had dinner at the hotel once and it was O.K.. It is mostly overpriced compared to Jaco centre. The price of wine is astonishingly exorbitant, even for Costa Rica.

Staff
Roxy on reception, Edwin on security and Kevin on the Tiki bar were brilliant. They were always ready to help and very friendly. The other staff were mostly polite if anonymous. Cleaning staff were polite but left our beach-facing doors unlocked TWICE. Bear in mind what we’ve said about the general public being just a few feet from your doors. Also we caught them trying to throw away our specialised packaging for our iPod speakers. Another day they threw away some inexpensive things that we had been collecting all holiday which were nowhere near the bins and which they had left alone in situ for well over a week. When we went to reception to see if they could be retrieved Phillip assured me personally that they would be replaced. Needless to say we never heard another thing from him!!!

Security
Aside of the above issue re the cleaners, we were impressed that there was a security guard at the back of the hotel 24/7. This was needed because of all the non hotel people who 'camp', picnic and commune on the grass verge at the back of the hotel just a few metres from your door (which is why the issue with doors left open by the cleaners is such a big one).

Eco friendly?
There are 6 double sided notices of rules and guidelines in the bedrooms and the salon regarding the importance of conservation eg don't leave the tap running while you clean your teeth, report any leaks immediately, etc. Yet, the hotel has stand pipes along the back of the hotel which are used freely by all and sundry. One afternoon, after some Rasta types had done some 'moves' on the back grass verge, they filled their water bottles to the brim. Very nice but paying guests are effectively paying for this. There is also an outside shower at the back entrance to the hotel which is running for much of the day, see photos, for washing sand off you from the beach. All the general public that uses the grass verge use the shower freely, unchallenged. That’s a lot of usage compared to my teeth cleaning activities. There were several different coloured bins in the room with no explanation of what was what. We asked at reception and the girl was dubious that there were no apparent instructions in our room and asked us if we were sure? We said we were and she said they would put some in however they never appeared so we just guessed and that was that. There are notices to say that if you are happy to reuse your towels just re-hang them. We did this EVERY DAY. Yet they were still changed every day!! It appeared overall that the management was doing no more than paying lip service to being Eco friendly.

Management
Ok the grass verge is public land but the Owner should respect his paying guests and not be entertaining the non paying public, to say nothing of encouraging the public to spoil your view. After the tent incident the Owner appeared to avoid us around the hotel at every opportunity (and there was the hollow promise of replacing our things) and given that we felt that most of these things were his responsibility we decided that we wouldn't waste our time discussing them with him any further. With hindsight we should have gone somewhere else but all this was to some degree a cumulative build up and we didn’t have the budget to leave immediately and pay for somewhere else as well. Also we didn't want to spend a large part of the holiday packing and looking for somewhere else to stay.

Summary
Costa Rica is stunning. Jaco is great fun. In the dry season, the Pacific coast has a perfect climate. Not even chilly at night and never more than a light breeze. The south end of the beach at Jaco is beautiful. Overall it was paradise. We fell in love with the area and will definitely be back however we will definitely not stay at or anywhere near Hotel Club Del Mar.
N.B. I was hoping to attach short video clips in addition to the photographs which further show clearly what was going on. As I posted my review it became clear that they could not be added therefore please feel free to email me if you would like to see more.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank BoardmanMijas_Spain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We spent two nights in this lovely, relaxing and beautiful hotel and we would go back any time. The desk service was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. The restaurant was good and a good value. The grounds are lovely and the hotel is located a bit out of Jacob, so it was very quiet.

When we left, I left my jewelry in the room. I called the Club Del Mar, praying that all we had heard about Costa Rican hotel staff having light fingers wasn't true. The gentleman I spoke with said he would check with housekeeping and would call me back. "Sure," I thought and we went to dinner. He not only found my jewelry, but called us four times until he got in touch with me. Then, when we didn't come the first thing the next morning, he called again to make sure we were coming. And, he was waiting for us when we were able to get there.

