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“Costa Rica is not America” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa

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Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Ogden
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Costa Rica is not America”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2009

This resort offered us a delightful four days, with friendly service and excellent food. The view from the open restaurant all but transfixes the observer. It is almost too beautiful to believe.

It is important to remember that Costa Rica isn't the USA. One night the ceiling dripped (air conditioning problem), right over the bed. It was fixed within an hour, and it didn't interrupt our sleep. Hot water was sometimes not available. There was some "confusion" about the total amount we needed to pay for ground transportation. We paid the extra.

This is an enchanting location. If you set aside some of your North American expectations and live in the moment, I think it will leave you with lasting memories. Those who complained about various aspects of servce, etc., are (no doubt) correct based upon their experience. We ran into some minor problems, and hence the 4 stars instead of 5. The location, however, deserves 6 stars.

  • Liked — the beauty all around (and the spa)
  • Disliked — there was a little confusion about the ground transportation price
  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank blwilmeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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750 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Fairfax, VA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2009

I expected a lot from this hotel as it was where we splurged the most on per night costs. Issimo did not disappoint! Our room was exactly as pictured from their website and other traveler’s blogs and message board reviews. This small, boutique type hotel is situated high up on a mountain over looking the Pacific Ocean with breathless views. I don’t think they house more than 15 rooms so there is a quaint type feel as soon as you arrive and throughout your stay.

Our room (11) had breathtaking views of the ocean and greenery surrounding the area. The excitement of the view was aided by the ceiling-to-floor glass walls that allowed you to lie in bed and watch the endless sea. In fact, when looking for a hotel to stay in Manuel Antonio it was this feature coupled with the balcony off our room that pushed me to book it.

Many people are concerned of the “open” type bathroom and shower. Yes, our room had an open shower with no doors. I loved it! It was big and decorated by beautiful rocks – it made easy for shaving, washing off after coming back from the beach, and it was so different then any other shower I have seen or used! Our bathroom did have a door and was very private. The bed is HUGE and comfy and there is plenty space to put your clothes away. They also have a stocked fridge which we opted not to use. Instead we went to the market in town and loaded up on snacks, beer and water there. This was a smart decision as the prices of the items in the room fridge were high.

Another plus to this hotel was the included breakfast and hotel shuttle to Manuel Antonio Park! The breakfast is a sit down and very yummy. People have complained about the small portions provided – we as well as many other guests asked for 2 of things – 2 orders of eggs, two orders of potatoes and it was never a problem. Make sure to tip your waiter at some point – they work hard taking orders, cooking food and cleaning up and then you will see them there for dinner again!

The shuttle to the park was also a huge plus. The shuttle picks up right from the hotel lobby and runs about every 2 hours to and from – we liked not having to spend extra money on getting to the beach every day as we used cabs every single evening.

I can’t tell you how CLEAN this place is kept! One day we were in our room when the cleaning woman came. She scrubbed EVERYTHING – I mean she washed the floors, the title, swept, and wiped every little inch up and down! You can see that they really care for this property.

Yes to get to the pool you walk through the eating area however, the dining areas is never packed. On the few occasions we returned from the beach during dinner time the guests got a kick out of us having competitions jumping off the deck! If the blue rope is up you can take it down to jump! And as many other posters have shared on various boards, there are few seating spaces around the deck; however most use the pools at these hotels simply to refresh when coming home from a long day at the National park and beaches. Why lay by a pool when in Costa Rica? We found the pool to be clean, refreshing, and deep enough to do canon balls! What more could you want?

The only negative which I anticipated experience is the drive up the unpaved road that is quite bumpy and rough. On day 1 and 2 we didn’t mind so much as it added to the scenic experience, but shortly after that it got old real quick having to take 10 – 15 minutes to drive on to the main road knowing that once paved, this would be a quick ride up the hill.

We never ate at the restaurant on site as it was pricey and we saved our evenings to experience local cuisine that allowed us to taste true Costa Rican dishes while also interacting with the locals! If you want a cheap, cheap local joint hit up “Quepoa” in Quepos. At the recommendation of Gloria who works the front desk we headed here via cab. At first sight I was hesitant to eat here as there is nothing “inviting” about this place. But 4 beers and 2 meals later we were pleased with our dishes and the $24 total bill! We went to eat rather early but Gloria informed us around 10 pm there is karaoke here and it is quite fun! Another great and very local place (I doubt many tourists even know or are recommend this outdoor, small restaurant) is KuKula’s. KuKula’s is in Quepos but in the less develop side of the tracks. Travel to this restaurant for seafood and don’t pass up on their margaritas! Here you will see locals at the bar and locals on the street passing you by.

