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Casa Chameleon Hotel Mal Pais
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Reviewed 2 December 2015

This place was amazing! Everything from the staff to the villas was perfect. My husband and I booked this resort back in April. We read the reviews and were very excited and then we learned it was the rainy season. Did it rain? Yes - but we were fortunate and it only rained at night - which was heavenly listening to it on the tin roof of Villa Ultra.
My husband and I are married 40 years this year and it was my 60th birthday. We had told no one, but our little 3 year old grandson called to say "Happy Birthday". The staff heard and that very night we were asked to have a free drink at the bar while they got our villa ready. We were treated to dinner overlooking our pool and the sunset. What a fantastic treat! AND - what a way to begin a wonderful week at Casa Chameleon.
The staff is beyond comparison. From check in with Alvarro and Jayme to Cesar and Andrea in the dining area they are perfect. Each one adds to your experience by being friendly, answering questions and genuinely caring about your stay at the Casa. Food - there are no words to describe what Pabro serves. Each dish is made with such thought from the ingredients to the presentation.
Some things to consider when booking your stay:
1. If you travel through Tambor - you are only allowed 30lbs. per passenger - They do weigh your luggage. We purchased lightweight duffle bags and rolled our clothing. We had plenty! You need something nice for evening but not fancy and during the day you will live in bathing suits and cover-ups.
2. Forget a car - rent an ATV for the entire stay. We had a blast traveling the roads between Montezuma and Santa Thersa. There are so many little paths to take to beaches, fun places to dine for lunch, and sites to visit. Go - experience the area.
3. Purchase the half-board plan. We had breakfast and dinner each day. You pick your time to dine the meal prior along with choosing your main course. We were so very pleased with each selection. With Pabro cooking - you cannot go wrong.
4. Go on some of the excursions. Our favorite was the zip lines in Montezuma - we drove our own ATV and then went to waterfalls afterward.
5. Participate in family night (Wednesday) at the Casa. You will meet all the other guests and have a wonderful meal.
6. Take cash. Many of the restaurants and bars will not take credit. You can exchange your money at San Jose at the airport.
Married 40 years, we have had some very memorable vacations. This was one of our favorites. The villas are beautiful - the resort is small and intimate. You will not be disappointed. Best news - they are building a second Casa Cameleon in another location!!!!

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank TNHoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2015

Stay in Villa Estrella, you can't go wrong. Excellent staff and an incredibly beautiful resort. As other reviews post the food in the resort is exceptional. We were incredibly impressed with all aspects of this resort.

  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Reid L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2015

If you're looking for a honeymoon hotel in Costa Rica, stop looking. We had lofty expectations based on the photos and reviews posted here – and we were not disappointed. Tucked in the trees on a steep hill overlooking the Pacific, the scenery everywhere on the property was consistently beautiful. We stayed in Villa Pochote, which was clean, well appointed, and gorgeously situated, as advertised.

The staff was fantastic. Andrea and Cesar were incredibly warm and genuine, and both can fix a delicious cocktail. Jaime, Alvaro, and Adrian were each very helpful at various times in helping us plan our daily outings. Chef Pabro graciously allowed us to sit at the bar in front of the kitchen for dinner one night, and explained the meal/his philosophy on food while he cooked. He has a wealth of knowledge about local history and ecology, and has a good sense of humor, in addition to being an incredible chef. We were honored to spend the evening with him.

Which brings me to the food. Every meal incorporated fresh, local ingredients and was made with passion, skill, and creativity. Their commitment to fresh, in-season ingredients means that you don’t always know what is for dinner. You’ll leave the hotel in the morning having ordered the “catch of the day” without knowing what that will be, but rest assured it will be one of the best meals you’ve ever eaten. The food was perhaps the highlight of our trip.

The Mal Pais/Santa Teresa/Montezuma area has a lot to do– we explored many beaches along the coast (Playa Hermosa is the least crowded and has the fewest rocks), and did the waterfalls/canopy tour in Montezuma (recommended). We also spent a fair amount of time lounging at our villa, enjoying the pool and forest views. We lucked out with the weather – despite the fact that we visited during the rainy season, we had plenty of sunshine, with a mix of overcast and a couple hard downpours (one lasted all night) during our stay. The hot, humid weather made our villa’s pool feel that much better.

We rented an SUV for 3 days – in retrospect, we should have rented it for the entire week. Cabs are available, but the cost adds up if you use them frequently, and we enjoyed the independence of having a vehicle.

All in all, Casa Chameleon provided the perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, and incredible meals that we hoped for from our honeymoon. Thank you for a beautiful week!

