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“This place fell short for us”

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Barrie, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“This place fell short for us”
Reviewed April 6, 2013

This is one of three places we stayed at in Costa Rica. We chose this hotel based on phenomenal reviews and because it resembled Nayara Resort and Spa in La Fortuna, but it fell well short of our expectations. We stayed 3 nights in March 2013.

The pros were:
- Delicious food (everything we ate was delicious, hot, and tasty although the service was not always the greatest, such as forgetting to give us bread or charging us wrong).
- Complimentary breakfast (toast, eggs, bacon, fruit, muffins, yogurt, beans and rice)
- Full bar with good juices and tropical drinks
- Relaxing spa - great couples massage...one of the best I have ever had and much needed after the Rio Celeste hike.
- Nice outdoor shower
- Very close proximity to Rio Celeste hiking

The cons were:
- The grounds could be beautiful but they need maintenance. There are fine details that this hotel has missed...gardening (raking leaves and cleaning roof/eavestrough of leaves (may prevent leaks), pool area maintenance, etc. They could learn from Nayara.
- The rooms look beautiful however they are insufferably humid and had a damp/foul smell which took away from the beauty that could have been. The sheets and pillows felt damp and had a foul odor. A slightly damp swimsuit did not dry in the 3 nights we were there.
- No wifi in individual rooms; wifi in lobby rarely worked. It worked best in the restaurant.
- The tours were mostly based out of La Fortuna, which is a 2 hour drive. Because we had come from La Fortuna, we did not want to go back that way for tours. The drive is incredible rough and bumpy. The tours are great tours, but are very expensive because they need the compensate for the cost of transportation.
- 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. I am glad we were not driving.
- We loved the Rio Celeste hike but it is long and the hike is difficult. Older people or those with young children should reconsider this. Alex, The tour guide was great; good english, knowledgeable, had fruit and water for us, however i would suggest you take an extra bottle of water as he did not have enough water for me, and take bug spray!! I got a lot of fly bites.
- We felt the pool area needed maintenance, particularly the hot tubs. The hot tubs were made of wood, which appeared to be rotting. There are suppose to be towels at the pool area, but we had to ask twice for them and waited quite a while before we got one.
- Bring bug spray - lots of bugs inside and out. Room is not sealed to keep bugs out. We had some interesting (by interesting i mean big and gross) bugs on the canopy of our bed, as well as lizards in our room. The first room we had, there were a lot of ants.
- The shower/jazuzzi appeared dirty (grouting) and did not look inviting.
- Evidence of leaks (could see the spots on the ceiling and walls).
- They advertise a bar at the pool area, however there is no bartender there and you have to go inside the hotel for a drink (or wait for them to come out to take your order).

Upon arrival we were taken to our room, which was not what we were promised. We had ordered a package that included a king bed, fruit basket, ipod docking station, safety deposit box, DVD player, etc. First thing we noticed was the 2 double beds (not the king), foul smell, the spots from the leaks, and all of the ants (mostly in the bathroom). Reception was not at all helpful when i expressed my concern over these matters, and didn;t seem to care much. I emailed Oscar, who I had been in touch with while booking. Oscar is an amazing guy and probably the friendliest person at this resort! He upgraded us to the bigger suite and moved us to a better room on Day 2. While we did get the King bed, fruit basket, safety deposit box, DVD player, there was never an IPOD docking station and the foul/mildewy smell was still present, as were the bugs. When i opened our bar fridge, the previous guests left over foods (which stunk) were left in the fridge; I guess housekeeping doesn't clean the fridges.

In summary, the Rio Celeste Hideaway might be suitable for a 1 night stay if you want to hike Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano National Park, but no longer than that. I considered checking out earlier. This place is trying to copy Nayara Spa and Resort in La Fortuna, which is beautifully amazing, but Rio Celeste Hiedaway has a lot to learn from Nayara. I was surprised to learn that this place is only 2-3 years old; seems older. There are a lot of other places in the area that may be cheaper; this place is not worth the price.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country and lots of fun. I highly recommend Nayara, plus it is La Fortuna where all the tours are.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank AMANDAGDP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AngeloZaragovia, Gerente at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, responded to this review, April 10, 2013
We would like to begin by thanking you for allowing us to serve you during your trip to our beautiful corner of Costa Rica, the Tenorio National Park.
We greatly appreciate your bringing these matters to our attention so that we can improve the service we deliver to our guests. The problems you experienced at our resort are very disappointing to us and fortunately they are not issues that other guests have experienced since we fully revamped the hotel last year. Please accept our apologies and our assurance that we are doing everything within our power to make sure they do not happen again.
We want you and all of our valued guests to be aware that we employ a meticulous policy about cleaning up dry leaves as well as emptying the roof gutters. However, it is often right after a storm where the dead leaves tend to appear throughout the resort, and it may take us a bit longer than usual to re-manicure the hotel grounds. We use dehumidifiers to remove any odor from moisture, any remaining humidity can be removed by leaving the air conditioning on for a short while. We are inspecting the air conditioning systems of the two rooms you stayed in and will replace or repair the machines as necessary. Given the fact that the hotel is located in the middle of a pristine primary Rain Forest we have not been able to find a way to offer wireless internet in all of the rooms without disturbing our surrounding unspoiled nature.
We take great care to ensure our rooms are sealed and secure from insects, and as such we are dismayed that you experienced pests within your room. It is very unusual that you experienced this and we have had our maintenance staff inspect every room several times to take any further precautions to ensure all rooms are bug-free. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the shortcomings you experienced during your stay. Hopefully, your displeasure with our resort was somewhat mitigated by the upgrade you received to a deluxe suite. We have taken this matter very seriously and addressed it with the entire staff. We hope you will give us another chance to serve you. Thanks again and please feel free to contact me with any further questions.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dublin, Ireland
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

