I don’t even know how to start writing this as usually when I write reviews I try to use the sandwich approach (something positive, negative in the middle and then end with something positive) but this would mean that I need at least two positive things to say.
Before I had arrived at the hotel, my Uber driver was telling me that I was very brave to be staying here alone, not to go out at night and what areas were “safe”. When Lincoln tells me that I’m brave for going to Costa Rica on my own it’s one thing, but when the locals seem concerned for your safety – it’s not very comforting. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I was a little worried but I thought maybe he was just trying to make small talk.
When I arrived it was apparent that the hotel was in a very busy location/intersection – constant sound of busses beeping their horns at one another and kids hanging out on the street calling out to passers by. At this point I wasn’t too worried because I didn’t envisage that I would be hanging out the front of the hotel.
I went up to the reception desk and was greeted by a lady who had reasonable English. I checked and she told me to “wait one moment” so I waited one moment. Then she walked off saying “one moment” so I waited about 10-15 minutes in the lobby when I was approached by her handing me the keys abruptly saying “307” and then when she started walking off I asked her if she said 307 (to confirm) and she nodded and walked off. I assumed that this would be on the 3rd floor, so I found the lift and then went up to my room. The door was wide open waiting for me and I felt like I was in either a large hostel or an old hospital that they’d converted. It was all very stark.
When I entered my room, it was very basic. I chose this hotel because on the website and on Expedia (who I booked this through) it said that it had an extensive list of facilities. I think rather than providing paragraph after paragraph of information I’ll use some of the items on this list to guide this post.
- Free WiFi – it existed but it was very average. When i’m using the internet as a means to communicate with Lincoln and people back home and post things online, having internet that drops out is a real pain.
- Computer station – never saw this so I can’t comment on it. Unless this is referring to the tablet-like computer next to the front desk, in which case it’s very public and probably wouldn’t be good for much.
- 24-hour front desk – every time I approached the front desk I had to wait for someone to come and meet me.
- Free breakfast – I was too annoyed at my nights stay to go downstairs for breakfast.
- Laundry facilities – Not sure what this is, there was no information in the room or in the lobby about this. I also didn’t see a laundry room. I suspect this is one of the myriad of things I would have needed to go downstairs to ask the reception staff about.
- Family Hotel – It is not.
- Soundproofed rooms – I was kept awake all night with sirens and traffic and people shouting in the hallway.
- Blackout drapes/curtains – I had one thin white see-through curtain thing that was more like a mosquito net. Nothing blackout about that.
- Free toiletries – One shampoo/conditioner combo and a sad soap. While yes, they’re free, I certainly wouldn’t be boasting about it.
- Room service (limited hours) – except there is no menu and no number to call. I sent them a message on Facebook asking about this and for the items on the menu and they said that it would be $2 for room service but couldn’t actually tell me what was on the menu. Later turns out, the menu is the food menu for the bar downstairs and you need to go downstairs to see what’s on the menu. So yes, they have room service but you have to go downstairs to get it. May as well save the $2 and carry it up the stairs yourself.
In addition to this, the flush on my toilet was broken, the mattress had a permanent and prominent dip in the middle of it, there were long dark hairs on my pillows, the floor was sticky and the only powerpoint accessible is behind the bed. I didn’t even have a shower in the 24 hours I was there for fear of getting tinea or something. I was also interrupted at one point by a member of staff banging on my door because he thought that someone else was meant to be staying in my room.
While I was staying there, the information for my up and coming tour arrived back at home which Lincoln opened for me. Long story short, in this information it said that I was currently staying in the red light district. While that doesn’t really bother me, the more I thought about it the more I realised that the area was probably unsafe for me. I got to Googling… it was probably naive of me, but apparently Costa Rica has a huge sex tourism market that I was unaware of. If I were staying with Lincoln or friends it probably would have been safer for me, but as a lone, non-Spanish speaking female who is as white as a ghost, drawing attention to myself was far from what I wanted. I didn’t feel safe leaving the hotel to get food or to see central San Jose. It then occurred to me that the only female I had seen in the entire hotel (including the bar and restaurant) was the lady at reception and another one working at the bar. I started researching the area and whether or not there was somewhere near where I was staying that I could go and hang out that wasn’t in the middle of the red light district. It said the two best places to stay in the red light district (or the worst in my case) were Hotel Cocal and Casino and Hotel City One. It looked as though Hotel City one was on the same block at Cocoon Hotel, but, then I realised it was the same hotel under a different name. They’ve obviously re-branded because of the awful reputation that it has and the area, but it was at this point when I realised that I needed to relocate pronto.
I booked new accommodation, packed up my things and went downstairs to check out and cancel the remainder of my booking. The moment I started discussing refunding the remaining four nights it seemed like English was no longer something that the staff could handle, so I left. I’m now currently negotiating with Expedia for a refund for this.
I included a room tour in this video below!
Bye for now!