You Want What?

So, you’re considering including a villa at Shelter From the Storm in your holiday plans on the Ballena Coast in Costa Rica. Before you do however, there are some things you ought to know. Consider the fact that we have absolutely NO ROOM SERVICE. That’s right. If you get an urge for a sandwich in the middle of the night, you have to get up and go to your own kitchen and make it yourself. We also have NO BREAKFAST SERVICE. You will have to make your own coffee in the morning. Fortunately, your kitchen is equipped as well as the one in your own home and will be stocked with breakfast food (including coffee) upon your arrival. When we first conceived of our business “plan” at Shelter From the Storm, we decided that it should be someplace where WE would want to stay when traveling. I am personally horrified at the prospect of confronting a room full of people before my morning coffee. If you feel differently, we understand.

If you have a need to send “selfies” back home with you standing in front of the fountain or under a huge chandelier in the opulent lobby of a Ritz or Fairmont Hotel, please go there (except we don't have any). We don’t have A FANCY RECEPTION AREA. Our only “opulence” is provided by the jungle, wildlife and incredible ocean views; and we of course, can’t take credit for that.

We have no elegantly uniformed staff. NO BELLMEN with epaulets and gold braided jackets and white-jacketed barmen are not to be found here. Upon arrival, your host (that’s me) will assist you with your luggage and then supply you with your complimentary welcoming cocktails at our fully stocked honor bar. That however, is THE ONLY SERVICE THAT YOU WILL GET. After that you are on your own. You will make your own drinks at the bar and then try to remember what you drank at the time of check-out. That’s right. WE TRUST YOU. We have the best stocked bar in the area and the CHEAPEST PRICES in the area. We give you NO SERVICE and pass the savings on to you. In fact, the bar loses money every month but we don’t care! It is a convenience for our guests and everyone seems to like the idea. If you need white gloved waiters, go somewhere else.

We have no nightly “turn-down” service with a mint on your pillow. We provide a cleaning with fresh towels and linens every three or four days by Blanca, the best maid in the Southern Zone. Other than that you have to make your own bed in the morning. If you need more than that, please go somewhere else. Speaking of Blanca, if you need a fluent English speaking staff you will be terribly disappointed. She understands a lot of English but is unable to respond. Your hosts (Donna and myself) are however, pretty fluent in English with a smattering of a few other languages. We will attend to your questions personally and try to make ourselves understood. Donna does have a slight southern (South Carolina) accent though. You may have to pay close attention. If you wish to have an experience just like at home without have to deal with “Spanish speaking locals” I suggest that you go to Los Suenos Resort. You can spend a week there without even realizing that you are in Costa Rica!

We have NO HELIPORT. We recommend that you rent a car and drive yourself from the airport. I know that it may take longer (about three hours) but the scenery can be breathtaking. Learn to enjoy the moment. If on the other hand, you want nothing to do with the trip from the airport and prefer a helicopter, I suggest you go to Punta Gabriela. They have it all there.

If you need perfection in all things, like uninterrupted 50 megabit internet, perfect electric service and all paved roads, please don’t come here. We don’t even have golf carts to carry you around the resort. In fact DON’T EVEN COME TO COSTA RICA! We do have WiFi at Shelter From the Storm, sufficient to send emails and stream video (usually.) It will go out occasionally however as will the electricity. We do provide you with candles, emergency lights and books to get you through those rough patches. We find that when traveling, we step a bit out of our comfort zone and at the end of the day, we are richer for it.

I have never felt comfortable about boasting and quite frankly, after writing all of this, I wonder why ANYBODY would want to come here. While other hotels talk about how wonderful THEY are, we TALK TO OUR GUESTS to ask what improvements they would like to see at Shelter From the Storm. After so many years in business, we of course assume that anyone who suggests anything different must surely be insane! If we receive a second suggestion on the subject however, we sense a sense a shift in the paradigm or at least the beginning of a trend and the suggestion becomes a mandate and it is acted upon immediately. Our guests are the most important reason for our existence we recognize that a live by that rule.

Considering our lack of so many things, we still have the pleasure of being the #1 of 724 specialty lodgings on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and rather than hearing from us, just read what the most important people in our world have to say.