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“No party here; just peace and quiet.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Villas Playa Samara

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   3km South From the Center of Samara Going Towards Playa Carrillo, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Playa Samara
Ottawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“No party here; just peace and quiet.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

It is a smallish resort in a very quiet and peaceful location, 3km/$6 cab ride to the dusty little town of Samara. No party atmosphere at this resort. The shuttle from the Liberia airport is 2 hours. Currently renovations are underway to repair damage from the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in September 2012; by my estimation these repairs will not be completed before the end of April 2013 so the noise of construction will be occurring every day. During our stay the fitness centre and store were closed and restaurant seating was around the pool. The villas were cleaned daily to my satisfaction. The resort has only one restaurant and the food was very good but the menu was not very long. The menu did have enough variety for a weeklong stay. One reviewer said none of the villas are near the beach which is not true. Our villa was 20 feet from the beach and over half of the villas had a beach view and were within a 200 feet of the beach. Most staff could speak better English that I can speak Spanish. Occasionally I had to use my limited Spanish to make myself understood. The attentiveness of the staff meets the resorts three star rating however a couple dollar tip here and there increase the service you get substantailly . One of your daily obligations is to sign for every meal, beer and bottle of water even if you are on the all-inclusive plan. Be careful what you sign for because premium drinks are pricey and no warning is given or price list available to alert you when you have crossed the all-inclusive line. The bartender on duty during our week could not make a cocktail to save his life. No wine was available at the bar (only in the restaurant) and popular liquors such as Gin were not available. The beach lounge chairs are the white plastic type and they are brutally uncomfortable. I have little interest is hanging around the pool, but it appeared there were enough brutally uncomfortable chairs. Sunsets are magnificent and not to be missed. The beach is nearly abandoned. It was delightful to see the free running horses every morning walking along the beach and every evening eating from the resort lawns around the villas. The horses work during the day providing an opportunity to ride along the 4km long beach. Days spent on the beach watching pelicans dive for fish, iguanas digging holes in the sand, black vultures waiting for the fishermen to return and the resident hawk circling was just what I was looking for to kick back and relax. I would return to this resort for the peace and tranquility it provides and likely get a car to tour the nearby beaches to find activities that are to my liking. They live up to their three star rating is nearly every way but the food is better than that.
We took two tours with the onsite tour provider Turtle Tours. We took the nesting turtle tour and saw nada $40; we stood in the dark on the beach for an hour and a half. On our half day boat tour we saw dolphins and turtles caught no fish and the snorkeling was so-so but was a nice day on the water for $60. They could not provide scuba locally however, there is a scuba diving company in Samara ($100 for two tanks) that will pick you up on the beach in front of your villa. The day I went the visibly was no more than 20 feet, I was disappointed. However I saw my first sharks and my first rays. Hanging around town we found a couple of nice restaurants with seating in the sand, on the beach and under shade trees (El Ancla and Gusto Beach). The food at El Ancla was excellent and both restaurants could make an excellent cocktail.

Room Tip: The fitness centre and store were closed due to construction that I expect will not be finished unil...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, February 2, 2013
Dear Lionfishkiller, first than all we would like to thank for taking your time to write such a complete review about our property and our location! You have describe us really well and we really appreciate your sincere appreciation about our property. We wished that all reviews would be as sincere and complete as yours that would really help future customers take their decisions to visit us! I would like to tell you that we have complete all of our gym & games room renovations at this time and that we are sorry that you were not able to experience them during your stay! We will definitely talk to our bartender and see were we can improve is cocktail making skills, we will also check with our restaurant manager since we do offer gin, you should have had access to some during your stay! We have also taken your recommendation and we are now serving wine at our bar!!! Thank you for making us see this!!! We are sorry that you had to sign all of your bills during your stay even if you were on the all inclusive package since we offer both options of stay at our resort we need to have control of everything that is served. We are working on a plan to change our beach and pool chairs we will definitely have something new for your next visit! Our best Regards from Playa Samara and to the pleasure of having you in the near future at our property!
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377 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (107)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

We recently stayed at the Villas for seven days. After reading all the bad reviews I was scared to see what I would find. I have come to the conclusion that some people will not be happy with anything and will find problems wherever they go.

