December 13, 2007

Osa Penisula, Costa Rica

Villa Corcovado


We could not wait to come to Costa Rica. The country, the animals, and the people we would meet – we were pretty excited! We have heard only the best of the best from everyone we know who has been there. We were dying to see the Osa Peninsula when we started planning this trip back in April but could not find any properties available so we changed our plans to go to the Mal Pais area. We found a great place on the beach and were pretty excited about it. Then two weeks before our trip we receive this outrageous offer the Villa Corcovado (Attachment A) and we decide to see if a “Villa” was available for our dates as we had tried back in April and were told it was sold out for our times. (Attachment B). Can you imagine how excited we were when told it was available?

How would you feel to arrive at a 5 Star hotel for an occasion in your life that is suppose to be one of the most memorable, one that you want to relive time and time again, only to find out what you were promised and paid was not what you had expected. Not a great way to start out, is it? Then you have to live the next 4 nights unhappy with the decision you are locked into, because you can not change your airline tickets, nor can you change your hotel as you will lose more money, again, as well no other property in the area is even available. How would you feel?


There are so many things wrong with this situation that I am not even sure where to begin.

• The fact that we were paying 5 Star prices for a 2 Star Property?
• The fact that the hotel was not even officially open, because they had been closed for the past month as they are in the midst of construction and fixing broken roofs that leak, floor boards that were broken in the main areas, even the front gate for the entrance was pad-locked shut?
• Boats through out the property, scattered on lawns as they do not work, so they hire a boat service and charge you $120 each direction? Rest of the “5 Star” properties in the area have their own transportation and include it in the hotel rate.
• When you get off of the boat and start to walk up the dirt walkway, you noticed trash on the “private” beach right away. And when it is raining, it is a mud driveway to the hotel. As well, you see people walking all along the beach late at night, people who are not guests at the hotel. As well when you are checking in they advise you NOT to leave anything valuable in your room because you never “know” and that you should lock everything in their office safe. Not so private.
• Walking through the property, which supposedly has villas scattered through-out 70 acres, well there are about 8 villas scattered amongst paths that are muddy most of the time as well they are up a steep hill, which has not handicap access and you need good shoes to walk up the hills. Does not state this on the website. As well we stumbled upon trash on the grounds, such as an old paint roller just left on the grass.
• Checking into our room, we immediately notice dead bugs in the bathroom sink. Also, what looked liked dried blood or mud on the bathroom walls.
• Dirty towels left by the bar bathrooms, that are suppose to be used for the pool area.
• Pool umbrellas falling apart.
• Entrance into the actual pool, needed to be tiled. Very rough.
• They let their family dog swim in the pool. The last time I stayed at the Ritz they did not allow this.
• Being woken up by the sounds of tools and construction as early as 630 am, on a daily basis – very unromantic.

Now let’s touch service management:

• Were told that we would have “natural” drinks at our disposal. The only natural drink the bartender knew about was “water”.
• Our mini-bar was never restocked in our room. There were two beers which we had the day we arrived and they NEVER replaced them. Nor did they put coffee in the room to make in the coffee pot that was in there.
• Asked to have lunch by pool and was told that it would be too much of an inconvience.
• No wine list & only wine available was one brand from Chile, a red and a wine. Wine had been left open too long or not stored properly, gave up after 1 glass. No champagne as claimed by website – and this was a special occasion.
• Food was standard. Just everyday cuisine. Never any daily specials as stated on the website. Same fish all week along. Was served frozen pizza, which was still cold & frozen when served to us, even though they have a pizza oven right there in dining room. Over-sauced meat, fish, chicken and pork. Chips & “smashed” beans served for appetizers. The only good thing was the local beer, fresh fruit and ice cream.
• Bartender does not know how to make any drinks. We gave up after a few bad tropical cocktails and tried with rum and coke, had no idea how to do it. I had to go behind the bar to show him how.
• Overpriced cocktails and beer – minuim of $4 for a Costa Rican beer and a minuim of $6 for cocktail, which we had to make.
• Asked staff to call a gentleman that we had meet when he brought us over on his boat as he said he could take us out to sight see. We were told it would be taken care of, it never was. We saw this gentleman on our departure from airport, no one ever called him.
• Would ask manager for suggestions of things to do, never could give us an idea.
• Management was not engaging. Would try to strike up a conversation about simple things such as Costa Rica to their family, never any response. The only thing we found out was that they were there simply so they could surf, the reason they took the job as management for the Villas. Lack of personal skills needed to run a hotel.
• The owner even told us that he did not like the hotel business. He preferred the construction business, which was evident because that is what they were doing around us.
• They list a tour to a Chocolate Farm, which is no longer even available and they still advertise it on their website.
• Optional tours are OVERPRICED compared to other 5 Star hotels on the Osa Peninsula and if you wanted to see anything you were STUCK into paying for them. They charged us $150 per person for a tour to a beach that they hired a taxi to take us on. While we loved the guide, he was a very friendly Costa Rican man; the tour was not worth $300 USD. All the people we saw that day, which were on tours that their hotels supplied, paid from $35 - $75 per person and the hotels had their own cars for use.

I could go on and on as there were not many things that were good. In fact the only good thing about the entire experience was the gentleman, Henry, who brought us over on the boat and the gentleman, Enrique, who took us on a tour. Otherwise, the Villa Corcovado was a huge disappointment for our special holiday. I should had followed my gut instinct from the moment, I was quoted the rate of $70 per person per night, which was what the hotel advertised, and then I was told when I was ready to give my credit card that it actually would be $177 per person per night. Then I had to bargain, with you, when I became stuck with airline tickets to the Osa Peninsula and no other hotels available. Not a way to start a romantic holiday, that was suppose to be very special and memorable, and not negative.

I should had noticed all the signs from the beginning that this would end up being “hell”; from the lack of response of the reservations team to my issues (I have confirmations from everyone that they opened and read my emails), all the way to the misleading information on the website as to what a wonderful place this would, to even all the misspelled words on the website (which shows unprofessional).

We are very unhappy with what we paid for and got. We did not be any means receive a luxury package and it definitely, is not worth $177 per night per person, let alone the rate of $70 per person per night, which we were quoted and did not even get – we had to pay more!

* December 26, 2007 ~ Update! As of today, they have overcharged us twice and are not responding to voicemails nor emails.

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