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“Lovely accommodations, sunsets and hosts” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fenix Hotel - On The Beach

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Fenix Hotel - On The Beach
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Certificate of Excellence
Boca Raton, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Lovely accommodations, sunsets and hosts”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2013

For our first adventure in Costa Rica, we couldn't have picked better accommodations than this intimate, family-run hideaway on Samara Beach. Its clean, high-ceiling rooms are nicely decorated and open to a small pool and patio, with the ocean just steps beyond through a tropical garden that's manicured daily. Phyllis & Bill, its proprietors, are warm, attentive hosts, who are eager to ensure your stay in Samara Beach is most memorable--which ours was. The Fenix Hotel is not a Westin or Marriott, but it's just what we were looking for in our tropical vacation, which was a quiet place to relax and get to know the Tico culture on the locals' terms. Sunsets are fantastic as are the nighttime stars. The town and restaurants are all a short walk on the beach or a two-minute drive away. We'll be back.

Room Tip: All rooms are nice but #6 is the roomiest with nicest kitchen.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Bill M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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489 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (109)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Bella Vista, Arkansas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 September 2013

Phyllis was absolutely wonderful! The location offers both good proximity to local restaurants and entertainment via short beach walk AND enough distance from the center of town to blissful serenity in the great lounge chairs and tables offered right outside your room right on the beach! I am not sure which part to tell you is best the great personal touch of the owners or the great location. I can't wait to go back with my hubby :)

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Aunuaunika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albany, Oregon
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 September 2013

We stayed 4 nights at the Fenix Hotel. We chose this hotel after reading many, many reviews on tripadvisor and were not disappointed. We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids ages 10 and 6) and were first time visitors to Costa Rica. We loved that the Fenix had cooking facilities, was steps from the swimmable ocean, was walking distance to town, and had a pool. We enjoyed the convenience of homemade ceviche and pastries brought to our doorstep. Phyllis was helpful made our stay comfortable. We had a room without air conditioning, and were comfortable in late June. Our girls were comfortable on the twin bed with a pull out trundle. While the pool is small, we had it mostly to ourselves, and the girls spent hours playing in it. The grounds and pool were well maintained. We did not have a car and found walking to town with kids fine except during hottest time of day. I would stay here again!

Room Tip: We did not stay in the one deluxe room with air conditioning, and were very comfortable.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank oregonfamily_4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2013

We've been down to Samara a couple of times and love this quaint hidden away spot. The owners are fantastic and make you feel welcome and pampered!
Everything you need is there...the beach, a pool, hammocks, sun and shade!

It's within walking distance to some fun restaurants on the beach but all the rooms have a kitchen so you can purchase some local food and bring some coffee and just hang out at the Fenix!

Can't wait to head back!

Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Roz-Mick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, NY USA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013

My husband and I spent three nights in Samara in the middle of our 15 day trip. We had just finished 8 days of adventure excursions and forest hikes. The second half of our trip was for beach relaxation, and we definitely got that at Fenix Hotel. We left with a wonderful impression of Samara and its residents. Stay one full day at Fenix and you'll see its magic. Sitting on the beach at Fenix, with the breeze and the sun on you, is the perfect escape from anything stressful. Ask Phyllis if there are anymore coconuts on the trees (the guests go through them quickly!), and she'll have Francisco (?) cut one open for you. Everyone thanks him with a tip at the end of their stay.

We had corresponded with Bill and Phyllis before we left home, and they gave great, detailed directions and advice about driving on the Nicoya Peninsula. When we pulled into the parking area of Fenix, we met Bill on his porch and he gave us a tour. I was a little apprehensive about the hotel at first, because it was hot and humid, and Bill instructed us not to leave anything in the car, even though he was just going to take us to the room - this scared us a little. (In the end, we never felt unsafe but we were grateful that he was blunt about it.) At first, the ceiling fans weren't enough to cool us down. We admit we are spoiled with the convenience of central a/c at home, and we think we will melt when it's hot and humid outside. We immediately turned on both air-conditioners (available only in the deluxe room), but they seemed to be very weak and the ceiling fan in the bedroom was covered with a thick layer of dust. We asked Bill about the a/c, and he said to "put it on turbo and give it a chance." Then we had to go back to Bill again because the previous guests had locked the safe with their passcode. Bill immediately came to unlock it for us. The other guests at the hotel kept their doors open and they all sat outside their rooms, having dinner, chatting, or reading. You can probably avoid interacting with the other guests, but the design of the outdoor spaces encourages everyone to interact, and it's nice to do so. A Canadian family recommended we walk along the beach to El Lagarto for dinner. This meal was so good that I still cannot stop thinking about it - easily the best meal of our whole trip. The drinks were delicious, strong, and cheap. The food was absolutely perfect. Get the grilled steak and squid. The jumbo shrimp and other seafood were also amazing. The restaurant is right on the beach, so at night you can observe tons of little crabs around you. It's entertaining - not gross or creepy, I promise.

The a/c ended up working great, and we were really grateful to have it. However, the other guests seemed perfectly happy without a/c!! We admired their fortitude! The bed was very comfortable, and the suite was spacious and clean. We had a strong, hot shower. We woke up the next morning to a beautiful, sunny day and a tiny crab in the shower. I thought it was amusing. We have no idea how it got there! We moved it outside ourselves, but if you're squeamish you could probably ask one of the hotel staff to remove it for you. Side note: I would recommend putting aside any squeamish-ness when you go to Costa Rica - it's more fun that way. We got at least one new crab every morning we were there :) Yes, we also saw tiny ants in the kitchen, and a few mosquitoes, but this is really unavoidable in Costa Rica. We stayed at places that cost $55 and others that cost $300 during our two weeks there, and everyone had little insects. I'm a mosquito magnet and of course I got bitten a lot, even with religious applications of DEET bug spray, but I got used to all the little pests. For those who are concerned about this, just remember that having fun in Costa Rica is a much better use of your time than getting upset over a few bugs.

