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“Be Prepared to Work”
Review of Vina Romantica

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Vina Romantica
Ranked #44 of 61 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Be Prepared to Work”
Reviewed 31 May 2012

I spent almost five months at Vina Romantica with friends and while the views from the back upstairs balcony are fantastic, there is too much wrong with this property to recommend staying here. It is important to know that three of the bedrooms are in a separate building in the back of the main house and require walking outside to reach. This wasn't too much of a problem in the dry season, however, once the rains started in April (a bit early this year), I had to walk through puddles of water in the courtyard and on several occasions had to spend almost an hour mopping the floor of my bedroom which had flooded (the balcony slopes down into the room).

The back downstairs bedroom is uninhabitable. When we arrived there was black mold on the ceiling and the back wall. The owner was not willing to hire someone to address this issue so my friend spent almost two weeks treating the black mold and then painting the walls. While she was painting she heard some crunching noise and then the electricity on the bathroom side of the room went out (perhaps wires eaten by animals). We ran extension cords from the side of the room with electricity to the side that had none. Unfortunately once the rains started, the back wall started leaking again to include water coming through the electrical outlets that still worked. The black mold returned and we had to vacate the room.

The only TV broke in March and we still had two months left on our lease. Luckily a kind neighbor lent us a small TV so we wouldn't be without one. The middle of May the dryer broke and other appliances (washer and refrigerator) are surely not far behind. The roof in the main house leaks and clean-up after a major rain takes more time than I'm willing to spend considering I'm suppose to be on vacation. There are also termites that leave evidence of their work in the kitchen and upstairs bedroom.

The owner lives in the United States and does not have in-country management to address any issues. There is a person who changes the sheets and does a cursory cleaning once a week but is not in any way capable of fixing electrical, structural or major housing problems. So unless you are willing to exert a considerable amount of time addressing issues that continually arise with this place (which are many and only highlights are provided here), I would not recommend Vina Romantica.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jude K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sherrylvalentine, Owner at Vina Romantica, responded to this review, 7 June 2012
Because you were a guest at the vacation rental house and not the tenant (responsible party) your review doesn’t have many FACTS. Here they are:

1) The tenant broke the rental contract and did not pay the full last month’s rent.
2) Because of this I did not have the security deposit to:
a. Pay to have all the furniture in the 5000 sf house put back to it’s original place in preparation for the next tenant.
b. Pay to replace the mattresses and beds that were left out on the patio in the rain
c. Pay to replace the seat cushions that were left out in the rain.
d. Pay to replace the wi-fi and modem that were inoperable
e. Pay to repair the TV that was dropped and was easily repaired by securing the lose part.
f. Pay to repair the broken front door handle
3) I gladly offered to have the room mentioned repainted by a vendor. The tenant offered to do it himself and I paid him directly.
4) The lights in the bathroom, the dryer and the small repairs that needed to be made were not reported to me or to my manager until the house was vacated. My rental rates do not include mind reading.
5) In that I was in the house 3 days after the tenant vacated, I can report that there are no leaks in the house. A gutter was plugged up and overflowing in the outdoor hallway. Again, had it been reported to me, it was an easy repair as the gutters often need to be cleaned at the beginning of the rainy season.
6) My in-country manager was on site every week. No problems were reported to her. .
7) A copy of the floor plan was given to the tenant prior to lease signing. He was aware of the layout of the house.

Remember that when a tenant rents a house whether in a foreign country or their own, it is to be returned in its original condition minus normal wear and tear. The facts I’ve written do not constitute normal wear and tear. I won’t give a good rental reference for this tenant to other vacation rental owners.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 July 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at this wonderful hotel the first night we arrived in Costa Rica and again the night before we flew home. It was close to the airport but much more charming than any of the box hotels we passed. We were greeted by Ann Cabezas who, as others have reported, was wonderful and had great suggestions for our trip. We were tired and hungry when we arrived so she brought us a complimentary fresh mango drink with a little rum...Yum! We had a quick meal there cooked by Xenia ( I hope I spelled that right) who was just as wonderful as Ann. The room we had was very clean and had a very comfortable bed and beautiful views. The next morning the Xenia cooked a fantastic traditional Costa Rican breakfast and also drove us to our shuttle pick up location because the cab driver they normally use was unavailable. They definitely go above and beyond for their guests!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank tnofziger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 July 2011

(note: our last trip to costa rica was 2years prior. Website won't allow me to use an earlier date.)
My husband is costa rican and we traveled to costa rica often. We were always looking for a better hotel close to the airport because we would always arrive late and didn't want to make the 4 hour drive at that time. A few years back we found Vina Romantica online and gave it a shot. The host, Sherry, was amazing, even accommodated our rental car in their garage. We arrived very late but they still fed us an phenomenal home cooked meal. We slept in an upstairs room and it was clean, the beds were comfortable, and it even had a coffeemaker (unusual for costa rica). In the morning we had a wonderful breakfast before we were off. We enjoyed it so much that we booked a room for the night before our return flight and enjoyed it just as much. It's a wonderful little hidden gem in Alejuela that you should not miss out on. I am appalled by the bad review below as our stay there was our favorite hotel in Alejuela. I won't mention the other hotel names, but we've stayed in 7 different ones, and Vina Romantica was hands down, the best! Btw, great communication via email.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Milupa_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tampa, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2011

