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“Awesome adventure...best experience, great staff, a Dream!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Monte Azul

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Monte Azul
south carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awesome adventure...best experience, great staff, a Dream!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2011

Monte Azul was more than we could have ever dreamed. The owners, Carlos and Randy, live on-site and make the visit very personal. The staff was extremely friendly and we wanted to take everyone with us or actually set up shop and just move there. It's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There is something truly spiritual about this place! Monkeys and lots of other animals to see right there on site if you get out and explore. Meeting the locals was fun too and really getting to know the people there. Monte Azul is set in a remote location, but with so much to do for the adventursome type and with all of the luxuries anyone could ask for. We had 4 course meals every night that were to die for. Everything is locally grown and a lot of it on site. If I could have brought back more coffee in my suitcase, I would have. The desserts were exquisite!!! The local dairy farm where they make cheese and we were able to do the same was one of the most beautiful places I have seen...it's a must. David was our guide and we took him everywhere with us. The soap making with Randy was lots of fun and I wish I had time to do more art classes while there...The art itself was awesome to see and we actually ended up meeting one of the artist in residence there who was as beautiful a person as his art was. I cannot say enough good things about this place. WE stayed a week...wish we had longer

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Clene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 9 August 2011
Dear Clene,
It was great getting to know you both during your week long stay, you were so charming and fun that our staff could not do enough for you!
Thanks for the wonderful review, we really do appreciate it.
Best,
Carlos
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138 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2011

I am still in awe of the awesome experience Monte Azul provided for our first ever visit to Costa Rica. This has been my BEST vacation yet!

After the adventurous drive from San Jose airport through the mountains (when the GPS tells you to turn left and it is off the mountain, don’t turn left ), we arrived at a gravel road that led us to Monte Azul. I was prepared for the trek from other reviews and just like everyone else, we knew the jewel that is Monte Azul awaited us. No fancy lighting and mirages on the website, what you see is what you get!

We stayed in Casita Verde, which was absolutely perfect. The tropical foliage in the garden and the rushing sounds of the Chirripo’ River makes this private retreat outstanding. Due to flight changes, we stayed in another Casita our last night. While nice, Casita Verde was our favorite!

We received our welcome platter and then was served our first of many gourmet 4-course dinners (soup, salad, grilled snapper with cilantro rice and bundled veggies, and sorbet/mousse). Café Blue is unique as it is open-air and you are surrounded by lush foliage and you feel as if you are one with nature. The wait-staff (Roger was our favorite) is phenomenal and will do their best to accommodate you. Hubby is allergic to mango and papaya and we only had to tell them once and it was duly noted from thereon. The chefs are outstanding. They immerse your palate in a plethora of flavors. Your taste buds will never be bored.

The wildlife is abundant on property. We saw white-face monkeys, birds (toucans, hummingbirds, rare hawk, mok mok), watussa, mountain chickens, and beautiful butterflies. There are several trails to hike. If going alone, alert the staff. However, there are guides available to trek along with you.

Hotel management got it right! Monte Azul is so detail oriented but all of the particulars are done behind the scenes and seem seamless. It was a milestone birthday (and 16th anniversary) for me and they went beyond expectations to make my special day memorable. We started with a horse ride up the mountain to the dairy farm to make Swiss cheese (an unforgettable experience). Then we were taken to the warm springs and basked in God’s glory. Afterwards, we visited the on-property green house and selected fresh ingredients for a pre-dinner salad, had a bottle of wine with homemade guava marmalade and Swiss cheese and watched the wildlife come to us as we sat on the porch of our Casita. That evening we were treated to a private table in the garden of Café Blue to feast on spinach/potato soup, cucumber/feta/mango salad, filet mignon with greens and potatoes, and chocolate lava cake. The happy birthday song and fresh flower topped off a perfect evening. Chimrol Cow is similar to Bailey’s and a yummy after dinner cocktail.

Other activities included a drive to coast to white-water river raft on the Savegre and sight-see Manuel Antonio Beach. Never rafted before but experience was top-notch! Staff will arrange particulars. Adrian (hotel manager) is awesome. While all staff was amazing, Adrian and Roger stood out for us. We also took a soap making class with Randy. Their handmade soaps are so moisturizing and we loved the science lesson we received understanding the process. That experience has me wanting to make hand-made soaps from now on. We also had in-room spa treatments and ahhhh is all I can say. After horse-back riding and river-rafting, nothing was more appropriate. Johnny was my masseuse and he was awesome. They made the suite all romantic and really set the mood.

The other thing we took notice to was how invisible maid service was. Our room was cleaned twice daily and the turn down service with a fresh flower nightly was icing on the cake (those types of details make Monte Azul stand apart from the rest). I even used the laundry service and it was impeccable. I put on a shirt this morning (3 days later) and it smelled like our Casita and made me long to be back there. Oh this trip was fabulous!!!!!

