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“Not your typical CR hotel, but very valuable” 4 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 #5 of 12 Hotels in Dominical
Certificate of Excellence
Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Not your typical CR hotel, but very valuable”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Our family of 4 stayed at the Villa del Mar on Dec 24th and 25th.
Our main reason to stay here was to be in a tourist spot for Xmas eve and day to hopefully enjoy some Xmas activites for our kids.
Unfortunately, apart from one single Xmas tree and the usual over-priced special Xmas menu, nothing else happened....::((
The resort is really nice, lots of green space and altough many villas are close by, the architectural concept gives you some isolation. They pay high attention to service, cleanliness and quality of food. Every meal there was really good. On our way out, as I was checking out, the maid promptly called the reception to inform them of all the stuff I was about to leave behind, WOW, never seen that in 30 years of travels!!!!!
Rooms are nice but small. Bathroom is really basic with minimal raking. Lovely outside area with sofas, fridge and curtains to isolate you from passers-by.
Pool is nice.
Only negative side, the clientele is kind of old. Lots of grey hair around the pool, I had to tell my boys to keep quiet as all those Germans and Americans 60+ were staring at them....

Room Tip: No animation or music in this resort, so you can ask for a villa close to the pool if you don't...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Thank you for your comments. We try to provide our best service and our full
attention to every client.

Christmas is a very big holiday in Costa Rica. Most of the Costa Rican
families celebrate this with a Christmas tree, typical food, fireworks. Last year we decorated the hotel with 2 Christmas trees and we chose to have live music on December 31st.

Our clientele is indeed very diverse, this is something that we are very proud of!

Thanks again for your comments and we hope to see your family next year.

Villas Rio Mar staff
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334 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

We stayed four wonderful nights in Villas Rio Mar and contemplated remaining there for the remainder of our two week vacation. Although one of the more expensive options in Dominical, this resort lives up to everything they promise and more. Our room was clean and well equipped, the a/c was in good working order, there was a small fridge on the patio with two cushioned seats. The resort is located down a dirt road that runs along the river, it is only a five minute walk into town and about ten to the beach. If you think you might be out past sunset bring a flash light, the road has some lights and goes right beside the police station so it is safe but it feels a bit better if you can see what is between the road lights. If you do forget your flashlight you might be pleasantly surprised as you gaze up at the amazing stars and watch the fireflies in the field.

The staff are super friendly and helpful, we had problems getting our hot water in the shower working (red is cold/blue is hot) the first night and they had somebody out immediately to assist. The restruant is not the cheapest place to eat in town but perhaps the best food, the tuna sandwich was amazing....anyplace that can make a tuna sandwich taste that delicious is a truly great place to eat. Almost every night we were blessed with an encounter on the patio of creatures with many legs, countless geckos, a giant grasshopper as big as my hand, a huge spider and a very large winged bug with big bulging eyes. We love these sorts of things, if this is not your cup of tea you may not be the happiest at this resort....or any other in Costa Rica for that matter.

Room Tip: Rooms by the pool can be a bit noisy.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Dear Trish,

Thank you for your nice comments! We are trying to be there at any time for our clients. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your stay with us. As you explained, the walk from Villas Rio Mar to the beach is about fifteen minutes. It is a very pleasant walk next to Baru River.

Thank you for your stay and we hope to see you again.

Villas Río Mar Staff
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for a week at the end of Jan/beginning of February. The people that run it are very nice. The restaurant is quite good. Although the breakfast is of the bland American/English type.
Great pool and great location not far from the town and the beach.
I highly recommend asking for a room with AC because the standard room or whatever it's called does NOT have an AC.
Also a secret tip. When using the shower most people are used to cranking the handle all the way till the end to get to the hot water. But here if you merely turn it just a bit (1/2") on or maybe a little more you will have a very hot shower.

