If you love views, you will love this hotel. On the northern side, closest to the beach, bungalows climb the steep, palm tree-lined driveway leading up to the main building. The restaurant’s large windows and wrap-around porch submit to a panorama so stunning, you will take pause. Iguana’s are all over the place; be careful not to step on one while your eyes are fixated on the view! Just beyond the main building, are the rooms facing the Pacific. I stayed in the highest and farthest building, in room 405. This building offers the most privacy, but nearly every room of the resort, including the bungalows, have sidewalks between the windows and the views. So guests will likely be sitting on their patios, or have their windows wide open while you walk by. Just look towards the ocean and it really doesn’t matter. Unless you’re an exhibitionist, you’ll definitely want to close the curtains come nightfall. If you want to spend more time at the beach versus the three pools, and if long walks up and down a steep hill don’t appeal to your calves and thighs, you might opt for a bungalow.
The infinity pool, beyond the last building, is poised in a nest-like perch on the property’s highest crest, just a few feet of lush green lawn separating it from the edge. During one afternoon, there I leisured in a state of euphoria, all alone, my gaze wistfully captured by the barrage of serendipitous views: to the south, a secluded cove plunged into the emerald waters, before me, the azure Golfo de Papagayo was placidly hypnotic, and to the north, faraway coastal cliffs hazily melded into the faint mountainous horizon. The billowing cumulus clouds, the tepid breezes, the inhalation of fresh, crisp air, the thunderous sounds of waves crashing against the rocks below, the occasional howls of howler monkeys, the chirping of exotic birds, composed a symphonic ambiance. I never wanted to leave. A quiet, mature couple, staying in the room right next to the pool, came out on occasion to read, but other than that…alone. I absolutely loved every second of it! The mixed reviews and photos online had failed to fully convey the hotel’s transcendent splendor, so I had been mildly apprehensive about booking it. I took a chance, and this moment was my reward for doing so. The only downside was that there was no way to order a refreshing beverage from the bar in the main building. I really wish they had a wait staff that might occasionally come around the pools. I ended up texting a friend, who happened to be at the bar already, to fetch me a refreshing rum-infused elixir. Nonetheless, the staff was warm, friendly, informative, accommodating; and the complimentary breakfast buffet was just as delicious as the more expensive hotel I stayed in during the remainder of my vacation.
Now for the cons, my friends: As much as I loved this prime piece of real-estate, the hotel is older, and needs some TLC. I kept thinking, “If I had this hotel, this jewel would be so polished that its sparkle would emanate for miles.” I am curious to know who the owners are, and why they are not more on top of subtle maintenance issues. I’d see light fixtures needing replacement, loose wires here and there, but nothing too worrisome, unless I had a small child. I’m concerned that a developer may soon bulldoze it to cram in a newer, high density resort, obliterating its charm; a common practice here in Dallas. Regardless, Ocotal still has a charm that many larger and newer resorts often lack; and to be frank, most resorts will not have views like these. I heard the hotel is about thirty years old; perhaps one of the originals in the area. It’s not the easiest drive, nor is it the easiest to find, as there are many turns and narrow roads with lots of locals fearlessly cycling along, in a state of “Purda Vida.”
If you want constant pampering, or have high maintenance kids that need constant entertaining, you may not enjoy this hotel. If you rather appreciate lounging to peace and quiet, and prefer a low key environment, you’ll probably find this place accommodating, if not enchanting…of course, your experience will vary according to what tour group is staying there during your own stay. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a working ice machine, and I didn’t have a fridge in the room. I’d suggest picking up an inexpensive ice chest in the modern grocery store in nearby Playa de Coco, filling it with ice, and get your own beverages. The room was older, but comfortable. The walls were a warm yellow tone with a stained wood ceiling, the linens clean and cozy; but once you open the curtains, you’ll just want to stare outside or read a book as the light spills in. I loved the terra cotta floors and the mosaic tiled bathroom, regardless of the tile on the tub floor being stained with age. I could have used better lighting above the vanity, but eh. I wasn’t there for perfection. If you come with someone you’re really into, those little things simply won’t matter. The richest travel experiences in life are not always derived from the most luxurious accommodations. This place is a rare find: It may lack some luxury, but it is certainly rich in experience and beauty.
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- Also Known As:
- Ocotal Beach Hotel Playas Del Coco
- Hotel Ocotal Beach