We selected this hotel due to TripAdvisor reviews. I cannot compare to other lodging in Costa Rica, since I had never been to CR before. I also am rating in comparison to other resorts at a similar price point. We estimated that our stay here cost about 20% less than a stay with an equivalent room at a good resort in Hawaii. It also costs half of what the Lizard Island resort in Australia costs - and the Lizard Island resort got 5 stars from us. (So, this is a cost-adjusted 5-star rating.)
We had a Deluxe Suite, which is very large. It was on the 2nd floor of the building, and had access to the roof deck. The room had a living room area, with separated bedroom and large bathroom. The living area had a couch, 2 chairs, coffee table, and square dining table, plus a small balcony with two lounge chairs. The room was very large - we had more than enough space. The bathroom also was quite large.
There was a ton of drawers in the closet space, and a shoe rack, and an area to hang clothes. The only problem was the automatic lights weren't triggering by the door sensors so we had to manually turn them off. We just left them off because there was still ample room to see our things.
The bed was comfortable but I wasn't thrilled with the pillows.
The bathroom had a double-size whirlpool tub with a shower-type enclosure and shower head (along with tub faucet). There were two sinks and enough counter space. A big plus was there were a lot of towel racks. These were great for hanging towels and also all our wet swimsuits and clothes!
The living area couches were not the most comfortable we've sat on, but we did enjoy hanging out there. The lounge chairs, which were repeated on the roof deck, were fabulously comfortable. The chairs had little slide-out side tables for your drink or a snack. The deck chairs were surrounded by a curtain to provide privacy from the other buildings while retaining a fabulous view of the ocean.
The resort is located on a hill. You have a view of the ocean but you are not going to walk to the beach from here. The roads in this area are well-paved but have almost no shoulder so walking is not facilitated at all. The grounds are lovely - the resort is only a few buildings but they have about 18 acres of land. Nearly all the land is completely undeveloped with some trails. The trails have a map and are absolutely worth a hike. Wear mosquito repellant! You can do a guided hike in the morning about 3 days a week. The resort also is doing a Macaw restoration project, and there is a cage with a few of them. About 3 free macaws were loitering outside the cage. While we were there they released a mated pair into the wild and had a party for it. We saw a few of them flying around as well.
The lodge building has a reception area, which is currently sharing space with the business center and gift shop things. I think they are remodeling the reception on the first floor. The restaurant is in the lodge building - you get breakfast and dinner here. The breakfast, included with the room, was excellent. There was always fresh fruit and breads for you to get, plus the menu items. We had nearly all of them and were happy with the selections and preparation. The coffee was good and the fruit juices were great.
We were lazy and ate dinner there every night. Everything we tried was very good. The cocktails also were quite good - we tried a bunch of them and liked all!
The swimming pool is really interesting. There are basically two infinity pools cascading down the hillside with waterfalls connecting them. The pool bar is between and there is a nice little seating area there. There are multiple small decks around the pool. What's neat about the design is that you can often find one of the small decks empty and thus get some serious privacy. One afternoon the group around the pool was quite sociable, but other afternoons everybody did their own thing. We had lunch at the pool one day and it was quite good, and another day we order appetizers, which were excellent (chicken satay and ahi). The mojitos were great, and service attentive.
The housekeeping was excellent, the room and grounds very clean.
They will drive you in golf carts from the main gate, which is at the bottom of the hill, to the main lodge. You can walk if you want - there are stairs. Once at the gate, you can meet tour guides or the hotel shuttle which will take you to the beach. The shuttle leaves the resort at the top of the hour to Mary's, which is a beach vendor who has chairs, can bring food & drinks, etc. (The owner there is very nice!) The shuttle will pick you up at 15 minutes after the hour but you need to ask the folks at Mary's table to radio them so they don't waste gas coming if nobody wants to leave. We were totally confused by the need to call ahead, so now you know.
We did multiple tours - the zipline tour (run by MidWorld), private hike in the national park (with Saul, who also does the hike of the Gaia's trails), mangrove kayaking, and jet skiing on the ocean. All tours were excellent with good guides, good food, and reasonable pricing. The zipline system was exceptionally safe - great guides. And Saul was incredible as a guide. We saw things with him we'd never have noticed on our own. Absolutely you should get a guide to hike in Manuel Antonio.
We agreed we would highly recommend this place for a getaway for which you are not there just for the beach, and for which you aren't bringing kids. The lack of kids was a plus for us (since this was a getaway from our own kids), and the included breakfast and attentive service all made us very happy with the place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gaia Hotel, Manuel Antonio's only 5-star resort and dining. Bask in our infinity-edge pools, dash Aveda bath salts into your Jacuzzi and relax enjoying the jungle and ocean views. Rooms feature A/C, cable, flat screen TVs, portable phones, home entertainment units, internet connectivity, coffee-maker, mini-bar, safety box, hairdryer, 24/7 room service and full spa services. Your personal valet sees to your needs, and our Nature Guide hosts an exclusive tour of our 12-acre Nature Reserve. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gaia Hotel And Reserve
- Gaia Hotel & Reserve Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio