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“Construction Noise Stops This From Being a 4 Star Review”
Review of Tulemar Resort

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Tulemar Resort
Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 27, 2010

We truly cherished our ocean view from a jr suite bungalow .... that is, before 8am or after 5pm. Sadly, the view came with loud banging and drilling between 8am and 5pm. We booked the trip directly with Buena Vista (us number) but were not warned about the construction which has clearly been going on for months. We asked to be moved or if they had arrangements with other hotels but to no avail. They did give us some discount but really we wanted the relaxation not the money. It is too bad they cant have a no noise after 1pm deal - most guests are away during the morning for activities or down at the beach.

All of that said, if you can get a villa away from the construction site, this place is gorgeous. Amazing pools (one of them by construction though), lovely private beach, and frequent sightings of monkeys and sloths on the property. The bartending/wait/driver service was great. The concierge service was OK but we felt like the research we did beforehand was more informative than they were about activities. Nonetheless they were convenient for booking things.

It should be noted it can be a bit of a hot, humid trek to the beach or to manuel antonio. There is a shuttle service and cabs though.

I would recommend this if a room away from the construction could be guaranteed.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank BridgeSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,131 - 1,137 of 1,305 reviews

Reviewed April 16, 2010

We stayed in one of the "Casas" at this property and were delighted with the size and layout. Loved the well-appointed kitchen, outdoor grill, hottub on private balcony, each bedroom with a balcony, and great views of the surrounding jungle and the ocean below. Monkeys and sloths in the trees! The personnel seemed anxious to please, and our personal concierge, David, was very helpful. Steep walk to beautiful very private beach, but vans come semi-regularly to take you back up the hill. These villas practically disappear into the hillside, very in tune with the surrounding beauty of the land. Easy walks to some excellent restaurants closeby. (We loved Barba Roja and Agua Azul the best.)

Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
Thank field716
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2010

Don't stay here unless you like to live around a construction site with rude unhelpful staff. Arrived after a long journey to be told our children (we have 5, youngest 3) would be in a separate building to us 100 metres away. Then we were shown to our room to be greeted with a view of a building site with hammering, drilling and general building noises going on. The people in the room below said that the building noises started at 6am. This was all taking place next to the supposedly relaxing pool. We complained to the staff who were rude and unhelpful especially a man called Efrain. Nobody appologised and we moved to a hotel next door as did our friends.

Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
1  Thank hhjem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2010

After reviewing the above guest comment it is relevant to note that this guest booked through a travel agent in Costa Rica. When booking through a travel agent, guests go on the recommendation of that travel agent. In this case, the travel agent never made any request for the guests in the party to be roomed together or that the party was in fact a family. Our reservation department was asked for any available room/s for 5 people and thus this family was put into 2 separate units; we were unaware that they were a family at the time the travel agent made the reservation. Had management or our reservations department been told it was a family traveling together we would have made an alternate unit type suggestion for accommodations. At the time of their arrival, we were 100% occupied and thus were not able to move them.

In response to the construction comment, yes, there is a single family home being built on the lot adjacent to our Select Villas. Construction hours, over which we have no control, are from 7am to 4pm. We explain that there is construction next to our Select Villas at the time of booking so a guest can decide if this is right for them. The construction does not in any way impact either our Premium Villas or our Tulemar Bungalows. As this private lot is not a part of our managed property, we have no control over the use of their land. We are doing our best to assist guests with upgrades when possible.

In regard to the pool areas, Buena Vista guests are welcome to use any of the three pools on property. The Select Villa pool is near the private lot construction, however the other two options are near the Premium Villas and offer quiet relaxation and enjoyment.

We do hope this clearly explains the circumstances involved in the above review. Our management teams does all we can to make each guest enjoy their Costa Rican travels.

