We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“It's In the Details...or Lack Thereof”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 5 more sites!
Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“It's In the Details...or Lack Thereof”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2014

I went into our stay skeptical of some of the bad reviews, having found from previous experiences that travelers are often picky and high-maintenance with unrealistic expectations of hospitality in other countries. Yet, I concede that many of the reviews of this place are on-the-mark.

Allow me to begin by saying we still had a great time during our three days. We were relaxed, enjoyed several great meals in the town, and took advantage of nearby activities. Every member of the staff I encountered was friendly and eager to please. Our ocean-view villa had an amazing view and a great breeze on the patio for shady hammock naps. I enjoyed the service and drinks at the pool-side bar, was sufficiently appeased by the breakfast buffet, and easily found a palapa overlooking the beach each morning. Our room had hot water, decent water pressure, a reasonably comfortable bed, and working AC (in the bedroom). I even appreciated the peace of not having a TV. The place is laid out very nicely and the grounds are pretty well-kept.

Now for the not-so-great. Housekeeping seems understaffed and under-equipped to maintain the rooms as needed. I can live with the fact that sheets were never changed since it matches up with Costa Rica's eco-friendly vibe, but we received washcloths and hand towels only on the first day. And our bath mat, visibly soiled with muddy sand from our feet, was not replaced. While we did receive 2 fresh towels each day, many others we were traveling with did not. The soap, shampoo, and conditioner were also never replaced. The tiny bar had run out after the first day, leaving us with no hand soap for the remainder of our stay. Our room was not swept, either, rendering it quite sandy by the day we left. Additionally, a guest before us had spilled something on one of the tables; the sticky residue was clearly visible and covered with ants, yet it was not cleaned. Finally, we enjoyed having the full kitchen though did not enjoy doing the dishes with one dishcloth (which was also never replaced), no dish towel, and no dish soap. Management should consider adding more housekeeping staff and allotting more funds to providing the little things that make a guest's stay more comfortable.

The absolute worst part of our stay was the bathroom. It had an overwhelming smell that took our breath away despite keeping the windows open and spraying numerous times a day with both air fresheners and essential oils (that I luckily had packed). This seemed to be a plumbing issue. We went in there as little as possible--getting ready in the bedroom instead, which was difficult with no mirror-- and kept the door closed so the smell didn't leak into the bedroom. Having read other reviews, we decided to live with it the three days we were there rather than switching rooms and risking getting one with more severe problems (hot water, AC, etc.), though housekeeping clearly had to smell it each day and did not report it or address it.

The hotel's amenities are quite poor. The store is rarely open and terribly under-stocked. The pool bar opens late and closes early. There is no shuttle service, causing guests to pay $12 round-trip into town--sometimes more than once a day. (The walk is doable but hot and along a dirty section of beach.) Some of the paths are poorly lit, and there is no emergency lighting in case of power outages (which seems fairly common--though brief), so I'd suggest packing a small flashlight.

This all said, this placed seemed like one of the nicer options in the area. The staff on-hand is good--there just aren't enough of them or their time is being poorly dispersed by management. With just minor changes and some better decision-making on the part of management or ownership, this place could be really great.

Room Tip: We were glad to have upgraded to an ocean-view villa. Corner villas are closest to the beach...cente...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank srs22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

829 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    252
    231
    145
    95
    106
See reviews for
279
319
15
7
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (207)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Chassahowitzka
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2014

Arrived in the dark and worried our oceanview villa would not have much of a view, but it was steps from the pool & bar and we felt the space and comfort was well worth the upgrade. The beach access was perfect, uncrowded and I LOVED the beach front palapas! Landscaping, pool and swim up bar were postcard perfect, including a mariachi group one evening! Having read poor reviews on food, we did not get all inclusive and were really glad we didn't. We ordered poolside on first night and food took a very long time. We got an apology, but other guests stated their food took extremely long too ( hour to hour & half). We found several excellent restaurants in town with great food & amazing atmosphere, so we enjoyed exploring the quaint small village, and if I returned I would do it the same way. (Ask folks by the pool where to go and they will tell you about the good places!) Suggestions: wear water shoes to kayak tour and to walk the beach (great sand but some coral), take your morning coffee to the palapas by the beach and bring your own flavored coffee creamer if you like it in your coffee--my friend could not find any in the Samara groceries, which had most other goodies. I would definitely stay here again!

