Scavenging birds can be a problem at the open-air buffet
Hotel Tamarindo Diria is a popular, three-and-a-half-pearl hotel located in downtown Tamarindo. The hotel’s 239 guest rooms are clean and pleasant, although not all have balconies and some lack natural light. Tamarindo Diria’s extensive facilities, which include four pools, six a la carte and buffet restaurants, and dozens of shops, are spread across both sides of Tamarindo’s main street. The hotel offers direct access to scenic Playa Tamarindo beach, but guests with rooms on the far side of the property need to cross the street to get there. Travelers who would prefer a quieter location, off the main strip, might consider Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel.
Long-standing hotel with a great location, solid on-site amenities, and a fun atmosphere.
A mainstay in Tamarindo for over 40 years, Tamarindo Diria is one of the most well-known hotels in this touristy beach town. Arched architectural detailing, pre-Columbian-inspired artwork, and liberal use of natural materials like stone are common elements throughout, adding oodles of charm to the guest rooms and facilities.
The hotel is split into three sections: Sunset Village, Tropicana Village, and Lagoon Village, each of which has its own swimming pool. Sunset Village is the oceanfront area of the property, defined by its five acres of picturesque beachfront gardens. The other two sections of the property are located across the road. Tropicana Village is the designated adult-only area of the property, while Lagoon Village includes the largest of the hotel’s four pools.
Guests are primarily Western couples and families. Families should keep in mind, however, that the hotel doesn’t really have any kid-friendly amenities aside from a kids’ pool. While the vibe is lively, this isn’t one of the more hard-partying hotels in Tamarindo.
Prime location in the heart of Tamarindo, directly on the beach
Tamarindo Diria is set in the buzzing small town of Tamarindo, known for its excellent surfing and up-tempo nightlife. The property’s three sections are found on both sides of Calle Central, Tamarindo’s main thoroughfare, with half of the hotel located right on the beach. Calle Central is a busy street, packed with shops, restaurants, and bars.
Tamarindo is also a convenient base for exploring the less-developed Playa Langosta beach, which is a five-minute drive away, or Playa Avellanas, a notable sea turtle nesting site, which is 30 minutes away by car. It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Rincón de la Vieja National Park and just over an hour to Liberia’s airport.
Pleasant guest rooms include coffeemakers and mini-fridges
Guest rooms at Tamarindo Diria are tidy and inviting. While some rooms have balconies or terraces with garden, pool, or partial sea views, others open directly into the hallway and have only interior-facing windows. With no natural light, interior-facing rooms are a bit dark -- a problem that the deep gold accent walls and reddish-brown bed runners do nothing to improve. Arched doorways and stone artwork add welcome flourishes of character. Low desks hold flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers, with mini-fridges set in cabinets underneath. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms. Rooms also have tiny sitting areas with wrought-iron chairs and tables, as well as wooden closets that hold personal safes.
Bathrooms have wood-framed mirrors, round sinks, and narrow tiled showers with shower curtains. Many guests complain the water tends to be cold or tepid. Elements bath products are provided, along with hairdryers. Junior Suites add living areas with sofas as well as wine coolers.
Four gorgeous pools and direct access to Playa Tamarindo
The hotel has four beautiful outdoor pools. The Beachfront Pool is situated between the low-rise hotel building and a manicured green lawn leading down to the beach. Pre-Columbian-inspired fountain statues, some of which are set on pedestals, bring hints of drama to the pool’s design. To the side of the Beachfront Pool is a rectangular kids’ pool.
Across the road on the other side of the property is the Scenic Pool, a huge lagoon-shaped pool, which is attractively landscaped with tropical greenery, arched bridges, and exotic statues. Loungers and thatched roof shelters line the wide deck surrounding the pool. The Scenic Pool also includes an unheated hydrotherapy pool, submerged seating, and a swim-up bar. The long, Quiet Pool is located in the adult-only section of the property. Loungers and shelters border the pool on one side, with a swim-up bar found on the other.
The ocean-front side of the hotel offers direct access to Playa Tamarindo, one of Costa Rica’s most popular surfing beaches. It tends to be a bit crowded, but nonetheless it’s a pretty stretch of white sand.
The hotel’s shopping and dining promenade, Diria Grand Boulevard, features around 20 shops and kiosks selling everything from souvenirs to clothing. It also includes a tiny casino, appropriately named Petit Casino, which offers 48 slot machines as well as a few table games.
There’s a small, modern fitness center with a single, wall-mounted TV and a few different cardio and weight machines. The hotel has a floodlit outdoor lighted tennis court, as well as a conference room that can accommodate up to 100 people.
The tour desk can arrange day-trips and other excursions, and wedding planning services are available. Airport transfers are available for a surcharge. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout, and there’s free parking in a gated lot on-site.
Six solid restaurants including alfresco dining with beach views
The highlight of the hotel’s six dining options is Matapalo, a completely open-air restaurant overlooking the beach. Specializing in seafood and steaks, Matapalo takes its name from the enormous Matapalo tree that dominates the center of the restaurant, draping gracefully over a cluster of wrought iron dining tables.
Free breakfast is served at Diria, the buffet restaurant, which is set just behind Matapalo in the main hotel building. Breakfast is a generic spread of watery scrambled eggs, rice and beans, fresh fruit, and a large selection of pastries, plus a made-to-order omelet station. As with many open-air buffets in Costa Rica, birds are often a problem here. They flutter constantly around the tables and buffet stations, trying to snatch scraps of food. Diria also serves a buffet dinner, which comes at a surcharge.
The hotel’s other restaurants are lined up along Diria Grand Boulevard, a shopping and dining promenade that stretches over more than a block of Calle Central, Tamarindo’s main strip. Non-guests are free to dine at these restaurants, which are laid-out in such a way that tourists exploring downtown Tamarindo are unlikely to recognize they’re even part of the hotel. Nari serves up wood-fired pizzas, while Gallo Fino specializes in Costa Rican cuisine. Marea Alta features an open seafood bar, where diners can watch the chefs preparing dishes. There’s also a steakhouse, Flying Bull, and a tiny take-away gelateria called Venezia. The restaurants generally receive positive reviews, but they’re pricey.
Bars include Chill Out, a breezy lounge area in the adult-only section of the property, which often hosts live music performances. There’s also Media Luna, which is set on a circular platform on the ocean-side part of the property, as well as two swim-up bars.
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