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“A warm and inviting first and last impression” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vina Romantica

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Vina Romantica
50 Metres Sur de Hotel Buena Vista | Las Pilas de San Isidro, Alajuela, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 52 Alajuela B&B and Inns
New Westminster, Canada
1 review
“A warm and inviting first and last impression”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2012

For what I paid our expectations surpassed in all areas. It was very warm and inviting up the hill away from the city but close enough to go to when ever we desired. The place was just as we desired everything was clean and spacious. We were only able to stay there for two months and would of preferred to double that. Listening to the birds in the morning and other sounds it was so relaxing. We take turns from staying at resorts and then renting, this was worth every nickel. The only thing I would of liked was a 50 inch flat screen TV ( there is a TV); however my partner was very happy they didn't:) The neighbors were absolutely wonderful. Its a hop skip and jump for fresh groceries, the fruit in C.R. is fabulous and restaurants The view was just what she said. I never met the owner in person but Sherry was so helpful and honest before we got there, when we were there and after we left, she actually gave us a full refund on our deposit. If and when we go back there I would without a moments hesitation stay there again if it was available. I would of given my stay a rating of 5 but I only give that to my 10 day cruises. Thanks again everyone at Romantica, I miss you already. I hope my review is helpful to all looking to stay there.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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64 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Portland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2012

The owner collected a deposit to cover any damage to the property, but if you put up a deposit don’t expect to get any of it back. In my case the owner claimed that the deposit was needed to replace all the furniture to its rightful place. Yes it would have taken all of 10 minutes to move a coffee table, a small love seat and two chairs with metal frames which had broken welds. This furniture was essentially unusable so that we bought two chairs the first week for our use. My wife was able to move all of the pieces herself when we re-arranged the space. There was nothing in the rental contact stating that all furniture was to be left in position. The so called “living room” is 8X8 feet with no natural light and deteriorated supports for the floor boards which results in considerable bouncing of the floor when one entered the room. We moved this furniture to a front room with concrete floors to prevent further deterioration of the “original living room’s” wooden floor and to provide a semi-decent place to have guests. The owner further claimed that the deposit money was needed to replace seat cushions left in the rain even though the cushions had water proof covers. And there were no instructions in the manual of operation that they should be moved, nor did the local manager so inform us.

I did inform owner that the TV stopped working. A visiting guest and I carefully moved the TV from the table it sat on to the floor but the owner claims it was dropped by us. . Other reasons the owner was planning to keep our deposit was the claim that we broke the front door handle but it never worked as her “manager” told us when we arrived Another problem was the claim that the the WiFi router had to be replaced. It was working on the day we left. Admittedly since the backup power supply did not work the internet frequently stopped working whenever the power was interrupted which happened frequently, but every time I rebooted it, it came back up. I did use it without the password and with a different DNS server as a neighbor suggested because it didn’t work well with the original configuration. I can’t help it if the owner doesn’t know the first thing about rebooting the modem and router or the internet at all. There is a warning sign near the modem stating that “absolutely no downloads are permitted” and this same message appears in the operations manual. It is like having a phone and putting up a sign that says absolutely no calls.

A floor plan was provided but a flat plan of the space does not reveal that the only connection between the living areas and the three back bedrooms is across an open patio and that the stairway to the second floor bedrooms is totally out in the elements and that the only light switch to light the stairs was at the top of these open stairs. When it is raining you need a flashlight and an umbrella.

We did agree to clean and paint a bedroom covered with black mold but we were not paid to paint the room. The owner paid for the paint not for the work of mold removal and painting the room. We only did the mold cleanup and repainting ourselves because we needed the room for scheduled guests and we were not able to get the work done any other way. After moving in and reporting the problem the “manager” told us to contact the owner. It was suggested we hire someone but the owner didn’t care for the person suggested to us by a neighbor. This local worker had worked for the owner in the past but we were told by the owner that he was unreliable and that we had to provide very close supervision. Not wanting to cause problems among the neighbors and the local workers we did the work ourselves.

There was also an electrical problem in a bedroom. I did report the electrical problem and have the email to prove it. I also had a professional licensed electrician look at the problem, but he said it would likely be a lot of work to fix and involved cutting into the ceiling and possibly the walls. I didn’t ask to have it fixed nor did I ask to have the dryer which quit working fixed because by then I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Line drying clothes in the rainy season in Costa Rica is not feasible.

In spite of all this did pay the full rent that we agreed to pay and I have the records to prove it. I did however deduct the security deposit from the last check because of the place not being in “move in” condition the first week and the work and effort required to move in and to keep the place in livable condition. From the lack of maintenance the owner might not have had the ability to pay for repairs. This might explain the “creative” reasons for being especially upset by not having our deposit to claim.

There is a much longer list like improper toilet venting resulting in sewer gas smells in a couple of the bathrooms. But I will leave it here.

