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“Arresting Views and Spellbinding Serenity”

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Ocotal Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Ocotal
Reviewed 29 June 2015

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.

Room Tip: Ask for building 400
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  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
5  Thank Mark A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 - 16 of 379 reviews

Reviewed 25 April 2015

My husband and I and our friends stayed at Ocotal from Sunday, March 29 - Wednesday, April 1, 2015. We had two rooms in a bungalow type building with our own private small outdoor pool. The room and bathroom were big, complete with walk in closet. We had a lovely view of the ocean. We were not far from the buffet breakfast, which was very good. Just a short walk uphill. The patio where we ate was nice, and they allowed an iguana to wander through. There was a bird feeder where we saw different birds. Staff was friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: The bungalow that we had facing the ocean was so perfect for two couples. We felt we had lots of pri...
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  • Stayed: March 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Noreen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2015

Stayed here with friends. The views are spectacular, which is pretty much all I can say about it to be honest. Upon arrival, staff were very helpful and accommodated our needs with a room, without a booking. I must admit, the cost was cheaper than online too....

The rooms - standard, 2 queen beds, 70's dresser and Chinese flat panel.TV. The rooms do need a little updating as it was looking a little warn. The cleanliness was a little to be desired (I don't have long black curly hair and nor does my buddy), and cob webs in the rooms. I honestly think, if this place was 10 rooms smaller the cost of reno's would not be that much.

There are 2 pools and 2 hot tubs, that I found. There are, what seems to be like "honeymoon" suites leading down to the beach with private pools and great views, from what we saw. Hotel room walls are super thin and you can hear everything going on around you (as well as the constant drone on the built in AC unit).

Breakfast was included, which consisted of a typical Tico set up - Pinto, scrambled eggs, sausage and platano...... with juices and toast. I stuck with the buttered toast butter and a coffee.

It was cheap and good enough for a one night stay. Don't set those expectations too high....

Room Tip: Wifi works better in the bar/restaurant/reception.
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  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank MrBrinxxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2015 via mobile

This hotel needs attention. It needs general updating paint better bedding. It is in a great location and a beautiful area. The people running it are very nice. Pricing is good for this area. We were in a EF tour with a group of high school students so it was great for our visit.

Stayed: April 2015, travelled with friends
1  Thank Tracy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2015

We stayed in the hotel for three nights. The location is incredible, but nothing is as great as the view. The sun sets right off the back of the hotel, providing easily one of the best views we've seen. The service was great. Maids changed towels and made beds every day. Additionally, the restaurant staff was extremely accommodating and nice. We ate breakfast and dinners at their restaurant. Buffett style, pretty limited options, but overall nice. For breakfast, it was usually traditional Costa Rican coffee, various fruits, rice & beans, plantains, toast, eggs, and sausage. Beware of birds if you decide to sit outside as they have no fear of jumping onto your table and stealing unguarded food. At first, this was funny, but got to be annoying quickly. The dinners usually consisted of some type of freshly made juice such as mango or blackberry with rice & beans, plantains, chicken or beef, vegetables, and some type of dessert (flan, ice cream, etc). The rooms were the interesting part. At first, none of the lights turned on in our room, and the shower had many holes and chipped paint. If only the hotel simply painted over the spots or repaired the shower drainage, I would have no complaints. Others in our group had to switch rooms multiple times because of little to no water pressure or because of broken A/C units. The pools at Ocotal had clearly not been cleaned in a while, filled with leaves and felt to be a mere 60 degrees Fahrenheit with no lights for night swimming. Fortunately, however, just a short (but steep) walk downstairs off the restaurant's porch was a seemingly private beach with volcano sand. A few hundred yards down the beach was a great bar/restaurant called Father Rooster. Definitely worth a visit one night for good drinks and food.
Overall, the experience at Ocotal was remarkable. If you are able to overcome the poorly maintained bathrooms, then the views and location are well worth it.

Room Tip: Rooms in the 300s have direct access to WiFi, but have a more obstructed sunset view
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  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank CostaRica48195
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ocotal Beach Resort

Address: Playa del Coco | PO Box 1, Playa Ocotal, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Ocotal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Ocotal
Price Range: $149 - $169 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ocotal Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 59
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ocotal Beach Hotel Playas Del Coco
Hotel Ocotal Beach

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