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“Significant security and customer service issues” 1 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
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Significant security and customer service issues”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We made and paid for our reservation through hotwire in advance but when we tried to check in, we had to wait almost 4 hours for them to try to find our reservation- which they never did. They required me to email them our hotwire confirmation but the internet was down the entire time we were there so i couldn't even do that until we left. Property looked nice whil we were waiting, so we weren't too concerned. We had booked and paid for an ocean view room. Instead, we were given a very small room at the back of the property overlooking construction and garbage. Several hotel employees said this happens to people every day at this hotel. They tell everyone they will have an ocean view room and charge you more for it and then when you check in, suddenly it's not available. The employees we talked to said people are angry all the time because the hotel lies to get people to book here. While we were here 2 days, we heard countless arguments with the front desk and guests because of the same issues.

The website said the rooms had safes, but our room did not. We asked many times each day for a safe and were told everything from "there are no safes" to "we are installing one in your room shortly." We never did receive the safe (that the hotel listings said were in every room). The owner even promised us he had one coming and that it would be installed first thing in the morning. Never happened.

The worst part? They offered to let us keep our stuff in the managers safe. Great option! Except that they decided to make an envelope to give us to hold our stuff - and they made that envelope from another hotel guests PASSPORT copy. Then they gave us that to take with us. That has to be against some law. We are going to contact that US gentleman when we get back to the states to let the poor guy know about the security issue! When we checked out and they gave us all of our belongings from their safe, they also tried to give us someone else's wallet! Unbelievable!

We had 2 coffee cups un our room but no coffee maker (also promised in the hotel listing) and the hand towels hadn't been changed from the last guest and were dirty and used. The room we booked was not what we got and the staff didn't seem to care or just had no power to help fix the situation.

It's unfortunate, because the location is great and the pool is nice. But with all of the problems and significant security issues, we absolutely wouldn't recommend the place.

The bright spot??? Stephen who runs the "Monkey Tours" operation there. He was fabulous. He doesn't even work for the hotel and yet, he tried his hardest to help remedy our situation. We took his kayak and snorkeling tour and it was super fun!!! Yay for Stephen!

Room Tip: Most rooms do not have the promised ocean view. Be very careful!!!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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.
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346 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (98)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Stephenville, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

I stayed here with my family last Easter and it was simply magnificent. Our villa was located near the beach and it was absolutely beautiful. The food was delicious, and we received great service, especially from Luis at the bar and while in the restaurant. The employees were very kind and great to talk to. Really enjoyed the pool, restaurant, bar, and the beaches. Overall a beautiful place and I would love to go back. Would advise anyone interested in going not to make a decision based on the resort after the earthquake, but to let them make their repairs and get it back up and running to its normal state, because it is a fantastic place with great people and great surroundings.

Room Tip: choose a villa nearest to the beach
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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 Andrea D, First than all we would like to thank you for your great review and for choosing our property for your Costa Rican vacations. We are really happy to know that you enjoyed our property and that Luis gave you a great service!!! We will make sure that he read your review since good comments are always of great motivation! Thank you for your support on the earthquake and we are sure that we will have a nicer property than ever!! To the pleasure of having you very soon again among us!!! Our best Regards from Sunny Samara!!!
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Calabasas, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

My husband and I were planning on staying here for our honeymoon but at the VERY LAST MINUTE the hotel sent me an EMAIL stating that due to the earthquake (which was 3-4 weeks prior), they were unable to accomodate us. Instead they were sending us to their "sister" hotel which when we looked it up was more like a MOTEL 6. We had already paid the taxes and upgraded to their suite and the sister MOTEL didn't even have suites- we literally went from a 4 star resort to a "not even on the map- MOTEL." They didn't even give us any other options. The email simply told us this is what was going to happen. I immediately began attempting to call, email, send smoke signals...anything to reach someone who could actually take action and give us our refund. Our finances were already tied up and extremely tight with the wedding and all so we really needed them to release the funds from our credit card. I'm not sure how we swung it but we were able to re-arrange our honeymoon and stayed at two different lovely hotels which worked out so much better in the end. To this date, we are STILL waiting for our refund. So, we never actually stayed there, but if their communication is this bad for a potential guest, I can't imagine how it would be if we did stay there. Funny how fast they charge your card versus how slow it takes to get it back, especially when it was their responsibility to make it right.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
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 4, 2013
Dear Marina, Thank you for your review we are terribly sorry that you are still waiting refund with the resort we invite you to contact us directly at brissonp@villasplayasamara.com we will gladly help you resolve everything! The aftershock for any business after the earthquake of the magnitude that we had is really hard but we have been in business for more than 20 years and if their is something pending that we need to refund you we will be more than happy to solve it! Our best Regards from Samara and to the pleasure of having you in the future among us!!! Pura Vida!!!
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New York
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

This stay was a nightmare. We arrived late at night after traveling for 14 hours to be told that they don't have our reserved 2 bedroom villa for us. They then sent us to another villa only to be told that is not the one, then to another one, a 1 bedroom that was dirty stained rusted with sewage order infiltrating the unit, t was all they had...they claimed. The next day we waited again for our room...they played tag, other people came and checked in. Finally they gave us a two bedroom waterfront for our troubles...thought nice....deeper hell..furniture and cabinets full of mold...bathroom stink and clogged, bats, lizards and ants all other the rooms...blood on sheets furniture falling apart, appliance rusted and gross, mosquitoes the size of a butterfly. Upon my return I contacted the president of the company...who pleaded with me to not post anything on the web, to not notify the timeshare company...he will reimburse me my money. Soon thereafter he stopped corresponding via email and answering telephone. From the president of the company to the reception staff to the Manager of the property...no one was helpful. The beach was unclean with horse droppings all over it...be careful walking barefeet because you can get worms boring through your skin.

I was in touch with the president of the company via email...I have them...says he will reimburse me my stay...when it was time to reimburse he stopped answer emails and phones.

Room Tip: Rooms are Disgusting
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 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 15
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 RosDT, first than all we are really confussed about your review and even would like to know if you stayed at our property! IF you had such a bad experience at our resort why wait a full year to write to us? Our beach fortunately as been rated by trip advisor reviewer the NUMBER TWO BEST BEACH OF ALL CENTRAL AMERICA! It seems in your review that you have probably visited another beach since our beach is our of the cleanest in the world, everyone as giving in the past 100% good review about location I guest they must be talking about our fabulous beach that we offer to all of our guest! If you yes indeed stayed at our property we invite you to write at friends@villasplayasamara.com and we will gladly look into your case! But I am sorry to tell you that we have never had anyone stating that their is worms that will penetrate their feet on our five star beach that unfortunately we cannot accept!
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Ottawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
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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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
4 helpful votes 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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*
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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