Villa Caletas etc.

Old Jun 5th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Villa Caletas etc.

Does anyone know this Villa Caletas well enough to suggest which particular suite to request? Similarly for: Peace Lodge, Xandia, Si Como No. Also: Arenal Observatory Lodge doesn't seem to get mentioned in these forums. Does anyone recommend it or recommend to avoid it? (I thought it would be fun to stay "right there.") Thank you.
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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The best views of the active side of the Volcano are from Montana de Fuego and Arenal Paraiso right now. That's probably why you aren't hearing much about Arenal Observatory Lodge.
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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Of the properties you are asking about, I stayed at Villa Caletas and Peace Lodge.

At Villa Caletas I do not remember what room number I had but my room category was "villa" which is the 3rd category, after standard & deluxe, out of seven. It is a lovely hotel and we did have a large ocean view balcony but I am not sure what else about the room made it a "villa" category. If you are looking for ultra deluxe you should be good with one of the "suite" categories.

I was not a big fan of Peace Lodge. If I had to do it over, I would have stayed at Xandari instead and just went to tour the falls as a day trip. It looks good in the pictures but it is all this "fake rock look" stuff. Too Disney for me. The food is terrible and they are super disorganized. There is also alot of construction still going on. The only thing I liked about Peace Lodge was that you could tour the incredible grounds (butterfly garden and waterfalls) before or after the park is opened to others. During open hours there were literally busloads of visitors everywhere, all the time. And this is in low season when everything else we did seemed very quiet. My husband and I were the only ones on the trails when we did it but there would have been crowds on the trails had we had not had the opportunity to do it before the park opened.

The other place we stayed at in CR was Makanda and even though you did not ask about it I have to say that it was wonderful! Just perfect. There are only 2 categories there, studio or villa, with studio being the lower category. We had Studio 11 and I never got to see any other room or villas but we really liked ours. I imagine the villas are incredible. Monkeys played out near our balcony almost every morning and I saw and photographed the most beautiful sunsets, also right from our balcony.

Sorry that I really didn't answer your questions but I hope you or someone else can get something out of this post!
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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seh2397,
We are booked for three nights at Peace Lodge next month. How did you like the actual rooms (hot tubs, view, etc.)? Did you see any there other places to eat fairly close by, besides the restaurant at the lodge? We'll have a rental car, so I'm hoping it won't be so bad if we don't have to eat all our meals there. What do you think?
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 06:34 AM
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LA FadAway,

Regarding Peace Lodge - There are pros & cons to the rooms. Pros: they are attractive, kind of a lodge style. There is a propane fireplace for looks (does not throw heat but you get to see the pretty fire). There is also a CD player with speakers in the main room and the bathroom. The bathrooms are huge with walk in shower, 2 sinks, separate toilet room, big tub. From the website, I know the deluxe rooms are even more oppulent in the bathroom amenities. But as I mentioned, and this is surely a personal thing, I am much more impressed w/ a big beautiful marble bathroom then with all the fake plaster rock stuff they use at Peace Lodge to try and convey the waterfall theme indoors & out. The view from the room is probably quite nice. I heard that it is straight out to Poas. Unfortunately it was so foggy/rainy while we were there, we could not even see it (not even just a little!) but I am sure it is spectacular if it is not so foggy. There are also TONS of hummingbirds. Right from your patio/porch you will see an amazing amount of them just buzzing about. Cons: The closet, which was the only place to put your stuff, was behind the bathroom door so both doors could not be opened at the same time. And the bar in the closed to hang your clothes was so high up that you would have to be 7 feet or more to reach it, so could not even use it. The outdoor patio is not private at all so if you use the hot tub, you need a bathing suit. There is no heat in the room and it was kind of cold when we were there (May 18 & 19). There is no phone in the room. They give you a walkie talkie to contact them if you need anything. At one point it was raining really hard and we wanted to put in a res for dinner so we tried the waklie talkie thing. No one ever responded.

This is not about the room but here are some other things... The pool is very small. There is alot of construction, still in process. We did not hear it much but a honeymoon couple we talked to said that they heard it early in the morning and even late at night. There is a coffee maker in the room. Our 1st morning I told my husband I'd make coffee. He said "let's wait until breakfast (included) because all they have is Cremora packets and I'd rather have real milk/cream". So don't we go into the breakfast place and guess what? They only have Cremora packets for the coffee there too! We passed more cow farms then I can count and they only serve Cremora! The food is the same way. There is a guy selling fresh amazing strawberries at a road stand very near the park entrance -- but for dessert one night there was cheesecake w/ strawberries that I honestly feel they must have shipped in from Alaska. They were that bad!

