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“Better, but still needs lots of work...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Villas Playa Samara

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Playa Samara
Heredia, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
49 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Better, but still needs lots of work...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We've come here a few times in the past thanks to a timeshare our family has... Although we always have a great time and the beach and surroundings are beautiful, I always complained about the hotel service, and the dated and worn out look of the hotel premises and equipment. In this year's visit, however, many of the rooms and public areas were renovated (I guess it was a must after last year's earthquake in the zone) Our room had updates in the bedroom furniture, finishings, kitchen equipment and bathroom, although the toilet had a hard time flushing. Other villas I visited were also updated to different degrees.

One thing we definitely did not like was that pretty much everyone in our party had skin and eye allergies after using the pool. Not sure if it was due to the work they were still doing in it (and in other public areas) but they should keep an eye on this, since it was pretty unusual and uncomfortable.

In general, it is a very nice beach, the surroundings are great and with the right company the stay is also great, but the hotel itself can certainly be better. I can't say it is terrible as other people have said, but I agree that, considering this is not the cheapest place in the area, the hotel management can do much more to ensure a better experience to their guests.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 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
Helpful?
4 Thank luiskv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Luiskv,
First than all we would like to thank you for your repeating visits to our hotel and we are glad to know that you were able to see and appreciate all the effort that we have placed into the remodeling of the property. The hotel as been in a renovation process through out this past 2012 and like you mention we did do alot of repairment after this past september earthquake but we are really happy to say that we are back in operation at the fullest with a renovated property. We will definitely have our pool checked for what you mention even we did not receive any other complaints about similar situation with other guest. With our reopening after the earthquake we had many new employee's joinning our team & we are sure that for your next visit to our property will be at your entire satisfaction and that you will experience a customer service upgrade as the upgrades that you were able to find in our units and property! Cheers from Samara!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (179)
Date | Rating
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English first
Quebec City, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We went at this hotel during the christmas holiday. The villa and the location are perfect for family vacation. Despite the fact that there were works around because of the earthquake, the ambiance was friendly. we are thinking to go back again next year!

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Suzanne G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Suzanne G,

First than all we would like to thank for your review to our property, we are really happy to read that you had a great time at our hotel and even we thought we were completing some construction work . We will definitely be waiting for you and your family at our resort this upcoming year and please do not hesitate in contacting us for your next vacation with us! Saludos desde Costa Rica!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

My family stayed here the week of Christmas, fully expecting a wonderful tropical holiday. What we encountered was everything but. We had emailed the Hotel after the initial earthquake in September and were assured that everything was in working order. We also emailed the previous week of our stay - the same. Only the day before we left for our vacation did management decide to tell us that "some of the amenities" may not be available.
We arrived to chaos. The pool was a dust bowl, with workers in various states. The walkways were dangerous, with bricks and ditches everywhere. The entertainment room, meeting rooms, and store were virtual storage rooms. The restaurant was nonexistent. The bar - what bar? We could not believe the length of lies that management went to deceive us.
Our Villa was beautiful, at first glance. While updated, the toilets never worked, our refrigerator had to be replaced, lights did not work, and many other minor issues had to be worked out. Service was completely lacking, though I believe they did try hard. For example, we went without drinks one breakfast service and without complete silverware sets at another. It was ridiculous! The maid service was laughable. They came in, made up the beds and some of the time gave us new towels and toilet paper. Most of the time we had to walk to the front desk to ask for such things and when we did we had to wait .. and wait .. and wait. And in our week long stay they came twice without it being late afternoon and us having to ask for maid service.
By the time we left the pool was in working order, though it was disgustingly white and murky looking. I learned later there was no filtration working. The bar was open, though mis-managed as well. The restaurant, though open, turned into an all out buffet that didn't offer as much as they did when they operated from an actual menu.
Like I said, everything was ridiculous! The location is beautiful and management is criminal in the way they are running this place. It could be paradise but was a living hell to stay in.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Amber S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Amber S, First than all I would like to apologize for all the inconvenient that you had to encounter during your stay with us. Our hotel will not fight you in any point that you mention in your review. But I would just like to say that you were previously aware of the situation of the hotel prior to your arrival and you were notified that some of the amenities would not be ready by the time of your arrival. Like you mention in your review your were able to experience during your stay the reopening of the resort and all of its amenities and I believe that the hotel agreed to compensate you for your stay with us. I gladly invite you to contact me at friends@villasplayasamara.com in order to discuss further your issues during your stay and how you recommend us that we can improve for future clients and also to invite you again to visit us in the future for you to be able to enjoy our property at the maximum. Best Regards from Sunny Samara!!!
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Travelers are raving about these Playa Samara hotels

Level Contributor
43 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We booked a two room villa using a groupon back in Feb. 2012 for a vacation on Dec. 1st. In September there was an earthquake north of there and an email went out from Groupon stating the resort was temporarily closed and our room was re-booked to another local hotel. I contacted Alonso at the original resort and was told not to worry that they would be open by Dec. 1st. Two days before we were to leave on vacation we called only to find out they were closed and they could try and find us another place in Playa Samara. I declined after checking TripAdvisor and saw terrible reviews. So on November 29th we requested a refund of the additional $492.87 paid for the upgrade and Alonso stated the refund would go through in 15 days. It is now Jan. 2nd and have yet to see the refund. I now have to work with the credit card company to file against Hotel villas playa samara. Needless to say I'm NOT happy.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Helpful?
12 Thank 62cody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BradAnderson, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
Dear Cody,

