Pros

  • Family-friendly resort in a peaceful section of Jaco
  • An outdoor pool sits next to a big beach with steady waves
  • One restaurant and two bars, one that is poolside, on-site
  • Breakfast is included in the rates
  • Deluxe Rooms have coffeemakers and mini-fridges
  • Condos have fully-equipped kitchens and washer/dryer units
  • On-site spa offers various massage treatments
  • Surf boards and local instructors available
  • Bicycle rentals and weekly yoga classes offered
  • Airport transfers available
  • Free parking
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Cons

  • The hotel is showing some age in various areas
  • Patterned bedspreads will turn off modernists
  • In-room toiletries are basic
  • Wi-Fi can be spotty
  • No fitness center
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Bottom Line

This 32-unit resort, surrounded by pretty tropical gardens on the far end of Jaco Beach, is a good value for families. Owned by a British gentleman named Philip, the hotel's key is warm hospitality and his long-standing staff is trained to provide it round-the-clock. The property consists of hotel rooms and one- and two-bedroom condos wrapped around an outdoor pool facing the Pacific Ocean -- an excellent place to learn how to surf. A gourmet restaurant serves breakfast (included in the price) and lunch, before it turns more romantic at night. All rooms and condos have tropical decor with furnished balconies or patios, but expect to see some wear and tear. Transportation can be arranged to/from San José airport, but a car is recommended for those who want to stock their kitchens.

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Amenities

  • Cribs
  • Internet
  • Pool
  • Spa

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel Club del Mar

Scene

A comfortable, eco-friendly resort for families, though young couples may find it too dated

Hotel Club del Mar's wooden sign can be found at the southern end of Jaco, amidst rainforest, occasional birds, and critters who also call it home. Though traffic can still be heard here, it is a relatively quiet and secluded part of town, making it a good option for those who want to have access to the touristy hub without actually being right in it. Guests enter a driveway towards a simple, no-frills lobby lined with a row of surfboards and boogie boards. For parking, there is a gravel lot next door with a sign that warn guests to lock their cars and keep out valuables (Jaco is known for some petty crimes). 

The owner, Philip Edwards, a British man arrived by way of Africa, is almost always on hand to provide a charming welcome. Philip is often conducting business from the lobby, where he gets to know guests on a first-name basis. Part of the hotel is occupied by time-share condos, and according to him, only two have changed hands since they opened. Loyalty is a trend then, since many of his staff have also been with him since the get-go. This was one of the first area's first resort developments, so that is saying a lot. 

Rooms without kitchens are located above the lobby, while condos are located in separate buildings closer to the beach. The manicured grounds are littered with lovely flowers, trees, and interesting shrubs -- 46 types of plants and 17 types of palm trees, to be exact -- and there are educational materials to learn more (look for literature and photos near the front desk). The dining room, with its older country-style furniture, faces west, and just a short walk away is the outdoor pool, tiki bar, and path to the sand. Outdoor tables and lounge chairs have umbrellas for enjoying the beach bar. The bar attracts guests and occasional outsiders who come for drinks, especially during sunset. In the restaurant, evening ambiance turns romantic with low-lighting and soft music (even live musicians some nights). The lobby bar sees some action earlier in the evening, but stops serving before midnight so it’s not a late-night crowd here, making the focus on the outdoors, especially those steady waves.

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Location

Guests who do not have a car can rent bikes or take a taxi to town. 

This mid-sized property is lucky to have the southernmost end of Playa Jaco, with a neighbor to one side, and a protected rainforest on the other. Jaco is along Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, and it is the closest beach area to San José (less than two hours driving), with two-and-a-half miles of darkish volcanic sand, low-lying green mountains, and beautiful sunset views. Consistent waves and warm ocean temperatures make this one of the more popular surfing spots in the country (it's great for beginners -- especially in the area directly in front of the hotel). 

