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“Very relaxing, slightly isolated, jungle retreat”
Review of Villas Rio Mar

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Villas Rio Mar
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Dominical
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 19, 2008

I stayed at Villas Rio Mar for 4 nights in Feb 08. Overall, I really enjoyed my stay. I was traveling alone and the staff really made an effort to be friendly and helpful. The pool and villas were great!! Very relaxing. You can relax in your private hammock, on the outdoor couches, or at one of the many chairs by the pool. Really nice! The rooms also have mini-fridges in case you buy any snacks/drinks in town.

What I liked: beautiful landscaping, private porches with netting and hammocks, nice pool, restaurant/spa on site, free internet access, tour coordinator on site, great setting (in the jungle, near a river, can hear lots of birds etc.).

There weren't any negatives with this hotel. I really enjoyed my stay. But a couple of things you should know:
1) you are in the jungle. There are bugs. There will be bugs on your porch and even in your room sometimes. There was a gecko that lived on my porch that made quite a bit of noise in the mornings.
2) This hotel is off the beaten path. It is a good 10 minute walk to Dominical down a completely empty, unlit, dirt road (find during day, I wouldn't walk it at night alone). Then another 10 minutes through Dominical to the beach. This is okay, but without a car you can't be hopping back and forth between the hotel and beach all day. I did not have a car, and went into town and the beach everyday, and it was fine. Just a leisurely walk.
3) The food was decent, but nothing special. They do have an extensive menu, but I didn't find it very "costa rican", it's more international.
4) The villas are big houses split into several units. So although you cannot SEE anyone from your unit, I could hear the next door neighbors for a few nights (they had a child with them who cried a lot).

Overall, I recommend the resort. For me personally, I do not think I would come here for a honeymoon but would be great for other trips!

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled solo
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2  Thank Antsy280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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301 - 307 of 593 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2007

After highly anticipated 4 hour trip to this destination, we were greeted by the most pleasing staff at the front desk. We were surprised to hear that our room was upgraded to a Jr. Superior Suite from Jr. Suite. Awesome we thought. We were then escorted to our suite way at the back of the resort. The gardens were so magnificent along the way. We arrived to our suite and it was more than we had expected. 2 King beds, Air, bathroom with a Jacuzzi and a open living space surrounded by mosquito netting. It was all done in an elegant fashion. After our walk down the garden path things went not so well. Our stay was to be for 5 days. We shortened it to 4. Out of the 4 days, 2 had hot water. Electricians were at our unit everyday. We had a phone in our room only to find out that it was not working. The Jacuzzi.. well as it turns out the wiring for the hot water & Jacuzzi were the same. therefore no hot water and no jacuzzi also only 2 of the 7 electrical outlets worked for the same reason. So much for the Jr Superior suite. We asked if the hot water issue could not be repaired would they move us to a different room. No, was the answer and that a possible discount would be provided. This is just the room. The restaurant/bar service was extremely slow and completely unorganized. The gratuity was an additional charge on all the bills. The food prices were very high comparative to other restaurants. The value was not there either.
All in all we will not recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank 2-4-CR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2007

We couldn't have asked for a better place to be. Originally, we were going to stay one night but decided to stay 2 more nights. The location is excellent and the people are the most helpful that we encountered. The food was better than excellent. I enjoyed everything. Highly Recommended!!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank Heaven6566
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2007

Remember people, you are in a barely populated part of the country next to second growth secondary rain forest - yes there will be some bugs. The staff was just excellent and looked out for our needs the entire time. The food was remarkable and we ate numerous meals there and bypassed the Dominical strip of restaurants. We extended our stay because the area had what we wanted and the staff was so encouraging and helpful.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank SunSpree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2007

This hotel is on the outskirts of Dominical - fairly untouched by mass tourism. The bungalows are fantastic, with a wonderful outside seating area. The pool was superb. Food and drinks great, although a little priceier than the town itself. The staff were friendly and helpful. There was a wide choice of activities available to be booked through the hotel - highly recommend surfing lessons. A great, quieter haven than some other resorts. A must.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Beaverface
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2007

We stayed at Villas Rio Mar three nights Dec 28-31, 2006. If you plan to stay here, or in this area, think basic, funky, 1975-era and nothing's been fixed since! Villas Rio Mar is an old property, not charming old, but run-down old. The rooms here are a far cry from "villas", but the "Junior Suites" are larger than the standard superior, which is what we had. The thatched roof restaurant is large and "muy characteristico". Service and food are OK, your basic fare at moderate prices. (I was amazed by the lack of fresh seafood options on the coast in general.) If your taste in music doesn't run to techno pop at full volume, your meal might not be a relaxing experience. The breakfast buffet is excellent, though not included in the room price.

