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What would you expect from a small 'luxury' hotel in Costa Rica?

What would you expect from a small 'luxury' hotel in Costa Rica?

Old Jul 28th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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What would you expect from a small 'luxury' hotel in Costa Rica?

Okay, I'm not talking about the Four Seasons.
I'm talking about a small hotel in Nosara. For rates of $125-$175, what would you expect as far as rooms and the amenites? For example, would you expect little bottles of shampoo in the bathroom? How about clock radios (which I never see at the places I stay at in CR!) 180 thread count sheets? Just what would you expect to get for that price range? Thanks!
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Hey Ally - interesting question...I wonder why you ask!

Maybe I am spoiled, but yes, I like to rely on the amenities in the rooms - shampoo, soaps, hairdryers, nice towels, etc. Who wants to pack those things? El Jardin del Eden had a nice touch of using locally made soaps with a note in the bathroom of where to buy them in Tamarindo. Peace Lodge had an aromatherapy "machine" since scent is one of our strongest scents & could remind us of our time there in the future when smelling vanilla, cinnamon, etc. They also had custom made cds with a cd player that was nice & relaxing. Ceiling fans are also nice. We did have a clock radio at El Jardin del Eden but we never even plugged it in to set the time - what's the point?!? I think it is always nice when local & personal touches can be used - like the soaps.
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for responding sclubb! Yes, I was thinking of some aromatherapy oils or 'machine' or something, as candles are not a good idea in hotels...fire hazard. I'm going to have to look around for the soaps because I have not seen anything like that available in Nosara, but there is at least one 'yoga' place that might have something. Love the CD player idea too, especially since you can get them so cheap now!
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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One other thing I just thought of....as I think whenever guests feel taken care of, they usually have a good experience. I always appreciate when there is a handwritten welcome note in the room upon arrival with a small gift - fruit, complimentary bottle of water....anything free & people feel special! And, the handwritten note takes hardly any time and no money! (FYI - off the record, I am a travel agent & would love to connect with you so I can be aware of when your property finally opens for myself & for referring clients....my email is [email protected]).
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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Ally, so you are really serious about this venture!!!

Here is my response on room amenities. I think it would make sense for you to invest some $$ and spend a few nights in various hotels in Costa Rica that people like and that are in the same price range. A couple of examples of places that are really well run in that price range would be Vista del Valle, Xandari or Capitan Suizo.

At this price range I would probably expect the following: shampoo and soap in the bathroom (Florblanca has "solid shampoo" that looks just like soap; their soaps and shampoos were also local, I believe, and had plumeria scent, really lovely), together with good quality bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths, hairdryer, separate pool/beach towels. A clock radio would be a nice touch. I believe Capitan Suizo has them. As to bed sheets, I am really picky so the higher the thread count the better. 180 is fairly low. Again, Capitan Suizo has nice thick bedsheets (an added bonus is that they hold up better to repeated washing). Also, please do not use the typical hotel quilted bedspreads on the beds! A cotton beadspread that can double up as a blanket and that can be washed is probably best. Ceiling fans - definitely yes! Please do NOT put TVs in your rooms!
One thought as to design: floors should be made of non-porous material (glazed tile). Capitan Suizo used to have stone tiles in the bungalows that they recently replaced because I suspect the old floors were impossible to mop. Florblanca for some reason decided to tile their floors with brick type tiles that are highly impractical (any spills just soak in and leave permanent stains and mopping is virtually impossible). I think they will be changing those floors in short order.
If you think I can give you any other tips, let me know! Best of luck and I hope to stay at your place some time!
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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Ally, Definitely supply beach chairs and umbrellas for your guests to use in Nosara.Also, Casa Romantica has free boogie boards for guests to use. Good Costa Rican coffee,good towels,good beach towels.Do you plan to have small fridges in the rooms? I always like the fact that at Xandari when we have an early morning departure they bring a breakfast to the room that we can eat the next morning very early before we go. It is things like fruit,juices, muffins,etc. How about free airport pick up? If I think of it I will try to make some observations when we are there (leave Sunday).The one thing that Bosque del Cabo did not provide, that I think they should have was complimentary cold drinks. They had water that was free but for the prices they charge for very rustic accomodations I think they could have iced tea, lemonade, juices,etc. Yes, I know that they have to haul everything up there but one night for dinner they served us the fish that a couple caught on a fishing trip that day. (That being said it is our favorite place and we are going back there this year.)
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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hmmm, I never use the shampoo/soap, it's just a personal thing, I like my own stuff. Thick towels are important, as are bathrobes. A nice selection of local fruit would be welcome, as well as bottled water. I wouldn't really use a clock radio myself but one with a CD player would be nice, with a selection of homegrown music available at reception. One thing I appreciate, at any standard of hotel, is a blanket in the closet cause anything below 80 to this Floridian is freezing!
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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Sclubb, I like the handwritten welcome note and small gift..what a great idea! I will certainly be in touch with you as things progress!