Also just a warning if you are not used to amphibians in your room you'll most likely have 1 or 2 geckos or similar species scurrying around your room.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Dear Dave,

Thank you for your comments. We usually includes the tipycal costarrican breakfast but most of the time we offer buffet breakfast without extra charge like we offered you, this buffet includes gallo pinto (rice and beans) eggs, toast, bread, hams, sausages, 2 types of cereal, fruits, pancakes, potatoes, orange juice, coffee, tea, and yogurt, this a courtesy for all our guest, but all your comments are more than welcome.

We really appreciate you had a relaxing holiday with us.


Thank you for staying with us and we hope to see you again!

Villas Río Mar staff
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Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
81 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

Admittedly, the bumpy dirt road to this hotel does not look very promising, but once you are past the entrance gate, you'll find yourself in a true paradise. Their rooms are nice and spacious, their beds huge. The rooms are scattered throughout the property in a giant park, which is very well taken care of and which adds to the symbiotic touch with the natural surroundings. No complaints, whatsoever!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, February 2, 2013
Thank you so much for such nice words, we are an eco jungle resort surrounded by the tropical forest and we are agree with you maybe it is a 800 meters of dirty road but once you arrive we will do everything possible to make you feel confortable and relaxed. Very happy to hear you could enjoyed the place.

See you next time!

Villas Rio Mar staff
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Brandywine
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

We stayed here only for two nights but we LOVED it. Great location, great rooms. The scenery was so beautiful you felt very secluded but at the same time you can walk right into the town. The staff was amazing, everyone was extremely nice to us. We did a couple of tours nearby and the tour coordinator at Villas Rio Mar was so nice and helpful. I recommend staying here!!! It was a really great place to stay.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Hola Darin

Thank you so much for take your time and write such nice words about Villas Rio Mar. We are very happy to meet you and we hope to see you back soon. All our staff we´ll be glad to see you next time.

Pura vida,

Villas Rio Mar staff
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Ocean Ridge, FL
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Just returned home from two weeks at Villas Rio Mar. This property is located on an acreage between the rain forest and the Baru river. It is a half mile walk to Dominical and the beach which has a good break for surfers. Location is sublime. The villas are situated in beautifully landscaped grounds. Fabulous flowers, shrubs, and trees make it a very pretty place, and it also makes it friendly for animals, birds, and butterflies! We saw many lizards, toucans, other birds, and butterflies!! I saw a blue Morpho butterfly while walking down the path to breakfast, which for Costa Rica lovers, is a real experience!

The reception staff is very friendly, helpful, and just plain nice. It was my pleasure to be treated like a friend, not just a guest! The hotel arranged the activities we requested--so easy! What we asked for, they made happen!

Again, the bar and restaurant staff were just super! Everybody speaks good English and tolerates my attempts at Spanish with good grace! The restaurant breakfast is a typical Costa Rican breakfast, nothing fancy, but really good. Other meals are pretty basic, but we didn't feel they were overpriced. If you wanted something cooked differently, the chef would do that.

We stayed in a Superior Room which had a king bed and a single bed. All villas have a patio area in front with a ceiling fan and netting that can be drawn in the evening against the insects. Our children stayed in a Junior Suite which is two king beds. Both rooms have good air conditioning. They were kept very clean by an excellent housekeeping staff.

There is a spa with body treatments and massage, very, very reasonable!

This was my third time at Villas Rio Mar, and I hope this review helps you to see why I keep going back!

Room Tip: It's hard to choose a bad room since they are villas, four to a building, and are situated more...
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  • Stayed December 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
    • 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.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Cinthya

We are very happy to hear you had a nice stay with us. We definitely met a wonderful family. That’s what we want to make them feel, be more than a guest, a friend of Villas Rio Mar. Thank you for your feedback. Hope to see soon!

