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“Great Experience!”

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Reviewed March 2, 2013

My friend and I purchased a Groupon deal for a week stay at this Hotel. We had a wonderful time!

First of all, the hotel is beautiful. It is lush and green, steps away from the beach, and iguanas and birds are everywhere. The pool was clean and refreshing, and has a wet bar that you can swim right up to and order a drink. The restaurant was nice with decent food and enough variety for a weeks stay. Some rooms are definitely better than others, but overall we were comfortable.

When we checked in, Jose had told us that they had made a mistake and put us in a room with one king bed (I was travelling with my female friend) and that the next day they would switch us to a different room. We were taken to a room that was attached to a villa that another family was staying in, which made us think that perhaps they had accidentally overbooked for that night. This might have been more bothersome for us if we hadn't checked in so late in the evening, but since it was late we weren't in the room for very long anyway, so it didn't really bother us. The room was, however, less comfortable than we were expecting, because the ceiling fan was very loud and the room did not have a safe in it. Jose was very sweet and apologetic, and the next day while we were hanging out at the pool he went ahead and moved all of our stuff to a new room for us. The new room was excellent, clean, had a safe, and was much closer to the pool, which we liked. We were very comfortable in that room for the remainder of the week.

We decided not to rent a car for this trip, and at no point during the week did we regret that decision. The roads are narrow and winding, and can be quite scary at points to people who are not used to them. The hotel offers transportation to and from Liberia Airport for $135 each way. I think there are some cheaper airport shuttles in town as well. Taxis into the town of Samara are $6, and any bar or restaurant in town will call a cab for you. Or, if you prefer, it is about a 20-30 minute walk along the beach back to the hotel. On our last day, we decided to rent a 4-wheeler and drove about 5 minutes from the hotel to Playa Carrillo, which is a beautiful, secluded, picturesque beach. I definitely recommend checking that beach out. If you don't want to rent a 4-wheeler like we did, you can rent a bike for very cheap, or just walk. We also did a few day trips through Monkey Tours, which you can book at the hotel with Steven. He is a good salesman and will try and get you to sign up for a number of excursions. All of the trips that we did were fantastic and very reasonably priced. If a full day of activity and adrenaline is your speed, I highly recommend the Adventure Tour to Rincon. It's a day full of horseback riding, whitewater tubing, swimming, zip line canopy tour, and hot springs! It was so much fun! We felt like we had the perfect mix of activity and relaxation during our vacation.

The staff at the hotel were all so nice to us. Jose was always making sure that we were comfortable. Jorge was our favorite bartender; he always made very good drinks! Alex served us breakfast most days we were there and he was always very sweet. We went on the kayak tour with Steven, and he was very knowledgable and knew exactly what he was doing. He also hooked us up with all of the day trips that we did.

Overall, we both had an excellent experience at Hotel Villas Playa Samara. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the area, and how wonderful the staff was to us. Potentially there are some organizational issues, based on our experience with our first room that we had, but this did not negatively impact our vacation. We would definitely consider coming back here again!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Lydia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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498 - 504 of 894 reviews

Reviewed February 28, 2013

We stayed there for 5 nights. We appreciated the site, near to a quiet beach with beautiful sunsets on Pacific Ocean. Water was warm. The hotel has many buildings with 1 or 2 casas with a kitchen, small living room and room. Service was uneven. Some could learn to smile more... The room maid was not zealous, leaving some crashed mosquitos on walls. Sometime service in restaurant was quite slow. But we were happy to be there, the advantages compensating for disadvantages. And we'd be happy to go back...

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Pierre P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2013

