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“Hated the Resort”

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Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #7 of 11 Hotels in Playa Hermosa
Reviewed July 4, 2006

My husband and I travel about 4x per year, using all inclusive if available, and using Worry Free or Fun Jet vacations. And, I always use trip advisor before purchasing a vacation to see the reviews of other travelers. We did this for this Costa Rica vacation as well and all the reviews were good. However, we had nothing but problems from day one. We took our 2 teenage daughters for a 4 day vacation, paid extra for 3 bedroom 2 bath villa. Villas Sol website infers that all villas have ocean views. GREAT!@ WRONG, we were given a 3 bedroom 2 bath villa that was very dirty, no ocean view, worn out furniture to the point you didn't want to sit on it. After about 4 hours of arguing with management, they put us in a 2 bedroom 2 bath ocean view villa, quite nice, but we had to pay $179 extra for it.
Website says all inclusive guests get a sunset boat tour on a/c sail boat. This is wrong as well, manager said they don't do sunset cruises. You can take a boat tour, but their boat was broken. Instead, they loaded 28 people on a fishing boat, no a/c, drove around the coves for an hour, and then let you swim around the boat for 10 minutes. Also, website says there is a minibar in each room...WRONG...we had a full equipped kitchen, but no drinks or anything. Hot tub did not heat up the water, reservations made at the restaurant were lost and staff thought we were lying about having a reservation, even after presenting them with the reservation card that they had filled out. Food in buffet was not good. People were rude, service bad. Ronald, the day manager, helped us out as much as he could, but still charged us extra for the room. Lounge chairs by pool areas had a bar across the back, so you couldn't even lay on those to relax.
All in all, it was a wasted vacation and we will not be back. Website claims to be a first-class hotel, Worry Free had them as a 3 star hotel, far from the case. Best would be a 2 star. Don't go here if you can avoid it. Plenty other hotels to choose from. 2 good things, the combo tour was a blast and the souvenirs near the ocean were cheap.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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5  Thank cmudry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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960 - 966 of 1,273 reviews

Reviewed June 13, 2006

My wife and I stayed there May 30th thru June 5th and had a great time. Resort is clean and the people are very friendly. I certainly recommed this hotel to anybody interested in a relaxing, restful vacation. Both bars were adequate and the drinks were great. Food in the buffett was not bland except for breakfast. Ala Carte restaurant was nice too with great portions. No skimping on the booze either. People were very friendly are over the place. Riding the truck around the property was easy to do. Overall the sights and value made this a special trip. I recommend renting a jeep (57 bucks a day) and driving all over CR. Always felt safe and easy not to get lost with all the signs. What a beautiful country!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
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4  Thank QCbulldog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2006

May 20-27,2006 Hotel 3rd floor All-inclusive, used Vacation Express thru Faredeals.com great deal , we enjoyed our stay. Rooms decent, clean, great balconey & view.....facing due west into sunset, hot!!! Ac needed help of ceiling fan(none), the lighting was the biggest problem. After sunse t (6:30 PM Cost Rica), it was impossible to read in the room , even W/ all the room lights on, ..the bathroom had the only semi decent light, I (and others) sat & read on the 3rd floor lanai, moved the couches there under the light, until the bugs shooed us in. There were no table lamps available. Bring a booklight if you're a reader!
Heres a tip, the loungers @ the main pool have a little bar at the small of your back,, very very uncomfortable, get cushions from the chairs at the wet bar, they work well. We're frm Florida so the dark sand beach was so so. It was clean & friendly, afew vendors, pizza bar, massage tent . We enjoyed the free boat ride & swim, the snokelling was okay, just a walk down the beach. Must sign up for them on the day as soon as possible. Open @ towel center @ 8AM This is not a negative review, we enjoyed it very much. I would have liked to know these tips before I went. There was some confusion w/Swiss Travel about pickups but nothing unfixable.
David in the Dining room made extra effort for us......
Our group mostly fished, 27 big sailfish in 3 days!!!! It was incredible.
Many tours available, remember w/Swiss travel, each tour pickup goes to their headquarters in Liberia first, so private tours can save you transport time, other reviewers have mentioned good private companies... Costa Rica is wonderful, this was our 2nd trip we'll go back & try another allinclusive deal..Great value.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
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7  Thank BonnieFrJax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
369
Reviewed May 24, 2006

Comfortable lodging, decent food, great view, great country! I’ve been to a gazillion similar places and this one is among my favorites. It’s not the Ritz, so if you’re expecting such accommodations you should look elsewhere. Anyway, here are some pros and cons:

