Surf hotels are a popular choice for tourists hoping to surf their way through Costa Rica. And while it sounds like some Disney-inspired hotel under the sea, a surf hotel is usually just a hotel that's in (or should be in) a prime surfing spot, and offers amenities or options appealing to those who are interested in the waves.
There are advantages to staying in a surf hotel (which might also be called surf camps); first off, there are a lot of knowledgeable people around who can guide you to the best spots and give you tips on the particular breaks. Lessons are offered for those who need guidance, and often times they'll have planned excursions to more remote spots where you can catch a wave that you otherwise wouldn't have knowledge of or access to.
However, know that a surf hotel doesn't guarantee prime surfing conditions. This can especially be an issue if you've bought a huge package of activities along with your room: some camps and hotels have extremely overpriced lessons, equipment rental and even accommodations. Staying in a good location and doing some research on cheap, good places to pick up a board or lessons might serve you just as well.