My husband and I have traveled to Costa Rica many times over the past few years and usually stay in the Jaco area. We have met some wonderful people who have become friends. On this trip we decided to visit another area of this beautiful country and planned a trip to Samara. We did a time share exchange through Interval for one week at Villa Playa Samara as part of our trip. When we arrived, we were greeted by Adrian at reception. He had difficulty finding our reservation and, at first, told us it wasn't there. We had a copy of our exchange certificate with us, and he "looked" again and then found it. He was pleasant enough during check in, but when he assigned us our room, he erased room 7 and wrote 48D. He then told us that the room would be ready in about 15-20 minutes. He brought us to the bar for a welcome drink. We noted that the resort was being repaired, we had read that they sustained damage from an earthquake in September 2012. We walked around, looked at the gym (open) and the mini market (closed/being repaired). Went back to get our room and were told by Adrian that it was still not ready, it would be another 30 minutes. We knew check in was at 4 and it was now 2:30, so we decided to have lunch at the restaurant. We did and the food and service were good. At about 3:15 we went back to the reception and asked for Adrian. We were told by Carlos that he was gone and that our room was still not ready because the "people who were in there checked out late" . (They must have taken the furnishings with them! ) But he said he would check. During this time we noted two gentlemen checking their bill, stating they were charged twice for the same thing, and another family of four being told that there was a mix up and they didn't have a room for that night, but would have a room for the next. They were being helped with booking a room in another hotel for that evening. We were hoping that these things were not a sign of things to come, other people seemed relaxed at the pool or eating in the restaurant. At about 4 (check in time) we asked about our room again, and at that time, another person who worked there, Jose, said he was going over to look at our room and see if it was ready. We asked to go along and see the room as well. Jose entered the room before us and quickly said that "to be honest, the room wouldn't be ready for another 35 to 45 minutes." We entered to see staff washing the broken dirty tiled floors and washing the dishes and kitchen. I noticed the filthy refrigerator and started to take pictures, of the broken refrigerator, broken tiles and when I looked into the living area, the lack of furniture. There were no chairs around the dirty table, the cushions on the built in couches were filthy with no backs. And when we went into the bedroom, there was no bed!!! No end tables!! Just a crooked picture hanging on the wall. Looking out the side door to the unit, we had a beautiful view of the open dump, full of broken furniture, appliances, etc. We said that we needed another room and were told that they really didn't have anything. As we started to leave, 3 of their staff came up carrying a bed to that unit, a full size bed, not a king as we had booked. Then Jose spoke to the woman who was with us, (who we later learned was Farida Cano, the manager on duty) and told us we could have the adjoining room which was not satisfactory but at least had a bed (full), no ceiling fan, but did have furniture. We knew it was too late to try to drive back to Los Suenos and were thinking we were going to have to stay in that room for the night. But then Jose and Farida took us to another unit. It was unit 2b, up toward the ocean. Upon entering, we noticed clean white tile floors, newly covered couch cushions with backs, a table and chairs, a ceiling fan, a toaster, coffee pot and microwave as well as a clean refrigerator. The king sized bed was made up and had clean towels and flowers on the bed. The bathroom was clean with flowers as well. We said it was satisfactory and we would stay. Jose was very pleasant and said that he hoped we would be happy in that room. After getting our luggage, we decided to check the Internet on our iPad/phone, but were unable to get service on either of the connections they provided. We then went back to the reception area before going into samara for dinner. The Internet worked in the reception area and we tried to call interval to report the situation. We left for dinner and had a very nice meal with great service at Casa Esmarelda. Upon return we had a drink at the pool bar and Jorge was very pleasant. We checked out the next morning after contacting Interval, as it was difficult to stay at a resort where few people spoke the truth and management was terrible. We didn't know if it would get better or worse. Upon checking out, we once again saw Adrian, who asked us how we were. We told him we were okay now with no thanks to him. And asked him how he thought it was okay to assign us to a room without furniture? He said "his boss" told him to change the room to that unit, it wasn't his decision. When questioned who "his boss" was he then told us that the manager was Farida Cano, and wrote her name down for us. As we were leaving, I saw the woman who was with Jose and showed us to the new room. I asked her for her name, and wanted to thank her for her help as we thought she and Jose had tried to help us. Weren't we surprised to learn that she was the manager, which she admitted. We told her that Adrian blamed all of what happened on her, she looked at us in surprise and we showed her the paper with her name on it. Clearly Adrian threw her under the bus and she was not happy. We saw Jose before we left and again thanked him for his help and explained that while our room was nice, we could not stay in a place that was run so poorly. We were told that the owner of the resort was not there, but in San Jose. It is sad that a resort with potential is being run so poorly. The location is nice, clearly some of the units are comfortable and the pool was refreshing. But we could never recommend this resort as it is so poorly run. Beware!!

Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
6  Thank JoAnne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

During my Costa Rica’s traveling, I stayed at 5 different hotels. Along the Pacific, I stayed at the Sugar Beach hotel for 5 nights and at the Hideaway hotel for 3 nights because of 3 nights initial booking request. I waked out of the Hideaway hotel straight to the closest, the Villas. They attentively considered my appeal and found the best option. I stayed for 4 nights. According to my perception, the Villas was the best hotel for a number of the reasons:
First of all, no one impinged on my choices to get the best out of the vacation. The stuff helped to materialize my wishes. The hotel has its own transportation. If I wanted to visit a different place, they dropped me off and picked up at my convenience. I was not limited by anything but my wishes.
Second of all, what they advertise is truth:
The location. The hotel is located exactly, as they advertise. It is a front beach hotel. No any dusty roads between you and ocean. There is a big coral riff across the ocean that calms the waves. You can get to Samara walking along the beaches, 20 minutes approximately. In opposite directions lays the Carrillo beach. This beach gives more possibilities to surf.
The activities. They do some remarkable tours. I took the kayaking two times. The first time it was kayaking to the Island. The second time it was the kayaking to Carrillo. The instructor Steve(n?) knows the waves and ocean. He is an expert. Though that was the very first time for the instructor to take someone to Carrillo by ocean we did not have any problems. All decisions and hard work was his. All pleasure was mine.
The food and wine. The food from the restaurant was good quality and always tasty. The wine was what it is supposed to be. You have some choices. In case, if you do not want to cook, you can have food in the restaurant, or order it to your villa, or order it to the bar in the middle of the swimming pool. The restaurant works until late evening. Breakfast hours are extended also. For sure, included breakfast is not abject.
The service and clearness. The service was very friendly by all means. Fresh towels, clean sheets, test of quality of water in the swimming pool ( to my astonishment). They fulfilled all my occasionally arising needs.
The safety. They have front guard and beach guard despite the fact that surrounding is tranquil.
In short, if you want to spend your money with pleasure, this hotel is the best place.

