Docelunas Hotel – Jaco, Costa Rica
400 m N del Costanera
Jaco 4132, Costa Rica
Driving down the coastal highway toward Quepos, we passed several “Jaco” signs pointing to the right, then saw the sign for Docelunas Hotel on the left, along with a couple of other signs. We turned down the road and passed through a residential area, then entered a large gate, which was opened by a security guard. The gardens were gorgeous, with large trees and flowering plants. The gentleman at the open-air reception desk greeted us with towels and bottled water. He was from Columbia, and although he said his English wasn’t good, we understood him perfectly and found him to be extremely pleasant. He checked us in and showed us to our room.
We stayed in Room #17, which is in their “Luxury Suite” category. We really liked the layout of the room. When we stepped inside, immediately to the right was a sitting area with a love seat, coffee table and stereo. A couple of steps up, behind a short wall/barrier, was the King-sized bed, chest of drawers, TV and air conditioner. There was also a ceiling fan and there were two windows. Sliding doors opened off the sitting area onto a patio with two chairs and a table. Left of the entrance was a desk area, mini-fridge, coffee maker and armoire with a digital safe, along with the bathroom. The generously-sized bathroom had one sink and a jetted tub with shower.
The rooms seemed to be like small cabins, arranged around a nicely landscaped central garden area. We loved sitting on the patio, reading and sinking into the calm of the beautiful gardens in front of us. There was also a pool area that was unbelievably quiet and relaxing, with a waterfall feature and plenty of lounge chairs.
Our only complaint was with the restaurant, and perhaps it was just because they weren’t terribly busy yet, but it was a huge failure and sadly left a terrible impression. We happened to be there on my boyfriend’s birthday, and I wanted to have a nice dinner for him that night. We walked over to the restaurant on the property to see what it was like, and asked about dinner. The restaurant itself seemed lovely, surrounded by the gardens. We were told that they’d be open until 9 pm, no need for a reservation, and that the dinner menu varies and they weren’t sure of the exact menu for that night yet but that it would include “items such as pork chops and spaghetti bolognese”. I took that to basically mean it would be a typical dinner menu, which sounded great. We drove into the town of Jaco, but nothing looked too impressive, and we had been so pleased with Docelunas that we decided to dine there. I stopped by reception to make sure we were all set for dinner there, again, since it was Scott’s birthday. (I didn’t tell them it was his birthday or ask for anything – I just wanted to make sure we could get a table for dinner.) The nice gentleman at reception called the restaurant and they told him that they would be open until 8 – 8:30 pm. Fine. We went over for dinner at 7:30 pm and found a few people sitting around the bar. The guy we had talked to earlier was not there. We couldn’t honestly tell if these people worked for the hotel or not. One guy sitting at the bar said hello and asked if we were there for dinner. I said yes, and asked if we could still get something to eat, because the place looked pretty shut down. He said, “Of course you can! What are you in the mood for?” Uh, I don’t know, a menu? “Well, what do you have?” I asked, at which point the gentleman behind the bar stepped out and showed us to a table. He handed us the lunch menus but said that they only had a couple of items – soup, salad, rice & chicken, or chicken fingers. We asked for a moment. I was upset. It was Scott’s birthday, and here we were with basically no choice of food, after asking TWICE about dinner. We didn’t feel like driving back to town, so we ate the chicken & rice. It was good, no complaints on the taste of the food we ate, but the whole situation was disappointing. We had been in Costa Rica for several days, and had already eaten a few plates of chicken and rice (which I like, but…); a different and slightly more special meal option would have been nice. No birthday dessert here, so maybe drinks? We asked about beer and they said they only had Heineken, because the beer shipment was arriving the next day (maybe with the food shipment for the dinner menu), so we drank a Heineken. Dinner was easily the low point of our stay.
Docelunas was a great choice for Jaco – a tranquil oasis of solitude, away from the seemingly dirty and uninviting downtown area. But they seriously dropped the ball at their restaurant during our stay.
Grade (hotel): A –
Grade (restaurant): D-
Stayed: December 15, 2010
Current price for Luxury Suite: $175
(price quoted is per company website at the time of writing)