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“Not a pleasant experience...”

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Reviewed March 3, 2014

Stayed @ Hotel Villas Playa Samara for 4 nights as part of Groupon deal with Monkey Tours.

Villa: The first villa my friends and I got looked decent as it appeared to be one of the renovated villas (Rm 32B) but that quickly changed. There was a sea of ants crawling in the bathroom to and from the window. We went to the front test and security/maintenance helped to clean the ants. Later on the bathroom had a weird smell that we thought might have come from cleaning the ants. After trying to Febreeze and air out the room, the smell was getting worse…it smelled like raw sewage. At 12AM, we went to the front desk where all the staff already left for the evening. Luckily we ran into the security/maintenance guy who helped us get a new room and helped move our luggage. Our new room looked like it was still under maintenance but at least it didn’t smell. The next day we passed by Rm 32B, the door was wide open and you need not even get close to the door to smell the sewage. Don’t get Rm 32B. The new room had its share of ant issues. Don’t not bring any food back to the room, the ants will come, seriously! The other issue was lack of towels - there were no wash cloths, we had to practically beg for towels which we were only able to get once. One morning at 6AM, the power and water went out in the entire hotel. No one could tell us what happened unless we went to the front desk who said the entire town went out. We went to town to get water in case the water power and water didn’t return. Many people in our tour group had issues with their rooms too – ants, mold, bats, no A/C, lack of towels, etc. Luckily we didn’t have issues with the hot water. But the shower doesn’t even had a curtain or anything to stop the water from splashing out everywhere. Open shower area. There are no tvs or phones in the villa, so if you need anything, you need to go to the front desk.

Beds: There was a queen, single and a tiny cot…yes a cot! No one was going to sleep on a cot for 4 nites. So we were going to share the queen and single and rotate. The beds were ok – I had no problem sleeping since we had many long days on our entire trip.

Dinner: We had dinner the first night at the hotel @ El Arrecife. The food took quite awhile but the Chef Special Paella was very good. The rest of the food was ok. Of course, we had our share of ants and other bugs joining us for dinner. There are plenty of other places in town if you wish to explore – Casa Esmerelda was really good. El Lagarto was pricier and just ok – too many ants crawling around to enjoy the meal. We heard the Hideaway Hotel next door was really good. We also ate at El Ancla (which has several different names) – the mixed seafood platter and cerviche were good. If you plan to eat dinner on the beach, make sure you bring your bug spray.

Breakfast: Breakfast was included in our package. The first 2 days of breakfast was not good. Pancakes and plantains were dry, eggs a big soggy, pork hash was eh, rice and beans. The last 2 days we got to order from the menu – thank god! That was much better since the food was freshly cooked.

Pool/Pool bar: Martin the bartender was really nice and made our drinks. Everyone had a great time with Martin. We had dinner one night at the pool bar. Heard the burgers were really good but they ran out. We had chicken tenders and fries our last night…should have went next door to Hideaway Hotel.

Beach: Very, very rustic beach, looked like there was no beach maintenance. No white sand, lots of sand mites to bite you, ocean water was not blue. There is no shuttle into town - you have to pay for a taxi, which costs $6 (no need to include tip). Have the front desk call for you. You can you walk via the beach (takes about 20-30 mins), in which case you have to time it with the tides. There is a section which you have to walk across the water…at low tide, the water rises around your ankles. At high tide, the water rises to your knees. Be prepare to be wet! Don’t forget a lot of bug spray and sunblock!

Staff: Sometimes helpful, sometimes not. We tried to view a dvd we bought from the tours and one guys at the front desk was very helpful. At checkout, we wanted to make sure the dvds we bought had no issues. The woman at the front desk could not get the computer working and refused to try to play it at the front desk which could read dvds. Needless to say, she was really rude to us, and one of the dvds was BLANK! UGH!

