Costa Rica Hotel Star Ratings
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) is the entity that is charged with the responsibility of rating accommodations. They do so with a number of qualifications and standards, but really in the end, the rating comes from the person that makes the onsite inspection. The result is often not exactly up to AAA or European Hotelstars Union standards.
Unless you are staying at an international chain such as Dreams Las Mareas Resort or Westin Playa Conchal Resort and Spa, a good rule of thumb is to look at the official star rating and drop a half to full star for a better international level rating.
This is a very broad subject as there are so many goofy hotel policies we could probably hire a full time writer… Seriously though, there are a couple that are considered industry norms that are worth mentioning:
1) Bedding: Though we will do our best to accommodate your bed style as described in the summary, we cannot guaranty it as nearly all hotels will not confirm exact bed style until their full manifest is complete on a daily basis (unfortunately this is usually the day before you arrive). We list all queen size beds as double size as Costa Rican queen size beds are the same size as American style double beds. Many hotels have American style queen size beds, but due to the vast inconsistency from hotel to hotel; we have combined all into one category as to not exceed expectation.
2) Cancellation Policies: Though this is mentioned in our own policies, it is worth mentioning that hotels in Costa Rica have much stricter cancellation penalties than in North America and Europe. This is due to the fact that the average reservation is made months in advance. By the time you are within a month of the reservation date, most people are through shopping for hotel rooms, making it difficult to sell the room within that time frame.
3) Smoking: According to law #9028, smoking is prohibited in hotel rooms and any public areas. Some hotels allow guests to smoke in designated areas away from other guests. This is out of our control and inconsistent from hotel to hotel and at times day-to-day depending on who is working. If smoking is an issue, check with us before reserving so we can contact the hotel and request information for you.
4) Check in and Check out: Nearly all hotels have check in times between 2 PM - 3 PM and check out time between 10 AM - 12 PM as industry standard. If you are unsure, please ask.