from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Submitted on 07-08-2016
This was our second trip to Costa Rica. Two years ago, we went to the Guanacaste region and had a very good time. This time, we wanted to explore a little further south. We decided on Manuel Antonio because we heard wonderful things about the National Park. We looked up several hotels, and in the end decided on Issimo Suites after looking at pictures and reading reviews on here, and we are SO glad we did. We had never stayed at a "boutique" hotel before, and we very much enjoyed ourselves. We we...
This was our second trip to Costa Rica. Two years ago, we went to the Guanacaste region and had a very good time. This time, we wanted to explore a little further south. We decided on Manuel Antonio because we heard wonderful things about the National Park. We looked up several hotels, and in the end decided on Issimo Suites after looking at pictures and reading reviews on here, and we are SO glad we did. We had never stayed at a "boutique" hotel before, and we very much enjoyed ourselves. We went the first week of June, which is the "rainy" season in Costa Rica. This doesn't mean that it rains all the time, but it typically does rain at least once a day and is usually fairly cloudy all the time. We were not bothered by this at all, as it is also considered their "low" season, and it is much less crowded. The resort is located off the main road down near one of the points. It feels very secluded, and we found it to be very romantic. They offer regular rooms, as well as penthouse suites, and one Royal suite. The Penthouse suites have in-room jacuzzi tubs. The Royal suite has it's own private pool. We wanted to book the Royal suite, but it was booked for part of the time that we were there, so we went with one of the Penthouse suites instead.
The room itself was very beautiful. The wall facing the ocean is nothing but glass windows, and you have a private balcony with chairs and a small table. We sat out there on several occasions, listening to the waves crash and bird-watching. Several times we saw toucans in the trees! The hotel itself is set up the hill a small bit, but you still have ocean views and can listen to the waves. Inside, there is a seating area with plenty of room to lounge, and a TV. There is also seating all along the windows as well. (Of note: there are lots of curtains along these windows to block out the sun that rises early in the morning) The room has a large king-sized bed with white linens. We never found our linens to look soiled, they were always clean. There is a small chair next to the bedside table, and then you get into the "bathroom" area.
Our room had a massive jacuzzi tub. Though I only used it one time, I really liked it. We did talk to another couple who said they found a scorpion inside theirs, but the staff quickly came and disposed of it for them. We didn't have that problem at all. As a previous reviewer mentioned, the bathroom is decorated with large stones on the wall (which you can see in all the photos here) and I actually kind of liked it. It felt kind of like a grotto to me. There is a stand-up shower with sink and vanity areas just across from it. It would have been nice to have a door on the shower, purely because the water tended to spray out a bit and get the floor wet. The water temperature also never got extremely hot. I didn't mind, as I don't take super hot showers, but my husband did say he wished the temperatures had been a little warmer. It was a little odd to have the wooden shutter "doors" to go to the toilet area, but we didn't mind it. Yes, it does lack a bit of privacy, but I was here with my husband, so we didn't mind too much. Through the toilet area is a large closet with plenty of shelving, as well as a safe. You also have a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee pot, as well as a small desk near the door.
I have to say that the service at Issimo was top notch. We made many new friends. A few people that come to mind are Alexander (a waiter at night) and Ricardo (a waiter during the day) and Hernan who works at the front desk. Everyone was extremely nice, but these three really stood out. There is a restaurant on the main floor, open-air, with beautiful views of the ocean. Breakfast is included every morning, and you can have it ordered and brought to your room for no additional cost. Depending on the day, there were different menus to choose from. My favorite was the "Typico" breakfast menu, but they were all really good. We did eat at the restaurant twice for dinner, and were pleased both times with the food and service.
The hotel also has a pool area with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There is also a nook tucked underneath where the restaurant is (the pool is on a lower level) with couches set up and lots of books that you can read. The pool was really nice. Very clean water that was nice and cool. The end of the pool was 12 feet deep too! The only day that we chose to use the pool and hang out, we were visited by a capuchin monkey who walked around the pool, lounged at the water side, and dipped his feet in the water. It was really neat to see. There was also a really large iguana that hung around the pool deck as well.
There is a small beach about a 10-minute walk further down the point from the hotel. To get to it, you do briefly walk through the jungle. The path is a little rocky, so be sure you have some good shoes. All I had were sandals, unfortunately, so I had to be extra careful. The beach was called Playa Beiszanz and truly is a hidden gem. We were told about it by Alexander at the hotel. Apparently it's a bit of a local spot. There are people who set up areas down on the beach to rent equipment for snorkeling, kayaking, etc. The first day that we went, we went really early, about 7:30 in the morning, and found ourselves walking down the path with a local guy. We ended up talking with him on our way down, he asked us how we found out about this beach, and we talked to him for a long time. He goes by Big Al, though his name is Alvaro. He used to be a guide for Canopy Safari, which is a zipline company (we ended up using it, I've also reviewed it) and he quit to open up his own company. He rents snorkeling equipment, as well as kayaks and paddle boards on the beach. We told him that we were wanting to do some excursions. He knows just about everyone and if theres something you want to do, chances are he has a connection somewhere. We booked a few excursions through him, and in return, he let us come back to the beach another day and use all his equipment for free. He's a really nice guy, and he really helped us find the best things to do while we were in town. If you go to Beiszanz, find Big Al!
One of the nicest things about our trip was that we went in the off season, so it was not crowded whatsoever. We were told at one point we were one of the only couples at the hotel, which was really nice. We never felt crowded, and the ambience the whole time was very romantic.
I can't rave enough about the staff, the location, and the views. It was a wonderful experience that made me grow to love Costa Rica even more than I already do.