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“Excellent choice!!!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fenix Hotel - On The Beach

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Fenix Hotel - On The Beach
100 Mts Sur de Pulperia Stephanie | Samara de Nicoya, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in Playa Samara
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
“Excellent choice!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

I was there last month, it was a great experience and the little hotel was perfect, clean Room, a few steps from the beach and Phyllis is a great host. You feel like home there. Next time I visit Samara, I will stay there again

  • Stayed October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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365 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    278
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boca Raton, Florida
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

For our first adventure in Costa Rica, we couldn't have picked better accommodations than this intimate, family-run hideaway on Samara Beach. Its clean, high-ceiling rooms are nicely decorated and open to a small pool and patio, with the ocean just steps beyond through a tropical garden that's manicured daily. Phyllis & Bill, its proprietors, are warm, attentive hosts, who are eager to ensure your stay in Samara Beach is most memorable--which ours was. The Fenix Hotel is not a Westin or Marriott, but it's just what we were looking for in our tropical vacation, which was a quiet place to relax and get to know the Tico culture on the locals' terms. Sunsets are fantastic as are the nighttime stars. The town and restaurants are all a short walk on the beach or a two-minute drive away. We'll be back.

Room Tip: All rooms are nice but #6 is the roomiest with nicest kitchen.
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  • Stayed October 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bella Vista, Arkansas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

Phyllis was absolutely wonderful! The location offers both good proximity to local restaurants and entertainment via short beach walk AND enough distance from the center of town to blissful serenity in the great lounge chairs and tables offered right outside your room right on the beach! I am not sure which part to tell you is best the great personal touch of the owners or the great location. I can't wait to go back with my hubby :)

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Albany, Oregon
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We stayed 4 nights at the Fenix Hotel. We chose this hotel after reading many, many reviews on tripadvisor and were not disappointed. We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids ages 10 and 6) and were first time visitors to Costa Rica. We loved that the Fenix had cooking facilities, was steps from the swimmable ocean, was walking distance to town, and had a pool. We enjoyed the convenience of homemade ceviche and pastries brought to our doorstep. Phyllis was helpful made our stay comfortable. We had a room without air conditioning, and were comfortable in late June. Our girls were comfortable on the twin bed with a pull out trundle. While the pool is small, we had it mostly to ourselves, and the girls spent hours playing in it. The grounds and pool were well maintained. We did not have a car and found walking to town with kids fine except during hottest time of day. I would stay here again!

Room Tip: We did not stay in the one deluxe room with air conditioning, and were very comfortable.
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

We've been down to Samara a couple of times and love this quaint hidden away spot. The owners are fantastic and make you feel welcome and pampered!
Everything you need is there...the beach, a pool, hammocks, sun and shade!

It's within walking distance to some fun restaurants on the beach but all the rooms have a kitchen so you can purchase some local food and bring some coffee and just hang out at the Fenix!

Can't wait to head back!

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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New York City, NY USA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

My husband and I spent three nights in Samara in the middle of our 15 day trip. We had just finished 8 days of adventure excursions and forest hikes. The second half of our trip was for beach relaxation, and we definitely got that at Fenix Hotel. We left with a wonderful impression of Samara and its residents. Stay one full day at Fenix and you'll see its magic. Sitting on the beach at Fenix, with the breeze and the sun on you, is the perfect escape from anything stressful. Ask Phyllis if there are anymore coconuts on the trees (the guests go through them quickly!), and she'll have Francisco (?) cut one open for you. Everyone thanks him with a tip at the end of their stay.

We had corresponded with Bill and Phyllis before we left home, and they gave great, detailed directions and advice about driving on the Nicoya Peninsula. When we pulled into the parking area of Fenix, we met Bill on his porch and he gave us a tour. I was a little apprehensive about the hotel at first, because it was hot and humid, and Bill instructed us not to leave anything in the car, even though he was just going to take us to the room - this scared us a little. (In the end, we never felt unsafe but we were grateful that he was blunt about it.) At first, the ceiling fans weren't enough to cool us down. We admit we are spoiled with the convenience of central a/c at home, and we think we will melt when it's hot and humid outside. We immediately turned on both air-conditioners (available only in the deluxe room), but they seemed to be very weak and the ceiling fan in the bedroom was covered with a thick layer of dust. We asked Bill about the a/c, and he said to "put it on turbo and give it a chance." Then we had to go back to Bill again because the previous guests had locked the safe with their passcode. Bill immediately came to unlock it for us. The other guests at the hotel kept their doors open and they all sat outside their rooms, having dinner, chatting, or reading. You can probably avoid interacting with the other guests, but the design of the outdoor spaces encourages everyone to interact, and it's nice to do so. A Canadian family recommended we walk along the beach to El Lagarto for dinner. This meal was so good that I still cannot stop thinking about it - easily the best meal of our whole trip. The drinks were delicious, strong, and cheap. The food was absolutely perfect. Get the grilled steak and squid. The jumbo shrimp and other seafood were also amazing. The restaurant is right on the beach, so at night you can observe tons of little crabs around you. It's entertaining - not gross or creepy, I promise.

