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“Disappointed”

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 17, 2013

This is one of two resorts we stayed at in Costa Rica as a young honeymooning couple from Houston, Texas. We chose this hotel based on phenomenal reviews and a personal recommendation from a friend, but it fell well short of our expectations. We stayed 4 nights in January 2013.

The pros were:
- Good service
- Delicious food (yummy chocolate soufflé)
- Complimentary breakfast (toast, eggs, bacon, fruit, muffins, yogurt, beans and rice)
- Full bar with good juices and tropical drinks
- Beautiful landscaping
- Relaxing spa - great couples massage
- Nice outdoor shower
- Very close proximity to Rio Celeste hiking

The cons were:
- The room was insufferably humid. Coming from Houston, we are familiar with humidity and this was over the top. The a/c is wired to shut off when you leave the room and even overnight is ineffective at dehumidifying the room. The sheets and pillows constantly felt damp and had a foul odor. A slightly damp swimsuit from our previous hotel did not dry in the 4 days we were there. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but constantly feeling dirty and wet really ruined our experience and got more frustrating with each passing day.
- No wifi in individual rooms; wifi in lobby was spotty at best (tried multiple devices)
- We felt excursions were falsely advertised - most excursions are in La Fortuna which is 2 hours away (with 30+ minutes on a very rough dirt road). We took the white water rafting excursion for $155/person. We assumed it was on a river near the resort, but instead were driven to La Fortuna to a Wave Expeditions trip (which was great and highly recommended) but would have cost $70/person if we booked directly.
- Location is very remote and is not well suited for any activities other than hiking to Rio Celeste. Be prepared for a VERY rocky and steep route to the hotel (30+ min of getting beat to hell every time you come or go)
- No gym
- Nice pool but weather is not conducive to its use due to clouds and rain.
- Bring bug spray - lots of bugs inside and out. Room is not sealed to keep bugs out.
- Poorly designed shower surround (and constant moisture) resulted in moldy if not missing caulking/grout. Does not make the jacuzzi look so welcoming.
- Roof leaked water one night

In summary, the Rio Celeste Hideaway might be suitable for a 1 night stay if you want to be one with nature, but I could not recommend it to anyone. Had we not prepaid in advance, we definitely would have left. Do NOT consider this place if you plan on doing any excursions other than hiking. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and lots of fun; unfortunately the issues noted above soured the last half of our visit.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank 103Travelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 17, 2013 via mobile

Rio Celeste Hideaway can be reached only by dirt roads, from San Rafael de Guoatoso, from Katira or from Bijagua (since December 2012: new bridge). A 4-wheel drive is recommendable if you come from Bijagua or Katira - the road is bumpy with large potholes and cobbles. The hotel lies on the slopes of the Tenorio Volcano, with a great view of the lowlands on one side, and jungle on the other. The main building is a hall without walls which contains the lobby, restaurant and a bar. Despite its open construction it has a rather gloomy atmosphere, mainly due to the dark wood which is used abundantly. The same rather dark theme is maintained in the 25 guest bungalows which are spread all over the site. We had one that was located on the edge of the jungle. It, too, is tastefully furnished but rather dark - you have to keep the lights on even at day- with a canopied bed that creaked at every move. There is an indoor jacuzzi and an outdoor shower. We loved the large deck that faced the jungle: one could watch the wildlife (for instance, white-faced monkeys) just sitting there. It is furnished with decorative, but back-breaking wooden seats. Although there are biting insects in abundance, none of the rooms has screens, so prepare to be stung or bring a lot of insect repellent with you.
The pool area is not large, but nicely landscaped, just as the garden. A path leads down to Rio Celeste - although not to the waterfall, which is only accessible from the national park 1.5 km upstream. The highlights of the hotel are certainly its surroundings. Hotel service is very friendly, but can be quite inefficient. A main drawback is the food: as there are no other facilities in the neighbourhood, you depend on what's offered in the hotel. Which is not much, and for rather a lot of money, compared to what you can get in other places in Costa Rica. Food is unexceptional and tasteless at best, and sometimes downright uneatable, such as the small "striploin steak" (22 USD) consisting mainly of sinews that could neither be cut no r chewed. Don't expect much of side dishes: a mound of rather dry mashed potatoes is as good as it gets, and totally forget about vegetables! The muzak (Julio Iglesias and the likes) did not enrich our eating experience either (neither at dinner nor breakfast).
Altogether, we left the hotel with mixed feelings: the nature is gorgeous, but the outfit is overpriced for what you get.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank Wilfr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

My husband and I had a wonderful stay at Rio Celeste Hideaway in early February.

Hotel Grounds: The grounds are beautiful and lush. We stumbled upon their a nice path to Rio Celeste with a couple of viewing platforms. To reach the waterfall you need to take a trail from the national park.

Rooms: We stayed two nights in a Casita #8. It is a nice large casita with a deck that faces the main path but there are tons of plants surrounding it so it still felt private. The casita were very close together but we never saw any of our neighbors. Loved the large bathroom and outdoor shower.

Pool: There is a nice pool with thee hot tubs all with different temperatures!

Restaurant: The food was wonderful. Unfortunately the lunch and dinner menu is the same including portions and prices. They do offer a snack menu in the bar but it is a very limited(no salads) and only midafternoon. Due to the location of the hotel we ate all of our meals there and wished for a lighter less expensive lunch menu.