Room Tip: Upgrade to a villa if you will be there more than a night or two.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Laura N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
karibarles, General Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Dear Laura,

We are glad you enjoyed our hotel, thank you for this detailed review. It is always our pleasure to have fun activities for our customers such as the mariachi night you were able to encounter.

We would like to apologize on the wait you had to experience in the restaurant. We are making sure we have the right amount of staff to make things quicker.

We are very happy you had a nice time here in Costa Rica.

It would be our pleasure to have you here with us once again!

Have a great day!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tucson, az
Level Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2014

Subject: Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Location: Playa Samara, Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Central America
Title: Disappointment in Costa Rica
ID#: 197212345

We arrived after 11:00 PM but the front desk was closed and we were escorted to our room by the security guard. The room was clean, but stark with white walls, a king size bed, and a small fridge. No wall art made the room seem like a dormitory. This was advertised as a garden view room, however, the view out our window overlooked the maintenance yard, and lots of junk. We asked to have our room changed, but were told that was impossible because there were no rooms available. This was found to be untrue. The service at this resort bordered on substandard with a touch of could care less. The food was very average, and the buffet was bland and repetitive. The pool is the highlight of the resort, but could use more chairs to accommodate guests. The beach was fair, but hardly pristine. We experienced an earthquake during our stay. I mention this as a previous earthquake damaged the resort two years ago and they are still repairing some of the damage. I would not go back to this resort, but would return to Costa Rica as the country is wonderful. The management needs to be changed or trained because their incompetence is not nearly up to the standards of even a 2 star resort. The owner's son runs Monkey Tours and that was the only real positive experience in our 7 night stay. This was a Groupon Deal, and I will never avail myself of their getaways again.

Room Tip: Under no circumstances accept a room in either of their two story buildings.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank spooker44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Playa Samara hotels

St. Francis
Level Contributor
62 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

On arrival this looks very nice - beautiful pool/bar area right on the beach. We were originally booked here but they were overbooked so they sent us next door to Sol Samara. After two days they moved us back. Because of the inconvenience/mix-up, the manager treated us very well; to compensate us for the inconvenience he upgraded us to the all inclusive meal package. But if I was to buy it on my own, it would not - it is not worth it. It only includes the buffet, which at this place is not very good - very limited selection. They had a regular menu, but whenever we asked we were told that it was just for the 'snacks' and that because they were so busy, only the buffet was available. We were put into a very nice room in one of the 'hotel' like buildings. It was newly redone and had two comfortable queen beds, a flat screen TV and very nice large bathroom. Others in our group did not have TVs in their rooms. Overall it appears that this place is very under-staffed and poorly trained. While the employees were very nice, they generally could not really answer questions or help you. People staying there seemed frustrated with the mis-communication that was occurring.

Room Tip: Ask for a recently upgraded room,
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Julie49St_Francis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2014 via mobile

A very nice place to stay, great staff, and easy to get around. Has a nice pool, and restaurant, and is about a 30 min walk on the beach to town. A very safe beach to swim in with children.
Hotel is well run and monkey tours is right there so you can book tours with ease.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Travelledwithkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WinL2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles 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)
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ottawa012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Playa Samara
0.3 mi away
The Hideaway Hotel Playa Samara
The Hideaway Hotel Playa Samara
#1 of 16 in Playa Samara
5.0 of 5 bubbles 817 reviews
1.5 mi away
Hotel Belvedere - Playa Samara
Hotel Belvedere - Playa Samara
#2 of 16 in Playa Samara
4.5 of 5 bubbles 381 reviews
2.4 mi away
Lodge Las Ranas
Lodge Las Ranas
#5 of 16 in Playa Samara
5.0 of 5 bubbles 286 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.3 mi away
Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge
Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge
#3 of 16 in Playa Samara
4.5 of 5 bubbles 490 reviews
0.2 mi away
Hotel Sol Samara
Hotel Sol Samara
#10 of 16 in Playa Samara
4.0 of 5 bubbles 215 reviews
1.9 mi away
Nammbu Beachfront Bungalows
Nammbu Beachfront Bungalows
#4 of 8 in Playa Carrillo
4.0 of 5 bubbles 114 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Hotel Villas Playa Samara? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Booking.com, Hotels.com, BookIt.com and TripOnline SA so you can book your Hotel Villas Playa Samara reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing