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“Horrible Experience- Unprofessional and Not well kept”
Review of El Sueno Tropical

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El Sueno Tropical
Ranked #5 of 7 Hotels in Playa Carrillo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 19, 2013

I found this hotel through a groupon- I booked the hotel for dates in July. I never received a confirmation email or a receipt from the hotel stating that my dates were booked. Upon requesting a confirmation I received an email stating that the dates were OK.

When I arrived to El Sueno Tropical in Costa Rica I was extremely disappointed that the hotel did not look or feel like what was advertised on the Groupon and the hotel website. To start off, when I arrived I was not offered any help me with my bags. Vinny (the owner) was seated in the “reception” area. He did not seem to have a room assigned for us. He grabbed a key and when we got to that room someone’s stuff was in there so he went to get a different key for another room. I found this to be very unprofessional.

When we got to the room we were very disappointed with the upkeep of the room. The bathroom smelled. The TV barely worked because you could not see the picture clearly. There wasn’t a phone in the room and apparently no wifi. The hotel seemed deserted we only saw one other family there. The pool area was not well kept. The water was dirty and did not look inviting like in the pictures. The restaurant and bar was completely deserted as well.

We felt really strange in this hotel. We stayed in two other hotels in Costa Rica prior to this one. This was by far the worst of the three. We were very upset because this was the end of a wonderful vacation we had been planning for months. We were looking to relax and enjoy the beach but instead we felt very uncomfortable. As a result we decided to leave the hotel luckily we had enough money left to go to another hotel.

Do yourself a favor and do not book this hotel. There a lot of options right no Samara beach. We stayed at Samara Treehouse and were very satisfied with our experience there.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Yeli411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
estcr, Owner at El Sueno Tropical, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2013

I am a loss as to how this review could have been written. I was called by this party a week or so earlier and they asked to change dates as they had decided to change their itinerary. We accommodated them with the change and sent an email confirming the change. The couple arrived by van. The room I had assigned to them had not been cleaned due to a late checkout. I put them in another room and spoke with them about tours. They were only in the room for about 15 minutes and wanted to go to the beach. They asked about the bus schedule and I gave it to them. They went down to catch the bus and returned after 20 or so minutes. I as they had missed the 4:30pm bus. They wanted to go into town and asked me to call them a cab. I didn't want them to waste money on a cab so I gave them a ride into Samara. They returned about an hour and a half later and said " We are sorry and it is no offense to you and everything was fine but, we just want to stay on the beach. We found a hotel in Samara that is right on the beach." I asked what they wanted to do about the Groupon. They said it wasn't important and they didn't want any money back. In the Groupon they had a $130 tour credit. I told them that I would be happy to pay for their tour and he said he would be in contact.
Our pool is crystal clear and always is, the pool area may have had pool toys around as we were in the midst of vacation time for the schools here in Costa Rica and had been full for those 2 weeks. The rooms do have WiFi. We do not have phones in our rooms and do not represent that we do.
I apologize if I did not ask the customer if they needed help with their bags. I do find it strange that it was not mentioned that they were given a ride into Samara at no expense to them. It is also interesting that they did not voice any complaints at the time except to say that they wanted to be on the beach. The couple spent not more than 30 minutes total on the property. We were full except for 2 rooms when they arrived and filled the one remaining room that night. Had they not had a reservation, we would have filled there room that night also.

Vinnie Greaves

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87 - 93 of 155 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2013

There were ten in our group so we had four rooms total. Very accommodating at switching our room when a family of ants decided to move in.
Vinny and all were so pleasant and willing to grant any request down to making chicken soup for a member if our group that had food poisoning when we arrived. Food was great however all made fresh from scratch in the kitchen by a single cook. Order the food but be patient on when it arrives. Just plan accordingly.
The bus is convenient to get to the beach and Samara but the schedule is more of a suggestion than a rule. Tell the driver when you get on the bus if you are only going to Carrillo and not all the way to Samara as it will cost you fewer collones.
If you want the slower, no schedule hideaway this is the spot. I would come back here in a minute.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank Aokicich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

I have to start out by saying that we are locals (Costa Ricans) and therefore this review might be different from people who are from outside of Costa Rica, let it be folks from the US or from Germany.

I booked this a week in advance for me and my girlfriend, after a trip to Arenal Volcano to do a little something extra on our vacations. Carillo is an amazing beach, and before the airstrip was closed or rather, beaten and mistreated by people we would take our plane for the day and stay there and fly back to San Jose. I found this hotel on TripAdvisor, and booked.

When I originally called, I was answered by someone who didn't know if they had vacancy, she told me the "lady" that does that is in Samara, and will be back in 2 hours, so she took my number and said I would get a call back. And they did, 2 hours later approximately, but I was a in meeting and couldn't answer.

I called back, and I almost felt like I was calling a public service company, I told them who I was and I was calling back and the basic answer was " Si, que quiere? En que el puedo ayudar? " Translating to Yes, what do you want? What can I help you with?. This was done by a lady with POOR customer service, and I told her what I wanted and she booked me for the night. Alright, that's just one person, no big deal.

A few days later, I asked my sister to call and confirm, as I had no signal in Arenal, and the first thing she told me when she called me back was, wow, that was a hotel? They were really dry, to which I acknowledged.

Anyway, not expecting much, we went out, and we easily found the hotel via Garmin and the signs on the main road, when we got the parking lot, that was it, there was no signs for the reception. So I called, and the VERY same answer, yes what do you want? I told them I was there, and they told me to take the stairs? WHICH STAIRS???, So i took a small cement trail and eventually it lead me to the restaurant, and to a small shack on the side which I assumed was the reception. I finally met the person who I spoke to on the phone, and it was an older lady with really no sense of customer service. She took us to our room, and that was the end of that.

