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Senda Monteverde hotel review: quirky lodges & impressive restaurant in the ancient cloud forest of Costa Rica

• Rating: 9/10
Rooms at Senda Monteverde start from $279 (£231) a night
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After a truly magical six-night stay at Aguas Claras hotel on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast I made my way back to San Jose and then up into Monteverde, a pocket of ancient cloud forest roughly four hours northwest of the country’s capital. Tearing myself away from the paradisiacal beaches that make up the east coast of Costa Rica meant the third leg of my journey and Senda Monteverde had a lot to live up to, thankfully the lush rainforest, abundance of hummingbirds and this special hotel didn’t disappoint.

Much like the majority of hotels I review—Menorca Experimental, Israel’s Pereh, and Banksy’s hotel in Palestine, intimacy and design really are paramount at Senda Monteverde. I’ve always preferred small boutique hotels over large corporate global chains and Senda lives up to this ethos with just 24 stand-alone bungalows and suites. I travelled solo to Senda Monteverde, booking into one of the well-designed wooden bungalows for a seriously serene three-night stay.

wooden do not disturb sign hanging on a door at senda moneverde hotel in costa rica
Senda Monteverde is the place to kick-back and relax

What’s the vibe at Senda Monteverde?

Similar to my stay at Aguas Claras, the vibe at Senda is welcoming, tranquil and relaxing—this sustainable hotel really knows how to impress. I arrived after dark so didn’t get a full sense of the place until the next day, but quickly realised nature is at the forefront of the whole experience with each cabin being fully immersed in jungle and forest. The reception area is the first building I saw as I arrived and there's a meditation and yoga studio directly above it. To the right of the reception is the bar and restaurant where dishes are created using locally grown and sourced ingredients. Pathways lead off from the main buildings to wooden cabins and suites, each of which have a private terrace or deck.

Room one at senda monteverde hotel in costa rica
The pathway to my room

How are the rooms at Senda Monteverde?

I stayed in room number one—a spacious junior suite bungalow with large windows looking directly into the jungle. A small pathway led me to my cabin, which had its own private wooden terrace, chairs and a small wooden table. 

bed looking out into the jungle at senda monteverde in costa rica
My bedroom with views into the jungle

All I could hear as I arrived was birdsong, which immediately made me so peaceful. My room was open plan and I was impressed by the size, to the left I found a round table with four chairs, a large sofa sitting opposite the main door and a compact kitchen to the right of it. As I followed the room around it opened out into a large bedroom area with a huge bed that overlooked the jungle. The bathroom was on the smaller side, with a walk-in shower and the hotel’s own organic blend of bergamot, tangerine and lemongrass bath products. The design of the room was fairly simple with a soft green and vivid orange colour palette that echoed a painting of exotic bird of paradise flowers hanging on the wall. Bungalows are designed with lots of glass so from almost every angle you can see into the jungle and feel as though you’re kind of living inside it, which is perfect for lovers of nature. The mini bar was completely complementary and included two bottles of wine, local beers and mixers, good coffee and some fabulous snacks like homemade dried banana strips, monkey nuts and local cacao beans.

What is there to eat and drink?

El Sapo is the name of the hotel’s restaurant and bar and where I ate every night of my stay because the menu was so brilliant. Many of the ingredients used are grown in the hotel’s own garden, all are hyper-local and sustainably sourced and each sauce, pickle, chutney and dressing is made on-site too. 

el sapo restaurant at senda monteverde hotel in costa rica
El Sapo restaurant 

Breakfast was included in my room rate so each morning I was served a fresh fruit plate made up of pineapple, watermelon, strawberries and a banana muffin, a fresh juice or fruit smoothie, aromatic black coffee and a dish from the menu—this included options such as pancakes, typical Gallo pinto and huevos rancheros. For dinner, the options are equally delicious with wholesome homemade soups, fresh tiradito that transported me back to the dishes I found at the best restaurants in Lima and intriguing options like peach palm gnocchi served with local trout.

homemade corn soup at el sapo restautant in senda monteverde, costa rica
Corn soup at El Sapo

Any highlights?

Senda Monteverde really knows how to look after their guests and made me feel so very welcome. The restaurant is a definite highlight, especially when there is live music playing. The surroundings are just so enchanting too, every day I saw the most wonderfully coloured hummingbirds zipping around, and there’s an incredible living ficus root bridge just a short walk away. As is the case at Aguas Claras, the staff at Senda are talkative and genuine, I also loved the yoga class the hotel puts on as part of its weekly activities—sometimes they offer bonfire and movie nights too.

Anything they could improve on?


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