We arrived very late on the date of our arrival and Oscar was very helpful to inform us that dinner would be finishing soon and we should eat now. It was a nice gesture not trying to get us to spend more but the area is quite rural so there isnt much around. Most of the charm of this resort lies with how cut off it is from the well beaten tourist track. Everything you need should be found there with their wonderful, attentive staff. This was one of my favourite places to stay in Costa Rica and would recommend it to anyone going. Signposting was available on highway 4 to guide you, but without the sign we may have missed the turn. Great Job to all at Hideaway Hotel Rio Celeste, thanks for a great visit.

Room Tip: All the rooms are separate cabinas and to me they all looked about the same, only some could sleep m...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank repete1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Leading up the windy (and yes bumpy - but welcome to Costa Rica) road to the hotel, it was immediately clear why this hotel is called a hideaway.

Tucked back in the middle of the tropical rainforest is Rio Celeste. By staying here you can expect a secluded get away with as much adventure, or relaxation, as you want to seek out.

Things to know:
- I understand there is a new bridge on the drive in that has made it alot easier to travel. Either way, we opted for car service.
- Book a massage, if it doesn't come with your package already. You'll need it after all the hiking. It is the only spa service offered at the hotel however.
- Tenorio National Park is the reason to come to this area. The park gates are a short distance from the hotel. Great bird watching and I even found a sloth!
- You can't swim in the river (most amazing colour blue you'll ever see!) from the National Park, however, if you follow the trail in the hotel property you will take a short hike (pretty even and well groomed ground) to a portion of Rio Celeste where you can swim. The hotel even provides towels if you decide to jump in.
- The room we stayed in was a stand alone Casita with rainforest view balcony. The accommodation was spacious and had a great outdoor shower. However, with the high outdoor humidity, our room had a constant "wet" feeling even though we ran the dehumidifier.
- We stayed here on a package that included all meals. It's the most economical choice especially if you plan to be around the resort for lunch & dinner (breakfast is already included with any room stay). However, it's the same menu for lunch and dinner so we quickly exhausted our options after day 2. Kitchen could benefit from a daily special or more options on the lunch time snack menu for some diversity.
- When they call it a rainforest, they are serious. No dry season here.
- If it's not on your travel plans already, you can still tack on a day trip to Arenal. We did it as a private tour through the hotel and it was a highlight of our trip - bird watching on the trip over, lunch in town, hike up Arenal and then canopy zip lining (although you can opt for hot springs if you are afraid of heights!).
- Staff are amazing here. It may be Costa Rica in general, but even before we got here, the staff was very responsive and helpful to make the most out of our stay.
- Pack bug spray!!!

Rio Celeste was a perfect vacation destination (something different than the widely traveled Monteverde). Make this hotel your place to stay while you discover everything the area has to offer. Enjoy the quiet and the adventuring!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Christina W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Rio Celeste for three nights during the third week of March. We had such an amazing stay! The road leading to the hotel is seriously bumpy and climbs in elevation. I agree with the other reviewers to make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom! This last stretch of the trip was totally worth it though! Upon arriving, we were given welcome drinks and driven to our room in a golf cart. The individual casitas are super spacious and beautifully decorated with hard wood floors and furniture. There are large glass doors and windows which allow you to see much of the outdoors around you. The bathrooms in particular are luxurious with double sinks, jacuzzi tub and a glorious fauna-shrouded outdoor shower. The porch (Casita #7) overlooked the forest and gave the feeling of being completely hidden away. In fact, we rarely saw other guests on the paths leading to and from the casitas. We felt completely secluded.
The pool area has lounge chairs in the sun and shade. The pool and hot tubs are well-situated and designed, with ledges to sit along while in the water. There was a swim-up bar, but there never seemed to be a bartender staffing it. However, staff from the restaurant would check on us and ask if we needed anything. There is a trail leading to the Rio Celeste between Casita 15 & 16. The trail is simple and, upon reaching the end, there is a small open-air "deck" that has towels for anyone who decides to get wet. Sitting and just enjoying the sounds of the forest is just as nice!
The restaurant and bar were good. We had good meals, but felt the restaurant could have offered more variety or a menu that changed somewhat from night-to-night. Grievan and Jeanette really did such a great job taking care of us in the restaurant. My husband had 2 excellent massages by Juan Carlos. In fact, my husband said they could be the best massages he's ever gotten. The wi-fi works well in the common areas. We were told from the start that there was no wi-fi in the rooms, which was fine with us. We didn't take part in any organized excursions, but on our own walked over to Tenario National Park and hiked to the waterfalls, etc. A guide was not necessary and the hike was definitely moderate to strenuous.
Overall, we were so happy to have stayed at Rio Celeste and we would recommend it to friends and family without hesitation! Thanks for such a fantastic stay!