We had a car and almost went out the 2nd night for dinner elsewhere, but the places in driving distance did not look very exciting to us either. They may be fine though and are probably worth a try since we had the exact same menu of about 6 items to select from both nights we were there. At least dinner was not super expensive.

I posted some of my trip pix at http://community.webshots.com/user/shorton109. The photos of the room that are sort of orangey/brown are from PL. The butterflies are also taken at PL/La Paz. This is the type of place kids would love, but not my style and not up to the expectation for the price (and compared to Makanda which was in same price range and with the best breakfasts and food!!!).
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 01:55 PM
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Make sure you ask for a ocean view room at Villa Caletas. When my husband and I got there, they gave us a villa in facing woods. We were very disappointed with our room because we had a high expection. But upon our request, they moved us to ocean view villa the next day. We were pretty happy with that one.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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seh2397,
Thank you for giving me so much detail. We are booked in a Deluxe room for two nights now. I actually canceld our first night yesterday, because we will be coming all the way up from Bocas del Toro that day. I didn't want to risk not making it due to weather or whatever and then getting charged the $200+ anyway. I'm glad to hear they have a pool, even if it's small. I didn't think they had one at all. Hopefully, the weather will be nicer, but it could be raining since we're going in late July. I've heard the construction is mainly during the week too, so at least our first day should be quiet. Thanks again! I'll be sure to post a report.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 07:36 PM
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seh2397,
Thanks for posting your trip report. I have a few questions about your stay at the Peace Lodge. What kind of room did you stay in? How are the rooms laid out-do they have first floor, second floor, etc.? Where is the construction in relation to the rooms? (next door, in front, or on property but not near the rooms) Lastly, you mentioned that they only had Cremora for the coffee. Do you know if they had milk available if you requested it?
Thanks for your help. I will be there in November for 3 nights and have been corresponding with someone there (possibly a manager) who has been quite helpful. She has provided a lot of information and did mention the construction. She also provided a lot of informatiojn not available on the web site- menu, hotel description, etc.
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Old Jun 8th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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Answers to Wolfiesmom & LA Fade Away re: Peace Lodge

Wolfiesmom - I had a standard room. It was a lower level of a building that I think had maybe 2 to 4 units total. There was definetely a unit directly above us. All the units are in buildings that line up on the hillside to provide the view to Poas from all balconies (this is what it looked like to me anyway). My standard room had 1 room. But that one room had an area for minibar/coffee, an area for the fireplace and seating, and also the big bed. There was also the balcony and the big bathroom. The construction that was going on for additional rooms was at the end of where the last ones were built. So if you were staying at the end of the line, I'm sure you'd hear it more there. There is also construction down below closer to where the La Paz trails start. They are building a big restaurant/bar, reception, etc for the overnight guests. (I digress to note: it is needed and will be a good thing when it's done, but I think they charge too much now for not providing the full product.)

I think you probably could request milk at breakfast. We just had such a beast of a time ordering breakfast and not getting what we ordered anyway -- it is really disorganized and the wait staff were sweet but unatentive would be putting it mildly.

LA FadeAway - GET YOUR CANCELLATION OF 1ST NIGHT IN WRITTING!!! I had done the same thing, 1st we had 3 nights, then I cancelled my 1st night so I would be there 2 nights. Was told "all set, no, you don't need to do anything eles" by the reservations dept that I called to change the res with. I used the res phone number that was on my confirmation fax. This was after they ignored my email request to change res, and all 6-7 weeks prior to the trip (well within cancellation periods). Well, they actually tried to charge us for the 1st night when we checked out saying that if I didn't have it in writting it didn't happen. (When we checked-in, no one said, "oh, you were expected yesterday" either which would have at least given me the indication that there would be this confrontation at check-out time. It was very unpleasant and they kept us there for over an hour becuase we refused to sign the credit card slip if they were going to charge for that extra night. Turns out it was all their mistake anyway!
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Old Jun 8th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for the warning. I did get a confirmation back, via e-mail, from them yesterday regarding the cancelation of the first night. So we should be okay.
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Old Jun 8th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for all the detailed information and advice.
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Old Jun 9th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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Hi-
My husband and I stayed at both Villa Caletas and the Arenal Observatory Lodge last summer.
I have journals and photos on my website if you are interested.
http://www.wired2theworld.com.
We liked both places very much.
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Old Jun 10th, 2004, 07:09 AM
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I need some assistance. We are planning to be in Costa Rica from July 15-July 23. I have not made my reservations yet........................what is the best of Costa Rica? Thanks for you help. Sue
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