  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank jmalc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2015

This place is absolutely magical. My wife and I just returned from our Honeymoon. It far exceeded my expectations, and now we are looking for any excuse to return. The property and landscaping are stunning, the layout of the villas is thoughtful and promotes privacy, and the villas are well cleaned and maintained. There is exotic plantlife and wildlife all over the property. The service is very friendly and helpful - we wish we could have taken Andrea home with us when we left, she was very kind. The reception team was great at letting us know about itineraries and details for our planned activities.

My wife and I stayed in Villa Sol for 6 nights. I highly recommend it, although after talking with the other couples, I'm not sure that you can go wrong in your selection. Villa Sol had a great pool, tanning deck in the water, very lush tropical landscaping, a very comfortable bed, and a large shower and bathroom. We could watch the sunset over the pacific each day from any point in our Villa, even in the bed, shower, or pool.

We purchased a package that included breakfast each day, and we arranged to have dinner at the restaurant on our first and last evening. The food is impeccable, with very generous portions. Each breakfast came with coffee or tea, a fresh squeezed juice (changes daily), a large plate of tropical fruit, and your choice of two daily specials, as well as eggs & accouterments, or yogurt & granola. My wife most enjoyed the Costa Rican french toast with coconut and blackberry, while I favorited the carrot cake wedge and the "bread nest". As awesome as the breakfasts were, the dinners were even better. Three courses, each one very unique and made just for you. Chef Ty was filling in for Chef Pabro while he was away, and he absolutely killed it.The appetizers were almost enough to fill you up on their own, and the deserts are wonderful. For the mains, we had snapper, lamb, and mahi.

In addition to the wonderful breakfasts and dinners, we also enjoyed the amazing cocktails prepared by Andrea and Cesar. We made a habit of trying to order one of each type of cocktail during our stay, and we were never disappointed.

For the rest of our meals, we ventured into Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa, and Montezuma to try the local food. Honestly, we never missed once. For lunches, we tried The Bakery, Burger Rancho, Taco Corner, Las Palmeras Soda, and the Bakery in Montezuma. For dinners out, we tried Casa Del Mar, Umi Sushi, Red Snapper, Banana Boat (sunset here is killer), Habenero, and Las Piedras. Every place we tried had something unique and delicious for each of us.

As far as getting around goes, I highly recommend getting the ATV. The roads are in rough condition, and this is the best way to get around quickly and easily without having to slow to a stop for all of the potholes, mud patches, and river crossings. Plus, its genuinely a more fun way to get around. Bring a raincoat with you if you're worried about getting wet, and always drive with sunglasses to block out the dust. At night, I used my clear biking glasses to protect my eyes.

For activities, we did the zip lining and waterfall tour in Montezuma, surfing lessons, the Cabo Blanco natural preserve hike, and the couples message. If you are active and adventurous, I recommend all of them. One tip - for the hike, wear appropriate footwear and bring water. We saw far too many people trying to hike in sandals, and they appeared to be in pain. A nice light, supportive hiking boot would be best.

I can't say enough about this place, or the amazing people that work there.

Pura Vida!

Room Tip: Villa Sol is the closest to the restaurant, bar & common pool if you are worried about the number of steps.
  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Austin_ATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2015

We returned from a 7-night stay at Casa Chameleon yesterday. This vacation was intended to be a relaxing get-away for my wife and I and it more than lived up to our expectations. Often when we book a hotel or vacation we're a bit let down when we arrive at the destination--the pictures often make it look better than it is. This was absolutely not the case at Casa Chameleon. The pictures of the resort and the rooms are spot on.

We stayed in the Pachote Villa and were so pleased with our surroundings that we often had to motivate ourselves to leave the room. The ambiance was amazing. In addition to the villa being spotless, the bed was super comfortable, the shower was luxurious and the patio and plunge pool area with a view of the pacific through the jungle was better than we could have possibly imagined. We made a point each day to have coffee on the patio while enjoying the jungle sounds and views.

While our Villa was wonderful the staff at the resort made our stay even more enjoyable. In the restaurant Cesar and Andrea were welcoming and made us feel like family. Always available to answer questions and share information on the area they are incredibly valuable members of the staff. They coordinated with Reception to find out the details of our days and planned our meal times accordingly.

Meals were incredible. The main chef was on vacation while we were there and when we heard that we were a bit disappointed. That is until we had one of the substitute chef's, Chef Ty's, meals. If the substitute chef was that good, we can't even imagine how good the regular chef must be!

Sadly, we had to leave and return home to real life but this is one vacation that allowed us to completely relax and leave our worries behind. We highly recommend Casa Chameleon!

Room Tip: We loved our stay in the Pachote Villa
  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Harbrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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