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“AMAZING view, rooms, food and service” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mar y Selva Ecolodge

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Mar y Selva Ecolodge
Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“AMAZING view, rooms, food and service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2010

If your looking for a peaceful place to stay, Mar y Selva is perfect. Both my boyfriend and I are vegan and Deepak made us incredible Indian food every night. We didn't rent a car and Deepak made sure to get us a taxi or drive us anywhere we needed to go. The rooms were extremely clean and very comfortable. Mar y Selva is only a couple miles from the beach and local tours. You'll love it.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank anneferraro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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98 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    66
    15
    8
    4
    5
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2010

My husband, mother and I spent 8 nights at the ecolodge with our 9 month old daughter, exploring the coast and forests, north and south of us and loved the area!!
First- if you want to truly enjoy this area, be sure to have a 4x4, which you can rent in the nearest town of Uvita. Without your own transportation, you are limited!! With your own transportation you can explore all the little beaches and waterfalls in the area on your own.
Martha was a wonderful hostess, ensuring that we had everything we needed and were comfortable on our trip. The basic breakfast consisted of more bread and fruit than we could eat and if you needed a hardier breakfast, there was a full breakfast menu available. Dinner was also available at the lodge and every meal tasted like a home cooked meal and not so much like a restaurant, which made our stay even more relaxing and comfortable. There were also tons of restaurants in both directions if you wanted more Americanized food or very authentic Tico food. We ate a Quebecois French Bistro, a German restaurant, an Argentian influenced restaurant and of course numerous Tico restaurants and the food was all fabulous!
Rooms were large and beds were comfortable and clean. This was the only place we stayed with a tub, which was great for bathing a baby. Our other accommodations only had showers.
The scenery and the food were fantastic. We had some brilliant up close views of a variety of bird species, howler monkeys and sloths (see pictures). Martha set up a fabulous river tour for us. Which was great, if you enjoy seeing wildlife without the tourists that you would see in Manuel Antonio or Monteverde.
The lodge is also set up for people who are training for Triatholons, with its large pool and available bikes. My husband is training for a half ironman and was able to swim, run and roadbike from the lodge. The road was great for riding, if you could get up early enough to avoid the heat. There are numerous great little beaches to explore, with neat caves and cliffs.
I would recommend Mar Y Selva to people who have a 4x4 and love to independently explore. I would recommend this area to birders, beach lovers, hikers and anyone with a sense of adventure. Although you can see the ocean from the lodge, the beaches are not really within walking distance unless you are fabulous shape. I would not recommend the lodge to anyone with mobility issues as it is built on a beautiful hill that you climb at least twice a day to get to the restaurant and main office area.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lasha_Young
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennsylvania
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2010

This Ecolodge was perfect for hosting a Week of Wellness and Yoga for my students and friends from Pennsylvania. The yoga room, balcony, dining patio with breathtaking view, full-size lap pool, comfortable bungalows and abundance of rainforest "sounds" were bursting with prana! Martha, the owner, went out of her way to make our stay memorable. Eileen Wieder Crone, Yoga and Wellness Coach, Lititz, Pennsylvania

  • Stayed March 2010
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank raw4yoga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oldsmar, Florida
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2010

What we learned: when it's the only or last place with availability for travel over the peak holiday week, there's a reason.

We liked the remote location, wild life (monkeys, birds, butterflies), the view and the quality of the food we had; both the fresh fruit for breakfast and the vegetarian Indian food at dinner.

What we didn't like were the contradictions, thin towels, thin walls, no electricity twice, incongruent information, excessively chlorinated pool, demanding requests for cash for dinners and excursions after arrival, and our experience of passive-aggressive behavior from the guy in charge.

If you go, I recommend taking your own 4WD transportation. We had no vehicle and it was regrettable. Our taxi to the place literally could not make it up the steep hill... well, it would have since he got as far as he did, but there is this one place in the road that made it impossible for a regular Toyota yaris to conquer. The hotel staff came half way down to meet us, do the bag swap and drive us up the rest of the way backwards on the narrow road.

Deepak (Not the owner of the hotel, but self-described as the owner of the Restaurant) was very helpful via multiple emails in setting up our stay, organizing our tours & the driver back to the airport. During the planning time, we knew we would need to switch rooms due to their holiday schedule as we got the last room available. However, since I know that people and plans change, when we arrived, and since it affects how we unpack, I specifically asked him if we would still need to relocate or not. He said we would not. Two nights later, a friend of theirs who was staying at the property and "helping them out" came to our room at bedtime to tell us we needed to have all our things out in the morning as we would have to go another place... it was not just another room on the property, it was to an entirely different property. It would have been nice to have phones in the room to communicate this instead of having someone show up at our door unexpectedly, when we were in pjs or less.

