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“a place and time to treasure for the rest of our lives”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Reviewed 31 May 2010

There are hotels that can provide great service and then there are those hotels which provide experiences. Well Moana Lodge provides both of these in spades.
My wife and I had trouble deciding on where we would go on our honeymoon and after deciding on Costa Rica we were recommended Moana Lodge in Mal Pais.
As I had no conception of what the beach areas in Costa Rica would be like I must say I was blown away by the experience of staying in Mona Lodge and it’s the stunning surroundings.

Moana Lodge is situated about five minutes from the beach and the beach is a mystical paradise. It is a coastline of rugged beauty with endless miles of surf crashing against the shore.
Each morning walking up for breakfast was a joy to behold and truly it seemed like this was heaven on earth.
The hotel itself is built into the hillside and offers a stunning view of the seafront and is perfectly situated to offer amazing views of the sunsets in the evenings. Purely from an aesthetic point of view it offers a hotel experience unlike any other I have ever seen.

Regarding food it is impossible for me to speak high enough about the food available in the resteranunt. Really what a treat it was. The restaurant offered a great mix of first class dining and I must say the meals we ate in the restaurant were never equalled later on our trip elsewhere. Even the breakfasts were varied each day and in themselves were delicious culinary treats.

From an R&R perspective the Hotel was also great. After a busy lead up to the wedding my wife and I were obviously just looking for a trip where we could switch off, relax and just set about enjoying ourselves. Moana lodge offered us so much of that that we extended our trip by two days.
Relaxing by the poolside with a book or jumping in the outdoor Jacuzzi I never felt so relaxed in my life and it offered the perfect respite after a hectic work and wedding schedule leading up to our trip.

Regarding the staff were extremely respectful and courteous and the owners could not have been more helpful in helping us organise our days and even helping us maximise our pleasure from the trip.

Really I cannot say too much good about Moana Lodge but I just want to say that not only did they provide us with a place for our honeymoon but they gave us
a place and time to treasure for the rest of our lives.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank 60763Joe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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246 - 252 of 424 reviews

Reviewed 10 May 2010

I would HIGHLY recommend staying at the Moana Lodge. Not only did my friend and I have a fantastic time there, I know there were at least 4 other groups of people that loved Moana and the people there. In fact, we all had a big dinner and drinks on our last night there…that’s how friendly this place is. If you’re looking for somewhere to just be on your own, you can easily do that too…we just all seemed to get along quite well (and our ages ranged from 14-55).

People:
This is one of the best parts of Moana. Everyone there is so friendly and if you stay more than a day or so you will know everyone’s name and they will know yours. We even had some drinks with the owners (Aidan and Vicky) and got to know the other guests quite well too. I met some really great people here

Grounds:
The pool area is a perfect space to relax and catch some sun. It has some nice areas with shade and swinging chairs and the Jacuzzi is nice after a day of surfing. It’s also nice to have the mini-bar near the pool since it isn’t feasible for them to have staff serving there. Also, you can see and hear monkeys in the morning if you go down near the parking lot.

Service:
Everything we needed was easily taken care of by Aidan and his staff. They helped us arrange surf lessons, transportation to and from the hotel, ATV rentals, maps and directions, restaurant recommendations, and other places to go and things to do. I cannot emphasize how helpful and friendly everyone was here.

Food:
The restaurant that resides above all of the rooms is absolutely beautiful. I’ve eaten in many great restaurants around the world and this setting was close to the best! The food was fantastic and very reasonably priced. I ate there 4 of 6 nights, but when I didn’t eat there I still stopped by for some of their great cocktails while watching the sun set.

Rooms:
I stayed in one of the cheaper rooms they had on site, but had zero issues with it. The bed was comfortable, the AC worked great, the bathroom was very clean and the service to the room was fantastic.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank endlesssummerjoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2010

We recently returned from our trip to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and we are so glad that we stayed at Moana Lodge. Our room was amazing, the views incredible and the staff extremely helpful, friendly and hospital. The resort is very much help yourself, the pool bar was on the honor system, but it was lovely.

I highly recommend Moana Lodge.

Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
Thank Chrissysc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2010

Mal Pais and Moana Lodge were exactly what we were looking for in this trip. We were deciding between Mal Pais and Nosara when booking our trip and finally decided on Mal Pais and Moana Lodge. This was a wedding anniversary trip, so we were willing to spend a little more to stay in a nice place. Moana was perfect. We stayed in the main suite and the room was great. The view doesn't get any better. There are exactly 111 stairs to the room from the parking lot, but if you are in decent shape it is nothing. By the time you get to the top and see the view you forget about the steps.

The pool was the perfect oasis during the hot days. It was so nice to spend the early part of the days at the beach and coming back in the heat of the day to sit around the well shaded and cool water of the pool. Nice laid back music, beautiful landscape, shade, and comfort. The owners do a great job of having beautiful grounds while being responsible to the community by not wasting water to over do it.

The owners and staff are wonderful. They are laid back and take care of anything you need. They could not have been any friendlier and approachable. They would give me honest opinions on things when I would ask advice and help with anything we needed.