Rooms are simple, small, and clean, but the outdooor kitchen area with sink, bar and fridge is an odd touch -- a comfortable patio would be much more pleasant. As has been stated before, there ARE centipedes, flying beetles and the occasional frog in the rooms (the only wildlife we saw in the area!).

The gardens are beautiful, although manicured lawns, orchids, and flowering bushes are out of place in a natural coastal setting. The pool is large, but the concrete surround is cracked, there is no shade, and more loud music can be heard from adjacent bar.

There is some construction going on at the front, possibly to improve the unattractive entry: a dirt parking lot in front of an open air reception desk. We found the staff of mostly local kids to be friendly and helpful. The services here are very limited -- there's not a whole lot to do in the immediate area. The few tours offered are expensive. We scheduled a snorkeling tour at Ballena Nat'l Reserve, then had to cancel when our son got sick. Even though we let the hotel know in advance, they charged us a whopping $100 cancellation fee! Our friends thought the tour was overpriced - they saw some dolphins, but the snorkeling was disappointing.

The walk to the beach along the river Baru takes 10-15 minutes. Domenical, right on the beach, is tiny; just surf shops, simple restaurants, and souvenier shops. The beach here was busy, with cars parked along a dirt road that runs along the beach, and outdoor stalls that line the road. However the ocean was warm and we had fun swimming here.

There are much prettier beaches further south, such as Ballena Nat'l Park. Though we didn't make it to Corcovado, in hindsight, we would have been better off travelling further south, stopping in Domenical for lunch.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
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2  Thank AnnetNicholle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2007

True, the rooms are a little rough around the edges, but the grounds are stunningly beautiful: a well manicured tropical garden with enough diversity of plants to please any gardener. The pool was charming and well maintained, and very popular in the late afternoon. We ate at the restaurant only for breakfasts, which were American-style buffets. The food was ok; the view of the pool was pleasant.

The room itself was worn and a little shabby: the bed was like a cardboard box, the lighting dim. However, the mini fridge and the draped sitting room were nice conveniences. The shower was decent, with plenty of hot water.

Some of the staff were exceedingly polite and helpful, recommending and booking trips for us. Some of the staff were curt. That's the way it goes at most places.

It was conveniently located a little way away from the town, which made it quieter, yet still close enough to access. We did several day trips. Toughest thing was finding it the first night after dark; it's not well marked.

All in all, it was a decent place to stay. Not luxurious, but --- except for the bed --- fairly comfortable and certainly beautiful.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LaLovely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villas Rio Mar

Address: 800 m north from the Dominical entrance along the Baru river, Dominical 185-8000, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Dominical
#3 Family Hotel in Dominical
#4 Romantic Hotel in Dominical
Price Range: $67 - $147 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Villas Rio Mar 3*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dominical ***Eco-Hotel Resort near Uvita & Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Relax in true nature while enjoying a wide range of amenities! Villas Rio Mar is an internationally recognized 3 Star Eco hotel located in a stunning natural setting; an easy 10 minute walk from the fun and the beach of Dominical. Whether traveling as a couple or with family, Villas Rio Mar offers a wide range of amenities guaranteed to make your holiday worry-free and enjoyable. Our hotel includes 52 rooms and can also host medium-sized groups. Our spacious tropical gardens provide privacy and include many beautiful plants, flowers, and birds, which one can observe from outdoor patio areas located in front of the rooms. One of the best restaurants in the area, El Rancho, is located at Villas Rio Mar. The area offers a wide array of leisure and adventure activities including beautiful beaches, four National Parks, and many other nature & wildlife reserves. A wide range of amenities: spacious tropical gardens, jungle trails, large swimming pool with pool bar, quality restaurant & bar (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks), international sports programming, room service, billiard table, darts, foosball, kids’ play area, mini golf, outside gym, tennis court, tour & transport services, massage, nail studio, and other body treatments. 4 room types to choose from: 48 of the 52 rooms have an outdoor patio area with garden views, rooms with AC & TV available, family-sized rooms available (limited), rooms with kitchenette available, mini-fridge and ceiling fans in every room Great price for an excellent service: professional staff, free wi-fi throughout the hotel, complimentary parking, free rental car drop-off (airport & Villas Rio Mar), group discounts available, seasonal discounts; May>Dec. 15th, book now & pay later! Beautiful, easily accessible, with lots to do: - Stunning natural beauty, gorgeous beaches, and nearby tropical jungle teeming with exotic wildlife - Many beaches, national parks, and adventure tours - Easily accessible from SJO International Airport via newly paved roads (<3 hours) - 10 min. walk to Dominical - 15 min. walk to the beach - Relaxing natural setting - Private and secure Meetings & Events: conference room & event planning services for businesses, weddings & private events ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villas Rio Mar Hotel Dominical
Hotel Rio Mar
Rio Mar Hotel
Villas Rio Mar Costa Rica/Dominical

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