We had a great time and while it was not perfect, I would definitely come back. I’ll try to not only review the place, but to give some advice to anyone looking to spend time here.

We were told check–in ends at 11pm. The hotel is 2 hours away by car from Liberia Airport. If you think you will arrive after 11pm, just call the hotel before you leave home and let them know. We did, and the night security guard had everything for us (our Key, guest bracelet and a porter to take you to your room). The next morning, we just had to stop by the desk again to leave our credit card and properly check in. There is no waiting in the lobby at all. The process took about 5 mins. Same goes for leaving the Hotel. We had be at the airport at 5:30am, they hooked us up with a really nice van and driver that took us. It was very clean and confortable ride.

Our Villa was immaculate. It was huge and clean and looked like it was just renovated. I did not enter any others so I can only speak for unit 40P. The outer hammock and yard was well maintained. The kitchen had everything. The fridge looked it was brand new. The showers did not have the high level of water pressure we are used to in the States, but they were fine enough to get the job done. The ACs were quiet and worked great. The only bug we found was one little spider on the window of one bathroom. Considering the outside was like a jungle I was really impressed how bug free our experience was. Room cleaning did not come everyday though. It came every other day for us, but we didn’t really care.

We ate breakfast at the hotel everyday. It was good. $10+tax per person, all you can eat. If you
We were in the middle and to the west side of the grounds. Our walk to the beach took less than a minute. There are wild horses that live on the grounds. If you like horses they are very cool.
Make sure you talk to the guys at Monkey Tours located in the lobby. We not only did some tours with them, but they really know the town and can help you find things you need.

Pro:
Clean
Safe
Quiet
Very Private
Very nice staff
Right in front of the little island for snorkeling
Short walk to the next beach over, Carrillo beach.
Tour company located right in hotel.
Good breakfast

Con:
½ hour walk from town.
2 hours from airport.
The Store, gym and inside restaurant were not yet finished.


Conclusion: Samara is in the middle of nowhere. The little town with all the bars and restaurants is a half hour walk or $8 cab ride away. If you are looking for a Quiet, safe getaway in paradise, then this is the place. At night it was so nice to have peace and quiet and total privacy. Just be prepared to find that some of the facilities are still down, but your Villa, pool, pool bar and service will be top notch. Take the 100% adventure tour package with the Monkey tours guys too, it’s totally worth the money. Best day ever.

Room Tip: Unit 40P is brand new. Kind if the middle between beach and pool. 1 min walk to each.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
New York City, New York
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

My family stayed here the week of Christmas 2012, fully expecting a wonderful tropical holiday. What we encountered was everything but it. I did my reservation on September through American express Travel and called twice after the earthquake; first the hotel directly and then after to Amex and were assured that everything was in working order.
We arrived to chaos. The pool was under construction, with workers in various states. The walkways were dangerous, with bricks and ditch everywhere, exposed electric wires and electric saw. The entertainment room, meeting rooms, and store were virtual storage rooms. The restaurant and bar didn’t exist.

Check-in was stated as 2pm, we arrived at 3pm BUT we had to wait 4hours before we could get our room. The room given to us was not what we paid for; 2 Bedroom Luxury Beach front Villa. This Villa was in the back of the construction site, (with debris view) … I lodged a complaint with the front desk, with desperate team of inexperienced workers who were unfortunately trapped in the situation and couldn’t help.
Eventually we got to speak to the owner/manager, who without a shame gave length of lies, instead of solving the situation. He was claiming a natural disaster … force majeure… earthquake… which may happen BUT it was 4 months before our arrival. All I expected is a true discloser instead we received a fake story, a pure INSURANCE FRAUD.

