Hotel La Mariposa – Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Hotel La Mariposa
Manuel Antonio National Park
tel: (800) 572-6440
*Please note: When we stayed at La Mariposa (December 16 – 19, 2010), it was under construction. They worked from approximately 7:00 AM to sundown, and it was very loud – hammering, sawing, metal work, etc. – but that construction is complete. I understand that the construction we suffered has in fact added some lovely “Premier” rooms to the hotel.
La Mariposa lies on a ridge between Quepos and Manuel Antonio, with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. We reserved a standard ocean view room and were booked in room #40, a corner room on the highest floor of the main building. We had to climb a spiral staircase (no elevator) but someone did help us with the luggage upon arrival. Entering the room, I was immediately struck by the breathtaking view. There were windows on two sides, opening to a wrap around balcony with chairs and a table. We seemed to be higher than anything else around, and it was beautiful.
The room had two large beds, two chairs and a table inside, a TV, some shelving and hanging bars for clothing, and an air conditioner with remote, along with a small digital safe, which was too small to fit a 10″ netbook. The bathroom had a nice shower but no tub. The patio doors and windows didn’t have screens, and there was about an inch gap under the door, so we had a few lizards and a fair number of bugs, but nothing unexpected or unmanageable. The bed was soft enough and pillows were fine – overall, quite comfortable. Internet access was included, which was a plus for us. Generally, it seemed like a very nicely maintained room. Not fancy, but really, the view and the balcony were the stars of the show.
The open-air restaurant was in the main building, overlooking the pools and the ocean. Breakfast was included, with some options. I tried the “Costa Rican” Breakfast – scrambled eggs, beans and rice, plantain, fruit, toast, juice and coffee/tea. All fresh and tasty. I believe it was much better than the “American” Breakfast. We had dinner at the restaurant as well, and the Mahi Mahi was excellent.
The bar area was perfect for a sunset photo (although we had better views from our balcony) and drinks were good. I do have one small complaint about the bar. The first day we were there, I ordered two frozen drinks from the menu, where they were both listed as $6. The bartender asked what rum we wanted and I said, “I don’t care – whatever’s cheap.” (I mean, it’s a frozen cocktail, I’m not that picky.) The bartender said, “Costa Rican?” and I said, “Sure, that’s fine.” This was the exact conversation. When we got the bill, we realized that they were listed at $9 each, which was really annoying. I asked and he said it was because of the Costa Rican rum, but this was clearly not an appropriate way to up-sell the drinks. I learned my lesson and was clear in my orders going forward. Nine dollars is not outrageous for a frozen cocktail, but the way the up-sale was handled seemed tacky and was not what I would expect from this caliber of resort.
There was a large infinity pool, a good sized jacuzzi, another smaller jacuzzi pool, and a small swim-up area near the bar on the upper level. (I believe there are more now.) The pools were very nice, especially the infinity pool. One other small annoyance is that we had to ask the bartender for towels, and they took quite a while to bring them over, understandably, since they were also trying to tend bar. They should investigate the possibility of a large bin, since you don’t check the towels out or anything, and the bartenders have bar customers to tend to and don’t always have time to run around fetching towels. Waiters and bartenders did circulate the pool area taking drink orders from time to time, so that there was no need to go to the bar to get drinks. The entire pool area was really lovely, and would probably have been very relaxing if not for the non-stop construction.
The staff was polite, friendly and helpful overall. A 10% service charge is added here, like almost everywhere we went in Costa Rica, plus the mandatory tax of approximately 13%. There is a place on receipts for “Extra tip” but it didn’t seem expected and service seemed the same whether we added extra or not (and we did both on various occasions).
It is a beautiful resort, but I have to admit that our entire experience was somewhat marred by the loud construction – which woke me up in the morning, interrupted our time at the pool, and even intruded on our watching the amazing sunset from our balcony, as the workers were cleaning up and yelled to each other, and even yelled up to us, “Nice sunset”, after which they all laughed. We thought they might take the weekend off, but nope, there they were, bright and early on Saturday morning. We felt that although nothing could necessarily be done to make the situation better, it should have at least been mentioned at check-in, with a cursory, “our apologies for the inconvenience,” or perhaps when they emailed the reservation form prior to arrival, but there was no acknowledgement of the situation whatsoever. Although the construction is no longer an issue, I think it’s worth noting how the management dealt with it (which was to ignore it).
Grade: B (due to construction)
Stayed: December 16 – 19, 2010
Current rate for standard ocean view room: $175/235 (peak/off-peak)
(price quoted is per company website at the time of writing)