Hmmm – this was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the situation, right in the rain forest, was pretty spectacular. We were greeted with welcome drinks and a delightful lunch made from fresh local ingredients. As with other reviews, we had bought the 'all-inclusive' deal and found it no longer applied. After discussing this with the owner, Brad (note - it's NOT under new management, as Brad has been running it for 15 years) he relented a bit and gave us wine with our meals.
The rooms, while fairly spacious, were pretty basic and not particularly well-maintained or cleaned. The furnishings of a standard room comprise two double beds with a small table and lamp in between, a refrigerator (empty) with some coffee cups and whitener (but no coffee-making facilities), some open shelves, a hanging rail and a table doubling as a case-stand. There is a ceiling fan but no air conditioning, and all rooms have mesh (not glass) windows with slatted blinds. The rooms are in blocks – typically 3 or sometimes 2 to a block, and the end rooms have mesh windows down the sides as well as at the front, aiding ventilation. (We were in 3, which was OK. Our friends were in 4, which got a bit steamy as the ventilation is limited).
Hot water was unreliable – I never managed to have enough to complete a 5-minute shower - and the bathrooms seem rather shabby and poorly maintained. The plug assembly in our wash basin had clearly been broken for some time, the ‘Italian’ tiles (as advertised in the brochure) were nondescript and had seen better days – probably 15 years ago – as had the shower curtain (yes, curtain). However, our verandah was pleasant, with rocking chairs and small tables, and a flask of coffee left for us at 5 every morning.
We also felt the service and meals were variable, and seemed to depend very much on who was on duty. On the first 2 days the lunches and evening meals were good, sometimes excellent. (as described in other reviews). However, the meat on offer (pork and mahi-mahi) never changed, and the meals were at best lukewarm and frequently cold. (As was the coffee at breakfast). We did sometimes get the impression that we were being served re-processed leftovers from the previous meal. However, the appetisers offered before dinner and fresh juices with the meals were a nice touch and usually very tasty.
The wildlife excursions were very good – especially the all-day trip into the Corcovado National Park, where we saw around a dozen species of land animals and a similar number of birds – but all the tours were between 30-50% more expensive than equivalent tours elsewhere in Costa Rica. The evening bird walk, for example, was $35 – it had been $26 in Villa Blanca, where the clientele were equally ‘captive’. A 2-tank scuba trip was $125, whereas it was $85 in Manuel Antonio.
The service was again quite variable. One of the two girls working the bar, restaurant and cleaning the reception area was pleasant and provided good, friendly service. The other seemed surly, and rarely smiled or responded to our friendly ‘gracias’; we’d become accustomed to most ‘Ticos’ (Costa Ricans) smiling and saying ‘con mucho gusto’ (‘with pleasure’).
Our overall impression was of a hotel marketing itself as ‘up-scale’ and catering to small select groups, charging accordingly, but not then delivering the levels of service or comfort that might reasonably be expected. Some of this is down to the cost of operating in this environment; for example, without mains electricity, it costs a fortune to generate power. (This is why Brad withdrew the all-inclusive deal, and he and his staff claim they've repeatedly told the tour operators. Clearly the message has not got through to the end clients, regardless of which company you book with). Some basic maintenance and staff training, which would cost little, would improve the customer experience significantly, but I'd suggest anyone going to Osa should check all of the options first.
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- Also Known As:
- Aguila De Osa Hotel Drake Bay
- Hotel Aguila De Osa
- Aguila De Osa Inn Costa Rica/Drake Bay