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El Silencio Lodge & Spa 4.0

Poas Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Situated in a beautiful, remote valley adjacent to Poas Volcano
  • Suites feature minibars, luxurious bathrooms, and private outdoor hot tubs  
  • Villas upgrade to full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and spacious decks  
  • All-day restaurant with river views, free breakfast, and local fare 
  • Free hot, made-to-order breakfast 
  • Adventure park with waterfall rappelling, zip-lining, and miles of hiking 
  • Lovely rain forest spa with an open-air yoga/meditation deck
  • Wi-Fi is free in all rooms and common areas 
  • Tap water is spring-fed, filtered, and safe to drink 
  • Free valet parking

Cons

  • No kids under the age of eight are allowed (pro for some)
  • No pool 
  • Wi-Fi can be spotty
  • Nothing within walking distance; little within driving distance

Bottom Line

The aptly named El Silencio Lodge & Spa caters to guests seeking a secluded upscale rain forest getaway. The 16 rooms include entry-level Suites with spacious layouts, minibars, and private decks with outdoor hot tubs. Villas upgrade to house-style layouts with full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and wide decks. A range of outdoor opportunities like waterfall rappelling, zip-lining, and hiking is available at the adventure park. The spa, free hot breakfast, and free valet parking are nice upscale perks. However, with just one restaurant and a remote location, some guests may find the on-site amenities too limited once the sun sets. Note that kids under the age of eight aren't allowed here. Although it's less sophisticated, Xandari Resort & Spa offers many of the same amenities for less money.

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Scene

Remote, upscale eco-lodge with hints of sophistication

The decor is tropical contemporary throughout every room and common area. Dark wood furnishings, tasteful local artwork and accents, and a beige color palette are soothing and sophisticated but sometimes border on bland. Children under eight-years-old are not permitted here, resulting in an atmosphere that’s quiet and distinctly adult-oriented. Most guests come for the wealth of opportunities available in the outdoor adventure park. The park and relatively small restaurant provide the only real gathering spots or sources of entertainment. Consequently, the resort effectively shuts down after dark because there's simply nothing to do. Most guests are perfectly happy with that, however, as they come seeking quiet and solitude from the remote, 500-acre property.

Location

In a lush, beautiful valley adjacent Poas Volcano, 90 minutes from SJO airport

The resort's location in a remote rain forest valley is a mixed blessing. With close proximity to the popular Poas Volcano, guests have easy access to an array of outdoor adventure opportunities within the hotel grounds and in the volcano park. However, there's nothing within walking distance and little even within driving distance. The nearest collection of restaurants and shops requires a 50-minute drive south to the postage stamp-sized town of Sarchi.

In normal traffic, the closest major airport -- Juan Santamaria International (SJO) -- is 90 minutes away by car. However, travel time increases substantially during San Jose's frenetic rush hour. Car rental is one transportation option, although a four-wheel-drive SUV is almost required given the hotel’s remote location. Tourists who'd rather sidestep Costa Rica's chaotic roads will find private shuttle service is often the safest and most convenient mode of transport.

Rooms

Spacious suites with minibars, private hot tubs, and large luxurious bathrooms

Like the hotel’s common areas, room decor is reserved and sophisticated. Copious use of dark, locally-sourced wood, beige linens, and decorative bamboo reeds provide a rain forest-inspired look that’s both Costa Rican and contemporary.

Entry-level Suites feature a studio layout that’s spacious enough for a separate sitting area and a wide private deck with an outdoor hot tub. Flagship Private Villas are standalone homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, living areas, full kitchens, and large decks with rain forest views. Every room category features an excellent list of amenities typical of a four-pearl property: air-conditioning, electric heaters, minibars stocked with snacks and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages (fee), and a private outdoor hot tub. In lieu of bottled water, the tap water is spring-fed and safe to drink. As a disconnected property, televisions are intentionally omitted (except in the Master Suites and Private Villas). However, phones and free Wi-Fi are provided, and we found the internet service mostly reliable, especially for such a remote hotel.

Fit and finish in the large bathrooms is excellent with dual vessel sinks, travertine tile, and bamboo accents all providing a luxurious look and feel. Walk-in shower stalls and generic, pump-style bath amenities are standard.

Features

An authentic river-view restaurant, a beautiful rain forest spa, and an outdoor adventure park

The single restaurant, Las Ventanas, is situated just off the lobby. Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass sliding doors on three sides provide panoramic rain forest and river views and ensure the space is constantly awash in daylight. A hot, made-to-order breakfast is included daily. Lunch and dinner are typically served via a prix fixe menu of three courses including a starter, an entree, and a dessert. Every meal features a selection of Western-friendly favorites plus authentic Costa Rican fare. An adjacent bar also serves gourmet coffee drinks and a full cocktail menu.

Esencia Spa is buried in the center of the property, requiring a bridge crossing and a brief rain forest hike to access. The decor is minimal and rustic -- it’s perhaps the least sophisticated common area on-site. The list of services consists mostly of traditional and specialty massage treatments. The beautiful, open-air yoga and meditation deck is surrounded by rain forest and bordered by a small creek. Private classes are available, and yoga mats are free to borrow.  

Most guests come for the adventure park, which is the hotel’s most notable selling point. The long list of outdoor opportunities includes six miles of hiking trails, bird-watching, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling, and zip-lining. All activities include expert guides and require an extra a la carte fee.

Free valet parking is provided in a secure lot. Wi-Fi is also free and we found the service to be mostly fast, but spotty in the common areas. 

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Things You Should Know About El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Address

Bajos del Toro, Province of Alajuela 21203, Costa Rica

Also Known As

  • El Silencio Lodge

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