Review of Gaia Hotel & Reserve, Manuel Antonio

Well-appointed hotel in lush surroundings with friendly staff &  fine cuisine

The three of us (family with a teen) chose this small beautifully located hotel as our last stop of our round trip in Costa Rica and were well advised with it.

We very much enjoyed our two day stay at Gaia and would it recommend for travellers not seeking beach holidays as it is not on the beach but set atop a hill with its own reserve with a rich wild and plant life. 

There is a shuttle providing transport to the beaches and also to the town and Manuel Antonio National Park but for people longing for direct beach access it isn’t the first choice. However, there is a very nice although small pool on different levels with a wet bar which is by the way open 24 hours a day, pity that there wasn’t a “normal” bar by the pool as well … 

The hotel is geared to make sure that its guests feel well served and relaxed. One of the owners (Thomas) welcomed us upon arrival and talked to us for some time, nice. Then we were shown around the property including all the public spaces and the spa, drinks and snacks were offered at the same time. After that we were accompanied to our room, a Deluxe Suite with a private roof terrace just by the pool. The suite had a large, contemporarily furnished living room with a balcony, a bedroom with a comfortable king bed and a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi bath. We were very satisfied with the suite, the only complaints were that you had to pass the bedroom in order to reach the bathroom and that there were some problems with the light switches (light flickered long after turned off).

There was a restaurant on the top floor of the main building serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. As far as breakfast is concerned, it was really delicious. You could help yourself from a tray with fruits and from one with pastries brought by a server and order a main course from a menu, also fresh fruit juices were available, a treat! We didn’t have lunch, but once we ordered some tapas and drinks during happy hour (I think as from 4.00 p.m.), which we enjoyed. On both evenings, we had dinner at Gaia’s restaurant, which features international and local cuisine, and we were happy with the ordered food. The dishes were inventively prepared, nicely presented and tasty, although both fish dishes that I ordered as main courses were a little bit dry, but this is the only complaint I have. 

With regard to service, all the employees we met were friendly and helpful, however sometimes we had wished they would have been more efficient, e.g. when we wanted to attend the Gaia reserve’s tour we were told that the regular tour was already complete but that there would be another one an hour later. When we arrived on time, there was no guide and the people at the front desk let us know that the first group hadn’t returned yet. When we asked again 15 minutes later, they tried to reach the guide and were told that the first group hadn’t shown up for the tour and ushered us to the reserve’s entrance where the guide already had been waiting for us for some time. Regarding other tours, we also made the guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park which was expertly ran and offered interesting insights. 

As far as others facilities apart from spa and pool are concerned, there is also a gym on-site which our son used once and was satisfied with the equipment. Overall, I would recommend Gaia when you appreciate a stay in an intimate, well-appointed hotel in quiet, lush surroundings with friendly staff and fine cuisine.

Date of stay: April 2012

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