I started to love Fenix and Samara more and more during our first morning there, so I hope everyone who is apprehensive about staying can give it a day to see how great it is. The cushions and hammocks are hung early in the morning, always clean and comfortable. They are removed in the evenings or when it rains. The hotel staff work very hard and are friendly. The bodega with bottled water, beer, boogie boards, and washing machine/dryer was a great convenience and prices were very reasonable. You can do your own laundry or have the maid do it for you, either way it costs $5 per load, washing or drying. There's laundry detergent in the bodega and the machines worked great. The bodega does close in the evenings, so be sure to get your drinks and laundry before it closes.

There's so much to do in Samara - so many hammocks and beach chairs to try, and lots of great restaurants (we really liked Esmerelda too - spaghetti with seafood is excellent). We took surfing lessons and went back the next day for more. There are lots of excursions but we were exhausted from the previous week of adventures, so we were mostly interested in relaxing and eating tasty food :)

When we had to leave, my husband forgot his iPhone in the room but didn't realize this until we were already 30-45 minutes away. So we turned around and headed back to Fenix. The maid found it and brought it to Bill and Phyllis, who returned it to my very relieved husband. I missed Samara and Fenix immediately. It's another great town in Costa Rica that hasn't been overrun with tourists, so the authenticity is still there. We were there during the last week of July 2013, and it rained for about 45 minutes each day in the late afternoon. Otherwise, the sky was sunny and the water was turquoise and warm. I hope more people take the opportunity to sit in a hammock at Fenix Hotel and experience the magic of Samara beach.

Room Tip: Air conditioning is a great amenity if you care about the heat and humidity. This is only available...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SeaSaltStories
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ontario
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013

The comments below perfectly reflect the Fenix. 6 rooms in close proximity to each other yet you feel like you have your own little piece of paradise. Our 7 day stay at the end of July was perfect. Yes to some the immediate area might not be the most beautiful by North American "standards" but it was part of every day Costa Rica. We loved every minute of it. The owners are sooooooo helpful and made our stay easy. Our room did not have AC but even at the end of July we did not need it. 2 fans and ocean breezes kept our room nice and cool even when it was 80 F plus outside . Samara town, which is about 15 minutes by the beach or $ 3 to $ 4 by cab is a quaint town with more than enough restaurants to keep everyone happy. The Fenix staff were also very accommodating. I already miss the sound of the ocean, the crabs, iguanas. roosters, and howler monkeys which were everywhere. I hope we can find our way back to the Fenix someday.

Room Tip: If you want AC request room 6, we didn't need it , all rooms have a kitchen
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ducky77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockton, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013

Our last three days of a two week vacation in Costa Rica were spent at the Fenix Hotel on Playa Samara. Our fourth trip to the land of 'Pura Vida' was, like the rest, during the wet season. We enjoy the lush green vegetation, the lack of big crowds and the lower prices. We spend a lot of internet time searching for a small, intimate beachfront hotel with excellent reviews.

The Fenix fits this description. The accomodations are comfortable, and the location, as mentioned in previous reviews, is perfect. The beach is great for shell hunters and for swimming. With a table on the patio outside our room my wife and I enjoyed playing cards in between dips in the pool and the Pacific.

Phyllis and Bill are always on site and more than willing to help with anything one needs. Phyllis directed us to interesting attractions (eg: Playa Carilla with the huge alligator in the river, the wildlife rescue refuge), all a short drive from the hotel.

We also enjoyed eating and relaxing in the beachfront restaurants a few minutes' walk from the Fenix. (Locanda was our favorite.) Swimmers, surfers and boogie boarders populate Playa Samara near the town, and there was a surfing contest one of the days we were there.

We would definitely return to the Fenix Hotel and recommend it to those who wish to enjoy a peaceful and interesting Costa Rica vacation.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dr_Awrof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fenix Hotel - On The Beach

Property: Fenix Hotel - On The Beach
Address: Mts Sur de Pulperia Stephanie 100 | Samara de Nicoya, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Samara
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Samara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Samara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Six time winner of the Traveller's Choice Award for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2009! Thank you to all of our wonderful guests. We are a small (6 rooms), beach-front hotel just footsteps from the ocean. Our rooms are clean, colorful and comfortable. We are NOT an all-inclusive, luxury resort. More like your place at the beach, but with someone else doing the daily cleaning, changing the linens and yard work. The rooms are in a semi-circle and face the pool, gardens and the ocean. (see photos) Great way to meet new people and exchange information and stories. We have been here 17 years managing our "little piece of paradise". Our front yard is sand with ranchos and palm trees for plenty of shade. Hammocks, sunbeds, small pool, gardens and BBQ complete our front yard. All of our rooms have fully equipped kitchens with separate bedroom. The deluxe room has AC & widescreen TV. Standard rooms have upper and lower screened windows and two ceiling fans. Our neighborhood has a small grocery store & fish market, along with local deliveries of fruits and fresh ceviche. An enjoyable 15 minute walk to Samara Central. Most of our guests return or have been recommend by friends. Thank you for considering our special place by the sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fenix Hotel Playa Samara
Fenix Hotel - On The Beach Costa Rica/Playa Samara

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