My husband and I had to travel to Escazu, Costa Rica on business for our second trip to Costa Rica. On the first trip we stay at a gorgeous luxury establishment just off the town center of Escazu and had a marvelous experience. We decided to stay at a different hotel this time and found Casa Cristal Boutique Hotel on Trip Advisor and the reviews were amazing.
The hotel was really lovely but was hard to find. The taxi driver had to call the hotel for directions and even so he was forced to stop several times to asks locals how to proceed. The hotel is located at the top of a hill and you have to drive on treacherous, bumpy terrain to get there. Once we got to the hotel we met one of the owners and she was extremely nice. The couple who owned the hotel left the day after we arrived and the hotel was run by the staff.
The staff at the hotel were kind, attentive, helpful and could not have been nicer, the food at the hotel was very good.
Our room was large, clean and had a magnificent view of San Jose. The room was sparsely furnished and decorated in a minimalist chic style. My husband was convinced they ran out of money when they built the hotel. What really made him believe that was the decor outside of the room, it had an unfinished feeling to it.
The bathroom was a good size but had a damp smell. There was also a jacuzzi in the room with a stunning view.
The pool looked beautiful and was located outside of the restaurant on a large balcony looking down on an open vista of dozens of miles of scenic valleys and hills. However, when you got a bit closer to the water you noticed that the pool had not been cleaned in a while and it had a lot of algae in it. The bottom of the pool was dirty and there were things in it. Add to all of this if you were brave enough to step into it the pool it was ice cold. We mentioned this to owner who basically ignored what we had to say and did nothing to address our concerns. The pool remained dirty and cold and utterly unusable. Since the hotel advertises that it has a functional pool this failure on the part of the owner colored our entire stay negatively.
One of the worse things about the hotel is the surrounding area. My husband and I enjoy walking, on our second day we got up put on our trainers and headed out for a morning walk. That lasted about 10 minutes. As we walked away from the hotel we noticed that all the residential properties in the neighborhood had security walls ringed with razor wire, broken glass and ferocious attack dogs guarding the properties. As we approached the dogs growled and bared their teeth. Not only did they growl they slammed themselves into the fences and tried to jump them to get to us – some of these deadly looking animals were nearly successful in getting out of their enclosures. It was extremely scary and shortly into our walk I headed back to the hotel after two giant dobermans came within inches of getting over their wall.
As we walked back to the hotel we noticed a couple of locals walking who had long metal rods with them to protect themselves just in case the guard dogs got loose.
We were at the hotel for 5 days and with the remote area, the pool that was impossible to swim in and the impossibility of taking a walk without being attacked by dogs this is not a hotel I would stay at again.
The hotel is not a five star hotel, it is a three star at most. The bottom line is this hotel was run like a Bed & Breakfast.
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