Downtown Jaco, a 10-minute bike ride or drive away, is known for its party atmosphere. There are dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore on the central paved road, along with a newer resort called Crocs, which has the area's biggest casino. Jaco has experienced a great deal of growth in recent years -- some good and some bad -- and it attracts a mixed crowd, including families, international surfers (many from Colombia), and even some tourists who want to partake in the sex trade (prostitution is legal here). Long-time locals and expats are still present, though, and they work hard to keep the place from becoming too commercialized. Look for it, and one can find pockets of Jaco's authenticity as one of the country's foremost surf towns. Since Club del Mar hasn't changed much over the years, it is a prime example of that. 

Those who rent a car will have free parking at the hotel, and most do, in order to have access to a grocery store for stocking the fridges. Those who want to save money, though, can use rental bikes or taxis to get around. It is possible to walk to town along the beach, but it's a far trek, and it's not recommended after dark. For day trips, there are water sports and excursions to spots in the area, like rainforest Carara National Park, and Manuel Antonio National Park. Transportation is included. 

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Rooms

Clean tropical-style rooms and condos, but aspects of units are showing age

The resort feels bigger than its 32 units due to the expansive grounds and large stretch of beach directly in front. There are nine hotel rooms above the lobby, and the rest are one- and two-bedroom condos with kitchens and washer and dryers. Decor is both traditional and tropical, with local wood furnishings. All have balconies or terraces facing the ocean (some views are slightly obstructed) along with air-conditioning units and flat-screen TVs.

Deluxe rooms come with either single King-sized beds or two double beds, forest green tile floors, pale yellow walls, and patterned bedspreads. All rooms have mini-fridges and coffeemakers, while each bathroom has a walk-in shower and eco-friendly containers of soap and shampoo (though no conditioner). Patios have wooden tables and chairs, along with candles.

For more space and amenities, the one-bedroom condos have single King-sized beds, and separate dining and living areas, each with a pull-out sofa to accommodate additional guests. Every condo has a fully-equipped kitchen with a microwave, coffeemaker, four-burner stove, refrigerator, plates, glasses, and utensils. The second bedrooms in the two-bedroom condos have either two single beds (which can be joined) or one King-sized bed, with an adjoining bathroom. Condos have Colonial-style slatted windows with screens in order to create an open-air environment. 

Room service is available for all units. 

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Features

A quiet spot on Playa Jaco with an open-air restaurant and tiki bar facing sunset

This two-and-a-half-mile public beach is popular for a few reasons. For one, it is easy to access from San José. For another, it has a beautiful natural setting, which is surrounded by tropical vegetation. It has also been recognized as one of the best beaches in the world for learning how to surf, with warm temperatures and steady waves. There is a surf school on-site with rental options of varying levels, including longboards and boogie boards. Those who do not want to play in the waves with a board will find that the current is not too dangerous for experienced swimmers. The fine darkish sand is ideal for long walks, especially during low-tide when the beach is wonderfully spacious and crowd-free. 

Next to the beach is an inviting and contemporary outdoor pool that takes center stage. There is a deeper section for adults connected to a shallow kiddie pool area. Guests can sunbathe in lounge chairs or find a spot under a tall palm tree for shade. Adjacent to here is the tiki bar that serves food and drink from late morning until sunset -- and it can attract outside visitors, giving it more action.  

Back in the lobby is where the all-day restaurant is located. Breakfast is free for all guests, and is delivered to the table by friendly servers who offer the choice between a few different entrees each day, along with coffee or juice. For lunch, the menu offers hearty sandwiches and salads, and then dinner turns a touch fancier with gourmet seafood, pasta, beef, and chicken dishes. The attached lobby bar also serves snacks and drinks, with affordable nightly specials that will keep those on a budget happy.

The front desk can assist with bike rentals and day trips. There is a gift shop selling souvenirs, beach attire, T-shirts, and some snacks and beverages (but no beer). To stock the fridges, guests will need to drive or bike to a grocery store.

The resort's Spa del Mar offers traditional massages for singles and couples, and a few specialty treatments like the volcanic mud wrap with sulfur to dissolve toxins. 

There is overnight security presence, but guests are forewarned not to leave valuables in the car. Wi-Fi is spotty in the rooms, though more reliable in the lobby.  

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Babysitting Services

  • Cabanas

  • Cable

  • Children's Pool

  • Cribs

  • Free Breakfast

  • Full Kitchen

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Swim-Up Bar

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.