Review: Costa d'Este Beach Resort
Back in September 2004, we drove through Vero Beach, Florida and observed the carnage two back to back hurricanes had delivered. We wondered how long it would take for the community to recover and rebuild the numerous destroyed hotels and business structures in this very special place.
Amazing what a $50 million dollar infusion, plus the vision and inspiration of a power couple like Gloria and Emilio Estefan, can do for a small devastated hotel on a lovely stretch of Florida beach.
This year as part of our annual holiday visit to the area, we decided to spend two nights at the totally renovated Estefan's Costa d'Este resort.
We reserved Room 114 (called an Ocean Cabana King). Now we probably wouldn't select this room during the summer months when live music and late night party-goers use the adjacent outdoor bar and pool area well past our bedtime. However during winter months, #114 seemed like a perfect choice (after 10:00pm the restaurant is transformed into a lively dance club, however the sounds are contained within the structure, leaving the outside relatively placid).
We wanted the first floor location for the patio and direct access to the beach, Jacuzzi/Hot Tub and swimming pool without using elevators or wandering through other common areas. The patio was much more spacious than the upper floor terraces and the tropical landscaping added privacy without obstructing the ocean view.
Even though the room was a bit 'cozy' (not small - just not overly huge), the floor plan was functional and unpretentious. The design elements focused on stone floors, abundant nature wood trim and dramatic lighting. The King bed (some might find the height from floor a bit low, almost like a futon) was invitingly comfortable with high thread count bed linens. The large flat screen TV and flush mounted into a wooden decorative panel opposite the bed. There was a small concealed safe and refrigerator beneath a spacious counter offering ample drawer storage space.
Our bathroom was compact , having counter space for only one sink (someone had mentioned it reminded them of a cruise ship head - but a bit more spacious). The central design feature of the bathroom was the huge shower space containing both a rain shower and a handheld wane style fixture. The shower was also equipped a built in ledge seat (almost a sofa or at least love seat in size)...don't usually sit during a shower, but this was an innovative element offering exploration possibilities.
Some Internet reviews of this resort here have complained about service and pricing issues.
We felt the service was good to excellent at each encounter. Breakfast, which was included in our rate plan, offered a wide variety of choices and our eggs were perfectly prepared both mornings (not that we're demanding, but many restaurants seem to over or under cook them....not the case here).
We enjoyed a light tapas meal taken at the bar one evening and thought the menu items were priced fairly and met or exceeded our expectations in preparations and quality. Greg, the bar man, was engaging without being intrusive and most of all knew his wine list quite accurately. The wine list was adequate, offering a wide variety of reds and whites. However the standard restaurant markup is about three times the wholesale cost, or about twice the retail price.....their wine prices appeared to exceed those guidelines.
We were both offered their signature Mojito, however we declined since we don't care for rum (others at the bar praised their interpretation of the drink...freshly mulled mint and even a stick of sugar cane for a stirrer).
Both evenings we lavished ourselves in one of the pleasures offered by Costa d' Este, an oversize in-ground Jacuzzi/Hot Tub (large enough to hold eight or ten people easily without overcrowding). There is something special about soaking away holiday tensions, looking into a moonless night sky at twinkling stars....especially when you are enjoying your company.
We appreciated the early morning complementary coffee available in the lobby, A 'to go" cup and a sunrise stroll on the beach is a good way to start the day.
We will return to Costa d'Este and would strongly recommend the resort to our friends!