A really nice property, great location, and staff who go above and beyond to provide exceptional service. The Hotel Club Del Mar has it all.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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2  Thank Cherylkw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

I am struggling to come up with anything but positives about our experience here. Accommodations were first rate. We were fortunate enough to get a free upgrade to a two bedroom condo. Clean and comfortable with two patios that opened on the ocean side. Very neat and well maintained pool area with a waiter always nearby. Drinks were very reasonable ($2.50 a beer). The grounds open directly onto a beach which, for those who don't know the Jaco area, is prime surfing. An awesome westerly view of the sunset is a real bonus. The restaurant served very tasty food. A continental breakfast is included though if you opted for something else you paid full price. (translation, just get the free continental then order something else later if you choose). The owner is a regular on the grounds, greeting and always willing to strike up a conversation. Cab fare into town is only $5.00. If the tide is out its a very pleasant 30 to 45 minute stroll down the beach and into Jaco (a very popular activity). If the tide is up forget about it.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jlyon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2012

We read good reviews about this hotel and were excited to finish out our trip with a bang. Unfortunately, we were disappointed with a few things.

It was a rough start to begin with when we checked in because there were several guests swarming the reception desk. There were three people working the desk but nobody was able to exert crowd control. We waited a long time confused if we were even in the right spot and in what order they were helping guests since there was no real "line." Once acknowledged, we were given our room key and lugged our luggage upstairs only to enter a room that was still dirty with the bed not made and dirty towels still on the floor. Disgusted, hot, and tired from the 3-hour car ride, we lugged our bags back down the stairs and were told there was no other clean room available and that we'd have to wait while the room was cleaned because it was our fault we checked in early. It was 12 noon and check-in is apparently at 2 pm. Logically this makes sense to me but at the same time, we had no control when our tour bus would drop us off at the hotel. We were given towels to "hang out by the pool" while we waited for out room to be cleaned but what good is that if we have no room where we can change into our bathing suits? I think the professional thing to do would have been to offer a compensation while we waited - perhaps a free drink at the bar? This is a small cost to the hotel but would have been a huge effort on their part.

All was quickly forgotten once we got the keys to our room 30 minutes later but it just never really went uphill from there. The air conditioning was lukewarm even on the "turbo" setting and trust me when I sat the beaches have the most humid weather in all of Costa Rica. The shower was built so that water splashed out onto the entire bathroom floor making it a huge hazard for slipping and hitting your head. The free breakfast was meager consisting of fruit, toast, and coffee/tea. And yes, the hotel was located right on the beach but sorry to say that this beach was hugely disappointing. This is NOT a white sand beach with clear blue water. We were sad to realize we have better beaches back at home. And the walk to downtown is long, hot, and the hotel does not advise it during the evenings. But unless you want to eat at the hotel, you really have no choice but to go downtown for food. We only felt comfortable walking on the main roads at night. And so for dinner, we had to deliberately plan our schedule so that we walked to downtown at sunset and then took the $4 taxi ride home at night.

One exceptional thing that I must mention is that the hotel took us to the airport at an insanely early time - 4 am! The hotel driver was both kind and punctual which was greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, we felt that overall Club de Mar tries to be and thinks it is a high class hotel but still needs to work on the high class service.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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2  Thank beachsuntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2012

We had heard from 2 friends that Jaco has good surf, but that the water is muddy quite a ways out due to stream runoff. So I only booked one night here in January 2012 to break up the drive between Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio. We'd have been happier with no nights in Tamarindo, and 3 nights here. The hotel is located right off the main road, but we still managed to see the sign only as we passed it. The hotel, pool area and grounds are lovely, right on the beach. There must not be a stream nearby, because the water was very clear, 85 F, but with just one foot surf (same as Tamarindo for the 3 days prior). The restaurant was very good, but for some reason, mangos weren't as good in this part of the country as elsewhere. We stayed in a hotel room, closer to the main road, and not a villa, but we couldn't hear the traffic from the road. The hotel is on the north end of Jaco Beach, well away from the noise and crowds of town, and we liked it a lot.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Terri W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2012

I traveled to CR with a girlfriend for 12 days. When choosing our accommodations, I kept seeing Hotel Club del Mar, over and over again. The reviews were great, so we took a chance and booked our stay. I truly believe that staying here made all the difference! The staff were outstanding, the rooms and views were incredible and the location is perfect! I especially enjoyed being just outside of the main Jaco area. It was just a quick $4 cab ride to dining, groceries, etc. but really we were happy just to hang at the property. We booked all of our activities thru the hotel as well. They offer a great variety of tours and fitness classes at great prices. We will be back next year for sure!!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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1  Thank Rekman4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Club del Mar

Address: | Jaco Beach, 300 meters south of El Arroyo Service Station, Jaco, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Jaco
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Jaco
#5 Spa Hotel in Jaco
#7 Romantic Hotel in Jaco
Price Range: £90 - £252 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Club del Mar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 30
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Also Known As:
Hotel Del Mar
Resort Del Mar
Hotel Club Del Mar Costa Rica/Jaco

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