Iza, yes we are most serious and charging ahead! I have been to Capitan Suizo and LOVED it, but it was right before they were even 'officially' opened! Have not been to Vista Del Valle or Xandari but now i have an good excuse to go!!
Thanks for the tile suggestion...we'll look for something non-porous AND not slippery!
Funny you should mention plumarias...the name of our hotel is going to be 'Plumarias al lado Del Mar'. (Plumarias by the Sea) We are going to have plumarias on the grounds and will leave flowers on the pillows.
We will also have real good bedsheets, unlike any you can find in Nosara, and some kind of lightweight blankets, although it rarely gets cool enought to use them in Nosara, I know some people like to crank up the a/c and sleep under a blanket!

Karen, we WILL have umbrellas for the beach. The ONLY thing I don't like about that beach is that there is no shade! Yes, we will have mini fridge in the room with some cold drinks and will provide some kind of breakfast for people that have to depart early, but we are also going to have a restaurant too.

What about coffee makers in the rooms? My husband says no, people can just come to the lobby area and we'll have coffee there by 6:00am, but I'm thinking if we are going to call ourselves a 'luxury' hotel everyone should have coffee makers.
What do you all think?
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 04:40 PM
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I rarely use coffee makers in the room, but I don't know about others. Like your husband says - I just wait until I go down until breakfast. Sounds like it will be a great property. Also, I don't know this from personal experience but I have heard lots of comments from folks who have stayed in places where they put fresh flowers on the pillows (Tahiti especially) and I guess they attract more ants/bugs into the rooms. I think the idea is great though. By the way, I always appreciate a nice bathroom! Big jacuzzi tubs are great - but that might be getting into the next price range bracket.... Sounds like it will be cozy & making use of natural things - which is very nice versus your standard hotel room.
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 05:26 AM
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I hear you Tully! It's real hot here in Texas too. It's hard to find blankets at hotels at the beaches in CR and I have found myself having to cover up with a beach towel at night because I too get cold! Silly huh?

Sclubb, that's interesting about the flowers attracting bugs. I've had flowers in some rooms in Fiji and bali and didn't notice any bug problems, but will keep an eye on that! We will only use one plumaria on each pillow and I'll make sure that there are no bugs on them, and it they do attack bugs, I guess that little 'amenity' will have to go away!
As for jacuzzi tubs, we are debated that, and we will have a couple suites with the tubs, but maybe not every room. It's still under debate!

I hope more people feels like you about waiting for breakfast, or just going to the lobby early to get their coffee. I think my husbands biggest concern is that if we provide the makers in every room, we'll also have to supply the creamers and the sugar, and the sugar could draw bugs too!
It will be a small property, so it's not like they will have to walk very far for their Java!
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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Could you offer the option of room service - whether that be just a carafe of coffee or a plate of food? That way, it is not sitting in the room every day, but just for those who prefer that. Or maybe just coffee service? Just may be a way to find a compromise....but really, walking to get coffee is not a big deal. They are in CR anyway - and should get out of bed!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 06:45 AM
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Since I will definitely want to stay at your hotel and I must have my coffee first thing in the morning, I vote for coffee makers in the room. At some places, coffee wasn't available until 8am! Another option could be carafes of coffee available for guests to take back to their room although for those that need that sugar, you'd still have THAT problem. I for one, am not a breakfast person. I just need a few cups of black coffee to 'kick start' my day.
I'm looking forward to visiting your place in one of my favorite towns!
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 06:50 AM
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As to coffee makers, I am torn on that issue. I generally do not mind getting up and going to the restaurant to get coffee early in the morning but that means I have to get dressed. If I have a coffee maker in the room, I can make a cup and lounge in my pjs for a while before getting ready for the day. The only thing I don't like are those powdered creamers. If you decide to go that route you should look into providing those tiny single serving UHT milk or cream containers (UHT is long life dairy that does not need refrigeration). I think an option of offering limited room service in the morning is the best (Lapa Rios has it: upon request, they will deliver fresh coffee, milk and sugar to your room at 6am).
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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How about a place that is clean, smell clean and looks elegant, could be casual elegance. First a nice lobby with natural flowers. nice smell, nice classy furniture. Nice, classy employees, discreet but very observative. Check employees hands and nails... and hair..
ROOM and BATHROOM: clean, clean, clean. bed must be made perfet made, nice mattres, extremely nice sheets, preferably whites, pillow must be the best... room must smell clean but not too much perfume, like sandalwood, green tea, lemon grass, vanilla in my opinion is too sweet. Bath, i do prefer to be all white or beige. no signs of hair from employees, area rugs must be perfet and clean. some little bottles with extra quality, mouth wash, shampoo and, aromatic shower gels, no soaps..
DINING AREA: again, clean , clean ,clean..nice aromatic smell, like citrus, tables must be positioned in a way that there is some privacy during conversation. linen MUST be white and extremely well ironed. i wil stick to silver utensils, white china and nice flowers, prefer bright colors and tropicals.
SERVERS: hair must be perfect, hands and nails perfect. clothes they wear..must look clean and pressed.. prefer white shirts. check underams for stains... it looks disgusting to see stains on white shirts.Train all employees how to serve, on how to be so attentive to customers, like fill glass with water without a request, how to serve from the right side. little touches of classy manners go a long way.....
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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As for the coffee issue, my husband also suggestion the room service coffee if requested, which should not be a problem so that might be the best compromise. I'm glad you all could help by being amiable to that! Of course we will still have coffee ready at 6:00 in the restaurant area.

