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“lovely to see but expensive”

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Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in San Ramon
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 23 February 2012

Remote hotel which is worth a visit but very expensive for what was there. After doing the night walk and the day walk as well as doing horse back riding there is little to do. It is very peaceful and relaxing so good for reading books and studying plants but we saw very few animals or birds. There is a lovely theatre showing old movies as well as a pool table but there is no hot tub or pool for children, no TV's, and the food is very expensive. They charged gourmet prices for less than average food and as it is the only restaurant around there is no other choice. We felt one day and night would have been great and that 2 days and 2 nights were too long.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Heather A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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804 - 810 of 1,123 reviews

Reviewed 16 February 2012

Villa Blanca was the final stay of our 12 day trip, and what a way to finish our visit! The location is remote, about 11 km off the paved road (and the dirt/gravel road is pretty rough in spots). But that is part of the magic, because you are literally in the rolling hills of a cloud forest and all its glory.

Upon our arrival, the staff gave us a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe casita, which we appreciated. The room was gorgeous, with high ceilings, a traditional fireplace, two baths (one with a Jacuzzi tub, one with a shower), comfy bed, and a sitting room overlooking the back yard.

The property is well kept, as are all the casitas and the main building. There is a small chapel which apparently was a gift from the former president to his wife on their 50th anniversary. It is a lovely spot to sit for a while and contemplate how great life can be. The self-guided nature trails are definitely worth investigation; we saw a chachalaca (large bird), many hummingbirds, and a family of peccary (small wild pigs) skittering up a hillside. We also walked outside after dinner one evening to find some staff and the nature guide looking up at a large owl who was perched on a post, tracking a huge moth near the front lobby. Amazing!

El Sendero, the restaurant, has really good food. Especially tasty is the plantain-crusted sea bass. The servers are all attentive and very friendly. Some double as bartenders, which allowed us to get to know them a bit better. León and Jonathan were both superb.

We took advantage of the spa's couples massage offer and Maria gave us wonderful massages. Highly recommend this.

Stay here if you enjoy peace, quiet and naturally lovely surroundings.

Room Tip: Upgrade to Deluxe casita, the extra room is nice to have.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Rottmom71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2012

My husband and I stayed in Deluxe Casita (#34) for 2 nights in January. Our room was spacious and cozy, with a fireplace and 2 bathrooms (one with a stand-up shower, the other with a fantastic Jacuzzi tub with a view of a private yard). The furniture was beautiful and the bed was comfortable. We had a mini-bar fridge, a separate living room, and a very nice, private yard with an incredible view of the cloud forest and rolling hills in the distance. We paid up for the Deluxe casita rather than the Standard ($235/night), and were very happy we did because we loved the Jacuzzi - it was cold in the cloud forest and this was a great way to end the day! The cloud forest reserve is beautiful - there are 1km of walking trail you can roam freely, but to tour the rest of the reserve you have to join one of the group tours at an additional cost. We are not into group tours, but really enjoyed the night walk (hosted by Roy), and would highly recommend it. We also went horseback riding through the cloud forest, arranged by the hotel, and this was one of the highlights of our trip - we rode through completely isolated countryside with nobody for miles and a spectacular view. The restaurant at the resort is excellent - a bit pricey for CR but still substantially cheaper than home. The room comes with buffet breakfast which included an omelette station. The hotel lobby is beautiful, and we enjoyed hanging out in the games room upstairs, which had a pool table and a great view. The resort is about a 45min drive down a pothole-ridden gravel road, so we were happy that we were not using this hotel as a hub from which to do day trips. Rather, we spent 2 very relaxing days there between hotels in other areas. One disappointment was the exercise room - although it appeared to be well equipped, there was nothing about it that inspired us to want to spend any time in there - the building is run down and uninviting. However, this is a beautiful resort and experiencing the cloud forest - without hundreds of other tourists all around - is magic.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MandA2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2012