The hotel offers DVDs if you want to watch via your laptop and they also have an I-pod docking station for personal use. But Monte Azul is so relaxing that those gadgets barely got used. Wi-fi for skyping was very handy for us. Visit Monte Azul where you will be immersed in Tico culture with the comforts of Gringo life. Everything is perfect, perfect, perfect. Pura Vida!!!

Room Tip: Clean, clean, clean
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Redd1Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 2 August 2011
Dear Redd1Texas,
Your wonderful review has left me speechless (and you know how hard that is to do!)
We return the thanks for bringing your optimistic and fun-loving personality! Each day it was a joy to all of us to see you and your husband with your big smiles and easy laughter.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Con cariño,
Carlos
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Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 July 2011

Our friends raved about Monte Azul after they stayed there last November, yet our experience far exceeded our expectations. As you may be able to tell from their website, the folks at Monte Azul see the value in living sustainably and put that into practice everyday. From the homemade soaps, to the food served at Cafe Azul (grown on site or locally sourced), to the uniforms made by the local seamstress, to the incredible staff that is from the local community, to their reforestation efforts (planting a tree for every guest that stays at Monte Azul), these guys don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk when it comes to sustainability. What's incredible, though, is that their attention to detail when it comes to design (of the casitas, the gardens, the food, you name it) and service (the manager, the owner, and the staff at the Cafe always greeted us by name) is so high, you could easily have a 5-star experience at Monte Azul and not even realize that everything happening around you was being conducted in a very sustainable way.

I think Monte Azul would be the perfect spot for a variety of travelers:

An urban couple who appreciates classy, beautiful accommodations, but is looking to "escape" for a few days and spend quality time together while experiencing the beauty of "authentic" Costa Rica while maintaining the highest level of comfort and service.

A mother-daughter pair that enjoys nature, amazing food, art, and spending time together talking, walking on trails, or reading in the garden.

A group of girls (such as a bachelorette party) looking for a classy couple of days together, to enjoy making art, eating incredible view, receiving impeccable service, and being far-removed from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

A small family reunion - renting out all 4 casitas (and maybe even the larger house), getting to eat amazing meals at Cafe Blue or cooking together in the Casitas, and getting a lot of quality time together.

Finally, anyone looking for a day or two of luxury and comfort after climbing Mt. Chirripo.

A few more personal notes about my experience: I found my new favorite restaurant: Cafe Azul. Every element from the aesthetics to the flavors, the sources of the food to the staff, was just as I would envision my "ideal restaurant". While we were there, we interacted most closely with Adrian, Roger, Paulo (and a lovely woman at Cafe Azul whose name I didn't catch). We had the most pleasant interaction with each of these staff members, and their excellent service really made a our trip to Costa Rica special. Adrian (the manager) clearly has a natural ability to work closely with clients, providing 'genuine' help and suggestions, and it never felt like he was "pushing" any suggestions or trying to sell us anything. We really appreciated that.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kch_boulder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 24 July 2011
Dear kch_boulder,
Wow, where do I begin to thank you!?
Thank you for your thorough and insightful review of Monte Azul. We are so happy that you enjoyed your visit! As lovely as the are is, the perfect weather, the river, the trails and all the natural beauty, it is really our staff that makes Monte Azul so special! Thank you for noticing our efforts! it was a pleasure to have you visit and we hope to see you again.
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Bellaire, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2011

Staying here was like finding a secret treasure and joining a special club that only people that have stayed at Monte Azul could understand how amazing it is. This four casitas at this place are immaculate and private. The grounds are gorgeous and the food is first-class gourmet. The owners accommodate your every wish to make your own personalized vacation dream come true. They offer classes on the grounds with the artist in resident or the owners themselves and will plan activities or adventures in the non-touristy surrounding area. But you may never want to leave! The trails are beautiful on the property and the wildlife surrounds you. This review does not do this place justice. This place was made with love and so much thought was put into everything they do. You must experience it to believe it.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank swiffgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 10 July 2011
What a wonderful review! From all of us at Monte Azul, thank you, it's our guests satisfaction that makes all the work while. We are also glad that you appreciated our beautiful and friendly community as well, "the real Costa Rica" if I recall your words.
Warm regards,
Carlos
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Antibes, France
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2011

