My recent trip to Playa Grande, Costa Rica and stay at Playa Grande Inn left me underwhelmed and did not meet my expectations.
First the pros, the hotel is very close to the beach and surf spots - a 2 minute walk to the beach entrance where you can watch spectacular sunsets. There is a smoothie and juice bar at the hotel - a separate business that is run by a lady named Lyn. Excellent fruit smoothies, juices, granola and granola bars - this was my daily breakfast while I was there.
WiFi internet is fast and available throughout the property, making the absence of TVs and phones in the rooms alright.
Now for the cons:
1. The room - The pictures here don't lie. The hotel has very basic rooms. The room I stayed in had a bed, a desk and chair and that's it. No closet - only a hook on the door and 3 hangers to hang your clothes. No shelves for anything, only a small desk. What you can't tell from the pictures is that the walls of each room are very thin and you will hear every bit of noise your neighbor makes. As with all the noise from the pool area and the bar. Doesn't make for a relaxing night of sleep...
As for housekeeping - it was ok. I did not get my room cleaned until after my second night which was no big deal as I was by myself.
2. Bathroom - No hot water and low water pressure. I've posted a picture here of the shower curtain rod held up by a piece of wire - it looked like it would collapse.
3. Service - Some friends of mine were staying at PGI so I decided to join them there. They had been there for a month so when I arrived, my friends welcomed me into the resort, checked me into my room ("key is on the door, just let yourself in..."), told me how billing works (everything is on a tab system), gave me a WiFi password, facilitated renting a car and renting a surfboard for me, made suggestions on what to see and things to do in Playa Grande- everything that the staff/ management were supposed to do. It was extremely casual and as a guest felt like I would've been neglected had my friends not been there. I met Justen (the manager) and spoke to him 2 times during my stay, apart from emails I sent before I arrived. He seemed a bit indifferent. As a guest, I don't think I should be the one to first make an effort to warm up to the hotel manager.
4. Billing - When ordering drinks or meals at PGI everything is extremely casual. There is no printed menu or tariff sheet or even blackboard prices for anything. Nowhere does it say that service charge is standard. So what you pay for could very well be at the whim of the bartender. Doubly confusing as everything is in foreign currency. Drinks at the bar? Put it on my tab! But don't complain if there are errors later on. Nobody makes you sign for anything at the end of your meal or drinks.
My friends had complained about a few billing issues and were given the cold shoulder. "What do you expect for 20 bucks a night" was the response. I was not accurately billed at the end of my stay and had to pay for the balance on PayPal even though I asked for a bill the night before I checked out. Is a dollar here or a dollar there of a billing error worth complaining about. Probably not for the dollar value itself, but to reinforce the expectation of being honestly and accurately billed.
4. Value - I paid USD$50/ night - relatively cheap. However, I did expect more in terms of the room quality and service. Does relatively cheap equate to getting a poor quality room and receiving bad service? It seems to me that this is the hospitality philosophy that PGI operates on.
I've stayed in some places where US$50 gets you 3-4 star quality. This doesn't exist in Playa Grande (although I thought it did). However, there are places close by that would cost US$10-25 more per night, but the room quality (as shown online) are miles away from PGI. I can't speak for the service though. These are intangibles that can make or break a hotel stay - whether you are paying US$20/night, $50/night or $500/ night...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tropical life style Sugars Monkey is a small hostel where you can breath ocean; 150 mt from miles white sandy beach, welcomes its guests with pool surrounded of tropical garden where you can eat fresh and healthy food from our restaurant open from breakfast time till dinner. Eight room with air conditioning, ambient fans, private bathroom, shower and hot water; Two room settings: doble room for two occupancy and large room for four occupancy. Community space, gym and pool table are free for guest, Be Water surf rental and tour will happy to take you into waterworld ....... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Playa Grande Hotel Playa Grande
- Hotel Playa Grande
- Sugar's Monkey Costa Rica/Playa Grande