Hotel Review: El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica

I feel guilty writing a tepid review of this or any property without this preface about my predisposition: I love the sun. My husband jokes (fairly) that I have a solar battery. If it is not charged up, I am depleted. Happiness and comfort wane immediately. So please consider this review of a hotel located in a so-called “cloud forest” through that filter.

Ahem, now then.

El Establo Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica

The best part of El Establo in Monteverde: the view

Because Monteverde’s El Establo Mountain Hotel sprawls up and down a steep hill — er, as its name implies — the views from the rooms at the top are incredible. But the other side of that coin: The lodging buildings and other buildings (restaurant, spa, and the like) are quite far apart and challenging to access. There’s a shuttle that drives the route periodically, but it’s not ideal to have to wait for one; we’d mostly have preferred to walk, but it was often raining, given the location in the cloud forest and all!

(N.B.: I visited with my 69-year-old mother, who’s never deterred by a chance to hike rather than sit — but when you’re in a hurry to catch a tour, and it’s raining, it can prove frustrating to get from top to bottom of the hill.)

El Establo Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Among the lodging buildings on the hill at El Establo Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Another drawback: the sleep quality. The walls between guest rooms are paper thin. I felt the people next door were actually talking in our room. Not ideal for a light sleeper.

But here are some additional upsides: The staff people were all very kind and accommodating. At the restaurant, for instance, the server brought a special vegetarian meal prepared just for me, although there were multiple vegetarian options on the buffet (and of course I’m used to scraping my own improvised veggie meals together when I travel anyway). Conveniently, there’s also Wi-Fi in the lobby.

Overall, an adequately nice choice with a dramatic view as the highlight.


El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Price: $$ out of a possible $$$$
Location: 3 out of a possible 4
Sleep quality: Z out of a possible ZZZZ
Service: **** out of a possible ****
Overall grade: B

Date of visit: December, 2011

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