When I made an effort to understand Deepaks's incongruency the next morning, I was met with a very argumentative spirit, ignoring his own error in telling me upon arrival that we would not have to move, simply & angrily citing the emails telling us we'd have to relocate. We didn't care about having to move, we booked late and are flexible. We simply want accurate & congruent communication and don't like being told one thing one day, planning accordingly, then being argued with as a person dances around their error when I seek to understand what happened. He could have simply said, "oops, I made a mistake." Trying to make sense out of non-sense was my mistake.

So that day, since we were going on an excursion, we very reluctantly left our belongings in his office which I observed was often left unsecured, and with no safe for our few valuables (wallets/passports). We were left with no other choice because the other place wasn't ready as early as we needed to leave. Deepak was clearly disturbed and demonstrated this by bringing us half the amount of fruit for breakfast as he did the previous morning. He argued about this too and when we asked for papaya, seeing it left over as trash from other people's plates, he told us they didn't have any that day.

We should have figured this place was going to warrant a story since our first night there struck us odd as the contradiction regarding the term "Ecolodge" emerged . We came with grander ideas as Raw food was mentioned and other than fruit, only one soup was offered as raw. If you want to be Eco-friendly, why are you serving carcass? ($ is always the answer ) And using paper napkins?

We enjoyed our delicious vegetarian/vegan Indian food surrounded by the curious Christmas lights (eco-friendly?) and music which drowned out the sounds of nature; the monkeys and birds.

The pool was so chlorinated-smelling, we had no desire to swim, even at the hottest time of day. The heavy use of a highly toxic chemical, chlorine, at an "eco lodge" is also a big contradiction to us. Clearly we had no idea what "Eco lodge" really meant. It seems the requirement to be an eco lodge is to recycle and to put notices out about washing your towels if they're on the floor or hang them up if you wish to reuse... same as anywhere. The towels were well used, paper thin and rough as I recalled from a desperate one-time stay in a Motel 6 over 20 years ago.

Both mornings we were up for breakfast, there was someone smoking. One went "outside the gate" and the smell still drifted in to the eating area and the other person was just outside the open-air eating area. The No Smoking on premises advertised on the web site was one of the primary draws for us so this was quite disappointing. Yes, the helping friend told the 2nd person to move or stop smoking after we pointed it out, but that misses the point. Just another contradiction.

In fact, the girl who was staying there and helping, was the person who was the most friendly and helpful in our experience. We didn't use any of the massage or spa services mainly because we want to pay Costa Rican prices when in Costa Rica. I can get my $90-$120+ massage in the US anywhere, anytime.

The electric going out isn't their fault, of course... it made for a nice candle lit dinner with limited options and melted ice cream, just the way we like it! Being able to easily hear the conversations through the walls of our room, as if we're in the living room with the couple and their small and vocal child, was not ideal either so we were quite glad to move. (And we liked Many's House much better.)

One excursion day, we were apparently on our own to get to the location but didn't know it. There was a French family that had their own 4WD and going to a very nearby location. Deepak asked them if we could join them. They were very kind and took us, 2 of us sitting half on laps of others. (And no one was over weight!) It just wasn't right or fair to the French folks... or us that the transportation wasn't organized or that we weren't told that this was an issue before.

Another thing that came up that was not mentioned before arriving is regarding cash. Deepak was no less than demanding, arguing and insistent the 3rd day into our trip that we bring him cash to pay for the excursions, 2 dinners and transportation to the airport. He offered to take us to an ATM and described in detail how the hotel business charges and the complications with charging these other items although they have a completely separate business and charge machine for doing so. On the morning we returned from the other property to settle our bill for the 4 nights, we agreed to pay cash for the driver and stood our ground for charging meals and excursions, not trusting his motives for some reason.

The morning of departure, Deepak also told us of another incident with a group of travelers who didn't want to pay their dinner bill, thinking the food was part of their deal. So he described the event and told us that all those people ended up leaving and that because they didn't stay, we could have ended up staying there the whole time after all... (but we were SO grateful that didn't happen as we wouldn't have wanted to.) To us, his experience with the group is no surprise given the communication skill set that needs much improvement, both on the web site and in person.

