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“Luxury and Sophistication in a surfing town”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We headed to Mal Pais for two nights coming from Tamarindo. We were invited to stay at a friend's shack on the beach and when we arrived we decided it was two rustic for us. We were lucky to get a suite at Moana and found it to be a wonderful haven in a dusty, fun surfing village.

The room was large and well thought out with a separate living room. The bathroom was enormous with an out door shower. Attention to detail was evident everywhere.

Yes there are stairs but the view is worth it !

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank bobbaer1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 February 2012

My husband and I happened upon this gem after we spent one night at another place that had great people but not the greatest accommodations. Initially we only booked one night because we were unsure of our plans, but we quickly fell in love with this place and stayed for three more nights. The room was perfect - everything was extremely clean, the bed was comfortable, the AC worked great, the shower was perfect after a day at the beach, and the setting is a true jungle - with monkeys who visit on occasion! But what really makes this place is the restaurant. For starters, the view is breathtaking. It is a magnificent place to see nearly the entire Malpais/Santa Teresa coastline. We planned our days around going to this restaurant - I couldn't believe the huge delicious breakfast selections were included in the room rate that was already very reasonable! And then there is no better place to view the sunset with a cocktail in hand! And the cocktails are terrific - don't miss the Mojitos, Caprihina's, and I forget the name of the delicious Tropical version of the Mojito, but you don't want to miss that either (though you might not remember its name afterward either)! Dinner was delicious as well - a unique tapas menu that will not disappoint. And we thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate fondu on our last night. The hotel staff were also lovely. I really enjoyed the bartender - he's great, and the lady owner was so sweet! It was nice to stay at a place with an actual Costa Rican owner!

I really have nothing bad to say about the Moana Lodge. It was truly perfect for us. I have read other reviews about the stairs - yes, there are stairs, but, seriously. If you are not physically impaired (in which case I imagine the lodge could accommodate you in some way), a few steps through the beautiful jungle-gounds is quite pleasant. The lodge is also a short distance outside of downtown, which makes for a beautiful beach-walk or a not so pleasant dust-walk into town (or a quick drive). The road is dusty and has some bumps, but the longer we stayed the more I realized that the road is a necessary part of Malpais' wonderful character. I miss it - enjoy your time in Malpais!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Kate8000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2012

Great little hotel away from the center of Mal Pais. Great staff, interesting rooms, good value. But beware there are many (94) steps to the top of the hotel where the ocean view rooms and the restaurant are located. Not for anyone with physical limitations.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank pjl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2012

Im 31 yrs old, male. Canadian from Toronto, Canada. We spent 3 nights at Moana Lodge for my honeymoon recently Feb 2012. We had one of the Junior Suites (The Toucan) The room was mind boggling. Very clean. A beautiful lounge/couch area next to bedroom, both having unreal sunset views over the trees, perched on the mountainside. The Junior Suite had high ceilings. Cool African inspiried art pieces. White washed walls. Solid hardwood floors. Nice flat screen. Amazing bathroom with secluded outdoor shower. Great service. Very quiet. Lots of stairs to tackle from the Parking, but well worth it. The room was very hot during the day, but the air conditioning powered through it.

It was a 15-20 hike along dusty dirt road into the main town/beach area for Playa el Carmen/Santa Teresa if you dont have a car or ATV. A good 5 minute drive on bumpy road, but that's standard in the south.

Nice quiet secluded pool, with more than enough seating/chez lounges. Didnt hit the jacuzzi, or use the poolside bar, but they do a cool honour system with cold beer fridge near the pool.

The Papaya lounge (restaurant part of and perched above the individual units) was even higher with even more spectacular views over the pacific - great tapas style dinner menu, again great Staff. Super clean and modern decor and couch areas for drinks. Unreal breakfasts included in cost of room. Fresh juice each day. Great Gaillo Pinto, eggs, sweet options etc.

Room Tip: Junior Suite. See comments above.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Andrew_reeves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2012

We arrived in Mal Pais a little clueless but thankfully we stumbled upon the best accommodation in the area. We were on a surf trip. Moana Lodge is spectacular from start to finish. It offers the best views by far, luxury rooms, staff that go out of their way to ensure everything is to your satisfaction and a fantastic restaurant. We went zip lining , horse riding on the beach, the best surf, yoga, ... All activities were booked through the hotel where they ensured we were with the best tour companies ..... They really were of a high standard. Vicky, one of the owners, booked us a pampering day near the end of the holiday where we got great massages & manicures.

I loved climbing up to the restaurant for breakfast in the morning where we'd start the day surrounded by lush jungle with a view of the spectacular Pacific ocean all while we sipped our great Costa Rican coffee. In the evening we'd sit out by the bar catching the sunset over a few great cocktails from Mike.....very romantic. The design of the bar lends such a tranquil chilled out vibe. The food in the restaurant was excellent, my favourite being the Yellow Finned Tuna.......cooked to perfection.
The owners, Aidan &Vicky, are very hands on and really are a lovely couple who make you feel extremely welcome.
In summary, you'd be mad not to check this place out.........