The hotel itself was nice, it is BIG, and it is really nice. Lots of plants and it is very nicely decorated, the rooms are spot on for the price (except the TV which was like 12 inches). The pool area was really nice and so was the pool. The restaunt and bar area were nicely set up and well entertaining, they had Wi-Fi and TV's.

At night we went to the bar for Dinner and a couple of beers, and saw what we guessed was the owner. He talked to guests around, and was nice with them I guess, however, we never talked to him.

After sitting for about 10 minutes, a nice guy who was at the bar came over and asked us what we wanted to order (He looked like he was barely 18), HE WAS THE ONLY FRIENDLY PERSON IN THIS HOTEL.

He took our orders all night long and helped us, and was EXTREMELY FRIENDLY, he was probably new, or didn't work there all the time, and was just helping, so he didn't know some of the things on the menu but had the willingness to go ask. Through the whole course of our stay, this was the ONLY friendly person we encountered, and kudos to him, this would have been a worse experience without him.

*Liked
The food was great, I ordered a fish casado, and got plenty and the food was really good.
The resort is great, the rooms are clean and welcoming.
The pool area is entertaining, the pool is big and they had "ranchitos".
The price is spot on for the rooms and the amenities.

Disliked
Obviously the terrible customer service.
Kind of far from the beach, maybe 5 or 10 minutes by car tops.
The road leading to the hotel is in bad shape, a low car will probably hit here and there.
Difference in the customer service foreigner vs locals.

A foreigner will likely write a different review, as their experience looked terrific compared to that of a local (or us I guess). Kind of typical of this area, most don't care about being nice.

In my experience, if it wouldn't have been for the price, and it was only one night, I would have looked for something in Samara.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Francisco O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
estcr, Owner at El Sueno Tropical, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2013

I apologize if the service was not up to standards. The 19 year old is actually 21 and he should have waited on you sooner. I am happy that he did a good job when he got to you. I do regret that you felt that the service problem had something to do with your being a Costa Rican. I can assure you it did not. My wife of 32 years is Costa Rican and I have recently become a naturalized Costa Rican citizen. We cater to Costa Rican nationals and they make up about 70% of our business.. I do wish you had spoken to me about any complaints you had and we could have remedied it right there.

Vinnie Greaves

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Reviewed April 28, 2013 via mobile

My stay at el Sueno Tropical was amazing. The rooms were perfect in every aspect; clean, updated ( tv, a/c), comfortable bed, bathrooms very clean. The location of this hotel is beautiful it's close to the beach and close to Samara. The scenery and views you get here are remarkable they give you a great Costa Rican experience. What I really loved was the great hospitality that I experienced . Not your typical hotel owners, they are very friendly,helpful and honest. Lastly and most importantly the food at here was AMAZING ! The chicken cordon blue with a jalapeño gravy is out of this world, as well as the fresh fish . If you love burgers this is the place to have them. My fiancé had a burger there and will not stop talking about it! Enjoy!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank Kalliopi923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2013

I stayed at el sueno for five days with my fiancée and just returned from the states. It's located in the jungle near the water. Vinnie the owner and his daughter Melissa are the definition of great hospitality. Melissa showed us all the best to go and eat and swim, they are kind generous and made me and my fiancée fell at home. The have a great restaurant at the hotel as well which serves awesome food, they have great fish dishes and their burgers are awesome. I loved my stay at el sueno and already told friends and family and highly recommend staying there.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank EStathi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

My girlfriend and I took a trip down to El Sueno Tropical in early March and had an absolutely wonderful time. Everything was great -- the room, service, food, value, etc. Playa Carrillo is a short drive away, a pristine, empty beach complete with wild (I think?) horses that wandered past us. Samara, the closest town, is close as well and it is filled with restaurants, bars and activities. Melissa, the owners' daughter, took us out on the town to show us the nightlife, which was also a blast. The food at the hotel was excellent. We didn't dine out that much because of its great taste and value. A month later I am still craving the Tico breakfast. On the whole, I liked the hotel because of the strong familial feel. I'd come back from a "rough" (yeah right) day at the beach and just chill out at the bar and chat with the kind folks behind it.

The only drawback, like others have said, is the distance from the hotel to the beach. We rented a car (through Alamo; very affordable compared to the states) and we were able to drive wherever we wanted. In fact, on our first day we had a flat tire and Vinny was extremely helpful in assisting us change the tire while Zeta yelled at the Alamo folks on our behalf! It was great!

Looking forward to coming back soon.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank zjanewkirk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

My fiancee and I stayed in el Sueno Tropical in December. The area is beautiful and hosts are very friendly. You will need to rent a car if you are staying in the hotel, since it is about 5K away from the beach. Overall we had a great experience and met really good friends where we stayed.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank M_i_g_7719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Sueno Tropical

Address: | 8 km de Samara, Playa Carrillo 50205, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Carrillo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 7 Hotels in Playa Carrillo
Price Range: $50 - $85 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — El Sueno Tropical 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Sueno Tropical is a small 16 rooms resort set in 3 acres of tropical gardens. There are 4 buildings that house 4 units per building. There are 8 standard rooms, 4 deluxe rooms and 4 two bedrooms apartments. There is a freeform Italian tiled pool with a small wading pool. El Sueno Tropical has a 40 seat open air restaurant featuring American, Italian and Tico fare along with the best pizza in the area. Adjoining the restaurant is the Gator in the Jungle bar serving your favorite libations along with the freshest tropical fruit drinks you will find anywhere. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Sueno Tropical Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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