I agree with all the current reviews in that Villa Ambiente is a lovely small hotel with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. However, my partner and I must have caught the German lady owner on a bad day, because we really had a bad welcome the day we arrived. Perhaps if we stayed more than one night our opinion may be different. The day we arrived we managed to find someone to help us check in - a lady who came out sweaty from the kitchen - we then realised a few moments later that she was the owner (my initial thought was that she was the cook). The room was fair enough, small but bathroom of decent size and a side balcony showing partial view of the sea, but mostly trees. As were travelling around costa rica and were only staying there for one night it was ok - it had air conditioning so that was good. If I was there for more than 2 or 3 nights though I would have spent all my time outside by the pool (the room was just a little too dark and damp).
I asked the owner if it was possible to make a quick sandwich for us since the place was empty when we got there and the kitchen was open - we had been driving without stops from San Jose so by 3pm we were a little hungry. I wasn't expecting a hot meal or anything like that, just a quick bite. Afterall, it takes a good 20 minutes slow drive to get all the way up to the hotel. But she quickly refused to help and since her English isn't all that good, we were trying to figure out why it was such a hassle to see if there was anything from the kitchen that she could give us. Of course I wouldn't mind paying her for the food but I knew she just wasn't in the mood to help. And she was telling me this with her back to the open kitchen which I could see was stacked with food! I just think, if it's my hotel and my guests have just arrived and expressed that their hungry I would do all I could to help - even giving them some fruit or something to show that I'd try to help. Tired and hungry we left it - what was the point if we could see she was too lazy to help? However, she was keen on asking us if we would stay at the hotel for dinner and shoved a menu in our hands which showed different meal options for around $50 per person. Oh, and we had to tell her right now if we wanted dinner or not. Well, after feeling a bit pushed and her recent unfriendly treatment towards us we knew we would decline the dinner. We must have been with her in total for about 5 minutes and she left us quickly. We ended up driving back down to Dominical and went to a lovely restaurant called La Parcela for lunch which had wonderful views, and then walked along the beach which pass to get to the restaurant. For dinner we went to a more up scale restaurant called Cuna De Angel - a little pricey but delicious food and cocktails and very romantic.
Then, around midnight the air conditioning turned off by itself and after spending some time playing around with it to turn on my partner went outside the room to find the owner, or someone who could help as there was no phone in the room. There was no one around. I don't expect someone to be on duty 24/7 but at least tell us where to find the owner. What if there was fire or an emergency and we didn't know how to get hold of anyone? That's for rushing us during the quick check in earlier that day.. So, we just had to sleep without any air conditioning, and yes it was very hot, so it took us some time to fall asleep.
In the morning when the owner was serving breakfast (we saw only her and two young Costa Rican girls working in the kitchen and also serving - they looked about 15!) we mentioned to her that the a/c had stopped working and we that couldn't find anyone. She said that it happens often that they get power cuts in that area so the electricity stops working. We thought this was strange as the power got cut off at midnight - this is a time when hardly anyone is using power..? Ok, well anyway. When we said we couldn't find anyone to help us she said she forgot to tell us that she was staying in room no 2. Maybe if she hadn't rushed us so quickly as were were checking she might have remembered this vital information. She also said sarcastically that at that time of night she needs to sleep (meaning, we can't expect there to be someone on duty all night - which we didn't!).
My opinion? Hospitality is also what makes a guest's stay memorial and to be frank, it's a shame that the owner lacks any friendliness given that she has an ideal property with lovely views. We stayed at several places throughout our trip in Costa Rica and I've travelled widely since I was a toddler, so I think its reasonable to have certain expectations from hotel owners. If you want to keep your small hotel business in good shape you also need to be accommodating to all your guests. A little smile wouldn't hurt either. I've given this hotel 3 out of 5 stars because the pool was very enjoyable and so were the views. Had the German owner been a little more friendly then I would have given her more credit.
Other reviewers say she's a nice enough lady and maybe we just caught her on a bad day. Even so, that really isn't the way to manage your hotel or treat your guests. Sorry but gotta be honest! Hopefully you'll have better luck with her and she's not so moody. But at least you have a nice pool and view to enjoy :-)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.