Service: The restaurant staff was very attentive and friendly. We really enjoyed Mauricio in the bar! Wished the front desk was a little more knowledgeable about the hotel grounds and excursions offered. The women was friendly and helpful getting us hiking poles but answered our questions with mis information on the excursions and never mentioned the trail at the hotel to the river.

If you are looking to hike to the waterfall Rio Celeste is a perfect spot to stay!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jaronning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

A one-night stay is not long enough! Stay at least three days to enjoy the peace and quiet, the pool, the bird life and the lush surroundings. We spent a half day with a guide hiking through the forest to the waterfall: we saw the source of the Rio Celeste and found out why the blue lagoon is blue. So many more activities that will have to wait for next time. Lovely staff who take great care of you. We enjoyed our beautiful room.

Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank jlj0511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

To preface my review, unlike many visitors, my husband and I stayed at the Rio Celeste Hideaway for 6 nights. We found that most travelers stay at the Hideaway for only a few nights while they hike to the falls. We made the hideaway the bulk of our stay while in Costa Rica, a decision I could not be happier about!
If you are looking for an opportunity to unplug and unwind, this is a great location to do so. Do not be afraid of the reviews about the treacherous drive to this location, it adds to the experience and forces you to slow down! If coming from Bijagua, expect the drive to take at least 45 minutes and not to exceed 20kpm. If you are renting a car, 4 wheel drive is a must for this road! The drive will be humorous at times, but the slow pace will allow you to see the beautiful country side and wild life.
Be sure to spot out Coco's Restaurant on your way to the hotel. This quaint restaurant is owned by the most amazing family (Coco & Carmen) and have a phenomenal chef (Carlos)! We spent a considerable amount of our time basking in the wonderful company of these people and enjoyed the most delicious Costa Rican classics.
As for the hotel, you really cannot go wrong! The staff was amazing, the rooms are sprawling and well appointed, the location is beautiful and the food is very tasty (if you happen to miss Cocos for some crazy reason : ) Every detail of our stay exceeded our expectations. The front desk was incredibly helpful at all times and went out of their way to ensure your needs were met. By the time we left, we were on a first name basis with most of the staff and truly felt like part of the family!
If you do choose to stay for a few days, there are thing to do locally aside from hiking in the Tenorio national park. The coffee tour (Juan) was a great experience and we enjoyed the Trapiche tour where we were able to enjoy some sweet treats!
To summarize, our stay at the Rio Celeste Hideaway was perfect. We were looking to get away from the chaos of the daily grind, and that was what we got. No detail is spared by the Hideaway. The perfection of the hotel, in combination with the amazing people we met at Coco's was exactly what we were looking for!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rmburns2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

This is a great hotel and as others have said a hidden gem. They have a nice little pathway to the Rio Celeste (but not the waterfall). The only disappointment during our stay was the dinner menu was the same and also the lunch menu at the same prices. They do offer a snack menu for the mid afternoon time frame but limited. Staff was top notch and I would definitely stay there again. Thank you for a wonderful visit to Rio Celeste!

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

Complete praise and accolades to Rio Celeste Hideaway. They have brought a true gem to the area. Absolutely everyone on the staff was friendly and gracious, and everything was done "con cariño" - a definite touch from the Colombian owner and one I most appreciate. Each day our bed and bathroom was made up with the towels folded in shapes of turtles, hearts, birds, camisas, flowers. And each were decorated with flower petals, leaves and care. It was a work of art. Mattresses and pillows were excellent. Coffee in room with mini fridge excellent. Living space - awesome. Each afternoon I would thank our house keeper for the care she took with our room. I loved the fact that we had the same lady for our 3 night visit so we got to know one another and ease of comfort that we were in good hands. This is a place to just be..relax, take a long luxurious bath, wrap yourself up in your robe, and have a cocktail on your balcony bird watching. The staff will do everything in their power to make sure you are happy. Excellent customer service. Relaxing in the first hot jacuzzi I have ever been in while in Costa Rica while sipping a rum and coke. Put your cell phone, computer and electronics aside and just be present at the Hideaway. I will definitely be back. I highly recommend staying for 3 nights. We extended our stay as 2 nights was not enough. Also recommend spending a day just lounging by the river with a to-go lunch from the restaurant, doing some bird watching and sun bathing. Great day!

Room Tip: If you want quite, I would stay away from the pool. Opt for the river side rooms, I believe those ar...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ManaNina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel

Address: La Paz de Rio Celeste | 1 kilometer southeast of the Tenorio Volcano National Park., Tenorio Volcano National Park 21304, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tenorio Volcano National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Tenorio Volcano National Park
Price Range: $155 - $335 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rio Celeste Hideaway is a boutique, gourmet and ecologically orientated hotel. It provides a world of comfort and style surrounded by an untouched natural paradise. This hidden hotel is located in the middle of the Rainforest adjacent to the Tenorio Volcano National Park where the amazing Rio Celeste lies. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of its 26 spacious casitas (bungalows) provides an exclusive retreat in which guests can relax amidst the breathtaking rainforest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel Costa Rica/Tenorio Volcano National Park

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