What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
The lodge is about 3 hours away from San Jose through the mountains. The roads are safe but very twisty, stunning scenery on the way. Upon arrival we were greeted with towels (partially dry) and hand sanitizer (a nice touch due to coronavirus). Although El Silencio is beautiful, I found the initial impressions not as welcoming as I would have expected as the woman who greeted us and explained everything was not that friendly, I could say COLD. However the rest of the staff I encountered were lovely The lodge has about 20 villas (cottages) spread out on the property, so much so that it appears empty even when full. Villas are stunning!!! Ours was a two bedroom unit with a hot tub overlooking a Rushing stream. Activities include hiking, horseback riding and cooking lessons etc. Many of the activities are not included in your room fee so need to be added on (25-100 US/person plus tip). All of the activities that we participated in have knowledgeable and fun/patient guides. They have a number of hiking trails onsite and you are free to wander the property. Beautiful waterfall hike as well as a lookout hike too! Because El Silencio is remote, you have really no great options for meals other than the Lodge. Bear this in mind if you are planning on staying a few days, especially if you are a vegetarian, as they do have some options, but it will quickly becomes repetitive. Even meat eaters, can find the menu a little underwhelming after 2 days.
Wellbeing in a wonderful place.
El Silencio Lodge and Spa has two new, recently appointed key members of staff: The General Manager and the Chef – and I wish them both the very best in effecting improvements to elevate their guest experience. We very much enjoyed staying at Il Silencio but due to a number of factors I don’t feel that I can give it an ‘excellent’ review. The property is extensive and beautiful. All staff, including the guides, are professional and courteous; and clearly trained to be customer-focused and – as and when necessary – have the autonomy to make their own problem-solving decisions: An enviable corporate culture which is to be thoroughly applauded. The wi-fi connection throughout the property is excellent: Seamless and relatively fast. Our cabin (suite) was spacious, clean, comfortable and private, constructed of high quality materials and fixtures. (It was not of recent construction, but has clearly stood the test of time well.) It was great to have a 'chorreador de café' (traditional Costa Rican coffee maker) in the room, and impressive that the complimentary 50g packs of ground coffee were replenished daily. Housekeeping was faultless and excellent. During the evening turndown service we noticed that the room temperature had been turned up at the thermostat. We prefer to sleep in a cool environment, but it just needed a note to housekeeping to prevent this from happening again. The hot tub (jet pool) was fun, and we were correctly advised during the check-in process that it takes a few hours to warm up. The only real reservation I have about the suite is the noise made by the jet pool’s pump. It’s totally relaxing to sit out on the private viewing deck to enjoy the lovely view and peaceful sounds of the cloud forest – but this tranquillity and feeling of well-being was sometimes disturbed by the whirring sound of the jet pool pumps emanating from other (or indeed one’s own) cabin. Many, many positives. A beautiful location, and a great place to stay. My only real reservation was the food and wine offering: Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but in my view there are opportunities for improvement – something for which I have no doubt that the new Chef has started to plan. I must stress that all the restaurant and bar staff were extremely courteous and professional at all times, and were ready to bend over backwards to fulfil any need or request: They were all fantastic. However, we found the menu to be lacking on a number of levels. It was rather expensive, and in our opinion did not always deliver good value. There is an attempt at a fusion of ‘fine dining’ (whatever that really means) using local and traditional ingredients. A great and admirable idea, but for us it didn’t always work well and we found a number of the dishes to be a bit ‘mushy’ – something which I suppose could easily happen using ingredients such as maize ‘pasta’ with lots of (tasty) sauce; or local trout and root vegetables swimming in lots of (tasty) sauce. Another case in point was the plantain ‘crème brûlée’, which for us didn’t work. The burnt caramel was expertly prepared and perfect, but the plantain was mushy, and there was too much of it compared to the hard upper layer. Breakfast was decent, but not the best we experienced during our time in Costa Rica (perhaps for similar reasons). We found the wine list to be rather expensive (but possibly not incongruous with ‘fine dining’ expectations). However, we tried the house wines and found them perfectly ok. On one evening we paid $75 for a bottle of wine, apparently from a new supplier’s range, only to find it rather ordinary in our view, which was a disappointment. Also, the time we ordered a bottle of white wine in the restaurant it arrived warm, so needed to be chilled in an ice bucket; and the time we ordered a bottle of red wine in the restaurant it arrived chilled so needed to be warmed. (We were probably unlucky.) However, in the bar the glasses of red and white wines we ordered were all served at an appropriate temperature. We regret not having attended the wine tasting event, as the Sommelier was courteous, professional and seemed very knowledgeable. During our stay we went on the ‘mystic hike’, which was a fantastic experience. Informative, interesting and great fun: On the walk we were lucky enough to see a troop of spider monkeys. Bravo to the guide, whose laid-back style, wealth of knowledge and ability to inspire and enthuse made the mystic hike extra-special. We also hiked up to the waterfalls on the property: Very enjoyable, but without the benefit of an expert guide – who could spot a leafcutter ant at 150m – we must have missed out on a lot of flora and fauna that afternoon. We were sad to leave El Silencio and despite only giving a ‘very good’ review would definitely recommend this lovely place, and would enthusiastically return at the drop of a hat, in a heartbeat and given half a chance. A wonderful place.