Room Tip: Ocean views are always preferable, but are not crucial.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank lana l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

We made and paid for our reservation through hotwire in advance but when we tried to check in, we had to wait almost 4 hours for them to try to find our reservation- which they never did. They required me to email them our hotwire confirmation but the internet was down the entire time we were there so i couldn't even do that until we left. Property looked nice whil we were waiting, so we weren't too concerned. We had booked and paid for an ocean view room. Instead, we were given a very small room at the back of the property overlooking construction and garbage. Several hotel employees said this happens to people every day at this hotel. They tell everyone they will have an ocean view room and charge you more for it and then when you check in, suddenly it's not available. The employees we talked to said people are angry all the time because the hotel lies to get people to book here. While we were here 2 days, we heard countless arguments with the front desk and guests because of the same issues.

The website said the rooms had safes, but our room did not. We asked many times each day for a safe and were told everything from "there are no safes" to "we are installing one in your room shortly." We never did receive the safe (that the hotel listings said were in every room). The owner even promised us he had one coming and that it would be installed first thing in the morning. Never happened.

The worst part? They offered to let us keep our stuff in the managers safe. Great option! Except that they decided to make an envelope to give us to hold our stuff - and they made that envelope from another hotel guests PASSPORT copy. Then they gave us that to take with us. That has to be against some law. We are going to contact that US gentleman when we get back to the states to let the poor guy know about the security issue! When we checked out and they gave us all of our belongings from their safe, they also tried to give us someone else's wallet! Unbelievable!

We had 2 coffee cups un our room but no coffee maker (also promised in the hotel listing) and the hand towels hadn't been changed from the last guest and were dirty and used. The room we booked was not what we got and the staff didn't seem to care or just had no power to help fix the situation.

It's unfortunate, because the location is great and the pool is nice. But with all of the problems and significant security issues, we absolutely wouldn't recommend the place.

The bright spot??? Stephen who runs the "Monkey Tours" operation there. He was fabulous. He doesn't even work for the hotel and yet, he tried his hardest to help remedy our situation. We took his kayak and snorkeling tour and it was super fun!!! Yay for Stephen!

Room Tip: Most rooms do not have the promised ocean view. Be very careful!!!
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Amy V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

I stayed here with my family last Easter and it was simply magnificent. Our villa was located near the beach and it was absolutely beautiful. The food was delicious, and we received great service, especially from Luis at the bar and while in the restaurant. The employees were very kind and great to talk to. Really enjoyed the pool, restaurant, bar, and the beaches. Overall a beautiful place and I would love to go back. Would advise anyone interested in going not to make a decision based on the resort after the earthquake, but to let them make their repairs and get it back up and running to its normal state, because it is a fantastic place with great people and great surroundings.

Room Tip: choose a villa nearest to the beach
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Andrea R
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 reviewResponded February 2, 2013

Dear Andrea D, First than all we would like to thank you for your great review and for choosing our property for your Costa Rican vacations. We are really happy to know that you enjoyed our property and that Luis gave you a great service!!! We will make sure that he read your review since good comments are always of great motivation! Thank you for your support on the earthquake and we are sure that we will have a nicer property than ever!! To the pleasure of having you very soon again among us!!! Our best Regards from Sunny Samara!!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

My husband and I were planning on staying here for our honeymoon but at the VERY LAST MINUTE the hotel sent me an EMAIL stating that due to the earthquake (which was 3-4 weeks prior), they were unable to accomodate us. Instead they were sending us to their "sister" hotel which when we looked it up was more like a MOTEL 6. We had already paid the taxes and upgraded to their suite and the sister MOTEL didn't even have suites- we literally went from a 4 star resort to a "not even on the map- MOTEL." They didn't even give us any other options. The email simply told us this is what was going to happen. I immediately began attempting to call, email, send smoke signals...anything to reach someone who could actually take action and give us our refund. Our finances were already tied up and extremely tight with the wedding and all so we really needed them to release the funds from our credit card. I'm not sure how we swung it but we were able to re-arrange our honeymoon and stayed at two different lovely hotels which worked out so much better in the end. To this date, we are STILL waiting for our refund. So, we never actually stayed there, but if their communication is this bad for a potential guest, I can't imagine how it would be if we did stay there. Funny how fast they charge your card versus how slow it takes to get it back, especially when it was their responsibility to make it right.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Marina T
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 reviewResponded February 3, 2013

Dear Marina, Thank you for your review we are terribly sorry that you are still waiting refund with the resort we invite you to contact us directly at brissonp@villasplayasamara.com we will gladly help you resolve everything! The aftershock for any business after the earthquake of the magnitude that we had is really hard but we have been in business for more than 20 years and if their is something pending that we need to refund you we will be more than happy to solve it! Our best Regards from Samara and to the pleasure of having you in the future among us!!! Pura Vida!!!

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Additional Information about 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 #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Price Range: $198 - $469 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Villas Playa Samara 3.5*
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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