First than all we would like to apologize with you for the delay on the refund I can assure you that everything will process back to you as soon as posible I invite to right directly to this email if the amount is not credited into your account by next week brissonp@villasplayasamara.com, I would just like to mention to you that we had all the intentions on reopening the resort by december 1st like previously scheduled but with this major earthquake all details were really hard to anticipate and we had no intention in making you cancel your trip with us our to have the need to recolocate you. I would like to invite you to contact us at friends@villasplayasamara.com and we will be more than happy to find away for you to be able to enjoy our resort in the near future everything is back in order now and we are in full operation since december 24th 2012. Cheers from Samara!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Terrible beach (could not use it at all). The people owning the units keep their stuff in the closets. All closets were locked and we had to keep our belongings in the suitcases. The main door lock was broken and it took them 3 days to repair it. This was supposed to be an all inclusive resort but there was no choice of food. They would cook one thing and you can have as much of it as you desire (even if you don't like it, there was no choice). The trips we took were fake. We traveled 4 hours one way to see an active volcano: the hill had lash vegetation on it.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Helpful?
5 Thank Rosen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caracas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We booked what we thought would be a luxurious Costa Rican vacation for Christmas. When we got to Villas Playa Samara we found out that the hotel had been at the epicenter of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in September and had suffered serious damage. Sadly, the whole place looked like a war zone. It was in no condition to serve guests and should have been closed down. Yet there it was, still booking gullible people.

There was no water in the pool, there were piles of bricks, sand and construction material in the pathways, the lobby ceilings had wires dangling from them, and the game room, fitness center, and restaurant didn't exist. Management showed us to our room where things only got worse. The floors had dirt and loose nails scattered about, an army of thousands of ants marched across the living room floor and into the bathroom, the toilet was coated in mold, and there were animal droppings on the porch furniture. There was no hot water in one of the bathrooms, water was shut off entirely from midnight to 8:30am (with no advanced notice), and there were cracks in the ceiling and walls. Eerily, amidst this chaos, was a neatly made comfortable bed with fresh flowers on top. None of the disaster had been disclosed to us ahead of time, even though we had booked directly through the hotel after the earthquake and communicated with staff via email the day before we arrived. They readily charged us $290/night, the “super high season” rate.

It was as if we had entered an alternate hotel universe. If we hadn’t experienced this ourselves, we never would have thought such a thing could be possible. When we complained to management, we were in line with several other shell-shocked guests, some who had conditions far worse than ours. One family had resorted to using the lawn as a toilet. We’re not even making this up.

Management looked all of us in the eye and said they’d be at full operation in a week. There is no way this hotel will be functioning for guests until at least 2014. We can understand the earthquake was beyond their control. We can understand the tragedy they must have gone through. But we can’t understand why they wouldn’t be up front with guests ahead of time, be honest about the situation, and offer discount rates. They might even get willing guests curious to see the aftermath of an earthquake. Instead, the hotel tried to cover the whole thing up and pretend nothing had happened. The resort’s website made no mention of the disastrous condition and was currently marketing wedding packages. We couldn’t figure out if it was due to sheer incompetence, complete denial, or outright deception; we soon realized it must have been all three.

There were also dozens of other problems that would have been noteworthy at another hotel, but in the grand scheme of things at Villas Playa didn’t even seem worth it to complain about (no maid service, hammocks that sunk down to the cement when we lay in them, waiters that brought napkins and placemats in the middle of the meal, unreliable internet, etc.) In the end, after we gave the hotel an ultimatum, they reduced our rate to $100/night and threw in a free dinner. Still, we could have had a similar experience at the campground down the road for $20/night. We cut our stay short and were out of there after the second night.

That said, there were a few highlights: the food was good, the beach was pristine, the setting was gorgeous, and a waiter named Alex was kind and patient. Also, a day trip to Dalia coffee farm, about an hour away, was outstanding. We’d love to visit Samara again, for the coffee tour alone, yet needless to say we will never stay at Villas Playa Samara again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Diane C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

I visited Hotel Villas Playa Samara from June 9-14. Upon arrival I was highly disappointed my room was mixed up so the room I was given was not even ready. When we got into the room the floors were soaking wet as if they dumped water on the floor to mop it up. After going back to the front desk my room was changed to a room with no AC I was told they were expecting a "BIG" party for the other rooms. Take bug spray because we woke up to bugs all over the room and bed 2 nights in a row. Fast forwarding this is a very relaxing place to visit no TV and very limited internet access. The food is great and make sure to go on an excursion or two..Last but not least ESTEBAN!!!! He made the trip EXCELLENT!!! He gave us nice restaurant options to try and even went along when his schedule allowed to help with the language barrier.. If this hotel clones Esteban it would easily become a 5star establishment along with some renovations

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Villas Playa Samara

Property: Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Address: South From the Center of Samara Going Towards Playa Carrillo 3km, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Playa Samara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Villas Playa Samara 3*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a hotel with fully equipped villas and deluxe rooms. We are located in front of the beach very close yo downtown Samara. ... more   less 
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