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“Quite place but out of the way”
Review of Hotel Fonda Vela

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Hotel Fonda Vela
Ranked #12 of 20 Hotels in Monteverde
Reviewed 19 July 2012

Our room had a loft with double bed and a queen bed on ground floor. Rooms are basic but comfortable. No a/c but fans were sufficient during our stay. Service at reception was friendly. You will need help with luggage as some rooms are fair distance from reception but the staff will assist. There is a pool but we did not use it.
The hotel is second last stop for shuttles if you are planning to do zip lining and the ride is torture due to bad road. Food was OK for our liking at the hotel. We walked to Tromonti for fantastic Pizza. It is a mile away on dirt road and uphill coming back. There is a grocery store and bakery along the way.
Night tour of Ficus trail was a bit disappointing but the guide was good. Salvatura park was excellent place for zip lining, humming birds, butterflies and reptile exhibits. They provided a shuttle. Coffee tour was educational and fun for family as a late afternoon activity.

Room Tip: Choose the hotel with location of your activities in mind. Our room with loft was good for family of...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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Thank traveltoexperience
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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365 - 369 of 702 reviews

Reviewed 10 July 2012

Great location, great staff (thank you Johnny, Manrique and Willy) also great food at their restaurant. Rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Definitely a really nice family hotel

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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Thank PBMonge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2012

To put this review in context, visitors considering travelling to Monteverde have to understand that the Cloud Forest Area is an incredibly beautiful region but thankfully "relatively" underdeveloped part of Costa Rica - meaning that while there is a town with "supermarket," restaurants, tour operators, etc., most of the hotels are scattered throughout the outskirts of town, which means a lot of poorly paved (by American standards) roads, lots of bugs and critters, and dense, unmanicured, beautiful foliage. So if you show up in here with white pants and Christian Louboutin stilettos, you will look like a complete idiot. Now, on with the review.

This hotel is on the whole very nicely maintained. The reception building is small, but has computers with internet access that you can use while the office is open (7 AM - 9 PM most days). The front desk staff is very friendly and will have tour information on hand. There is someone who will help you with your luggage to your room (driven in a truck, since the path from the reception to all of the rooms are unpaved). There is excellent WiFi service (free) in the reception area and the restaurant only.

The rooms are in small buildings spread over the property, some smaller with fewer units, some larger. Upon arrival, our party was upgraded from deluxe rooms to junior suites for free, which was a pleasant surprise. However, the deluxe rooms would have been perfectly fine. The main thing the junior suite adds is an extra sitting area, with perhaps better views. Our building overlooked the fountain and garden that is shown in many of the hotel's brochures. The interior of our rooms were dark wood, so at night, the whole room is not very well lit (again, speaking as someone who is used to the excesses of American life, where a bedroom will have 6 recessed lights). I did not find that the furniture was "outdated" as much as it was "traditional." (It's not as if there is a Crate and Barrel down the street, with a lot of contemporary furniture shipped fresh from China.) The rooms are clean with daily housekeeping service that is excellent. We had a TV in our room that had 2 channels with English language, but really, the point of being here is to enjoy the area, not hang out in the room raiding the mini-fridge (which the room also had). The bathrooms are not as nice as the room itself; they are poorly lit, no fan (so if you want to air it out, open a window), thin towels, with soap and shampoo dispenser. The shower/toilet room is plain tile with discolored grout - BUT if you consider how incredibly humid this area is, it is amazing how good of a job the housekeepers do to keep the bathrooms clean. The sink is nice; marble or granite countertops and wood-framed mirror. There are 2 cotton robes.

The paths around the hotel are not paved, and it can get muddy as you walk around. Also, we were on the first floor, so we had a lot of bugs at night, especially when it rained (which was every evening) - mainly small crawling types that congregate at the entry and bathroom (which is right next to the entry). My recommendation is that you wear flip flops around the room and do NOT leave food items open. Bring tupperware and gallon or quart sized ziploc bags, so if you do bring snacks back to the room, you can seal them up.