Sincerely,
Buena Vista Luxury Villas
Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

As soon as we arrived noticed that our beds were made about a WEEK AGO, because we had some dust in our bedspreads. They were supposed to have a netting system for our balcony since we have babies but was MIA. So we have to wait for them to change the sheets and to put the net while we were there. Not so convenient. I have to say the staff was VERY nice and helpful, specially a nice nicaraguan man who was so kind to us...even came in the middle of a storm at night to provide us room service.
The view was great, but wouldn't be nice to see it completely...they had a MAJOR construction going on so all we can see and hear was the pleasant banging from the construction.
Also we had dozens of dead ants in our room the moment we arrived...intead of taking care of that the cleaning lady told us it was normal...maybe for a room that was ready to far ahead???

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank blackorchidNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2010

Our family of four ( two adults and a 11 and 14 year old), stayed at Buena Vista Villas for 7 nights at the end of March in a 1 bedroom villa.
We had a wonderful stay in this delightful and charming villa which is built right into the side of the rain forest. As opposed to other more typical hotel properties we had seen, this one was quite in keeping with its lush surroundings. The decor was delightful and the two double beds were very comfortable. White face cappucine monkeys were on our terrace on several mornings and iguanas, sloths, and black vultures were everywhere on site.
The property has three pools and our favorite was the family pool, which had a waterfall and an infinity edge pool overlooking the rain forest.
Buena Vista has its own private beach which is smaller than the nearby public beaches, but also doesn't have as rough a surf as the public beaches. The waves were perfect for body surfing and boogie boarding. Also, as mentioned in another write up, the "sunset cruise" snorkelers are brought to our cove to go snorkeling. We were able to wade out and snorkel right from the beach. Though there are some interesting tropical fish, don't expect a carribean coral reef experience.
The property is built into a hillside and as such has steep and winding pathways which are more suitable to closed shoes with rubber soles, versus flip flop sandals. This brings me to the transportation. Buena Vista offers free shuttle transfers around the property which come in handy, even for more physically fit individuals. They do have a map with transfer pick-up locations and times, but these are unreliable and we had to put ourselves on "tico" time when waiting for a transfer, even after calling for one. One issue to point out here is that apparently there has been a recent change of management and they have a few kinks to work out. The first was the transfers, and the next is the concierge service. Its a bit confusing for the clients as there are two concierge locations and their lines are often busy, so when calling for a transfer if one line was busy and you tried the other, they would chide you for calling the wrong one. Their system of communicating with one another and the shuttle buses was too complex and they could benefit from a good set of two way radios. The concierge staff could get testy when being asked for anything out of the ordinary.
Another issue to point out is that their on site restaurant was recently closed down and is being offered for sale as a housing unit. We were surprised as when we had originally booked our stay as they had advertised an onsite restaurant as well as room service. What this meant was that ordering lunch at the pool took about an hour as they were bringing it in from an outside restaurant.
We more than made up for the lack of on site restaurant by discovering a Costa Rican chef who came to our room to prepare a special dinner for my husband's birthday. His name is Chris Modrigal and he is a highly trained chef who studied and lived in Chicago for 5 years before returning to Costa Rica to cook specially prepared meals for individuals. He's worked under more than one "iron chef" including Emeril. He offered an amazing array of options which were prepared in a less than ideal cooking environment and my tough to please children ate everything including seconds and his lattice covered apple pie german torte was finished off in no time. Not to mentioned that everything was left spotlessly clean when they left. The price was quite fair especially considering the time thet put in the prep work and clean up. If we had discovered him earlier, we would have had a lot more stay at home meals.
There are a lot of great local restaurants and if you like to fish and are lucky enough to catch an edible fish, there are places that will cook it and prepare a whole meal for you.

The room:
Well appointed and tastefully decorated with very comfortable beds (firm with a thick down removeable pad)
2 electric burners, microwave, ice machine, mini-fridge...no dishwasher or washer/dryer
Interior, through wall unit air conditioners in bedroom and living room
Large lovely terrace with hammock, table and chairs and lounge/couch
Overhead ceiling fans throughout
The Beach:
Lovely beach with lounge chairs, towels, boogie boards, fins, kayaks and attentive staff
Breakfast at the beach cooked by wonderful staff.


