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“Excellent staff, great location” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villas Rio Mar

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Villas Rio Mar
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   900 Meters Northeast of the Dominical Entrance | along the Baru river side, Dominical 185-8000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 11 Hotels in Dominical
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Excellent staff, great location”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2007

Remember people, you are in a barely populated part of the country next to second growth secondary rain forest - yes there will be some bugs. The staff was just excellent and looked out for our needs the entire time. The food was remarkable and we ate numerous meals there and bypassed the Dominical strip of restaurants. We extended our stay because the area had what we wanted and the staff was so encouraging and helpful.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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322 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2007

This hotel is on the outskirts of Dominical - fairly untouched by mass tourism. The bungalows are fantastic, with a wonderful outside seating area. The pool was superb. Food and drinks great, although a little priceier than the town itself. The staff were friendly and helpful. There was a wide choice of activities available to be booked through the hotel - highly recommend surfing lessons. A great, quieter haven than some other resorts. A must.

  • Liked — The style of acommodation and the surroundings
  • Disliked — Not in the centre
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Palo Alto, California
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2007

We stayed at Villas Rio Mar three nights Dec 28-31, 2006. If you plan to stay here, or in this area, think basic, funky, 1975-era and nothing's been fixed since! Villas Rio Mar is an old property, not charming old, but run-down old. The rooms here are a far cry from "villas", but the "Junior Suites" are larger than the standard superior, which is what we had. The thatched roof restaurant is large and "muy characteristico". Service and food are OK, your basic fare at moderate prices. (I was amazed by the lack of fresh seafood options on the coast in general.) If your taste in music doesn't run to techno pop at full volume, your meal might not be a relaxing experience. The breakfast buffet is excellent, though not included in the room price.

Rooms are simple, small, and clean, but the outdooor kitchen area with sink, bar and fridge is an odd touch -- a comfortable patio would be much more pleasant. As has been stated before, there ARE centipedes, flying beetles and the occasional frog in the rooms (the only wildlife we saw in the area!).

The gardens are beautiful, although manicured lawns, orchids, and flowering bushes are out of place in a natural coastal setting. The pool is large, but the concrete surround is cracked, there is no shade, and more loud music can be heard from adjacent bar.

There is some construction going on at the front, possibly to improve the unattractive entry: a dirt parking lot in front of an open air reception desk. We found the staff of mostly local kids to be friendly and helpful. The services here are very limited -- there's not a whole lot to do in the immediate area. The few tours offered are expensive. We scheduled a snorkeling tour at Ballena Nat'l Reserve, then had to cancel when our son got sick. Even though we let the hotel know in advance, they charged us a whopping $100 cancellation fee! Our friends thought the tour was overpriced - they saw some dolphins, but the snorkeling was disappointing.

The walk to the beach along the river Baru takes 10-15 minutes. Domenical, right on the beach, is tiny; just surf shops, simple restaurants, and souvenier shops. The beach here was busy, with cars parked along a dirt road that runs along the beach, and outdoor stalls that line the road. However the ocean was warm and we had fun swimming here.

There are much prettier beaches further south, such as Ballena Nat'l Park. Though we didn't make it to Corcovado, in hindsight, we would have been better off travelling further south, stopping in Domenical for lunch.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indy
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2007

True, the rooms are a little rough around the edges, but the grounds are stunningly beautiful: a well manicured tropical garden with enough diversity of plants to please any gardener. The pool was charming and well maintained, and very popular in the late afternoon. We ate at the restaurant only for breakfasts, which were American-style buffets. The food was ok; the view of the pool was pleasant.

The room itself was worn and a little shabby: the bed was like a cardboard box, the lighting dim. However, the mini fridge and the draped sitting room were nice conveniences. The shower was decent, with plenty of hot water.

Some of the staff were exceedingly polite and helpful, recommending and booking trips for us. Some of the staff were curt. That's the way it goes at most places.

It was conveniently located a little way away from the town, which made it quieter, yet still close enough to access. We did several day trips. Toughest thing was finding it the first night after dark; it's not well marked.

All in all, it was a decent place to stay. Not luxurious, but --- except for the bed --- fairly comfortable and certainly beautiful.

  • Liked — gardenlike setting
  • Disliked — box-like bed
  • Tips/Secrets — be careful of pricing when booking day trips through the hotel; you might want to pay the vendor directly and save a few dollars
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Sao Paulo, SP
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2006

Villas Rio Mar are set a half mile "up the river" Baru, from a quiet surfing town (Dominical) with local staff and reasonable prices. It gave us exactly what we wanted in our last days in Cost Rican vacation. The grounds surround you in tropical luxury and the bungalows are comfortable and relaxing. I agree with another reviewer that this is not a high-end American style hotel, and that is exactly what we liked best about it.
The staff are some of the most sincere and genuinely nice people you'll meet anywhere. They got us the reservation for the combo tour, and even tow the wale season had past; we still had a chance to see then. We also had a massage at the spa on the end of the day, and it has excellent, We highly recommend it! We paid 30m and got 1h of pure relaxing massage all over the body, including head, feet, hands, everything! Pura Vida!

  • Liked — Great massage
  • Tips/Secrets — Great place for relaxing in Dominical
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2006

Villas Rio Mar gave us exactly what we wanted in our Cost Rican vacation. The grounds surround you in tropical luxury and the bungalows are comfortable and relaxing. I agree with another reviewer that this is not a high-end American style hotel, and that is exactly what we liked best about it.
We stayed for ten days and by the end of our stay we felt like the staff were family. To a person they are some of the most sincere and genuinely nice people you'll meet anywhere. Jenny at the bar will fix you one mean fruity drink and tell you all ever wanted to know about the area.
Anna got us great rates on all the local tours and had our itinerary planned out for us when we arrived, (The Tree of Life Tour was our favorite - truly a memory for a lifetime).
Definitely Pura Vida. So go already!

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2006

This hotel is very interesting. It isn't like any hotel we have ever been to before. Each building is divided into four rooms. Each room is divided into two areas--the living/kitchen area which is separated from the outdoors by bug netting and then lockable shutters which separates off the bedroom and bathroom area. It seems like camping and there are dozens of bugs and crawlies in the rooms--a little off putting at first, but remarkably in the bedroooms at night, there were no bugs! (at least that we could see or hear!) The cleaning staff could be better as there was a cigarette butt on our bathroom floor from day one (we stayed there three nights and we don't smoke) and the fact that there is an envelope in the room in which to put tips for the cleaning staff was a little gauling given the uncleanliness of our room. Beds are really hard and the pillows are horrible--little bits of chopped up foam. Breakfasts were alright. OJ was awful. Hotel is great at organizing tours etc. although not so great at giving you your morning wake up call for the tour...! Pool and area were nice in the evenings when the sun was going down but not that great during the day when there is no shade to be found. The price is a little steep for one step above camping, but if you are prepared for the "camping" experience, this is actually a nice hotel.

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Additional Information about Villas Rio Mar

Address: 900 Meters Northeast of the Dominical Entrance | along the Baru river side, Dominical 185-8000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Dominical
#4 Family Hotel in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Villas Rio Mar 3*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This unique style 3 star hotel is set on the banks of the Baru river, located 900 mtrs from the beach and surrounded by impressive tropical forests, the jungle resort Villas Rio Mar awaits you with the traditional Costa Rican friendly hospitality. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villas Rio Mar Hotel Dominical
Hotel Rio Mar
Rio Mar Hotel
Villas Rio Mar Costa Rica/Dominical

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