I still can’t believe what management went to deceive us. Since it was a pick season we couldn’t find an alternative place and was forced to stay in that kingdom of lies. We didn’t get the 2 BR Villa we paid 359$ /night for but a 1 bedroom in a construction site… Our neighbored villa was under noisy construction from 6:30 AM to 9PM the all 4 days we stayed there… More important there was no safety measures taken, and my kid was injured by a rustic nail.
Even the Villa was beautiful at first glance. The water was shot down twice, the toilets never worked, our refrigerator had to be replaced, lights did not work, and many other minor issues had to be worked out. Service was completely lacking, though I believe they did try hard. For example, we went without drinks one breakfast service and without complete silverware sets at another. It was ridiculous! The maid service was laughable. They came in, made up the beds and some of the time gave us new towels and toilet paper. And in our stay they came twice without it being late afternoon and us having to ask for maid service. By the time we left the pool was in working order, though it was disgustingly white and murky looking. I learned later there was no filtration working.
For full disclosure I toured the hotel with the owner to show him all the safety problems and service problems. He offered to reimburse our initial payment and only charge 100$/night. It was the most expensive 100$ I ever paid…
Like I said, everything was ridiculous! The most frustrating part is that this ownership by greed and self-indulgence took a natural paradise and destroy it. The location is beautiful and management is criminal in the way they are running this place.

AS TRAVELERS OUR WAY TO IMPACT AND CHANGE THIS CRIME IS VOTING WITH OUR LEGS, PLEASE DON’T VISIT VILLA PLAYA SAMARA UNTIL OWNERSHIP/MANAGEMENT REPLACED!!!

Room Tip: Stay away from this Hotel;
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

During the holiday break my family and i stayed at Villas Playa Samara for two weeks. We picked this hotel because we had heard nice comments about it. We had a beautiful villa close to the garden and the nicest point about this hotel is that all the members of our family were together in the same place. Each villa has her own kitchen wich is very interesting. All the sraff was very nice and took care of us very well, the beach was also beautiful and spacious. Comparing to other famous all inclusive we were able to stay on the beach without beeing standing to close to other people from the resort. We also did some amazing activities with the monkey tours team that is staying directly on the site. We went to Monteverde (canopy tour), Ricon de la Viejra (adventure tour), horseback riding, fishing and kayak tour (Chora island tour)... All those activities were very interesting and it gave us the chance to see all the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Direclty on the site we also had the chance to see a bunch of monkeys, horses, lezard... , the city of Samara is also close from the resort and you can reach this place directly by the beach by walking. I had an amazing trip and i would stay there again. I recommend this place to all the people that want to explore the amazing country of Costa Rica. Pura Viva!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Colorado
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

It willl be hard to keep this short! We booked this place for 4 nights but left a night early. The check in process was a joke. No organization. I had to flag down the golf cart guy myself. The maintenance man had to fix our lock on the bedroom and we waited 25 min for that. No one gave us a key to the safe without us having to go ask. The patio was dirty with a hammock that looked like if we sat in it, it would break. It was told to me that "the kitchen would have everything we could ever need." No oven, no rice cooker, and of the 3 burners for stove top, only 1 worked. No pans, just pots. No soap or sponge to clean them and maid service did not do it. Pool was dirty with leaves and oily. Never "clear or sparkling". The food for lunch was HORRIBLE. The food at dinner was good. Their on premises shop/gym/entertainment room closed for construction. The internet only worked midnight-5am before the staff got on it. Our ocean view villa was #8, had a nice view and was large with 2 bdrms. The seating area had uncomfortable chairs, we found ourselves eating and sitting in bed to hang out. The beds were comfy with nice sheets. The shower never drained while you were in there, so you were ankle high while in there. There are a few nice people that work, Jose and Alex and Steven. Farida was helpful in the booking process, but when I mentioned all our problems, she had nothing to say to fix it and was rude. There is nothing near by to eat at or shop for so you are stuck there. We live in Samara PT and have fam and friends visit often. I would never recommend this place to anyone. Especially if you need internet, want a clean pool, with good food and helpful service for basics.

