It was pretty average
By no means was this a terrible property but it definitely wasn’t anything special. The rooms are ok – simple but fairly well maintained. I would agree with the reviews that commented on the air conditioner being so..so it seemed to cool better some days than others. The mini bar consisted of 2 sodas and 2 waters, nothing more but they did replace them daily. The buffet food was eatable but it wasn’t near as good as any of the other places that we ate at outside of the Barcelo Langosta. The staff was pretty nice but not particularly accommodating, for instance they did not seem particularly concerned when they lost our dinner reservation at the a la carte restaurant one night they simply suggested that we eat at the buffet. The quality of the food at the snack bar was pretty poor, it was ballpark type food (pizza, nachos) but not as good as what you would get at the ballpark.
The beach was beautiful but the waves are very strong, and probably would not make a suitable swimming area for small children (there is a swimming area on the river that’s suitable for kids) Additionally to get to the main beach that faces the ocean you have to cross a river, at low tide you can walk across it pretty easy but it can be a raging river at high tide.
liked it....didn't love it
My fiance and I stayed at this hotel for a week in May 2005. We enjoyed our stay very much, but I will warn of a few small items.
The Hotel itself was nice...on a beautiful strip of beach, but not very swimable...the tides were very strong and the border between beach and water was flat black rock. It's not all that close to the center of Tamarindo...it is walking distance, but I wouldn't want to do it in the heat (start of rainy season...still 40C). We had a rental car for the entire stay and would never have survived without it.
The food was good...there was ample to choose from and they even came around a couple times on our stay asking people to suggest other items they would like to see on the salad bar. I'll admit I can be a rather picky eater and there was lots for me.
The rooms were alright, but not great. We found the infestation of ants too (in the bathroom on the mirror), however we sprayed them with bugspray on our first and they dissappeared with just the odd one here and there for the rest of the week. We had a beach view room, which was a small view through a lot of trees, but at least our balcony was very large and private.
Overall, it was a good hotel...but if you're expecting a 5 star you won't find it here. I would give it 3.5 myself....the reason I gave it 4 above, is it wasn't bad enough to give it a 3.
The Place was Great!
I read all the reviews available after we had already booked the hotel and flight and was a little aprehensive about what we would find. But we were pleasantly surprised. The only thing we found to be accurate in the negative reviews given were the beach chairs, which were not comfortable. But walking along the beach most hotels had the same chairs. The only other negative I did not see listed was the cups all drinks were served in around the pool. They were paper. I would recommend you bring a plastic glass of some type if you don't like drinking beer out of a paper cup. I wish someone had mentioned it in their reviews. Everything else was great -- the food, the restaurant staff, the rooms were well cleaned and everything at the resort was kept clean. The staff are hard workers. We did leave small tips in the room daily and during our meals. As result we had a special waitress for every meal that expected us and made sure all our needs were met. Once you leave the resort the walk to Tamarando is about 20 minutes but it could be very dry and dusty or very muddy depending on the weather. We were very lucky. Even though it was the rainy season we only had rain one day. The rest of the time was hot and sunny. Be careful on the roadways. Cars, bikes and anything with wheels will try to run over you. Mostly they are avoiding all the pot holes. Nightly entertainment was ok. We enjoyed it. Several times we returned to our rooms to find the bed turned down with flowers all around probably a result of leaving a tip. That was a nice suprise. We did have a view of the ocean through the trees, Room 124, which was nice. We stayed for 8 days. Took the day trip to Nicaragua with TAM. It was an experience. You had to be ready by 5 am and was supposed to be back to the hotel by 8:30 pm. We didn't get back until almost 10 pm. Missed all meals that day. Before booking this one make sure you are prepared for a very long day. But the trip was worth it. We didn't experience any problems with theft but did not leave anything of value in our room. There was lots of security around the resort at all hours. You could also walk in to town by way of the beach if the tide was in but make sure you wear some type of beach shoe. It is very rocky and will take you a little longer. Didn't read anything in reviews about illness but my partner got very sick our last night there. He had chills, hot spells and was going to the bathroom and vomiting. It took him a few days to totally get better. Don't have any idea what may have caused it. We both ate the same things. As mentioned in other reviews make sure you know the price for a cab before you get in. Even the regulated cab drives charge different prices.