Best regards,

Villas Rio Mar staff
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Paris, France
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

This was by all means our worst stay in Costa Rica.
Upon arrival in Dominical (a sleepy CR village with a dirty beach and nothing to do) you have to walk about 1 km or take a taxi (1 min for $5) up a dirt road which leads to the resort. You won't be up to walk back to the village at night because it's not lit up, which makes you basically stuck at the resort where the only thing you can do at night is to visit the ridiculously overpriced hotel restaurant which very mediocre food.
We stayed in a standard room (apparently the superior rooms are much better), which is filthy and has merely space for a bed. There is a terrace where you could relax if it wouldn't for all the bugs. The bugs are also flourishing in the room.
Moreover, the reception staff are rude and snooty.
This is not a spa, unless you expect to pay European or US prices.
This is a family resort so if you're enjoying screaming kids splashing water in the dirty pool - this is your thing.

Avoid Dominical and definitely avoid Villas Rio Mar

Room Tip: Avoid standard rooms
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MEsquivel, Guest Relations Manager at Villas Rio Mar, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear client,

We appreciate all our clients comments, but we cannot understand why you say there is nothing to do, what you can do in the resort is relax in our swimming pool, or even better to visit places around, waterfalls, beaches, hiking, trails.
In our restaurant the most expensive dish is $22. A range price is $8 to $22, for good and quality food.

Standard room has a nice terrace in the front, actually is the biggest terrace which has mosquito net to avoid the insects, the same for the windows of the rooms.

We are too far to be rude with our clients, all our staff is more than happy to assisting our clients and make them to feel like a friend. Whatever they need to arrange if we are able to do we do it.

About our spa, we have reasonable prices, in most time they are cheaper than other places, and our masseuse are professional ladies. But you did not use the spa, I believe, if you had used it, you were able to give us a better feedback.

We are an eco-jungle resort what that’s mean, we are in the jungle, we are friendly with the environment and people. We are friendly people who want to make friend and memorable stay.

Best regards,

Villas Rio Mar staff.
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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 Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 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):
Dominical ***Eco-Hotel Resort near Uvita & Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Relax in true nature while enjoying a wide range of amenities! Villas Rio Mar is an internationally recognized 3 Star Eco hotel located in a stunning natural setting; an easy 10 minute walk from the fun and the beach of Dominical. Whether traveling as a couple or with family, Villas Rio Mar offers a wide range of amenities guaranteed to make your holiday worry-free and enjoyable. Our hotel includes 52 rooms and can also host medium-sized groups. Our spacious tropical gardens provide privacy and include many beautiful plants, flowers, and birds, which one can observe from outdoor patio areas located in front of the rooms. One of the best restaurants in the area, El Rancho, is located at Villas Rio Mar. The area offers a wide array of leisure and adventure activities including beautiful beaches, four National Parks, and many other nature & wildlife reserves. A wide range of amenities: spacious tropical gardens, jungle trails, large swimming pool with pool bar, quality restaurant & bar (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks), international sports programming, room service, billiard table, darts, foosball, kids’ play area, mini golf, outside gym, tennis court, tour & transport services, massage, nail studio, and other body treatments. 4 room types to choose from: 48 of the 52 rooms have an outdoor patio area with garden views, rooms with AC & TV available, family-sized rooms available (limited), rooms with kitchenette available, mini-fridge and ceiling fans in every room Great price for an excellent service: professional staff, free wi-fi throughout the hotel, complimentary parking, free rental car drop-off (airport & Villas Rio Mar), group discounts available, seasonal discounts; May>Dec. 15th, book now & pay later! Beautiful, easily accessible, with lots to do: - Stunning natural beauty, gorgeous beaches, and nearby tropical jungle teeming with exotic wildlife - Many beaches, national parks, and adventure tours - Easily accessible from SJO International Airport via newly paved roads (<3 hours) - 10 min. walk to Dominical - 15 min. walk to the beach - Relaxing natural setting - Private and secure Meetings & Events: conference room & event planning services for businesses, weddings & private events ... 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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