Suffice it to say that I absolutely do not recommend Vina Romantica as a place to stay unless you are prepared to do a good deal of work.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Manager at Vina Romantica, responded to this review, June 26, 2012
Same person posting the same thing - a tenant who defaulted on the lease by not paying the last month's rent. This is the worst use of Trip Advisor and amounts to harassment and slander.
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

I stayed at Vina Romantica for 10 days the latter part of May 2012 as guest of the people who were the tenants. The bedroom I stayed in had recently been painted, and so it looked quite nice at first. However the power didn’t work in the bathroom so extension cords were run to the lamps. In order to get to the room you had to walk outside which is fine during the dry season but a bit dangerous during the rainy season. You had to walk through the rain to get to your room and the outdoor tiles were often slippery. The outside lights near my room did not work either, so it became challenging to find the door key pad when it was dark. My stay became more problematic after about 5 days when it started raining very hard every day. Water began to seep through the back wall, in one of the windows when it was closed, and through the electrical outlets to the point where the floor was covered with water. Even though I cleaned up the water evernight it began to smell like mold in the room very quickly. I didn’t like the very low beds in the room particullarily when the floor was covered with water, so I put both mattresses on one bed frame in the center of the room in order to avoid the water leaking onto the bed. The other twin bed frame was put into a dry section of the laundry room.

Within another 2 days black mold started growing on the ceiling and I began to get cold like symptoms. So the last 4 days of my stay I moved to an upstairs room and shared it with my sister. The black mold also started to appear in her room, but we spot treated it, and managed to remain in the room until we left. There were also small dogs next door that barked day and night making it hard to sleep. That is not something that the owner could control but it was an irritant.

Would I recommend Vin Romantica, well after reading this you decide if it would be acceptable to you! To me it is not worth the hastle.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toledo, Ohio
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

When we first arrived the place was not in move in condition. We had a rental agreement and paid for accommodations with 4 bedrooms. The first day we arrived, the onsite “manager” told us that one of the bedrooms was not usable due to black mold growing on ceiling, walls, and in the bathroom. She also advised us to contact the landlord about the problem because it required professional cleaning and repair beyond the cleaning work that the landlord had contracted with her to do. There were birds in the main room with the resultant mess. It was very hard to keep the birds out because a section of the back hallway has no roof and is open to the elements so the birds can come right in. The kitchen was very disappointing. The refrigerator was rusted inside and out. The wall behind the sinks was dirty and unsightly, and there was no covering to enclose the unsightly tangle of pipes and water heaters under the sinks. Rodent droppings and the remains of roaches were evident under the sinks and stove. The appliances are old, rusty and only sort of working. The bathrooms smelled from black mold in the tanks and bowls We spent the first week cleaning and painting the kitchen and removing the rust and refinishing the refrigerator at our own expense to make the place livable.

Things went well enough until the rain started. Then depending on the direction of the rain it would leak into the kitchen, it would leak into the front room, and it would leak into two of the bedrooms. And it was not leaking as a result of a clogged gutter. A drain pipe was completely rusted through but that water simply ran into an outside hall and down the front steps and out the front door. Yes one frequently had to walk up the stairs inside the house through water running down the steps.

As for the “in-country” manager, she is not a manager at all. She keeps an eye on things and does a bit of cleaning, but she had absolutely no authority nor the funds to have anything fixed nor does she have the expertise to troubleshoot problems that come up. She is a very pleasant person in an untenable position where she is unable to do anything managerial.

The place is overpriced for what you get and the inconviences you have to put up with and you should definitely avoid staying there in the rainy season.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherrylvalentine, Manager at Vina Romantica, responded to this review, June 16, 2012
I am the owner and manager of Comida Cocina, SA. the corporation who owns Vina Romantica. I currently work and have for the past 12 years as a property manager both in the U.S. and abroad. I currently manage 688 units (condos, single family homes and vacation homes) for different homeowners as a property manager for a real estate brokerage in WA State including my own properties in WA, Texas and Costa Rica. I handle cash assets of $685,543.00 per year by collecting monthly rents and paying invoices. I hear complaints from tenants and owners. I respond by problem solving and hiring maintenance workers to take care of large issues such as total reclads of buildings to emergency water leaks and small ones such as the garbage wasn’t picked up. My clients are both high end and low end homes. Building assets run into the high millions. As you can see I am paid professionally as a respected property manager.

I know a contract default when I see one. The facts are that the last month’s rent was not paid. The property was not returned in satisfactory condition. The intent was to default on the contract and not leave the security deposit to be used because you knew you damaged the property. This makes you an undesirable tenant in any owner’s book regardless of the amount of words and excuses you use to justify your action.
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Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

I spent almost five months at Vina Romantica with friends and while the views from the back upstairs balcony are fantastic, there is too much wrong with this property to recommend staying here. It is important to know that three of the bedrooms are in a separate building in the back of the main house and require walking outside to reach. This wasn't too much of a problem in the dry season, however, once the rains started in April (a bit early this year), I had to walk through puddles of water in the courtyard and on several occasions had to spend almost an hour mopping the floor of my bedroom which had flooded (the balcony slopes down into the room).