Overall hotel management needs work, hospitality and all. Unfortunately would not recommend this hotel due to all the issue we had.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank WinL2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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454 - 460 of 933 reviews

Reviewed February 23, 2014

There is really nothing special about this hotel. Furnishing, bed linens and towels are very basic . Reminded us of staying at cottage by the lake. Housekeeping is hit and miss. We never has our bed sheets changed during the week we stayed here and had to chase down housekeeping for new bath towels a couple times. Air conditioning worked very well which was nice. We had a one bedroom villa and a kitchenette (microwave, stove and fridge); however, we never used the kitchen. Fridge was nice to have. Property is right on the beach so going for a swim or walk along the beach is very easy. The location makes this place. We were on an all inclusive plan and there were no restrictions except that premium drinks (eg Kahlua) was at additional cost. There is one restaurant and one pool side bar which closes promptly at 10PM. If you are looking for fine dining/exceptional food and nice wine then this hotel will be disappointing. Service at the restaurant and bar can be anywhere from very good to down-right rude depending on the server. We watched in amazement as the bar staff hurriedly closed just before 10PM when a group of very thirsty guests on their way to the bar was detected by the bar staff. Apparently, the staff had worked enough for the day and were not going to make an effort to provide even a soft drink, beer etc if it meant staying one minute after closing. A la carte items ordered at the restaurant can be quite good (snapper and steaks);however, when the buffet is in operation the food quality deteriorates to being downright un-appealing. The wine selection (just red and white by the glass) is absolutely terrible and there are no other options. Breakfast buffet is very basic. There are tours available right at the hotel ; however, we found that similar tours can be arranged in Samara at lower cost. We were told that wifi was available only near the restaurant and bar but we had no problem with wifi access when we were on the beach or in our room. There are nice restaurants in Samara and several grocery/liquor stores that are both better stocked and have lower prices that the small poorly stocked store at the hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a villa near the ocean (1-4 would be a good choice)
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ottawa012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2014

This being the last stop on our Monkey Tour, our stay was for 4 nights. We had upgraded to an ocean view villa and were not disappointed! The villa was conveniently located near the pool and bar and was clean, spacious, and had a nice view of the ocean. Breathtaking sunsets! The staff was extremely nice and helpful from the moment upon check in to check out. The meals were very good, whether it was a buffet or from the menu. We did not purchase the all-inclusive. (I did have an issue when ordering one particular meal, however, it was miscommunication on my and the waiter's part.). We did kayak to the island, snorkeled, and walked the beach to town (use sunblock!!). As mentioned in other reviews, it was 30-40 min walk; and the cab ride back was $6. The wild horses were very neat to see walking the beach! All-in-all we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would come back again!

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rudy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We stayed three nights at the hotel as a part of the Monkey Tours which seems to have an
affiliation with the hotel. A bit nervous from the reviews, we were very pleasantly surprised.
Our room was pleasant, properly supplied, had a comfy bed, adequate hot water, a fridge, a really quiet A/C and a safe. Breakfasts were really nice and lunch and dinner which had the same menu were OK. Some items were pretty good, others passable. The bartender is excellent. The wait staff were friendly and helpful though a few times, as we don’t speak fluent Spanish, we could have benefited from a translator. The store was poorly stocked but in the process of expanding. There are basically no TV’s but a contract is being negotiated, we were told. The pool is lovely as is the beach which is replete with iguanas. The water is salty enough to float on without moving. A variety of water activities are offered. The town of Samara is a $6 cab ride away or almost an hour walk along the beach. It has a nice beach, lots of shops, lots of unattended dogs and a few unattended horses, a lot of surfers and hippie types with dreads, etc., and people of all nationalities. Our favorite place to eat was El Lagardo which was pricey but served food cooked on a wood fire. Bugs love me but I didn’t get any bites. We never encountered an uncooperative staff member and the manager eagerly accepted suggestions and criticisms. Samara is not Cancun and the hotel is not a full service resort but we had a really lovely three days there. My guess is that it will get even better

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Alan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2014 via mobile