The only real problem we had was with Travelocity with whom we booked the flight and hotel. When we checked out on our last day we were told that the hotel bill had not been paid and they wanted us to pay it with our credit card. Our Visa bill had already been charged for the full amount and we refused to give our credit card in fear of a double charge. They finally said ok. I have contacted Travelocity about this but have yet to receive an answer as to when the hotel was paid or will be paid. We hope this will not become an issue in the future.
I would recommend this resort to anyone visiting Costa Rica but we did not visit any of the other resorts in the area for a comparison.
We arrived and checked in to the resort on June 13th. Everything was great initially. Two days into the trip we began to hear our fellow guests complaining of feeling ill. Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting seemed to be the main complaints. Sure enough, by June 14th my new bride and I were bedridden with the same symptoms. We were literally trapped in our room between the bed and the toilet for 48 hours. Following the worst of the symptoms we were able to continue with limited activities and we attempted to make the best out a bad situation even though our symptoms persisted.
As is common at Bacerlo Langosta, many of our fellow guests arrived on or around the same time. We got to know those around us and consequently we were able to share our sickness stories. Myself and other guests attempted to ask Barcelo Resort staff what the problem was with no answers returned. The Barcelo staff did summon medical attention for some of the guests. Medical staff arrived at the resort and evaluated guests but also had no answers as to what may be the cause of our illness. Many of our fellow guests received Intravenous fluids (IV) in their rooms and were told that they could fill prescriptions for unknown medications “in town”. By profession I am a nationally certified Paramedic and I work as a fulltime firefighter/paramedic in Colorado. I observed the techniques and equipment of the Costa Rican medical personnel and opted to refuse their care. I asked one of the medical personnel sent to the resort if he knew what he was treating and he was unable to give me an answer. Based on my medical background and concerns for the safety of myself and new wife, I opted for bottled water and Pepto. Based on my professional judgment I would estimate that 75-80% of the resort guests at that time had a sudden onset of gastro-intestinal illness due to bacterial or viral causes. 75-80% of the resort guest population being sick is pretty alarming, especially considering that some of these guests were children. In my profession we would consider this an "outbreak" and immediately have business suspended and guests quarantined and treated accordingly.
Around the same time that the Barcelo staff summoned assistance from local medical professionals, we noticed that the food service was drastically changed. Prior to the “lunch time meal” on June 15th, food had been served buffet style with guests serving themselves. The food appeared to be sanitary and kept in adequate conditions. Following the arrival of medical personnel on the 15th food service was no longer served in the same “serve yourself” manner. At lunch on the 15th restaurant personnel were serving us complete with gloved hands and masks over their mouths, something that they had not been doing prior to this meal. All fruit was individually wrapped where as before it had been set out on platters for guests to serve themselves. This was a huge change, especially seeing the restaurant staff with gloves and masks on. It was also very alarming as to the cause of our illness. Was this a human-borne pathogen/virus? We still had no answers from the Barcelo staff but we did have an alarming change in food service. By this point we couldn’t eat much anyway, we were simply trying to keep something in our systems. My wife and I attempted to eat bread and crackers but were still feeling horrible.
After out diet of crackers, bottled water, and Pepto, my wife and I were able to at least move around. We could not bring ourselves to eat in the resort restaurant any longer. By Friday the 17th we were growing tired of feeling ill and decided to cut our trip short. We ended up checking out of the resort on Saturday morning, still drinking pepto and eating crackers. While checking out we attempted to ask Barcelo staff if they had any information about our illness and we received a courtesy “shoulder shrug”. Following the shoulder shrug the staff member asked how we were going to pay for our room. We informed the staff member that we had already paid in advance but thanks anyway!
