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Reviewed 8 February 2008

Hotel Bula Bula is wonderful! It was our second of three stops during our trip to Costa Rica, and we did not want to leave. So many of the guests that we encountered during our stay there were repeat costomers, and we can see why. It's beautiful. The staff is as friendly and helpful as any staff could possibly be. The owners, They have hi speed internet, and if that isn't enough, they have laptops that they hand out at the bar free of charge, so you can surf a little while you enjoy the delicious libations that they serve up there. Watch out for the house signature martini, The Waltini. It packs a powerful punch. The Great Waltini serves up some sumptuious meals at the restaurant. I remember a pasta with mushroom sauce that was out of this world. And you never know when a party might break out in the bar and restaurant. There were several large groups there one night and the place was rockin'. Also, the beach near by is nice. The setting is absolutely serene. And if you want to get to a town, Tamarindo is a five minute water-taxi ride away. Yes, you want to stay there! We will be going back and we CAN’T WAIT!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank rmelhorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2008

The Good - What a beautiful location, 10 minute walk to beach, 2 min in car. Tough walk as the road is unpaved, very dry and dusty. Very quiet, almost secluded surfing beach. A bit rough for swimming. Love the porch with rocking chairs outside each room. The grounds are tropical and kept neat. The rooms are adorable (a little small) and cleaned very well. The king size bed was firm and very comfortable. One morning we ate breakfast while watching about 6 monkeys in the nearby trees.

The bad- The best meal we had here was the complimentary breakfast (and the brownie with ice cream desert). Everything else was average. We were so glad to have found the Rip Jack Inn - we loved dinner there! Try the marinated skirt steak w/blue cheese. Service at Bula Bula was amateur - our entrees were served while we were eating appetizers and we got our coffee after eating our desert. Our room had a DVD player which didn't work, we were talking to Todd (the owner) about local tours and mentioned the player not working and he said he had a few spares around and would look into it. Saw him the next day and he didn't mention it or ever take care of it. We were basically ignored. If there was no replacement it would have been nice if he mentioned that to us. For a small establishment you would think service would have been more attentive.
Checking in and out was a bit time consuming and with minimal english.

The place is really beautiful and restful - I just really wished they didn't continuously play music at the restaurant allll day. It's nice but not all day-especially at breakfast. I enjoy the morning peacefulness especially in nature and while on vacation.

Stayed: January 2008
5  Thank Keoki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2008

We spent 5 days in January at the Hotel Bula Bula and hated to leave. The rooms are very comfortable, the pool is refreshing, and the garden is well maintained. The quiet, clean beach is about a 10 minute walk away (great waves while we were there!) The boat shuttle to Tamarindo is just steps from the bar. (However, there is not much of a reason to leave the Bula Bula to go to Tamarindo, unless you need a pharmacy. an ATM or want to shop. Tamarindo was very dusty, with lots of traffic and construction going on.) Instead, we recommend having a mojito at the Bula Bula bar and let Bert the bird and the staff entertain you. The Bula Bula staff was terrific - helpful, funny, good looking and efficient. Felix was especially helpful in giving us advice and making us laugh. The food at the hotel is very good - very substantial complementary breakfast. The fresh fruit was wonderful. There are also some great restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. Try Los Malinches on Saturday night for the marimba music or Friday nights for their BBQ. We also recommend dinner at La Cantarana. The food at the Rip Jack Inn was also good - nice place to stop on the drive over to see the turtles. Sadly, we didn't get to see a turtle, but hopefully you'll have better luck!

Stayed: January 2008
4  Thank Grumpyred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2008

We arrived at Bula Bula after a driving up the coast from another beach close to noon and could not find the reception but realized the office is behind the bar. We found our room to be on the small side but clean with local art hanging on the walls. The king size orthopedic beds are on the extreme firm side, so if a soft to medium bed is your bag, you will find it hard to sleep here. The rooms have A/C, if you want fresh air, the windows don't open. They provide nice beach towels although the room towels need to be replaced, they are on the worn side. The pool was nice, not a lot of lounging chairs although the motel was not full. The beach is a short five minute walk away. The motel grounds are well kept and the staff friendly. The complimentary breakfast was good with several options to choose from. We met Wally, one of the owners the first night although he was on his cell phone sitting at the bar yacking away and did not seem to be interested in meeting guests. We met Todd, the other owner upon checking in and spoke to him later. We now realize he is the friendlier one of the two. All in all, it was a nice B&B for the area. Their restaurant is just OK, the bar is a fun place to hang out. One word of caution, there are not a lot of restaurants within walking distance. All in all, it was a good experience. We probably would go back to this part of CR but would try another beach.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank AtlantaPerson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2008

I read a many postings about Hotel Bula Bula on this site before staying there in January of 2008.

Now that I have experienced the place first hand, it’s obvious: the reviews are so far from reality they must have been written by the owner.

Here is reality…

Upon arrival we checked in and learned that the rooms do not have numbers, but rather animal names - although I am not sure an animal would consider living there.

A little disappointed, we quickly headed to the ‘highly acclaimed’ restaurant/bar for lunch. Immediately we felt like we were in Key West, FL since we were surrounded by Americans and listening to a Jimmy Buffet CD on the stereo. My companion ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and when it arrived, we laughed at it for a good ten minutes – the so-called chicken breast was at least 4 inches think and impossible to cut in half. After struggling through 3 bites, she threw in the towel. I wish I could say that was the end of the story, but the end of the story comes sometime the next day when her upset stomach subsided.

After lunch, we walked to the beach with grand hopes of finding some other hotels, restaurants, or night spots in the area. No such luck – there is literally nothing around except for a few homes and a couple of youth hostels that cater to the young surfers who are there to take advantage of the great surfing beach.

After the unsuccessful outing to the beach, we returned to the room to get showered before dinner. After getting out of the shower, which was little more than a trickle of water falling out of a rusty pipe, I picked up my towel I had an epiphany, so this is where towels are sent after years of abuse at car washes in the United States. Honestly, I would not let my dog sit on that towel, let alone dry myself off with it. Sorry to digress, but my dog comes to mind because the room and the bathroom smelled like a combination of a wet dog and cinnamon air freshner.

Anyway, at dinner, we realized the best part. Hotel Bula Bula has wireless internet and laptops you can borrow while at the bar. We got on line, found another hotel and arranged to escape first thing in the morning.

Is that the end of the story – not quite yet. In the middle of the night I got up to use the bathroom and walked into a quarter of an inch of water on the bathroom floor from a leaky toilet – fortunately the towels were so disgusting that there was no guilt about setting it on the floor to soak up the toilet water.

In the morning, as we walked toward the taxi, I could not help but feel upset since they refused to refund any portion of the 3 additional nights we had already paid for – but I felt a lot better when I walked past the tiny pool and saw a guy laying on the sidewalk next to the pool since there were no chairs – I mean, is that the way you want to spend your vacation? My only regret is not offering that poor guy a lift to the hotel we were moving too.

In conclusion, after leaving Hotel Bula Bula, the rest of our visit to Costa Rica and Nicaragua was fantastic and we will surely go back many times – I would highly recommend both places to anyone.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
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9  Thank THE_TRUTH_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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