My friend and I stayed here as part of the Monkey Tour group through Groupon. It was a great deal. We were apprehensive about this resort after reading the reviews, but figured we wouldn't be in the room much and could rough it (based on the reviews it seemed that way). We were pleasantly surprised by how put together the place was. Almost all renovations are complete. They are planning on putting tvs and phones in the rooms, but why stay there when the beach and town are so close? A phone would be nice as we had a few maintenance issues and going to the front desk was a pain because it was understaffed. However the front desk staff spoke English fluently, but waiters and maids do not. Which we shouldn't expect in another country, however they gear tourism to the US. The restaurant food was not great and I suggest going to town. Breakfast was included everyday and was decent. They have made a lot of improvements by switching up breakfast items. The pool was very nice. The beach was nice, but local fisherman us the bay and the water is a little scummy. Playa Corrillo (next bay to south) is far better. About a 2 mile walk north to Samara, which has a lot of character and filled with excellent restaurants and markets. Staff a fairly friendly and helpful. However ticos (Costa Ricans) are generally friendly. My friend got stuck with fisherman for 5 hours because of high tide and a gentleman helped her navigate back to the resort. This was my first time in Costa Rica and I never felt unsafe. The maids cleaned our room everyday (there is no scheduled timing though), but they don't change the sheets. However Costa Rica is ecofriendly hence saves water, etc. The resort also provides soap, shampoo, and conditioner. An improvement to previous reviews. Monkey Tours is stationed there and provide extra tours like kayaking, snorkling, etc. The resort has a lot of security which is appreciated. It was a pleasant experience and far better than expected.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
2  Thank Trisha O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2014

When we first arrived to Costa Rica it started off like a nightmare. Having to take a $150/ two hour cab ride from the airport because the car rental place wouldn't accept out credit card. Upon arriving to the hotel which by the way was our Honeymoon they proceeded to tell us that we did not have reservation until the following week. It's a good thing I am completely anal and brought all the paper work with me proving we were there on the correct day. The only room they had for us was bungalow apartment right off the beach..."the honeymoon suite"... but was told the next day they were going to put us in the correct room selected which was not the honeymoon suite. Well low and behold the very next day the told us to just stay in the room they put us in and to enjoy the rest of our vacation... SCORE... It turned out to be an amazing place. There was no TV, so we just enjoyed each other... It was definitely an unforgettable place that I would totally come back to visit.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Tanya N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014

I came to Costa Rica with a Monkey tour Groupon, and Villa Playa Samara was our last destination , stayed there for 4 nights. My Girlfriend and I did not get the room with two queen beds as we requested, and it was frustrating at first. BUT the hotel employees were so helpful and trying to do their best, so that initial frustration faded away. From the second night we got an OCEAN view Villa!!! What could be better?? Manager, Mr. Oscar Montero , is the most caring, friendly and hard working you can ever meet! He wants to make sure everyone is happy! Yes, you have to remember it is Costa Rica and certain things are different comparing to USA. There is no TV in villa but you can watch it if want to by the bar. Martin, a bartender , makes the best margaritas i ever had! Great landscape, great people, ocean, warm water. If you are looking for a a lot of night life, music, bars, it is not theplace to be. But if you want to explore, relax, enjoy- certainly it is the right place! Luis took as for the kayaking and snorkeling- great experience again. For food- we had an included breakfast with a GREAT coffee. Everything is very clean. If you like to have nice dinner, hotel restaurant might not be the right place for dinner. If you like home made food, great sea food and VERY inexpensive , try Soda Colacho. Very small family owned place . Their sea soup has the whole lobster in it!!! Very small place. If you want more upscale place- try Casa Esmeralda! And of course if you are craving a hamburger, plenty places for that.Once again, I give this place 5 star because of Service, Help, Friendliness, location, views and more.Many Thanks to all the personnel of Villa playa Samara for an amazing experience. Special Thanks to to Oscar, Andres, Luis, Martin, Alex!
PS . I did not have the Spa treatments but one couple from our group did, and they loved it!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are clean, have comfortable beds. If you are looking for the best, try to get ocean...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank GalinaHND
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

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: $300 - $597 (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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