(Title borrows a quote from the hotel website). This is a great place to start a Costa Rica trip, especially if it's your first visit and you don't have your act entirely together. They pay for the hotel pickup, as a bonus, and almost any rental car company will deliver to the hotel (recommend doing this). If there is any doubt if this is the right place for you, just check the hotel's excellent website, www.puravidahotel.com.
The two biggest reasons for staying here are Bernie and Nhi (and maybe Maxie makes #3). The eternally patient and ironic Bernie will answer endless email questions and set you up with a rental car, maps, touring suggestions, and even a starter amount of colones. Best to request all special assistance in advance especially if leaving the next morning. Nhi's dinners are the best food I ate in CR.. It's like having your own private chef who will cater to your dietary needs. I felt like Oprah for a day. The included breakfast caters to fruit lovers (you can add eggs etc for a small charge).
I stayed in the Volcano Room, which has two double/queen (?) beds, a little balcony , and the bathroom has a separate door for the john, two sinks and a long counter. There's a little refrigerator, coffee maker, telephone and safe box. A great room for one to four people. It's up a few stairs and as mentioned has a great view but also catches some street noise (hence the downgrade one star for sleep quality). For those especially noise sensitve, and unable to sleep with earplugs, beware of this. On the other hand, this might have been the only hotel in CR where I did not experience ant invasions.
The garden is fabulous, replete with the golden orb spiders, orchids, culinary things and the ayahuasca vine Bernie didn't realize he was growing. Two German Shepherds may entertain with fights over "the bone". There is a free guest computer and a library with all the guidebooks about Costa Rica every written (as well as both bird guides).
Location is conveniently at the base of the road to Poas Volcano and the Doka coffee tour. Be sure to get good directions if driving to the latter. On the way out, I followed a car with GPS and had a nice tour of the coffee plantation roads. They may still be driving around up in the fields. I used the "estoy perdido, donde esta method" and had a 5-minute lecture from the beneficio's guard which included something about not allowed this time of year but ended with the unlocking of the main gate to the highway.
If you have bit of time and a car I recommend a visit to the Ark Herb Farm (if you just want to wander you don't need a reservation or admission fee). Many plants on the trails are labeled and if it's sunny you will not feel a need to visit a mariposario. As far as restaurants in Alajuela I did like Princesa Marina...HUGE portions be warned!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC