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“More than We Expected”

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Reviewed 8 December 2009

We had stayed there about 5 or 6 years ago so we new what to expect. So we brought a sharp knife and cookware. We had Villa 8 which was a two Bedroom and had a nice view of the beach but still had a real nice tropical setting. The aptarment was more the comfortable for the 4 of us and the Staff was just wonderfull with all our concerns. If you get up by 5am you can heard the howling Monkeys. Lis the Activity young lady was great as well as the bar man at the pool side bar. The early morning security man even got me a hose to wash the car after going exploring through the woods and across the rivers. The maids came in every morning cleand the baths two of them and changed the towles and made the bed. Its not a 5 star resort by US standards but was clean and the beach was unspoiled and empty. They will arrange tours and fishing trips and anything you might need.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank GeraldHirsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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616 - 622 of 893 reviews

Reviewed 16 June 2009

This place was awful! We didn't know about trip advisor before we booked it through our TimeShare but if we had we would have skipped it. We wasted two days of our week long trip at this place. The guy who said it was a bug infested dump is pretty accurate.

When we first showed up we thought it was abandoned, since the front gate is run down, with ropes across the entrance. But then we realized the ropes were make shift gates, with an armed guard who hangs out in the middle. The taxi let us out in front of the pool which looked ok but was not what we were expecting from their web site or the ad in our TimeShare book. When we checked in, another guy who had a handgun tucked into the waistband of his jeans showed us to our room.

The Villa we were promised was not as advertised. It said there was a king size bed, but it was really a full size, with a twin across the room. The picture of the room had furniture in it but these beds were thin mattresses on brick platforms. The other big problem was we were traveling with friends and were told their would be a pull out Queen bed in the living room. That turned out to be an L shaped "couch" which was two thin pads on a brick platform.

The restaurant was terrible too. The quality was awful and way expensive. I honestly think I could find a better selection of food in a Safeway dumpster.

Don't even get me started on the beach. It was about 2 miles away from anything else, no restaurants, no surf rentals, NOTHING. It was dirty with garbage, driftwood and HORSE CRAP. You had to walk 30 minutes down the beach to get to the town of Samara.

Overall, a waste of time and money.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank bluebellezza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2009

We were a little bit shocked as we arrived since we just witnesed a fatal car accident on the way to Samara (roads were good but Tiocs drive like lunatics), so we were happy to arrive on safe grounds.

The rooms are very basic but clean. the pool area is nice. restaurant and food good.
Staff was helpfull. the hotel caters to mostly Tico families so if you are looking for luxury, this one is not for you!

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Delveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2009

DO NOT BOOK THIS PLACE WITH CREDIT CARD. We called and reserved a room. They said that we would have a pool side villa. Based on that I reserved for 4 nites. When er arrived the place was empty and far removed from Samara itself. I asked to see the room. They showed us a room that was at the back of the complex. Not at all even close to the Pool as promised. When I asked about the poolside room as promised there were none. Based on the dirty room we had looked at and isolated location we decided to cancel. They had lied to us at the time of reservation. Asked fopr refund and after arguing for 30 minutes they said that they would credit my card back. After speaking with visa the next day I returned to the Villas and asked for a credit memo. They refused to give me one. I had spoken to local businesses and was cautioned about this hotel. Employees don't get paid and there is always trouble.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank DaveKelowna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2009

I admit to having some reservations about going here when we read some of the horrid reviews. But they couldn't be further from what we found when we arrived. First of all, this is not a fluffy 5 star resort in NYC. It's in a Central American jungle. There are mosquitos, flies, and lizards everywhere. If you can't handle that, don't go. If you don't like iguanas on the roof and loose horses wandering through the grounds, don't bother.
If you like warm, tropical, sweet smelling air, incredible warm gentle surf, tasty food in the restaurant, helpful considerate staff and clean accomodations that are being upgraded even as I write this...then you will like this place. A lot.
Let's see, the high points: Safe parking and grounds, helpful, friendly staff, spacious clean villas. They are sparsely furnished, and you won't (gasp!) have a TV set. Oh well. You will have free wireless internet at the reception area, and you will have decent cell phone service. Water pressure in the villas was very good, hot water somewhat limited, but it's on demand so no long wait for it. The bed was firm and comfortable, the linens all clean. They came in daily to clean, scrubbed the floors down, etc. You can see where they are putting new A/C units in and things like that.
The mid points: It helps if you have at least a rudimentary grasp of Spanish. I was surprised at how few English speakers there were. It will make me finally get up and get a Rosetta Stone set. The roads from Liberia to Samara are paved and fairly well marked. The directions to the hotel were lacking. We found it only because we had been looking at images of it from Google Earth and knew roughly where it was. (As you enter Samara, turn left at the internet cafe just as you reach the edge of town, and take 160 and go south. About 1.5k you will see a large sign on the left across from the drive. The entrance is under construction but it is open) I do very much recommend that you rent a GPS from the car rental places. Although, there is a word of caution about that later... It's very easy to drive here, they do left side driving, and the signs are universal enough that you can figure it out. There are a lot of gravel roads and many of them take you THROUGH the river instead of over it. Keep that in mind when you are choosing a vehicle. Cars may not have enough clearance and or traction to make it in some places.
Now the low points, which actually is just this one, Nothing to do with the resort, everything to do with the area in general. You know the warnings in the guidebooks about theft? They mean it. We had the rental GPS stolen out of our vehicle, really slick job too. We forgot it was in the glove box and we went to Punta Geura (sp?) We left the locked vehicle there for 2.5 hours. When we left, I opened the glove box and no GPS. The vehicle didn't have a mark on it and it was still locked. And the GPS is something that you really do need there. The agents were very helpful in getting the paperwork done and a replacement secured. (we rented from National, but the local Alamo stepped in to help) They told us to always take everything of value out of the car, even to leave it unlocked so they wouldn't break anything getting in it. Thank goodness we hadn't left anything else in there.
So, overall I would say the resprt was excellent as was the area. We will go back and we will be more cautious in the future with things in the car.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Stanhy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2008

I recently had the pleasure of spending time at this resort with a group totalling 30 people. Our group, being previously cautioned that most of Costa Rica is "third world", came in with limited expectations. I was overwhelmingly surprized at the picturesque setting of the grounds. Despite the ongoing construction and upgrades, there was still ample peace and quiet everywhere I went (even with the lawns being cut).

Our group was warned that insects are everywhere. I loved having the "natural" insecticide (geckos) running everywhere. Being a biological control, the geckos offer no bad effects, and added to the rustic atmosphere. The children in our group were having contests to see whose room had the most geckos (the record was two). I did hear some strange sounds on the roof on occassion. I quickly learned that this was just the lizards moving about trying to find an adequate spot to sun themselves.

The condo that I was in had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was more than spacious enough for the seven of us that shared it. While not five star, it was just as good (if not better) than my home back in Canada. Even with the indoor accomodations, my preference was to fall asleep in the hammock on the patio . . . no I didn't get bitten by any bugs. :) The worst part about sleeping in the hammock was being woken by the birds in the morning perching on the line, staring at me as if they are contemplating whether or not to nibble on my toes.

The pool had just been filled prior to our arrival and there were still some ongoing repairs/upgrades at one end. Given the proximity of the construction, there was surprizingly little debris in the pool.

Somewhere on the site there was always something being cleaned, repaired, painted, or upgraded. Given the standard of living in Costa Rica as a whole, the Villas Playas Samara is definitley taking great strides to improve guests overall experience.

While at this resort, some of the activities that we (my group) participated in were: snorkling, fishing, dolphin watching, joining a group of local school children for a beach clean up, and shopping at roadside tables for local arts & crafts

If you are offended by bugs and insects, don't even consider coming to Costa Rica, stay home instead. If you are looking for an incredible outdoor, eco-style adventure, look no further.

  • Stayed: December 2008
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1  Thank kirt1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2008

Lets see where do I begin? The rooms were extremely filthy. The floors were so disgusting that you couldn't walk without shoes not even in the shower. The beds had sand in them leading me to believe that the sheets were never changed between guests. The pool was dirty. Bugs and ants all over the place. Filthy is the only word I could use for this hotel. Everything was absolutley disgusting. It was raining, which is no fault of the hotel, but we couldn't even get out of our door because there was a river outside of our door. Our room almost flooded. No TV or telephone added to the misery. The only reason that we stayed was because we traveled the whole day to get there and we were so tired. After eating dinner in the restaurant my mother became extremely ill and began vomiting. We thought we would leave after she was better but that never happend. We arrived on a Tuesday and waited and waited for her to get better but she kept on vomiting. The staff recommended a doctor, but refused to admit that it was their restaurant that had caused this. Sunday she was still very ill but we had to get out of there. We finally got her to a hospital in San Jose and they said she had acute food poisoning. I did not even want to pay for this ridiculous excuse for a hotel. I warn people to stay at your own risk. This was the absolute worst hotel I have ever stayed at in my life. I cannot say enough bad things about this place. If you want to enjoy your vacation. Do not stay there.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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3  Thank mannav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Villas Playa Samara

Address: South From the Center of Samara Going Towards Playa Carrillo 3km, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Samara
Price Range: £146 - £344 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Villas Playa Samara 3.5*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a hotel with fully equipped villas and deluxe rooms. We are located in front of the beach very close yo downtown Samara. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Villas Playa Samara Costa Rica

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