The back downstairs bedroom is uninhabitable. When we arrived there was black mold on the ceiling and the back wall. The owner was not willing to hire someone to address this issue so my friend spent almost two weeks treating the black mold and then painting the walls. While she was painting she heard some crunching noise and then the electricity on the bathroom side of the room went out (perhaps wires eaten by animals). We ran extension cords from the side of the room with electricity to the side that had none. Unfortunately once the rains started, the back wall started leaking again to include water coming through the electrical outlets that still worked. The black mold returned and we had to vacate the room.

The only TV broke in March and we still had two months left on our lease. Luckily a kind neighbor lent us a small TV so we wouldn't be without one. The middle of May the dryer broke and other appliances (washer and refrigerator) are surely not far behind. The roof in the main house leaks and clean-up after a major rain takes more time than I'm willing to spend considering I'm suppose to be on vacation. There are also termites that leave evidence of their work in the kitchen and upstairs bedroom.

The owner lives in the United States and does not have in-country management to address any issues. There is a person who changes the sheets and does a cursory cleaning once a week but is not in any way capable of fixing electrical, structural or major housing problems. So unless you are willing to exert a considerable amount of time addressing issues that continually arise with this place (which are many and only highlights are provided here), I would not recommend Vina Romantica.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherrylvalentine, Owner at Vina Romantica, responded to this review, June 7, 2012
Because you were a guest at the vacation rental house and not the tenant (responsible party) your review doesn’t have many FACTS. Here they are:

1) The tenant broke the rental contract and did not pay the full last month’s rent.
2) Because of this I did not have the security deposit to:
a. Pay to have all the furniture in the 5000 sf house put back to it’s original place in preparation for the next tenant.
b. Pay to replace the mattresses and beds that were left out on the patio in the rain
c. Pay to replace the seat cushions that were left out in the rain.
d. Pay to replace the wi-fi and modem that were inoperable
e. Pay to repair the TV that was dropped and was easily repaired by securing the lose part.
f. Pay to repair the broken front door handle
3) I gladly offered to have the room mentioned repainted by a vendor. The tenant offered to do it himself and I paid him directly.
4) The lights in the bathroom, the dryer and the small repairs that needed to be made were not reported to me or to my manager until the house was vacated. My rental rates do not include mind reading.
5) In that I was in the house 3 days after the tenant vacated, I can report that there are no leaks in the house. A gutter was plugged up and overflowing in the outdoor hallway. Again, had it been reported to me, it was an easy repair as the gutters often need to be cleaned at the beginning of the rainy season.
6) My in-country manager was on site every week. No problems were reported to her. .
7) A copy of the floor plan was given to the tenant prior to lease signing. He was aware of the layout of the house.

Remember that when a tenant rents a house whether in a foreign country or their own, it is to be returned in its original condition minus normal wear and tear. The facts I’ve written do not constitute normal wear and tear. I won’t give a good rental reference for this tenant to other vacation rental owners.
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Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at this wonderful hotel the first night we arrived in Costa Rica and again the night before we flew home. It was close to the airport but much more charming than any of the box hotels we passed. We were greeted by Ann Cabezas who, as others have reported, was wonderful and had great suggestions for our trip. We were tired and hungry when we arrived so she brought us a complimentary fresh mango drink with a little rum...Yum! We had a quick meal there cooked by Xenia ( I hope I spelled that right) who was just as wonderful as Ann. The room we had was very clean and had a very comfortable bed and beautiful views. The next morning the Xenia cooked a fantastic traditional Costa Rican breakfast and also drove us to our shuttle pick up location because the cab driver they normally use was unavailable. They definitely go above and beyond for their guests!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2011

(note: our last trip to costa rica was 2years prior. Website won't allow me to use an earlier date.)
My husband is costa rican and we traveled to costa rica often. We were always looking for a better hotel close to the airport because we would always arrive late and didn't want to make the 4 hour drive at that time. A few years back we found Vina Romantica online and gave it a shot. The host, Sherry, was amazing, even accommodated our rental car in their garage. We arrived very late but they still fed us an phenomenal home cooked meal. We slept in an upstairs room and it was clean, the beds were comfortable, and it even had a coffeemaker (unusual for costa rica). In the morning we had a wonderful breakfast before we were off. We enjoyed it so much that we booked a room for the night before our return flight and enjoyed it just as much. It's a wonderful little hidden gem in Alejuela that you should not miss out on. I am appalled by the bad review below as our stay there was our favorite hotel in Alejuela. I won't mention the other hotel names, but we've stayed in 7 different ones, and Vina Romantica was hands down, the best! Btw, great communication via email.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vina Romantica

Address: 50 Metres Sur de Hotel Buena Vista | Las Pilas de San Isidro, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 52 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vina Romantica is located just 5 kilometers from the International Airport. We are located in a tiny rural village at an altitude of 4200 feet. It is tranquil and the views of the volcanoes are magnificient. We are on the road to many of the tourist attractions that can be seen in one day. There are many very good restaurants in the area. You can relax and enjoy the true Costa Rican life style while staying at Vina Romantica. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vina Romantica Alajuela
Vina Romantica Hotel Alajuela
Vina Romantica Costa Rica/Alajuela

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