There was clearly tension between Deepak, Irma, the spa gal and their helping friend; all this going on in front of a couple who said they are friends with the owner who lives in VA/D.C. area. The tension was such that even the helping friend wanted to leave and nearly did so, on the spot, as we offered her a ride back to San Jose with us as we had plenty of room and understanding of her plight.

The place definitely has potential... but that's not what we look for when choosing a place. A peaceful, tranquil Eco Lodge, it was not., a Drama Lodge or Contradiction Lodge, yes. After this experience, we even joked about forgetting about the environment altogether and sticking to the comfort and kindness at the big chains!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dee J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
buelita2, Owner at Mar y Selva Ecolodge, responded to this review, 22 February 2010
Mar y Selva Ecolodge has been known for going out of its way to please its customers. We regret that you did not find the accommodations to your liking. What you found here is correct – we are surrounded by wildlife and provide good food. The towels we use are the Deluxe Klassic brand which are not thin but are not as plush as you may find in a five star resort, our walls are not insulated but are standard code for any home, and six of our rooms are individual bungalows two are double bungalows. The walls separate the room from the outdoors; the pool is kept at the Ministry of Health’s mandatory health level of 3 and is always allowed to lower to less than one when a backwash is needed, thus the water that re-enters the environment is not harmful to the environment. You may walk all over our 8 acres of land and you will not find any harm to the vegetation surrounding us. The excursions and tours that our guests take are not provided by the hotel, and each tour operator expects payment directly from the client. We are not involved in anything other than arranging the reservations as a courtesy to our clients. We act as your concierge. The restaurant is rented out to a well known Indian Chef (whom you commended for his excellent food) and his policy of cash only payment is not unusual for many restaurants in the area. The napkins he uses are non-chlorinated 90% recycled paper.
Our Administrative Office and all the bungalows have each a Safe. The Administrative Office is often used to keep luggage for our clients and it is locked at all times if not occupied by our staff.
As to our Christmas lights – we do use them around Christmas and we are the only Ecolodge in the area that has purchased enough trees to be carbon neutral for 2009-2010. We are efficient with our use of our resources, give discounts to clients who don't use the air conditioning, we refuse to use articles that increase wastage or contamination of our environment, we reduce the use of resources, we reuse most articles and fix things rather than replace them when possible, and recycle all our glass, metal, aluminum, cardboard, paper, plastic bottles and plastic bags and encourage all our customers to do the same. We conserve water and have the only LaundryPur washing system in Costa Rica to avoid putting soap into the surrounding forest.
Our spa services are priced competitively with all the surrounding hotels and they are excellent and often used by the locals of the area.
We do in fact recommend a 4x4 vehicle in our literature as well as in our letter of confirmation of all reservations. I am glad that the hotel staff came to your rescue when your vehicle failed to make it up the hill.
We regret that we fell short of your expectations and wish you well. We apologize for the staff’s behavior and have provided guidance to them as to how to handle difficult situations in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2010

The reasons for this title is: christmas lights wasting energy and air conditioning units were used because there wasn't any circulation of air in the rooms.

But overall, we enjoyed the stay. Depak and Irma, the current owners, were really nice and friendly when they weren't stressed out about something with the hotel. I wish the road up to the hotel wasn't in such a rough and steep condition. It made for a very tough walk to the beach...but good exercise. The beach was very nice and just across the road from the hotel street. But again, there were monkeys and birds and all sorts of other flora and fauna around the hotel and it made for a great experience.

Oh and it doesn't say it on the website, but Depak runs a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is mostly Indian. The fish was the best with the Indian spices. It was a bit overpriced considering, but it was the only thing to eat in the near surroundings. Especially since we didn't have a car.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank foodlover76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mar y Selva Ecolodge

Property: Mar y Selva Ecolodge
Address: Costanera Sur Highway | Marker Km 170 go 500 south and 1100east, Ballena 60504, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Ballena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Ballena
Price range (per night): ₹ 6,758 - ₹ 10,171
Hotel Class:3 star — Mar y Selva Ecolodge 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Eco-style elegance! Mar y Selva Ecolodge is immersion in the jungle with all the comforts of home. Close to pristine beaches including Punta Uvita - famous Moses Pass and Whale’s Tail; Semi-Olympic pool, and personalized service. We overlook the Ballena Marine National Park; near Corcovado National Park; Caño Island Biological Reserve; the mangroves of the Sierpe and Terraba Rivers, Manuel Antonio National Park and several waterfalls, including Nauyaca Falls. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mar y Selva Ecolodge Hotel Ballena

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