What could be more romantic than a candle light dinner at a gorgeus garden alongside your loved one? That was the experience that Susana and me enjoyed during our honeymoon, and it was a surprise carefully prepared by Monte Azul. All the details were perfect: torches and candles flicker at the restaurant's garden, a delicious dinner, and the great service from our personal waiter. All that while enjoying the relaxing sound of the river and the music of the nature surrounding us. Heart touching.
Our casita was curated with beautiful fine art like any space at Monte Azul, and it was delicately adorned with flowers; a beautiful one was waiting for us on the bed.
Next day, after waking up with the song of birds we hiked in the forest and did some birdwatching, amazing! Not far from the end of the trail we found the coffee farm and a really nice small organic garden with all kind of fresh vegetables, the ones we enjoyed the night before! OMG and the homemade goat cheese!
All Monte Azul staff is very friendly and welcoming. We really appreciated all the beautiful details they prepared for us and we'll never forget it. Thank you to the staff and owners, Carlos and Randy, for such a special place to stay!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank interpablo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 6 July 2011
Dear Interpablo,
Thank you for all the wonderful things you say about your stay! We loved having you here and appreciate that you included Monte Azul in your honeymoon vacation. Best wishes on your new lives together and think about us when you are enjoying a nice rosé on the Mediterranean!
Carlos
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
El Paso, Texas
Level Contributor
41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2011

Monte Azul sounded interesting and unique, but it went beyond all expectations! Beautiful grounds, hiking trails, spacious contemporary casitas and excellent food. Our casita, Casita Celeste had a large private garden overlooking the Rio Chirripo and every casita has original high-quality artwork. Adrian, Carolina, Carlos and Randy and the rest of the staff are excellent, knowlegeable about the area and make all guests feel welcome and a part of this very special place.

Room Tip: All four casitas are great .
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Suzi033
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 24 June 2011
Dear Suzi033,

We enjoyed meeting you and your husband, such perfect guests! Thank you for your kind words!, and coming from a world traveler as well as such a gifted artist, we really appreciate our taking notice of our efforts. Hope to see you again soon!

Carlos
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancashire
Level Contributor
40 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2011

We had booked our stay at Monte Azul after viewing their web site. It was to be our last few days in Cost Rica before returning to the UK. We wanted somewhere that was off the usual tourist track and could offer something different to round off our Costa Rica experience - we were not to be disappointed! While this boutique hotel (only 4 rooms/casitas) does not have a lot of amenities, what it does have is an excellent restaurant, impeccable service, quiet and private rooms each with their own portion of the gardens. Situated in a valley at the foot of Chirripo, with an impressive river flowing through the grounds, there is plenty of plant and animal wildlife to see without ever leaving the property.
We stayed in Casita Amarilla, the yellow room. Sat on our porch we could watch numerous birds and butterflies, hear monkeys and other animals in the trees. Taking a walk up through the coffee plantation to the waterfall you can see a fantastic range of plant species including Orchids and Bromeliads.
There is no swimming pool at this hotel, however there is a cool, clean, fast flowing river passing through the grounds, which has several still pools in which you can cool off if the heat gets too much!
The restaurant provides breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we found that breakfast and dinner was all that we could manage! We were asked if we had any dietary preferences when we arrived and a superb range of meals was prepared to our tastes for the duration of our stay. The hotel owners grow their own salad crops and also produce delicious goat cheese for use in the restaurant.
The owners are very friendly and welcoming. They have an artist studio on site which doubles as a gallery, while all of the rooms and the restaurant exhibit works which are interesting to look at and available for purchase!
Access to Monte Azul is partly via dirt roads, so a 4WD vehicle would be advantageous, especially if you wanted to explore the region more thoroughly. We arrived and left by taxi (minivan) at the start of the wet season without any problems. Journey time by road from San Jose, the capital is about 3.5 hours.

Room Tip: Casita Amarilla has sun on the porch all day.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank cactusjohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
topflyer, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, 19 June 2011
Thanks for the wonderful review! It was a delight to have you here and we certainly hope to see you again. Hope you enjoy your new prints!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monte Azul

Property: Monte Azul
Address: Chimirol de Rivas, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Isidro de El General
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in San Isidro de El General
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Monte Azul 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monte Azul Boutique Hotel is located on a private reserve in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica near the country’s highest point, Chirripó National Park. Equipped with four luxury riverside "casitas" and amenities and activities tailored to any type of traveler, Monte Azul provides an authentic experience for those looking to explore the nature and culture that Costa Rica is renowned for. In its short time, Monte Azul has achieved recognition from organizations like Condé Nast and TripAdvisor for elevating the standard for sustainability and style. About Monte Azul Center for Art and Design: The Monte Azul Center for Art and Design was established in 2005 with the vision of creating a haven where artists could come and express their creative nature while being inspired by the extraordinary beauty and peace of the Costa Rica highlands. The facility hosts select pieces from early and mid-career artists who produce some of the best work in Costa Rica and abroad. In addition to being a unique destination for art lovers and collectors, Monte Azul also offers travelers the opportunity to learn artistic skills like etching, monotyping and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monte Azul Hotel San Isidro De El General
Monte Azul Costa Rica/San Isidro De El General

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