There are dehumidifer units in our rooms which cut out a lot of the musty smell. If your room did not come with one, just ask the front desk; they are very accommodating. You will need an umbrella; our rooms came with a large one which was handy for walking to the pool as showers can pop up unexpectedly.

The pool is very pretty. The water is COLD but if you are used to swimming outdoors, in lakes, etc it should be fine. My kids did not mind and after a few laps, I was ok. There are two hot tubs (one lukewarm, one hot). My only criticism is that the pool area is covered in stone tiles that get very slick, so watch the little ones closely as they run around on the slippery surfaces. The pool area makes for colorful photos. Next to the pool area is a small recreational room with ping-pong table, fooz-ball, and pool table, with small tables and chairs. Both the pool and rec room are outdoors but covered. There is a bar that is open during limited hours (mostly until 6 pm). The locker rooms are below the pool and upscale, with showers, lockers, and toilets.

If you are in relatively good shape (e.g. someone who does light hiking and can tolerate the humidity), you should be able to walk from the hotel to the small town, which has a cheese factory/ice cream shop, bat cave, art co-op, a small food shop, and a few restaurants. I mention this because the hotel restaurant only serves during limited hours, and the prices are quite high ("NYC prices") for the quality of food. Up the hill from the hotel in the opposite direction is a short hike that will lead you to the Monteverde Reserve. I recommend while there that you check out the beautiful hummingbird garden (which is free) by the gift shop and cafe. Bring rain gear because even though the sun may be fully out when you start off, it can quickly turn to stormy skies as you are walking.

To get to the downtown part of Santa Elena (with supermarket, shops, etc.), you will need to drive.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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9  Thank CAWorkingMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2012

Fonda Vela is a very nice hotel in about 34 acres of mainly wooded grounds where there is a large variety of bird life, including toucanets, bell birds, parokeets, and so many more. The rooms are spacious and very clean, and the staff are so very helpful. Down the road - about a 10-15 min walk is a nice little whole foods store, the CASEM womens cooperative craft store, Costa Rican restaurants, an Italian restaurant and coffee house (Stella's). If you enjoy birding or just experiencing the cloud forest. Trips to the zip-lines and the canopy tours can be arranged from the hotel and the bus picks you up right there.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bexleygirl-111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2012

We stayed there on our 3rd leg of the trip arriving from Arenal area. Due to all the negative previous reviews couldn't believe that people stayed at the same place. We found Fonda Vela to be a beautiful, peaceful place with very accommodating stuff, due to low season we also been upgraded to a junior suite without asking, which was huge with 2 large beds. We had a complimentary breakfast and a very nice dinner at the restaurant there. It is kind of remote from town. But we saw a rare birds (mot mot), animals and enjoyed a hanging bridges and zip lining tour, the best for just $40. Also went on Don Juan coffee tour where they show you the whole process of producing delicious coffee and you can buy it there at the farm too.
The only difficult part is to get to Monteverde, there are a very picturesque serpentine road, but is not paved for about an hour, took a life out of us, but definitely worth the trip.

Room Tip: go in low season to be upgraded
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank EE58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Fonda Vela

Address: 1km past the Monteverde Cheese Factory and 2km before the Monteverde Reserve., Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 20 Hotels in Monteverde
Price Range: ₹ 6,083 - ₹ 15,532 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Fonda Vela 3.5*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fonda Vela Hotel is located in beautifulMonteverde, famous for its Resplendent Quetzals,Three-wattled Bellbirds, an abundance of orchids anda gorgeous cloud forest. The climate is refreshing,often referred to as "The Eternal Spring". The views ofthe Gulf of Nicoya from the hotel’s 1400-meterelevation are spectacular. Monteverde is an idealdestination for relaxing and enjoying the wonders ofthe tropics. A visit of at least two nights inMonteverde is recommended. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fonda Vela Hotel
Fonda Vela Monteverde

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