Due to the nature of our illness we had a horrible “Honeymoon”. If we had been the only resort guests with this illness I would have been fine with chalking this one up for experience and I would have no complaints. With so many of our fellow guests having the same signs and symptoms leads me to believe that this could have been avoided. 75-80% of resort guests sick, local medical professionals on-scene, and a drastic change in food service/handling techniques leads me to believe that this was avoidable. Sure there are inherent risks to traveling abroad and getting sick but that is exactly the reason we chose Barcelo. We placed our trust in the great reputation that Barcelo has. The resort offered no apology and refused to answer our questions about the possible nature of the illness. All we got was a shoulder shrug!
Not the greatest
We went to the Barcelo as a ten-year anniversary trip....the honeymoon we never got. Sounds like we were fortunate that we missed the food poisoning. Wait staff in the bars and the resteraunt were great, always attentive and friendly. Front desk staff, and management, were an altogether different breed...arrogant, rude and unhelpful all the way around. They refused to convert cash for us at one point, leaving us w/nothing to tip with. We explained our situation to the bartender, and then double-tipped her the next night.
On our third day, a leak appeared in the bathroom wall that flooded the bathroom floor, and was moving out into the other parts of the room. Our choice was deal with it, or move. We moved, but the manager was not the least bit apologetic about it, and in fact acted as if WE were inconveniencing him by complaining about the leak.
Food was only ok. My 18-year-old son, a saute' chef in a local reseraunt at home, does better, and is more imaginative. The fresh fruit was out of this world though. The a la carte meal of surf and turf that you get once was awful. We too ran into the problem of trying to leave at 5:00 a.m. for a trip, and trying to get food prior to that. We requested the night before...and got a banana and cup of yogurt. Better than nothing though.
We were disappointed in the alchohol selection as well, but hey, for the money, you can't beat it.
Tamarindo was fun, and for the money, you can't beat a meal at the Lazy Wave Seafood Company.
If we return, we will stay in one of the casitas, rather than the resort. We would not recommend this place, despite the beauty of the setting, nor will we stay at another Barcelo property.
Costa Rica in June
I am travelling to Costa Rica (Provincia de Guanacaste) in mid-June.
What is the weather like during this time ? (I heard it was the rainy season)
Where is the best place in Costa Rica to find white-sand beaches (for sunbathing & relaxing) ?
Any information would be helpful. I've never been to Costa Rica and am having a difficult time deciding where exactly to stay, etc.
RE: Costa Rica in June
Officially you'll be going there during the rainy season, but Guanacaste gets less rain than other parts of the country and even if it does rain it will usually be only for a short time and in the afternoon. So I wouldn't worry about that too much.
As for beaches, there are hundreds, each with its own characteristics, so it's difficult to give descriptions. Some of the fancy new resorts are very nice but are located on beachfronts with very strong waves/currents (Barcelo Playa Langosta, for example). But the beauty of it is that if you don't like that beach there is another just a few minute's drive away. Playa de Coco is a small cove that is very calm. I would reccomend renting a car once you're there for at least a few days and driving around to explore. Most of the roads are rustic, country, with not a lot of traffic (even in Liberia, the area's largest city).
RE: RE: Costa Rica in June
My wife and I just returned from Tamarindo, Costa Rica and we stayed at the Playa Langosta for a week. The resort sits next to an estuary and when the tide is high and running out there is a strong current, but you can walk a few hundred yards down the beach and find excellent white sand and beautiful waves for surfing or swimming and have the beach all to yourself. I also would not be concerned with the rainy season as a fifteen minute downpour would be most welcome when the temperature is in the 90's. Definitley rent a 4X4 and explore some of the beaches to the south by traveling the coastal road, you will find many beautiful vacant beaches and friendly Ticos whever you travel. Time your trips so that you are back at your hotel before dark as the roads are poorly marked and everyone drives kinda crazy. Do the rainforest and waterfall at Volcanoe Rincon de la Viejo and also the Hot Springs at Tabagon and Volcanoe Arenal. These places have been the highlights of my visists to Costa Rica! Happy Travels.