Iza, have you seen those single serving UHT milk in Costa Rica? I don't like the powered stuff either. Usually, places provide some milk or cream in little pitchers. But if those single servings are available in CR I'd like to know, as I have not seen them but would to find them there!

Miguel, yes, clean, clean, clean! It's discusting to find others hair anywhere in my room! As for white china, I don't think that will be practical at a beach in Nosara, but we will have nice plates and utinsels, and we have already decided that our employees will probably be the only place in Nosara where our staff will be required to wear uniforms. Maybe not the exact same uniform, but at the very least they will be required to wear white shirts and either black or tan pants or skirts, no shorts or really short skirts either, although my husband is sad about that! HA!
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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Ally, now that you mention it, I am not sure I have seen those single serving milk containers in CR. I remember using them in Canada and in Poland recently. You may want to contact what seems like their biggest dairy company. I belive Dos Pinos is the name - you can see their buildings near the highway right outside of San Jose.
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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First I want to thank all of you for your suggestions.

Second, I want to apologize for all the words I spelled wrong and words I used wrong!

Last, I want to say that yes, we will have airport pickup.

Now, when reading all these again, I noticed that Iza said 'please no TV'. Really? I thought that was something we would have to do because not many places in Nosara have TV's so I thought it would be a plus, but I would really rather NOT have them. What do others think?
I should mention that we will have an age restriction...no one under 16. SORRY, but no one in this venture (myself, husband, my brother and sister) have kids and our idea of 'luxury' is not having screaming kids around the pool, running in common areas, etc. I hope that does not offend anyone with kids, it's just not what we want for our property.
So anyway, since we won't have young kids, maybe we don't need TV in the rooms?
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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I agree - no tvs. And, I love the no kids idea. Even those with kids need a place to escape once in a while! The places we had tvs we didn't even turn them on. We appreciated the quietness & true getaway from everything. By the way, Peace Lodge gave the rooms walkie talkies since no phones in the rooms - but if you needed to reach the front desk & didn't want to walk, you could call them on that. Just an idea - I didn't care one way or the other & don't know what would be a better "buy" for you.
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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Ally, I vote no for the t.v.'s. I love,love,love the idea of no kids under 16. I had three, but when I am on vacation I don't want to deal with someone elses. I do think coffee makers might be nice, but having the coffee available on request delivered to the room is also an option. There is something nice about having that early cup of coffee while sitting on the patio or balcony real early in the morning. (Will the room have an ocean view?) I think graciousness and friendliness of staff is the most important thing. Also I think a cold welcome drink (something beautiful to look at and exotic looking) is nice (non alcoholic.)
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Old Jul 29th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Ally, you are breaking my heart ;-) We always travel with our daughter so we wouldn't be able to stay at your place! How about no kids under 12 instead of 16?

In any event, yes, I was serious when I said no TVs in the room. To me that is the best part of travelling to Costa Rica - no TV, no newspapers, no phones, just true relaxation. You could have a TV in the common area so that true addicts could catch up on news but TVs in the room are just a distraction. I would much rather have a CD player.
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