Beautiful setting, excellent service
Ticks most of my boxes. A small hotel with rooms in individual buildings across the site. Ours was a short walk to reception (where the bar and restaurant are also situated), but golf buggies are available for more distant rooms or disabled. The grounds are well kept, and lead through well maintained trails into the cloud forest. Nearer to the hotel is a beautiful hummingbird garden (tip; sit on a bench and wait, and hummingbirds will appear) and more local trails. Good range of activities. We did rappelling and zip lines, which we thoroughly enjoyed, a walk up to the waterfalls, and a cooking class. All well staffed by knowledgeable staff. The cooking class probably cost about the same as lunch, and have us the use of the private dining area by the river, so extra value. Only downside is that it is quite expensive. Realistically, with a 30 minute drive to the nearest alternative restaurant, you will eat at the hotel. The food is good, but not remarkable. Breakfast very good, with a range of Costa Rican options every day. A very enjoyable stay.
Holiday in Bajos dark Torro region CR
Great hotel, beautiful views of forests. Good food and chef is talented. Although menu choices are limited. Nice breakfasts. Rooms are very very nice with private jacuzzis. I would say one of the better hotels in the region if not one of the best.
Location is the winner here - restaurant, service & facilities need some improvement.
The suites at El Silencio Lodge & Spa are thoughtfully arranged up the mountainside to give you privacy and good views of the cloud forest. There is a spa on site and an area where you can do zip lining etc. if that takes your fancy. There is a heated outdoor jacuzzi in each suite, but it takes two hours to warm up, which is a bit frustrating. Ours needed to be repaired and didn't work until our last day. As the name suggests, it is extremely peaceful here. There are a large number of activities and excursions available, but all need to be pre-booked and it is probably best to do this before you arrive than when you are here as the timings are difficult to co-ordinate and minimum numbers + notice for transportation etc. is required. A number of the activities seemed to be either cancelled or fully booked - i.e. - they weren't running, despite being written on the board. It would be far better if there was a pre arranged programme covering the most popular activities so that you could ensure you made the most of your time here and costs were kept to a minimum by grouping people together. There is a garden in the grounds laid out with flowers specially designed to attract hummingbirds, which they do. You can hike to three waterfalls just 2kms from the lodge. A mystic hiking trail, visit to the organic farm/garden and tree planting are complimentary activities, but everything else has to be pre-booked and paid for. You can only book into the restaurant on a daily basis. We were given a choice of 6 or 8.30 when we arrived at lunch time - not ideal really. If the hotel is busy, it may be best to ring ahead to "book your slot". Being early to breakfast is also a good idea if you want to be sure there is something other than water melon left in the tropical fruit selection when the hotel is full. The restaurant is good for lunch, but the evening service and menu didn't really impress. On our second night, the starters we ordered never arrived and it took an hour and a half to be served our main course. The location is the real winner here - the restaurant, service and facilities definitely need some improvement. It's a shame because the staff are universally lovely, try so hard and are always so sorry when things go wrong. Checkout my travel blog (no ads. - just an honest view from someone who has actually been there!) for our full itinerary and practical insider tips. View my trip report for my top ten "must dos" for a luxury trip to Costa Rica.
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