Room Tip: Ocean view is worth it, we stayed in villa 8B, which is close to pool where you can hear the music a...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Romy4424, I am sorry to say that it is a shame that you have to come down to such lies in order to get it your way! Our resort as always been supportive of complaints that we may have our customers are always right. But in your case it is a shame you came down to our resort in the beggining of january asking us for a great rate since your usual place that you stayed in Samara was over booked for 5 nights. You visited our property twice to make sure it was the right place for you. You negotiated us a great price since that we decided to extend to you since we gave you a rate of 139$US per night for a garden deluxe room. You then requested to have an ocean view we once again decided to help you out with no extra cost during the reservation process since we do everything posible to accomodate our guest! You visited and saw everything that we have in our kitchen in two occasions and you had no issues with anything since you decided to book. You then one day prior to arrival requested us again another special request to change your entry date by one day we once again tried our best to help you but by doing such move we had to give you another free upgrade to a two bedroom ocean view for the same price since for that next day we had no posibility on giving you a one bedroom ocean view! You did not have to check out one day before your were scheduled too you arrived one day late and it is once you were to depart that you came to use requesting a refund for your last night that you did not need anyway since you were suppose to checkout and we refuse to reimburse that last night since that would mean for us to loss the first night that you came in late and the extension night that you came to us trying to find all issues posible about the property that you did not have during your entire stay and you then threatened or staff that they give you an extra discount or a refund or you would charge your own way we now guest what you were refering to is trying to BLACKMAIL.... us with a terrible review on tripadvisor, for all the tripadvisor community! We have a brand new pool to offer you which is cristal clear! Our safe do not use key's but code, we guest our maintenance staff is not so bad I guest since we get problem solve in less than half hour! We offer free wifi thru out our property for all our guest to use! We are located at 2 kilometers from downtown Samara but we offer shuttle services or taxis to go there making not an issue but an attraction for vacationer since we offer you an almost private beach with no distraction! It is a shame their is no guestadvisor site since we could inform the ENTIRE hotelier community to not accept as a guest anywhere!!!!!
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Quebec, Quebec, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

Just got back from a beautiful week in Playa Samara. We picked up this hotel as a recommendation of some friends, and it was a great choice. We were given a beautiful beach front villa where we were able to see an amazing and breathtaking sunset every afternoon. Luis and Jorge at the bar were great. They served us fresh coconuts that they had just cut down from the palm trees. We also did some amazing tours with the Monkey Tours team that is on site. We did the Chora Island tour where we kayaked to the island in front of hte hotel and snorkeled, it was beautiful. We also did the Boat safari and pottery tour where we saw a bunch of cocodriles and monkeys, the wildlife was amazing. I can't wait to go back... I already miss it... I recommend it to every one that are looking for an incredible time in paradise. Pura vida to everyone back there.

...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear Bryan,

We are really happy to read your review and to see that you had a great time at our resort! We certainly hope to have you back very soon among us and I will let know all our team that you had a great time with the tours and that you enjoyed our fresh coconut's (PIPAS) like we call them!!! See you again in paradise!!!
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Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We stayed here in January 2013. We were surprised to see that a lot of the hotel was having reno's. The gym was not available and there was a lot going on around the front desk/kitchen area. No biggie though, we still really enjoyed our stay. We stayed in one of the beach view cabinas. It was very clean and perfect for my family and I. We just were part of the breakfast plan, which wasn't amazing but still good. The bartenders at the pool were great! Our 4 year old daughter managed to wrap Jose around her finger. He was constantly making her and her brother special drinks and "pips frias", her favorite drink! She still asks to return and visit him, haha! The beach in front of the hotel is nice and you could walk into town along the beach. Playa Carillo is nicer though.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear Krista, thank you very much for your review! We are really happy to know that you and your family had a good time at our resort and that even thought we were completing our reno you were able to have a great time enjoying our property! We are really happy to read that you daughter enjoyed our PIPAS frias they are cut down directly from our palm tree in the property! I really hope that you will be able to visit us in the neat future and we recommend all our guest to visit playa carillo which is just next door to us it is great that you enjoyed it! I will let Jose know about your review that will make him really happy and we will check on the breakfast so this one can end up been great!!! Our warmest regards from Samara! Pura Vida from Samara!!!
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Additional Information about Hotel Villas Playa Samara

Address: 3km South From the Center of Samara Going Towards Playa Carrillo, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Playa Samara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Villas Playa Samara 3*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a hotel with fully equipped villas and deluxe rooms. We are located in front of the beach very close yo downtown Samara. ... more   less 
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