We also ate at the amazing and highly recommend “Kapi Kapi” (Manuel Antonio). This is an open air, pricey restaurant that is well worth every dollar spent. Elliot was our waiter and he made the experience all the more enjoyable with a surprise desert celebrating our 2 year anniversary!

On our last night we ate at the very touristy and very close in proximity La Catania. This place is known for its barbeque with a huge fire pit where the food is cooked right outside the front entrance. We had a good meal – they always have music playing here so it added to the experience!

My only negative food review for our entire trip is El Gran Escape which is in Quepos and very popular with tourist. This place is Americanized and I suppose the less adventurous like it, but it wasn’t for us. Besides feeling like we were at home the food was a total disappointment. My husband’s fish was barely cooked (and he did not ask for it raw) and my coconut shrimp were heavily breaded with the breading falling right off the shrimp once touching it. The “crab dip” was all cheese – I never saw or tasted the crab!

Manuel Antonio Park is amazing and well worth every minute you spend there. Although “beach # 3” is very popular and known as the beach you must see we found this beach too populated! Beach 1 & 2 inside the park is breath taking, secluded, and almost empty! And don’t think when you arrive to the drop off location and you see the public beach that this in any represents what you will see inside!

If you are looking for an excursion sign up with Jungle Coast Jets! Yes this is more expensive then renting a jet ski on the beach but it is also safer and more fun! You get to travel in a pact and you stop to swim, snorkel, and eat fresh fruit! Ask for Danny! He is awesome! And book on your own and not through the hotel, it is cheaper!

Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank dmorrison27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delray Beach, FL
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2009

I spoke ahead of time with Maday (the manager) via email regarding our room. Originally she booked the honeymoon suite however, this room does not have a balcony. This room does possibly have the best views (two fulls walls of windows and the room is located on the top floor). The downside of of the honeymoon suite (I believe it is room #1) is there is no balcony and we really wanted a balcony to just hang out on. Maday had confirmed via email that she would put us in room #5 which has a balcony. When we arrived late the first night to check in however, we were given the keys to the honeymoon suite instead of #5 with the balcony. Since #5 was not available we stayed in the honeymoon suite. I'm glad we got a chance to experience both rooms however, I still have to say....I prefer the balcony room. Keep in mind the room with the balcony (#5) has one wall of windows as opposed to the honeymoon suite which has two walls of windows. Our second night Maday did switch us to room #5 which was then available (then moved our luggage for us while we were out). The staff was really amazing (Maday, the front desk and the waiters). Yes...as mentioned previously the toilets are in the same room as the bedroom only seperated by swinging wooden doors. In room #5 however, the room is so big-the bed at one end and the toilet at the other. My husband was not aware of the bathroom situation ahead of time and he did mention that he wasn't thrilled with the idea of not having a seperate bathroom (another good reason for the balcony!!!). The pool area was lovely. Some reviewers talked about it not being near the bar...Before going into the pool my husband and I both ordered drinks and they brought them to us and kept checking up on us (keep in mind-we're only talking about walking up a few steps to the next level to get to the bar/open restaurant area). Not a big deal at all if you do have to walk to order your drinks...
The hotel booked two of our trips...White water rafting with Rancho los Tucanes (which was one of the highlights of our trip). The guide-"Mega" was fantastic!
Also went on a catamaran/snorkeling trip thru Catamaran tours. I love sailing on Catamarans sinice they tend to be smoother on water. We also saw a dolpin and turtles on our sail. The snorkle itself was just OK. I found the ride and the lunch to be the best part of it! I would still do it again.

.All in all I found this a great place to stay...very romantic. Keep in mind this is a boutique hotel-not a resort.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank luv2travel1170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trinidad and Tobago
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2009

Amazing staff, great food, great room, beautiful scenary.....Issimo Suites is truely the place to fall in love..........