Room Tip: A casita with a porch facing the forest seemed like a nicer view than the ones with a porch facing t...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jackiesd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cartago, Costa Rica
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 25, 2013

I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to Rio Celeste - Clean and beautiful casitas, nice balcony, the outdoor shower (check it out, it is awesome), the pool.. Everything about this hotel is beautiful. The fact that it is nested in the middle of the trees gives you a sense of peace and freedom. I woke up really early one morning and spent nearly 2 hrs reading in the balcony, with the birds chirping as my soundtrack.. There's no way to beat that!
The hotel has its own trail down to the river which is quite nice. Make sure you bring your bathing suit for a nice splash! no need to bring towels as the hotel has a small little cabana down the river where they keep towels for you.
Breakfast was included in our room rate, which was also a great plus. The restaurant was good, nice presentations and good taste. We tried the meat pasta (Amazing!), Sweet potato fish (really good) and the ceviche (could have been a little bit more marinated in lemon to make it tender, but overall it was good).

My only complaint would be the beds and the TV. I woke up with a really bad back pain that i think had to do with the mattress. Our TV unit was not working properly every so often, turning itself off without apparent reason. Small stuff and really did not change my overall satisfaction with the hotel.

Thanks to all the nice personnel from Rio Celeste Hideaway! Special thanks to Pablo who showed us the oficial pet from the hotel: Napoleon!!! :)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank NeneMena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

...again.

After a 10km kidney-busting road off of Hwy 4, we were greeted by a drink and a very nice 'hideaway'. I was with a buddy and when escorted to the room with one king-size bed we had to explain that we were sólo amigos ("not that there's anything wrong with that...") and we quickly got another room with two beds. Probably worth making sure of this in advance.

Mauricio, Jeanette, and the rest of the staff there were friendly and engaging. They also helped us arrange a driver for a fishing trip to Caño Negro (thx Gabriel).

Food wasn't cheap, but it was good. Nice presentation, too. Had the seafood soup entrada every meal. Hints of coconut and curry. Delicious.

There is a 700km hike down to the blue river (and it IS blue) that isn't overly challenging. We found a spot where we could hop in. It's fast moving water in places so if you do go for a dip, be careful. We brought some ultralight tackle with us and took a few flips. My buddy actually caught one. There's also a little creek that flows into the Rio Celeste right on the property, so if the 12 year old in you takes over, go for a wade. Bring clothes you don't care about as pretty much every rock is slippery. Also, if you stop for a photo op on the way, do not stand in the fire ants.

I had a lot of fun there and would return.

Room Tip: I think there are a few cabinas facing the center. If you want one facing the jungle, just ask. Ours...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank flailboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sausalito, California
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Rio Celeste Hideaway was the first stop on our trip and it was amazing! It is a bumpy 22 km from the main road so make sure you don't have a full blatter. Once you are there, it is totally worth it. The property is a beautiful, tropical paradise nestled in the hills. The entire hotel is made up of Casitas for maximum privacy. Each comes with a small deck and back patio with outdoor shower. The indoor shower looked nice but why use one when there is an outdoor one??? The rooms are huge and also have a couch and deck. Breakfast is included and it was the perfect start to the day. Wi-fi is also free but only available in the common areas. At first it was annoying but we liked that it made you get out of the room if you had work to do. I highly recommend getting the package deal which included a couples' hot stone massage, dinners, and a guided hike up to the surreal Rio Celeste.

The food was great but service was very slow. Sometimes you wouldn't get your drink until well after your appetizer came. I loved that coffee came with steamed milk. It's the little things like this that really sell me! Also, the glass of wine is closer to the size of a bowl. No complaints from me.

Rio Celeste is by far the highlight of the trip. The guided tour was awesome as he pointed out various species of birds and then took us to a little hot springs spot. You can do the hike on your own but might as well be guided by someone who loves nature and knows the park so well.

2 days here was perfect. If you just want to relax and do nothing, this is the place for you. After a couple of days, we were getting the itch for the beach. But I wouldn't hesitate to come back to this resort again!

Room Tip: All are great!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank MissBabblicious
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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