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Brenda W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We are so happy we found this place..there are many options for accommodation in Mal Pais but myself and fiancé happened upon this place and found everything we were looking for in Costa Rica! Originally we had planned to stay a few nights and then move on to a new area, however after a couple of days we both decided to stay at Moana Lodge for our entire trip. It has that effect. Its a very unique place in Mal Pais and after visits to other hotels in the area, we knew we picked the right place. Aiden and Vicky who run it, are just the people you want taking care of your holiday. They advised and booked all our activities and trips and provided the friendliest and professional atmosphere.
The lodge itself is stunning, so its even hard to tear yourself away to go to the beach which is just across the road. The rooms are of a superior quality; stylish, comfortable and each nestled in its own spot in the lodge where you are surrounded by all the local wildlife. The Papaya Lounge, which is the hotel's restaurant, is a destination restaurant that everyone in the peninsula visits and we found ourselves dining here the majority of nights because the view, the food, the ambiance and the cocktails make you never want to leave!
We didn't want to leave-we will definitely be back-Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank zoe d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2012

Howdy all...

Myself & my girlfriend recently had a two-destination holiday from Dublin, Ireland. Three nights in New York visiting family, followed by 8 nights in The Moana Lodge in Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. The whole holiday was well planned out in advance, we both like to do a good mix of activities and love to immerse ourselves into the locale of wherever we are, it seems to work for us. We flew from San Jose on a local flight to the tiny airstrip at Tambor, about a half hour flight, then 20 mins in a taxi, (arranged by hotel in advance), on to the hotel.

Anyway, this hotel was perfect in every respect. From reservation stage to check-out it was a dream, Aidan & Vicky, the young couple who own & run The Moana Lodge, could not have done more for us. The hotel itself is a series of beautiful cabanas/villas located about half a mile from Santa Teresa which is perfect distance for peace & quiet. Our room, which is built on stilts over the jungle canopy facing the sea, was picture postcard perfect. The most amazing sunsets, sunrises every day. It can be quite hot but we had great AC, and the beds were the best we've slept on in a hotel.

The Moana has a lovely small pool area with beds beside it hanging by ropes from the roof of the cabana beside the pool...very chilled out area.

We ate breakfast every morning in their restaurant area, The Papaya Lounge. Now, it's a bit of a hike up a couple of flights of steps but it's worth it for A) the view & B) the food. There are no windows so totally uninterrupted view over the jungle towards the sea. In the early morning you can hear the Howler Monkeys, hilarious. But really the breakfast is the star here...would gladly eat their Huevos Rancheros every morning for ever...loads of great Costa Rican cafe con leche too...

There are plenty of options to eat locally, casual pizza options in Mary's nearby, or nice informal seafood in Brisas del Mar in Santa Teresa, (go for seafood mixed grill), but we mostly ate in the the hotel. Again, a few steps to climb but the restaurant takes on a new vibe in the evening. As it's dark for dinner, you get the moonlight on the sea with the view, great chill-out music being played, excellent pre-dinner cocktails, (the bartender for most of the times we were there was Mike - if you do one thing ask him for his special Capiroska!). The food is really good, I can't recall all our dishes but definite highlights were their calamari with chipotle aioli; yellowfin tuna; bowl of clams, (they should bottle the white wine sauce that goes with this), and plenty more that I just can't remember. They also have a small observation deck above the restaurant, we brought our drinks up there after dinner a couple of times...

The receptionist, I think her name was Melanie, was really helpful. We did the zip-line canopy tour just down the road from the hotel - great fun, loved it. We also did a day trip to Isla Tortuga which included snorkel-diving & lunch - a definite must-do. You catch the boat from Montezuma and while you're there do the short hike up to the waterfalls there, well worth diving in the rock pools under the falls. Excellent restaurant on beach just outside Montezuma called Playa des Artistes I think. Melanie also arranged yoga classes, evening fishing trip, horse riding, surf lessons and we rented a quad bike, (strongly recommend), for the duration we stayed there.

Santa Teresa is excellent for surfing, we're not great surfers but the waves were safe for beginners & experts while we were there. There's a great little pizza bar on the beach in the village, beach is called Playa Carmen, they make legendary Mojito's there. The beaches go on for miles & miles and the jungle literally meets the beach - no Sheratons, Hiltons or the likes...The best part about this is we didn't have to haggle with the various tour operators, Melanie did all of this and as the hotel seems to have a great relationship with all these operators we got a great deal the whole way and didn't have to worry about it until we checked out...

I've gone on way too long here but I really can't fault any part of our stay at The Moana Lodge, great accommodations with spectacular views, super food in the most beautifully located restaurant we've ever ate in and all this was somehow equalled by the personal, caring and attentive service of a small but really caring staff. We're already planning our return...

Room Tip: We had a sneaky peak at the honeymoon suite/penthouse while it was being cleaned one morning after t...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MickD75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Address: 1.5 kilometers to the south, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais 60111, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Price Range: £57 - £162 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Moana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Moana is a small private luxury ocean view hotel. Located in the magnificent tranquil region of Mal PaÌs Beach on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. During your vacation with us you'll encounter high quality modern hotel suites and rooms that blend comfort with style leaving you with an unforgettable personal experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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