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank DannayDebon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent, Washington
Level Contributor
86 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2009

We spent four great nights in one of the junior penthouse suites (Suite 102) during our recent vacation in Costa Rica, and the stay was one of the highlights of our trip. We had been a bit nervous because of some of the critiques of management on Trip Advisor, but found all the staff at Issimo to be exceptional. We arrived just barely after check-in began after a long drive from Monteverde, and were greeted with complimentary mojitos, a warm welcome, and an air-conditioned room with astounding views of the Pacific looking north towards (and past) Quepos. Do note that the view is NOT towards Manuel Antonio, but is still spectacular.

The best aspects were definitely the staff, the room, and the tours. The staff were helpful and patient with our very limited Spanish (all spoke adequate English, but they graciously endured our attempts to work on our language skills). They recommended (and booked) restaurants, arranged cabs when we got tired of the parking hassel down at the main Manuel Antonio strip, and generally were very helpful. The room was gorgeous - a few very minor concerns below - with a toilet/bidet behind a closed door (we'd anticipated an open toilet, as others have complained about here), a spacious shower, and a beautiful tub holding floating flowers on our arrival. We booked two tours through Issimo -- a private guide for Manuel Antonio park named Leo, and a Mangrove tour provided by Rancho Los Toucanes. Both were exceptional! Leo adapted his tour to meet our interests (more than monkeys - he found an amazing frog, a snake, a toucan, crabs, and other less fluffy wildlife, along with the requisite capuchins and sloths). The Mangrove tour was perhaps the best tour we had in CR, with exceptional guides and a plethora of wildlife -- along with a fairly deep review of local history and American colonialism in the area.

In additoin to these strengths, the food was very good (although breakfast options were a bit limited and an interesting fusion of American and tropical options), but its quality and the related view were offset by classical and jazz music drowning out the birdsong.

The only concerns we had - which weren't anywhere near bad enough to bring to management, for us - were a small (tiny) group of 3-5 ants that skittered around the sink each night. We'd deal with them, but the next night a new installment would be back. There were also some occasional water pressure issues, but nothing that was really problematic. Also, for anyone with disabilities, Issimo does have many, many stairs -- 101 and 102 are at the very top, and after a hard day of hiking it was an extra workout that some might not enjoy.

Overall, it was an excellent stay and we would likely stay at Issimo if we're able to make it back to Manuel Antonio!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank davenpeggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, CO
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2009

My wife and I went on our honeymoon and stayed here toward the end of our trip. We had an amazing experience! The hotel is exactly as described on the website, and the views were amazing. The hotel room is definitely set up for couples and may not be the best setup for a family (the shower is in the open - no door, just a curtain, and the toilet is behind a swinging door, so not much privacy). For our honeymoon, it was perfect, and I don't think we could've selected a better place to spend it. The "small beach" is only about a 5 minute walk from the hotel and you actually go through part of the rain forest to get to it. Manuel Antonio is less than a 10 minute drive from the hotel and is definitely worth visiting. The beach there is amazing.

The staff went out of their way to help us out. My only complaint is that toward the end of our trip we had trouble getting hot water in the room. We let them know when we checked out. Other than that, we had a perfect stay and didn't want to leave! We'd definitely consider staying here again if we make another trip to Costa Rica!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mattb2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 June 2009

There are a million hotels in the Manuel Antonio area, but very few if any compare to Issimo Suites. The accommodations were extraordinarily clean, and more than suitable for modern life. After many daily activities, it was very comforting and relaxing to return to our room to take advantage of all of its amenities - WiFi, oversized Jacuzzi and a breath taking view overlooking the ocean just to name a few. Unfortunately the long drive from San Jose to Quepos is very treacherous and the road leading up to the hotel isn't much better, so be sure to rent a vehicle with 4x4.

Note: Make sure you visit the small secluded beach down the road from the hotel. Also if you decide to dine-in try the ceviche it is splendid!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank icemike6969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa

Property: Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa
Address: | Waterfront, Manuel Antonio National Park 6350, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel, Spa & Waterfront Reserve offers intimacy and elegance for your romantic escape. Each suite includes a Jacuzzi bath tub for relaxation and enjoyment, as well as a majestic ocean view overlooking a pristine pacific cove. A plush king size bed, sofa, and room service from our boutique restaurant await your arrival. You can also indulge yourself with a massage in our spa after a day of adventure on one of our many tours or beaches. Our romantic hideaway suites access adjacent sandy beaches with a walk to the cove or famous Manuel Antonio Park and beaches. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Issimo Hotel Boutique
Issimo Boutique Hotel
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel And Spa Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park

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