Pros:
View!
Bartenders and wait staff
The overall vibe of the resort
The “sit down” restaurant

Cons:
The buffet food is mediocre.
The beach is far away, has zero visibility, and we got stung by jellyfish within 3 minutes
MANY people complained about the front desk staff
MANY people complained about the air conditioning in their room

We didn’t have issue with the staff or air conditioning. My iPod was stolen on our last day. The hotel management took it very seriously, and called in security as well as the guy who could read the door activity codes, interrogated the housekeeping staff, etc. I found this situation amusing as my insurance should cover it. If not Jessica Rojas will take care of me when I return in June, right Jessica? :) Anyway, we had an amazing vacation in Costa Rica and I would recommend the Villas Sol for those who are easy going and not expecting luxury. Be sure to visit Nicaragua and the volcanoes / spas in Costa Rica. And beware of Alonso, as he makes incredible margaritas and will get you drunk! Thus he earned the nickname “El Diablo” while we were there. Rumor has it that his wife is a hottie too, so ask to see the pictures.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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10  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2006

My husband and I, along with another couple, flew to Liberia, Costa Rica from Jan. 23/06 to Feb 6th/06 . We stayed at the Villas Sol right on the coast and had a marvellous holiday. The Villas Sol are built right on the mountain side so we found that we could walk down for meals but had to take a shuttle back up the hills. Our Villa was very nicely laid out with the bedroom being upstairs, along witih the bathroom and a lovely patio, where we would sit out in the evening and just watch the stars. There was a very nice pool area , as well as a jacussi where delicious snacks were served around 4pm We did go to the A La carte restaurent once both weeks and enjoyed the extra service and the ambience.

The food was excellent and the stafff were very friendly and efficient. There was a theme night for dinner several times a week and we certainly did not lack for good quality. There was always a choice from which to pick: beef, fish, pork or chicken , along with lots of vegetables , rice, beans , and even potatoes . The desserts were very tasty and it was hard not to take more than one or two! We had arranged beforehand to take several tours through Michael Mills and Vargus Tours (formerly Allegro) and were not disappointed. We went to Miravalle Falls and swung through the trees on the Zip lines, hiked through the rainforest at Monteverde, went sailing on a gorgoeus sailboat and travelled down the Palo Verde River with our guide Carlos, always ready to answer any questions we might have. He and the driver of the van were great tour guides and we were so pleased that we had booked with this company as they only take small groups and travel in a very comfortable van, which helped the drive on some of the famous roads of Costa Rica.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable time. We had no problems with bugs, illness or sunburn although the later was difficult to avoid as it was extremely hot in the afternoon. Its a beautiful country and the people make it that much more so. They are delightful. Thank you, Costa Rica, for a wonderful holiday!

12  Thank prairygirl43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2006

First, when we arrived at the hotel, they told us they needed to get the room ready. We waited an hour, then they finally took us to the room. We had no toilet paper. We had to ask for some. We had a one bedroom villa with a nice view, but when we got there, there was no air conditioning on. The guy couldn't figure out how to turn it on, and it was 95 degrees outside. My husband figured it out (the circuit breakers were turned off). It was so hot we just went and jumped in the pool with the swim up bar. This place was my saving grace. They have nachos, pizza and hot dogs and we ate lunch here almost every day. The bartenders were super, super nice. We didn't have any problems with them and they learn the way you like your drinks. The food at the snack bar was good. The only problem I had with the pool was that Monday was a holiday in Costa Rica and it seemed like the whole country was there in the pool. It was a bit crowded.

I was not impressed with the food. Breakfast was great (the waffles and watermelon were very good) but lunch and dinner left alot to be desired. We stopped eating lunch there and ate at the snack bar as much as we could. Dinner was the same. The beef was very tough and chewy. The fresh things they made everynight were good though. The one night they had fajitas at the chef station that were fantastic. The buffet food was just barely passable. William was a big help here also. I would order a coke and my waiter would never bring it. William took the time to get to know us at the beginning and remembered our names the entire time. He wasn't even our waiter and he went to get us drinks because our waiter did not. Other than him, the service was -- poor. I do know a little spanish and some of the people do speak english. But you should not go to another country and expect them to have learned your language. It is not mostly North Americans that go there. There are alot of spanish speaking people that go there. Hotels in the US don't learn spanish for them so why should they learn english for us? If this is a problem for you go to the Carribean or learn a little spanish to get by. There are a few people that speak enough English so that you can communicate your point.

