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“The good, the bad and the ugly” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Barcelo Tambor Beach

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Barcelo Tambor Beach
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Tambor, Tambor 771-1150, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Tambor
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“The good, the bad and the ugly”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

The good:

This is a pretty good spot for a complete family vacation, it has so many amenities and activities that you for sure will be busy, there's everything from mini-golf to a Macaw Sanctuary on their property (also, dance lessons, archery, etc.)

The bad:

The quality of the food and drinks is Fair, most Piña Coladas are really industrialized and therefore not as tasteful as you could expect, the same goes to the food served at El Tucan (Buffet Restaurant) and El Palenque (Snacks Bar), it seems to be the exact same thing but on a different sauce (chicken, pork, beef) always, may be it would be beneficial to have different choices, as you will get tired of the food by day 3...

The ugly:

Even though the staff is very nice, they are not very efficient and sometimes not very kind either, there is a clear preference for foreigners over locals (main reason why I write this review in English as I'm sure it'll have more attention, just like the service) I stood in line in El Palenque Bar for over 35 min trying to get fries, luckily if you look not tico enough they won't mind that locals are waiting for 20+ minutes and will give all your devotion to you.

Also, I wasn't aware that in order to dine at one of the "fine" restaurants (Steak House/Seafood or Japanese) you have to stand in line since 7:30 a.m. in order to get a table... Why not book it online? Or by phone? Or at least let me know that I had to be on the Tours Counter at 7am to guarantee my spot in there?

Other than that, the place is in the middle of paradise and deeply in touch with nature, and since I got no reception on my cell phone it was the perfect getaway, I'm not sure if I'll go back... May be if they improve their overall food/drinks quality and communication with customers (what's included and what's not)

In the meantime, I'll Check out Langosta Beach and let you know

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Mr. Ramirez

Thanks for posting your comments in this page, in fact we appreciate the ones regarding with the service and the several activities offered in our resort.

Also, we take in consideration your personal observations about beverage quality and meals. We have been working with the executive chef into elaborate a different menu for each day at the snack bar pool to avoid the same meals in the main buffet, also the bar staff has received a brief induction to improve quality and service of the drinks.

We really sorry that some staff members showed you a bad impression of preferentiality of the foreign guest over locals. We handled a gathering in which the bar manager and his staff maintained this topic as top in order to avoid future complains.

In this right moment the staff of the hotel is making some implementations for a la carte reservation, in order to improve our customer service.

It will be a real pleasure for us to count with your presence in our resort.

Greetings;
Raúl Arranz Medrano
Director
Hotel Barceló Tambor Beach.
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271 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2014

we read reviews and decided to go to this all inclusive resort. Our fun started when we arrived at the san jose airport, they told us before we got of the plane (air transit) that our luggage would be on a certain carasol well our luggage was on multiple carasols, then you have to go through security which was fine then walk outside the airport and find your representative having people standing all around the walkway with signs for people and people trying to get you to take their cab lots of yelling, once you find your representative you leave your lugguage outside the airport on the side of the road with someone else that belongs to your travel company (if your taking the hopper plane) then you walk over to the sansa airport about 10 mins down the road to catch the hopper plane to the resort. Once we got there they check your bags and you wait till you get on the plane to the resort we waited about 45 mins.the plane takes you right beside the resort. Once you get off the plane you have to pay $2.50 a person US to the people at the landing strip. There is a bus waiting to take you to the resort which is 2mins down the road. Once we got to the hotel check in was quick and easy. The staff there speaks minimal english. We stayed in building 6 facing the ocean the rooms were clean we had no problem with hot water or air conditioning everything worked great the view was wonderful we were on the second floor with balcony, the beds were very comfortable first time ive slept at a hotel and actually slept all through the night. We got there thursday not too busy. Come the weekend....holy locals and kids everywhere, they have a pool bar that is constantly surrounding by kids. Your lucky if you can get in to grab a drink and if you do get in to grab a drink the bartenders tend to serve the locals which are their friends before they even acknowledge your standing there, once you grab you drink you need to stay right close to the bar with it or you will have security nagging you to go up to the bar that you cant get close to because of all the kids We relized that tipping at this resort gets you nowhere. As for activities the staff walked right by us and asked all the locals to join into the activities not any of the canadians that were there, the impression i got and a few other canadians got was that they really dont want you there they definitly dont make you feel wanted. We were there for a week and it was packed with locals and their kids. The food buffet was pretty good stand your ground though because the locals like to push you out of the way or butt in front of you in a line. We found that getting tonthe buffet as soon as it opened for meals worked best then you werent stuck in a line up waiting to get in. If you doing the a la cart you have to book it between 8-9 am the morning of. People started lining up at 7am. We did the japanese place once and the steak house twice both were excellent. You need to get aup before 7am and grab a lounger if you want one under a hut so you can have some shade, you get a towel card at check in to get a beach towel but beware cause if you lose it or if it gets taken you pay $20.00 US,We did the 4 hour atv trip which included driving through the jungle the monkeys were amazing and so loud lol., you go along a beach, a cow pasture to the falls and a swimming hole then into town to do a bit of shopping and back to the resort it was a blast! Cost was $220.00US for two of us. The wildlife is incredible monkeys, iguanas and maccaws all around the resort there was even a caymen in the pond by our room, the beaches are nice xand not very busy, we were going to go horse back riding till i noticed that the horses mouth bit was rubbing its skin raw to the bone and decided against it. the night before you leave you have to have all you luggage in the lobby so it can go on the ferry to be at the airport for you the next day. The day your leaving you get a bus to the hopper plane site pay them another$2.50US Per person to leave, once we got to the airport we had to wait for our luggage that gets dropped off outside on the sidewalk so you have to watch for the bus so you know its there. All in all i thought costa rica was beautiful. I will go back to costa rica but not to this resort.