Now about Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. First, this area was even better than we expected. It is not for everybody, but it was for us. If you are into a laid back area, adventurous, can go with the the flow, and are not a high maintenance type of traveler, you will love this area. If you are into large resorts, everyone kissing your butt, miserable at the thought of getting around on a quad, concerned with a little dust, bad roads, etc, then this area is not for you. The food in Mal Pais/Santa Teresa is unbelievably good. Moana has a good restaurant, as well as many other places around the area. Our favorite was Bresas Del Mar (probably spelled wrong here).

Advice: Rent a quad for the whole visit. Eat breakfast at the Bakery in town. Have dinner at least once at Briesas Del Mar. Relax.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank austinlounger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2010

We were on the fence about staying here, especially after reading some of the negative reviews, but decided to go for it as it has always been my boyfriend's dream to surf Malpais. We were pleasantly surprised! The hotel was really nice, friendly owners, comfortable rooms - the African theme seemed a little cheesy when in Costa Rica, but it was totally fine. Beds were incredibly comfortable, AC was so necessary considering the oppressive heat, and the restaurant... SO DELICIOUS!

We live in SF, and have pretty high expectations for good food, and this place is one of the best dinners either one of us has had in years! I had the fillet, and my boyfriend had this amazing fish (similar to sea bass) in a coconut broth. For 2 cocktails each, an appetizer, two entrees, dessert, and tip, dinner was less than $100 - a bargain in my book!

The few negative comments I have (and they are extremely nit picky) are:
1. Thin walls... we did not need to hear the couple next door arguing
2. Not very lush - I get that we were in Costa Rica in the dry season, but the plantings were more like twigs than lush rain-forest... they should increase their spend on water to keep the gardens green - that or take out the dead twigs as the "garden view" left something to be desired
3. The website boasted private porches / patios for each room - this was not the case. our room shared a front porch with the room next door and it had two chairs out front to sit in - not exactly "private" when its in front of your door.
4. The hotel let the handymen in our room to fix the fan (which we had not requested) They promised us that this would take no more than an hour, yet it lasted nearly 6 hours. When we came back from the beach, they had left the door open, and were lounging down below with a few beers. (we were pretty upset over that considering my bf had his expensive camera and lenses laying out. We wanted to shower, and clean up, but had to wait an additional 2 hours for them to finish. The kicker was that in the process of fixing the fan, they broke the light!).

Make no mistake, the negative things were minor, and no harm came from anything - just wanted to be sure the review was thorough. The rooms are nice, and the food there is great and reasonably priced. We would certainly come back again, and definitely recommend it to friends!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank rchristensen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2010

Wow. Just perfect. Beautiful hotel. Incredibly tasteful. We were a little unsure as we approached along the dusty track but as we were welcomed and led up to our incredible room intrepidation was replaced by sheer delight. The room (a suite) was absolutely gorgeous, cream washed wood, huge bed with quality linen, minimalist African art, huge window with the best view I have ever experienced from the indoors, lots of space, a separate room (and tv and fridge) for our young daughter and a very hip bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower. The balcony was large and private too. We have travelled all over the world, occasionally staying in some very exclusive places but this place beats them all. Idyllic. The suite was worth every colone. We have really struggled to find good food in CR and now we know where its been hiding - in the hotel's stunning Papaya Lounge at the top of the hillside. Delicious every breakfast and dinner. Bespoke meals made for our fussy daughter too at the suggestion of the staff . The guests were all obviously as enraptured as we were, with the faintest sense of smugness at our combined genius in booking this hotel. Aidan and the team were delightful to be around. The service was unsurpassed. We had a tiny problem with a sink which was successfully addressed with efficiency previously unbeknownst in Central America.
Yes the pool is small but we weren't looking for Aqua World. Yes there are many steps - its a hill and yes its a short drive to the sandy beach but really you would be a fool to consider leaving the hotel grounds. Thank you Aidan, Vicki and team for a memory we wont ever forget.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank MrsRobinson67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2010

First, I should start by stating we had just stayed at Villas Hermosas for 11 days, so we were spoiled :) Second, we were in the "Standard Room" at Moana Lodge. The higher priced offerings looked better, but were unfortunately full.

That being said, the "Standard Room" was mediocre at best. The appointments in the room were all clean and updated, no problems there. The room was smaller than we expected. We were only provided with a single sheet for the bed, an obvious attempt to save on AC costs. It wasn't a big deal, but definitely cheapened the experience.

The biggest problem with our room was noise. All the "Standard Rooms" are part of the same structure. We were stuck on the bottom floor. We could literally hear every step our upstairs neighbors took. At one point we actually heard them yawn! This wasn't their fault at all, the room is just extremely loud. Every single sound is magnified x 25. The first night we were woken up out of a dead sleep at around midnight and the second night I had to go upstairs and ask the guest to turn his music down. He thought I was crazy because it wasn't even loud.

The breakfast was excellent, but the portions are small. Dinner was great but they were unfortunately out of several menu items (which we weren't told about until we tried to order them). The restaurant does have an amazing view.

In summary, we wouldn't stay at Moana Lodge again.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank dj3006
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:
#2 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range: £52 - £98 (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):
Hotel Moana is a small luxurious ocean view hotel nestled amongst a rich backdrop of wildlife and jungle. Inspired by Africa for its choice of décor, the beautiful rooms offer tranquility and comfort to all of our guests. Enjoy being served breakfast while you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean. Later hang out at the wonderful pool area and fall asleep on a suspended day bed while the waves crash in the background, paradise awaits! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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