My husband, friends and I spent about half a day here. We ate in the restaurant and walked the property and cloud forest. Let me first say that they allowed us to explore the property even though we were not guests; we were appreciative of that. They spoke to us for awhile about the conservation work they do and their work with butterflies.
The restaurant was very good. They had an impressive menu.......so many wonderful things to choose from. The food was fantastic. The waiters were very attentive and friendly. The lobby and restaurant was very attractive and clean. They opened giant doors to let in light and fresh air. Butterflies fluttered around the lobby. It was a very nice dining environment. After dinner we walked around the groomed trails of the resort. There were beautiful plants, interesting birds, but perhaps best of all, a Sunbittern (a very unique, beautiful, solitary bird) glided by us within a few feet of our heads. Our friends stayed on the hotel grounds while my husband and I went down the hill to the cloud forest. It was very a very serene and beautiful walk. We saw beautiful butterflies, flowers and cool bugs.
We would definately consider staying here in the future.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Vanessa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2012

Villa Blanca was a great place to stay, about 1.5 hours from the airport. The next day we were traveling to La Fortuna.
The 20 minute long unpaved road getting up to Villa Blanca was windy and crazy, but gave us a taste of what our week would be like driving in Costa Rica. We took a short hike on the hotel grounds just to stretch our legs. Dinner (and much-needed cocktails) was wonderful at VB. It's a quiet time of year here. We felt like the very attentive staff-to-guest ratio was 5 to 1. The rooms were very comfortable, and we even sat by the fireplace in our room for a bit.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank tinawina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2012

This was our first trip to Costa Rica. We ended at this wonderfully secluded spot high above the hills with view of ArenalCosta Volcanoe. We rode bikes to and from this hilly spot which makes me ache just talking about it as the access road is severe. Honestly, part of the magic of the place. The staff are wonderful. Our room (#15) was spectacular with views from every angle. The restaurant is wonderful with so many very healthy selections, including vegan dishes. The guided tours are amazing. My favorite was with Roy for the nocturnal walk. So many cool nocturnal frogs and insects. I loved the isolation.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank LeslieRoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2012

Highlights: the view, the mist, the hummingbirds, the onsite self-guided trails through cloud forest, the leaf-cutter ants (no worries - they are not interested in your casita!), the onsite chapel, the birds, the guided nature walk (knowledgeable guides!), the food (all meals were great), the eco-friendly measures, the list goes on.

Transportation tip: We took the public bus from San Jose to San Ramon ($2). It was easy and the bus was not crowded. It was also a direct bus, so it did not take that long. Check the bus schedule, but when we went, there was a bus every 30 minutes to San Ramon from the Puntarenas station in San Jose. If your luggage is small enough, you can put it in the overhead space in the bus (my patagonia MLC bag just fit). I wonder if you could also purchase an extra seat and store your luggage on the seat next to you... We caught a taxi (get a red one) that took us straight to the hotel (around $25). There are a ton of things to keep you busy and content at the hotel without a car (we stayed for 3 nights).

It was an awesome place - I recommend it!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank C__357
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve

Address: El Silencio de Los Angeles | Los Angeles Norte, San Ramon 1250, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Canton of San Ramon > San Ramon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in San Ramon
Price Range: $136 - $299 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just over an hour's drive from San Jose International Costa Rica airport (SJO), eco-minded travelers from all over the world have reveled in the beauty of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, located within the Los Angeles Private Biological Nature Reserve & Research Station in the Canton of San Ramon. The hotel is ideally situated as a gateway to Arenal Volcano and the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Here, you're immersed in one of the world's most precious and complex jungle ecosystems - the cloud forest. This boutique mountain hotel is nestled on 75-acres of gentle rolling hills, with well-appointed "casitas" and Honeymoon Suites, each with their own fireplace, and surrounded by acres of lush botanical gardens. Originally owned by former president Rodrigo Carazo Odio and First Lady, Estrella Zeledon de Carazo, Villa Blanca has become a renown and cherished Costa Rica destination. The architecture reflects the original farm village concept, with a welcoming Hacienda, offering guests exceptional Costa Rican hospitality, premier dining, a private theater, conference facilities, and pampering spa menu. Also quite unique is a replica of a 14th century Roman wedding chapel, La Mariana, with its hand painted ceramic ceiling. Choose from a variety of nature-based activities, including horseback, zip-lines, and user-friendly guided trials, plus excursions to Arenal and Poas volcanoes, hot springs, and rural-cultural tours. This is the Costa Rica where those who "travel well and travel right" want to go. Please feel free to visit our sister-site, one of the most prestigious Manuel Antonio hotels, Si Como No. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Blanca Cloud Forest
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel And Nature Reserve Costa Rica/San Ramon

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