We didn't need it, but for those who wanted it we were told the only wi-fi computer service was at the upper reception desk.

Overall, we had a terrific experience and will likely go back this summer.

One final caveat, there is another villa being built by a private concern and we were fortunate that construction was suspended due to their "holy week" holiday. The first night we got there, construction was going on and was very loud especially as this was a steel reinforced villa in its early stages of construction. Check when booking and ask if there's a spot that wouldn't be affected by this construction.

I can be reached through trip advisor for further information and contact info for Chris Modrigal or for rental of other private homes in Tulemar mentioned in other trip advisor reviews.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank VTRAVELAGENT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2010

My now husband and I spent the last 13 months planning our destination wedding and selected Buena Vista Villas as the location. From the moment we arrived onsite we were awed at how beautiful the resort is, and our 35 guests are still gushing.

This property has the luxury, intimate feel that we love and the modern amenities that we’ve grown accustomed to. The 2 & 3 bedroom luxury villas are true to the pictures on their website. High quality fixtures complement the postcard views, wrap around balconies, and tons of beautiful, air-conditioned space. I was able to look at 5 different villas and they each displayed amazing views of the ocean. While being fairly close together, each villa offered privacy due to all the lush vegetation.

This is a property that has a lot of mature vegetation which is likely why you’ll see a wide variety of birds and animals. The white faced monkeys were out everyday at sunrise and sunset, the iguanas were all over, and the tiny hermit crabs on the beach were hilarious.

The majority of our time was spent around the infinity edge family pool, which was quite a large size. The pool bar can make a mean strawberry daiquiri, and was extremely accommodating to our group. We had a welcome cocktail reception around this pool, and the food from onsite was quite good. The family pool is quite close to the 2 & 3 bedroom casas we stayed in but was pretty far from the 1 bedroom villas that some of our guests stayed in (a 10-15 min walk).

There are quite a few steps onsite, and other reviews aren’t playing it up. Most of our group didn’t mind since we were able to walk off our indulgences, but it was tiring for some. The beach especially is quite a way down the hill. While the walk down isn’t bad, the walk back up is tough (and I’m a runner). There is a shuttle, but I don’t think it is reliable transportation and he left me stranded down there after rehearsal. Make sure to call several times after he initially is ‘late.’

Our wedding was held on the beach, and we had hired Tropical Occasions to coordinate the event. It was absolutely beautiful. The private beach (or as private as you can get in Costa Rica since all beaches are public) is truly stunning, and there are raised terraces under the trees that made for a wonderful venue.

Overall, our stay here was wonderful. A great location pared with great food, drink, and people made for a very special day.

  • Stayed: March 2010
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Thank Chitown_Newlywed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2010

My husband and I and 2 other couples recently stayed at Buena Vista Luxury Suites. The rooms are fine and the private beach is wonderful. But there are many problems with this property and my advice is to consider one of the many other wonderful properties near Manuel Antonio National Park. The rooms at Buena Vista are set in a large development of condos and single family homes. Problem 1 was that there is a lot of construction and a new house was being built right by our rooms. The incessant construction noise made it impossible to use our rooms and their balconies during the day and made going to the pool a nightmare. At a minimum we should have been told that we would be subjected to this inconvenience but when we complained, the manager just said that the construction was not their problem. This “it’s not our problem” attitude permeated every aspect of the stay. To get anywhere requires a hearty walk on steep hills and curvy roads (they provide no map and signage is scarce so it is not easy to figure out where you are). Buena Vista offers a van to drive guests around that supposedly will pick you up within 10 minutes of calling. Unfortunately sometimes when we called no one answered the phone and even when we could get through the van was not exactly dependable and there seemed to have been some confusion about the hours that the van operated. The van, which the woman who checked us in called a "limo" (and the driver a "chauffer") is a somewhat tired and is use to carry laudry and other supplies and workers from one part of the property to another. We had no problem with that but the effete attitude of the staff was laughable. When we made our reservations the web site said that there was a full service restaurant with room service on the property. When we arrived we found that here was a caterer who provided breakfast and lunch (no dinner and no room service). We never waited less than 45 minutes for our lunch at the beach. Again when we complained we were told – “not our problem” it is a new caterer. The management told us that this property is not a hotel so we should not expect service like a hotel. This at least was accurate. There was no service at the pool except for some mysterious reason on one afternoon so there were no drinks or snacks. When there were no towels at the pool (in the afternoon after the construction stopped) we were told that they had had a big wedding party and the laundry was closed - as though we should swim with no towels so as not to inconvenience the staff too much! (Eventually they did bring towels but only after unpleasant complaints). If you want pleasant service, a nice environment, beautiful views and nice amenities you have many choices besides Buena Vista Vilas and I recommend that you choose one of them.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Voyologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2010