Room Tip: Building 6 was quiet ask for oceanview
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear Ms. Tammy:

Greetings from Barceló Tambor Beach hotel.

Thanks for the time invested in posting comments on this site.

We take into account your comments and we are working on the items listed in your post in order to continue our improvement process.

We appreciate your kind comments regarding with the comfort of the bed, cleaning of the rooms, food buffet and a la carte restaurants.

It has been a real pleasure to have you in our hotel.

Yours faithfully,

Raúl Arranz
Director
Barceló Tambor Beach
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2014

Stayed at the Tambor in January. Fly from Toronto with Transair. I was expecting the hour and a half bus ride to the ferry. Ferry is then one hour and another 40 bus ride to resort. I would recommend that you bring a change of clothes as being on the ferry in pants and runners did not truly allow me to enjoy the beautiful weather. The resort is older and I had no concerns regarding the room. It is dry season so the weather is perfect. The nature what I enjoyed the most and allowed me to over look some of the negatives. Recommend the tour to Curo and snorkeling. Caught a huge rooster fish on a charter - walked into town and had lobster on the beach. That was nice its right after you cross the river (local told us to be careful when crossing as there are crocodiles) but I never seen one.
I'm not sure if it's because Canadian's are so nice but I agree with Sarnia the place was full of locals who were very rude. They did stay in the pool all day and there is no bathroom near the pool - I was the only one that would get out of the pool to use this bathroom- gross
Shows all were in Spanish as well - never made it to the disco
I just enjoyed the nature and embrace the culture- wasn't there to make friends anyways.
The food is similar to that in Cuba- not great but you can find one thing to eat. They have theme nights but every night is the same.
One suggest is if you are flying from Toronto with Airtransit- you have to get up at 3:00am the day you depart to make the 5:00am ferry- you then sit in the airport for hours- there is the plane that you take but you still end up at the airport three hours ahead of time and it cost 85 a person. We choose to stay at the sister resort our last night in San Jose - this allowed us to travel during the day - enjoy cold cocktails and better food even won $$$ at the Casino not much 30 US dollars but that paid for tipping that night. The hotel shuttles you to the airport and we slept in and only waited 2 hours at the airport.
I really did enjoy the nature and if the price is right would return - i compare this hotel to a four star in Cuba.
Feel free to email me if you have questions

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Dear customer;

Thanks so much for taking time to publish your comment in this page and the observation you have made about the natural hotel surroundings and the excursions you may find in the resort.

In according with the pool, there are some bathtub that are nearby of the Rancho restaurant.


We take in consideration your comments and regards with the night time shows and the variety of the menu offering we use to take important decisions and improve this services.

Once again thank you very much for your comments.

Greetings;
Raúl Arranz Medrano
Director
Hotel Barceló Tambor Beach
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarnia, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

While the rooms were clean, the food quality was fair/average, and the grounds were well looked after in this resort, my husband and I find it hard to want to be return customers to the Barceló Tambor. The macaws flying around were beautiful and the walk through sanctuary provided something to pass the time. The massage services at the spa were excellent, but unfortunately...

Just returning from our honeymoon we were not impressed by how little effort the staff made to provide excellent service. We did not know that it was summer break for the kids there and 90% of the people staying there at the time were locals, who were extremely rude most of the time. The staff catered to them most of the time by serving them ahead of people who obviously were not from there. I stood in line at the Palenque Bar and when it was finally my turn the bar tender looked around me to the next 3 guys (obviously locals because they couldn't speak English) and when the guy pointed me out as next the bartender looked at me, waved me off and took their orders! He did that until the 3 guys were served and finally asked me what I wanted. Whenever we sat down in the buffet, the waitress would greet us in Spanish and ask us what we wanted (in Spanish), I am lucky enough to get by with some knowledge of the language but my husband doesn't know any Spanish at all. The staff made no effort to speak English or attempt to better communicate with you. The bar staff were never appreciative when we gave them a tip so we stopped after the third day. Oh yeah and when you eat at the buffet or a la cartes...only expect one drink...it was rare that they came back to ask if you needed anything else. (I do believe under staffing was the problem with this).

We rarely set foot in the pool, being it was filled with kids, the people at the swim-up bar never moved from 11am-5pm and we only saw the pool being cleaned (with a skimmer) twice. That and the fact that if you did not get up and reserve a spot by putting your shoes or a towel on a chair by 6am, you were not getting a spot at all.

The false advertisement is with the casino...its noted in the travel books, they have it in the brochure they hand you when you check in, there are signs for it on the resort and the staff even wear shirts with 'casino' written on the back.....we looked and looked and finally asked where we would be able to find it. The reply we received was "they got rid of that 2 years ago"!!!!!!! seriously they should have that removed in their ads by now and off their website by now!. The casino was one reason why my husband was interested in this resort rather than the other destinations we had in mind.

If you are fluent in Spanish and don't mind poor customer service this resort is great, but for people who believe that they deserve what they pay for this resort is beautiful but not worth the price.

Room Tip: -The corner rooms have hammocks -some rooms don't have a "king sized bed" but 2 doubl...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Dear Custormer;

Thank you very much for your published comments and the observations on this web page.

We sorry that your stay in our hotel didn´t meet your expectations and we take your suggestion as part of our working areas in order to improve our customer service .

In regards with the casino, It´s my duty to let you know that the closing was conducted in the last week of December 2013, in fact tour operators and travel agencies were all well known about it.

Greetings;
Raúl Arranz
Director
Hotel Barceló Tambor Beach
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Montreal, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

It was a fantastic change of scenery, beautiful clean beach, hotel room and pool area. What was very disappointing was that the food at the buffet was not very good, not much variety, and there was also no truth to the menu that was planned for the evenings.Not very many on resort activities were planned for the adults. The service we received at the buffet was less than a good experience, the serves spoke barely any english, and the communication barrier was a definite issue with most of the staff. Make sure to bring a lot of US money if you plan on doing souvenir shopping. Never in my travels have I seen a resort with 90% locals than tourists. Watered down alcoholic beverages, kind of blah activities and bad service but great rooms, nice bathrooms, the only helpful staff was at the reception desk.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Dear Ms Lucy N,

Thanks so much for publishing your suggestion on this page.

We really sorry your stay in our resort didn´t met your expectations.

We will proceed to take opportune measures to improve the variety and the food quality as well as the customer service and our personal.

Once again thank you very much for you time.

Greetings ;
Raúl Arranz
Director
Hotel Barceló Tambor Beach
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

January is dry season, the weather was perfect 30-33, and no rain. The food was good and the drinks were plenty. Resort was full of costa ricans, so not much English speaking at all. the shows at night were all Spanish language so couldn't understand them. But the resort was very nice and so was the swimming. We had a great time.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Dear Dan;

Regards from Barceló Tambor Beach,

We appreciate for the time it took to publish your comments and suggestions in this web page.

It´s a big pleasure for us to realize we have met your expectations during your stay in our resort.

We let know to the RRHH and entertainment department about your observations in order to work all together and improve our night time entertainment show, as well as customer service.

Once again thank you very much;

Raul Arranz Medrano.
Director
Hotel Barcelo Tambor Beach
Report response as inappropriate
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Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

The hotel is a great place, plenty of nature and good service. They offer a lot of activities to waste your time and enjoy: mini golf, aerobics, live music, dance, theater. Is an all inclusive hotel and food is good. Definitely, we would back there.

Stayed January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alejandra G, Channel Manager at Barcelo Tambor Beach, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Mr. Vindas;

Thank you very much for the time you have spent on publishing your comments. We thank you for the good ones and respect to the nature, service as well as the activities and the food.

We are very pleased to know you have enjoyed all the charming beauties and activities that our hotel offered during your stay.

We truly hope to count with your presence again among our very distinguished customers.

Greetings;
Raúl Arranz Medrano
Director
Hotel Barceló Tambor Beach
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barcelo Tambor Beach

Address: Playa Tambor, Tambor 771-1150, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Tambor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Tambor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Barcelo Tambor Beach 3.5*
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Also Known As:
Barcelo Tambor Beach Hotel Tambor
Barcelo Hotel Tambor Beach
Barcelo Hotel Puntarenas
Hotel Barcelo Playa Tambor
Barcelo Tambor Costa Rica
Barcelo Tambor Beach Costa Rica

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