Fonda Vela is set in tropical gardens at 1,400 metres in Monterverde Cloudforest. Rooms, all en-suite, with their wood-panelled walls, comfy beds and polished furniture offer cosy accommodation, and little touches like fresh flowers and colourful pictures, add a homely feel. Amenities include cable TV, phone, coffee maker and minibar. Junior suites are similar but offer greater space.
The 2 restaurants provide a choice of dining scenes. The larger Galleria, has banks of windows overlooking the cloudforest, while the more intimate Fireside Room is warmed by a wood-burning stove and has a terrace for al fresco dining. The bar serves hot and cold drinks, and there's a TV where you can catch up with the latest news and sporting action. Recreation facilities include an indoor pool, 2 jacuzzis and table tennis. Therapeutic massages can be arranged, ideal after lengthy forest treks.
From the hotel you can go for guided walks and hikes in Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and in the less-visited Santa Elena reserve where on a clear day you'll get views of Arenal Volcano. A series of suspended bridges and platforms offer views of the forest canopy. The hotel can arrange horse riding, visits to a local cheese factory, coffee plantation and women's co-operative where you can support the local community by buying locally made handicrafts, clothing and jewellery. There are butterfly gardens and a herpentarium where you can observe over 20 species of frogs.
"They seem to have all the right ethos but fail to deliver or maybe they are basking in past glory! Enormous room; two huge beds which they need lessons in making-up (had to remake the bed each day); sheets so worn the stripes have disappeared. Provided bathrobes first day (very worn out) which were not left nor replaced! Shower in bath with fully enclosed doors put in the wrong way round. Hair dryer did not work and the sink plug mechanism missing. Had to ask for a new hairdryer twice before it appeared and then it could not be fitted to the wall (wonder if they have done it now). Light fittings very dim - lack of decent bulbs. Food was fine but seemed like a ghost restaurant most of the time. Again Wifi only available in the reception and restaurant. Grounds were nice and apart from the roads seemed to be well maintained. They need to sort out the main roadways in the complex as they are just rough gravel roads and probably the reason for requesting shoes off in the rooms! Staff were nice enough but not properly managed. The pool was very cold but there were two nice jacuzzis instead. "