We ate at the Heleconias also. My husband got lamb, and it was entirely fat. It was completely inedible. The waiter offered to make new ones, but my husbands appetite was gone. My steak was excellent though, and the customer service here was excellent also.

On our third day here, the rains came. We fell asleep in the room to wake up to a flood. There was an inch of water in our bedroom and living room as the balcony was flooded. My suitcase was sitting on the floor and all of my clothes got soaked. I called the front desk and they sent a maid with a mop. She could not get all the water, so they wanted to move us to the hotel. I didn't pay for a hotel room and my husband is diabetic and needed a refrigerator for his insulin. I told them we would wait out the night (it was already after 9 pm) and see if it dried up in the morning. The maid pushed the soaking wet comforter into the corner of our bedroom and left it there to mildew. We woke up the next morning to the pool and left the sign on the door for the maid to clean. She came in, stocked the fridge, straightened up our shoes and left. She never gave us any clean towels (they were all soaking wet from the flood) and there were dead bugs floating all over the place in the water. I called the front desk and told them that I wanted moved to another villa as I paid for a villa and not a hotel room (plus we needed the refrigerator for insulin). She told me they would call me back and let me know if any were available. In the meantime, they sent a maintenance guy up with a plunger and it took him 2 minutes to unclog the balcony drain and mop up. They could have done that the night before instead of wasting a day of our vacation repacking and unpacking. They found another villa for us but at this point I just told them to send the maid up to clean and we would stay there. I had to tell them to take the comforter with them as the maid left it sitting there sopping wet the night before. I never once received an apology from one person about this inconvenience or about my soaking wet clothes from my suitcase.

Then, two nights later, the electricity went out. Neither of us slept good because it was so hot and I was worried about my husbands insulin. I went to the desk to complain the next morning and figure out what to do about the insulin and as I was complaining it came back on. Again, no apologies.

The beach is okay but it does smell. And when the sand gets under your nails it looks like dirt. The best part of the beach is the massages. They are fantastic!

There are stray cats everywhere here too. If you don't like cats, you may want to be aware of that. They will jump right up on your chair when you are laying by the pool. Cats don't bother me so that wasn't that big of a deal to me.

Please also beware of the 3 monkey bullcrap that they pull. This woman is such a good actress. They tell you that no one ever gets 3 monkeys but one person in every group does. It is their line of crap to get you to do the time share/points presentation. The woman are nice on this presentation, but the VP of RCI was in from I think Chicago trying to get people to buy. He was rude and reminded me of the stereotypical used car salesman. (I apologize to nice used car salesman for that comparison). He didn't answer any of our questions and kept talking over us. He was very pushy and I don't appreciate being treated like that when I am on vacation. I just wasted 2 hours of my day on that. I would have considered buying from Denise, the woman who explained everything to us until that idiot came in like he was some big shot and made me mad.

We are not some high class couple that expects to be waited on hand and foot. I do, however, expect some common courtesy and to be treated with respect when I am paying to stay at a resort. It seemed like the staff was more worried about each other than us. I will not go back here again. I would never have put up with this kind of treatment in the United States.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank lilbabyboo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2006

We stayed at this resort 4/22 – 4/29/06. It was our second stay at this resort – our previous stay was in December 2004. I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews before my visit, and overall, I was very pleased with our choice. We stayed in the hotel section under ‘all inclusive’ plan, which also includes any/all drinks.. The views from all rooms overlook the Pacific and are great. The room was basic 3 star. The bed was reasonably comfortable, the floors are all tile, and the room was cleaned each day. The only complaint I had, and many other people had was the room air conditioning – it simply was inadequate for the heat during April – high temperatures were often in the mid to high 90’s. The rooms all use a common water system, which I do not think is adequately sized. The cooling fan in the room ran the entire time we were at the resort. It would have been helpful if the rooms at least had a ceiling fan. Note that we did not have this issue during our stay in December 2004 when the temperature is cooler. Grounds were well maintained. Service at the resort is excellent – everyone seemed to be trying hard to please. Food overall was very good – as buffets go. Along with the normal buffet, there was a waffle/omelet station each morning. The evening meals had 3 meat selections, a soup, vegetables, a salad bar, and a basic dessert table along with a specialty station with some type of cook to order feature. We did not eat lunch at the resort – we were out every day. The resort sits on the side of a hill overlooking the Pacific. The walk to the beach is difficult, but there is an open courtesy vehicle running frequently to the beach from early morning to fairly late at night. The beach – Playa Hermosa is OK – the sand is dark, and very hot during the day!. The waves were never dangerous, and the water temperature was around 82. We drove about 2 hrs south to Tamarindo for a day visit, and the beach there is much better. We booked our trip as a package thru Vacation Express online. In talking with other people at the resort, we could have saved a few $ if we had booked using faredeals.com to book the same Vacation Express package – strange they were cheaper than Vacation Express directly. We did not eat at any of the Playa Hermosa area local restaurants, and we did not eat at the Villas Sol sit down restaurant. Villas Sol has some free things available, including a 2 hr boat ride. I believe the boat ride is only on Sundays and Tuesdays. You are able to to book these only on the day of the excursion - book down by the main pool (they have a nice pool area) starting at 8am, first come first served. I agree with taking a stack of $1’s to tip with – the service is always good, but they do seem to appreciate a few bucks now and then for a tip.