My husband and I chose this Hotel because it was near the airport. What a find. We were greeted my a delightful women named Ann who has just taken over the Hotel. Ann is from the South in the US. She knows what true Southern Hospitality is and has extended her charm to her visitors at the Vina Romantica.
She has been a tour guide in Costa Rica and can tell you where to go, how to get there, and the things to avoid.
Vina Romantica is a perfect place to stay with very comfortable beds in a friendly village. It is a safe area with beautiful views of the Poas Volcano from the upstairs balcony.I The courtyard in the back yard had beautiful bouganvillia flowers draping the walls along with other tropical foliage. We even saw hummingbirds hovering in the garden. If you want to see how the real Costa Rican people live this is the place to stay. The village has several good restaurants within walking distance from the Hotel. Local places with great typical food and drink.
It is a great place to stay for a few days to take in the tours to the Doka Coffee Estate and the Poas Volcano Park.
If you want to feel taken care of this is the place to stay. We recommend it !

Room Tip: They were all nice! (We got a tour)
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank genetyner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodland Park, NJ
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2011

Sherry, the owner, was quite hospitable and made my stay very pleasant. As an American, I appreciated having a host who could give me the inside story on local culture but still relate it to my background. The location of the hotel was perfect for me -- close to the San Jose airport, on the way to the primary areas I was visiting in Costa Rica (La Paz wildlife park and the rainforest lodge at Selva Verde). As some reviewers have pointed out, the hotel is a bit isolated (in the middle of a local neighborhood) and the street noise is noticeable, but those factors help give the hotel a local flavor. (For those bothered by noise while traveling, by the way, I highly recommend my portable white-noise machine.) My upstairs room was very good -- clean and comfortable, with a view of the coffee plantation. I had free internet access and a pleasant breakfast. Overall, a very nice experience.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank jghutton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Missouri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2010

For family vacation we rented the whole house for 2 periods, electricity was extra. Manager/owner was out of country (known to us) & out of contact w local part-time caretaker more than we were informed. Needs more help. We had to do most things for ourselves which we did without complaint. We're experienced, bilingual travelers.

Good: beds & bathrooms, part-time caretaker was helpful but did not have resources & present very little. Good view. Close to airport, bus.

Very poor: management, one bedroom had a rat in wall making LOUD noises all night, could not sleep--2x had to change room during the night. We reported to caretaker who could not solve. She said she had not heard from owner for several days. Kitchen very disappointing: rusty refrigerator dirty & had old food. We took out trash, etc. Only 1 TV in whole house. Living room--inadequate furniture. Large trash bags in garage smelled. Out of town--few local conveniences.

Dispute w owner over electricity charges even though we asked caretaker to read meter the morning we departed. Charges could not possibly have been accurate.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Rosavictoriana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sherrylvalentine, Owner at Vina Romantica, responded to this review, 24 September 2010
It’s very interesting how money can cloud someone’s review.

When I questioned this about their stay they reported a wonderful trip with one exception being a visit to a hospital. Their comments said my staff was very attentive and cared for them by driving them to the hospital, to the pharmacy and taking some family members to the airport. They left an expensive piece of medical equipment at the hotel and my staff arranged to get it returned to them in the U.S. They profusely thanked my staff and paid them extra for their helpfulness.

This client (despite me speaking to them via e-mail while they were in the hotel) never complained about anything until I held fees per our vacation rental contract for their electricity usage. They were instructed via the contract to personally read the meters along with the staff and provide me with the information. My staff read the meters and I held money from their security deposit according to our agreement and only for the electricity used.

Which review is truthful? The original one given to me in an e-mail or the one above one posted after threatening me with writing it? The power of the internet is too great to let angry clients use it to harm owners. There is no “court of law” regarding these postings. It is only up to us owners to investigate the complaint, apologize when needed and defend ourselves when we have to. You are the judge.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 April 2010

We stayed here after spending 10 days in Jaco, the night before our flight left to go back to the states. The hotel was hard to find--luckily we took a cab from our rental car company. We almost drove up there and we would have never found it. Make sure you have good directions and a map!

Sherry was very welcoming and we loved the feel of the place. Very relaxing and low-key. The room was very comfortable--we got a great night of sleep in the bed!

Our flight left at 715am and Sherry had a cab waiting for us right at 5am.

I just wish we would have gotten to enjoy the garden and this hotel a little longer!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank blondeeebuckeye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vina Romantica

Property: Vina Romantica
Address: Metres Sur de Hotel Buena Vista 50 | Las Pilas de San Isidro, Alajuela 20101, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 61 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Vina Romantica 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vina Romantica is located just 5 kilometers from the International Airport. We are located in a tiny rural village at an altitude of 4200 feet. It is tranquil and the views of the volcanoes are magnificient. We are on the road to many of the tourist attractions that can be seen in one day. There are many very good restaurants in the area. You can relax and enjoy the true Costa Rican life style while staying at Vina Romantica. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vina Romantica Alajuela
Vina Romantica Hotel Alajuela
Vina Romantica Costa Rica/Alajuela

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