The a/c ended up working great, and we were really grateful to have it. However, the other guests seemed perfectly happy without a/c!! We admired their fortitude! The bed was very comfortable, and the suite was spacious and clean. We had a strong, hot shower. We woke up the next morning to a beautiful, sunny day and a tiny crab in the shower. I thought it was amusing. We have no idea how it got there! We moved it outside ourselves, but if you're squeamish you could probably ask one of the hotel staff to remove it for you. Side note: I would recommend putting aside any squeamish-ness when you go to Costa Rica - it's more fun that way. We got at least one new crab every morning we were there :) Yes, we also saw tiny ants in the kitchen, and a few mosquitoes, but this is really unavoidable in Costa Rica. We stayed at places that cost $55 and others that cost $300 during our two weeks there, and everyone had little insects. I'm a mosquito magnet and of course I got bitten a lot, even with religious applications of DEET bug spray, but I got used to all the little pests. For those who are concerned about this, just remember that having fun in Costa Rica is a much better use of your time than getting upset over a few bugs.

I started to love Fenix and Samara more and more during our first morning there, so I hope everyone who is apprehensive about staying can give it a day to see how great it is. The cushions and hammocks are hung early in the morning, always clean and comfortable. They are removed in the evenings or when it rains. The hotel staff work very hard and are friendly. The bodega with bottled water, beer, boogie boards, and washing machine/dryer was a great convenience and prices were very reasonable. You can do your own laundry or have the maid do it for you, either way it costs $5 per load, washing or drying. There's laundry detergent in the bodega and the machines worked great. The bodega does close in the evenings, so be sure to get your drinks and laundry before it closes.

There's so much to do in Samara - so many hammocks and beach chairs to try, and lots of great restaurants (we really liked Esmerelda too - spaghetti with seafood is excellent). We took surfing lessons and went back the next day for more. There are lots of excursions but we were exhausted from the previous week of adventures, so we were mostly interested in relaxing and eating tasty food :)

When we had to leave, my husband forgot his iPhone in the room but didn't realize this until we were already 30-45 minutes away. So we turned around and headed back to Fenix. The maid found it and brought it to Bill and Phyllis, who returned it to my very relieved husband. I missed Samara and Fenix immediately. It's another great town in Costa Rica that hasn't been overrun with tourists, so the authenticity is still there. We were there during the last week of July 2013, and it rained for about 45 minutes each day in the late afternoon. Otherwise, the sky was sunny and the water was turquoise and warm. I hope more people take the opportunity to sit in a hammock at Fenix Hotel and experience the magic of Samara beach.

Room Tip: Air conditioning is a great amenity if you care about the heat and humidity. This is only available...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
ontario
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

The comments below perfectly reflect the Fenix. 6 rooms in close proximity to each other yet you feel like you have your own little piece of paradise. Our 7 day stay at the end of July was perfect. Yes to some the immediate area might not be the most beautiful by North American "standards" but it was part of every day Costa Rica. We loved every minute of it. The owners are sooooooo helpful and made our stay easy. Our room did not have AC but even at the end of July we did not need it. 2 fans and ocean breezes kept our room nice and cool even when it was 80 F plus outside . Samara town, which is about 15 minutes by the beach or $ 3 to $ 4 by cab is a quaint town with more than enough restaurants to keep everyone happy. The Fenix staff were also very accommodating. I already miss the sound of the ocean, the crabs, iguanas. roosters, and howler monkeys which were everywhere. I hope we can find our way back to the Fenix someday.

Room Tip: If you want AC request room 6, we didn't need it , all rooms have a kitchen
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  • Stayed July 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fenix Hotel - On The Beach

Address: 100 Mts Sur de Pulperia Stephanie | Samara de Nicoya, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Samara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Samara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Five time winner of the Traveler's Choice Award in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2009! Beach-front hotel just footsteps from the ocean. Our front yard is sand. Three ranchos with palm trees provide plenty of shade. Hammocks, moveable sunbeds, small pool, gardens and BBQ complete our front yard. All of our rooms are comfortable and tropical with fully equipped kitchens. Each room has a separate bedroom. The deluxe room has AC and widescreen TV. Standard rooms have upper and lower screened windows and two ceiling fans. Most of our guests return or recommend their friends due to the comfort level. We have an honor system for beverages and free use of boogie boards. An enjoyable 15 minute walk to Samara Central on the beach. There is a small store and fish market in our neighborhood of Matapalo, along with local deliveries of fruits and ceviche. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fenix Hotel Playa Samara

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