We used local tour company Avispa’s Adventures. Although I am usually the type on my trips that does my own research, rents a car, and does self tours (I hate large group / cookie cutter tours), before my visit to Costa Rica this time, and especially because I was familiar with the road conditions, I decided I would try a tour company on this trip. They are a small company - husband and wife, but I think are a real gem. Avispa is Costa Rican and has lived in the area all his life; Amy is American (from the Baltimore area), so there never was a language problem. They try to take only one group (they will even take 2 people at a slight increase in price), but if you don’t mind meeting another couple, they will arrange for 4 people to get the standard price. Their tours will go where the big guys go if you wish, but they also have set up some similar tours that go to un-crowded places. Their prices are in line with the big guys, but you get a much more personalized tour. We took the Miravalles volcano tour (it is similar to the Mega Tour and Borinquen combo tour, but to a much less crowded area). Everything on the tour was perfect. Amy also arranged a fishing boat charter for me, and it was perfect. The couple that we took the Miravalles tour with had taken 4 different tours with Avispa’s Adventures, and they also had nothing but praise for every one of their tours. Amy made a comment during our tour that I thought was appropriate – most people start as our customers and end up being our friends. I fully agree. You can contact Avispa’s Adventures at ---, or call them in costa rica at ---. Also, at Villas Sol, regardless of the tour company, I heard mostly favorable comments about the volcano, rain forest and palo verde river tours, and mostly negative comments about the Liberia and Nicaragua tours.

We also rented a car from Tricolor Car Rental in Liberia. They provided excellent service – delivered the car on time to our hotel for no additional fee. They also seem to have good rates, especially if you book ahead of time via the internet. They are a small company, but seemed real eager to please. One day we drove south to the Tamarindo area, and the other day we drove about 2 hrs to Rincon de la Vieja to the national park, which is in a rain forrest area. We took a 2 hr hike and saw lots of wildlife. I think it is becoming well known that the roads are terrible – even the road to Tamarindo was mostly unpaved and not maintained. We laughed that the long road to the high priced Four Seasons resort is the best public road in the area, even though it has little traffic.

Overall, I highly recommend Costa Rica. There is a lot to do there. The only thing I will do differently is not visit during the hottest month of the year – April. I live in Florida, and the heat was even too much for me during this visit. There is always a breeze – sometimes even a high wind, but the hot, dry air was often uncomfortable.

20  Thank mm82831
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Promotora La Costa, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Hermosa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Hermosa
Price Range: $113 - $320 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort is a development of 100% Costa Rican capital located on Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste on the northern Pacific Coast and managed by Promotora La Costa, a pioneer company in tourism development in Guanacaste. We are a 4-star resort, and have a Tourism Sustainability Certification (CST) of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and we are affiliated with Resort Condominium International RCI, being the only resort in Central America included in the Gold Crown category granted by this company. We work under an all-inclusive service in 54 deluxe hotel rooms and 109 fully equipped villas of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms. With unbeatable view of Papagayo Gulf. Among many alternatives for entertainment and sports offered by Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort, you’ll find a wide variety of activities for all ages - water sports (motorized & non motorized), sport fishing, diving, kayak & jet ski as well as many one day tours that will take you to the many national parks and hide-away beaches in the area surrounding our resort. Our great location makes not only our resort a great destination but also offers a convenient closeness to all major tours and activities taking place in the Guanacaste area and surroundings. Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort is a place for all ages and types of vacationer. A great choice for families traveling with children, single travelers, honeymooners, people looking for a relaxing vacation or those looking for fun and excitement. Our friendly, helpful staff welcome all guests with a “PURA VIDA” and a smile & the best service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villas Sol Hotel And Beach Resort
Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Playa Hermosa
Hotel Sol Beach
Sol Hotel Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa Sol Hotel
Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort Costa Rica/Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste

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