This management comment is in response to the traveler’s comments listed at “Try Somewhere Else”

We appreciate any feedback from our guests, and do our best to be responsive as part of our commitment to excellence. We would however like to respond to a few of the comments listed in this review, for the benefit of the guest and future guests.

1. Yes, there is new construction taking place, though only next to the Select Villas. When this reservation was made, construction had not begun and we were not aware of a start date. We do now inform Select Villa guests when reservations are made that there may be construction noise during the day. There are 3 swimming pools on the property and guests are free to use any of them, so spending quiet time at a swimming pool should not be an issue. We do provide all guests with a map of the property upon check-in and do our best to familiarize guests with the layout of the property at that time. Naturally, our staff are available throughout our guests’ stay to help answer any questions. There is ample signage throughout the property, directing to the Select Villas, bungalows, Premium Villas, main gate (exit) and beach.
2. Buena Vista has just purchased a new van and is now utilizing both vans on the property to facilitate movement of guests in a timely manner. We have also implemented a van schedule so guests can expect the van at certain times and plan accordingly.
3. The onsite restaurant (privately owned and operated) closed abruptly in late November. We do provide a full breakfast service at the beach (the only place in Manuel Antonio you can eat at the beach) and a full lunch service. We apologize that the guest felt they waited too long. We were 100% full through March and April and due to the quantity of meals being served, service perhaps did suffer. We are working to correct the timeliness of the meal service. There are many excellent restaurants located extremely close to our property, and we would be happy to help with reservations and recommendations.
4. Pool and beach towels are replenished several times daily.

Management and onsite staff are dedicated to giving our guests the ability to relax and enjoy their Costa Rican vacation. If an issue is brought to our attention, we will work to resolve said issue as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Sincerely,

Buena Vista Luxury Villas
Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tulemar Resort

Address: Tulemar Gardens, Manuel Antonio 6350, Costa Rica (Formerly Buena Vista Luxury Villas)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $234 - $966 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Tulemar Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Tulemar Resort The Premier Resort Hotel in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Rated as the number 1 resort hotel in Central America and Costa Rica and number 9 in the World by Trip Advisor Tulemar Resort is a full service resort set in the peaceful 33-acre gated and secure Tulemar Gardens Condominium. A wide variety of standalone accommodations are available for our guests, including the famed Tulemar Bungalows & Villas, as well as our luxurious 1, 2, and 3 bedroom Buena Vista Luxury Villas. The property itself is spectacular, nestled in a lush rainforest overlooking the beautiful Manuel Antonio coastline. Surrounded by nature, Tulemar Resort features incredible gardens, walking paths, thriving wildlife, and the ONLY exclusive sandy beach in the region. At Tulemar Resort you will enjoy the luxury and privacy of your very own villa, along with the amenities of a high end resort, including concierge service, daily maid service, 4 swimming pools, beach bar, spa services, tour desk, and the best sunset bar and restaurant in town. We invite you to review our website for photos and details, then book one of these magnificent villas or bungalows and experience the most unforgettable vacation of your life! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buena Vista Luxury Villas Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Buena Vista Hotel And Casas
Tulemar Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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