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“on our way back”
Review of Tulemar Resort

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Tulemar Resort
Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
Weston, Florida
1 review
“on our way back”
Reviewed 14 January 2012

I will make it quick and easy. We arrived Dec 2011 and stayed for one week. We just maid reservations and will be coming back the second week in March 2012. BTW Alvero was the BEST!!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jerry p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 15 January 2012
Pura Vida! Look forward to your return!
The Staff
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English first
Maryland
Level Contributor
340 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2012

I just returned from an 8 day Costa Rican getaway with my four 20-something kids. We stayed in a 3 bedroom villa. I’ll start with the positives:
We were assigned a personal concierge, Andres. Andres was absolutely fantastic. He attended to our every need, e.g. booking tours, dinner reservations, cabs, etc. Two things of note he did were way above and beyond my expectation: 1) he got contact solution for my son, (thanks to TSA my son’s entire dopp kit was missing upon arrival in San Jose) and 2) he got fresh mangas after we were unable to find them in the local grocery stores (not to be confused with mangos). Both of these items he purchased with his own money and brought to our room. I had to force dineros upon him to pay for them. Beyond that, Andres was charming, full of enthusiasm for life, spoke excellent English, and is simply an all around good guy. (Of course, my two gorgeous daughters may have helped in this regard as well)
The facility itself is an idyllic slice of paradise. Set in Tulemar gardens, 30 acres of rain forest with its own security and own private beach. The place includes about 15 villas and a few rental homes. 4 pools, though one was closed for repairs. The beach was fantastic, and they provide boogie boards and kayaks free of charge. We used the Family Pool adjacent to our villa. This pool includes food/beverage service, and has a spectacular view of the pacific. Food was typical pool side fare.
Our villa was top notch. 3 levels. 3 bedrooms, each with it’s own bathroom and balcony. Each bathroom with it’s own outdoor shower, very cool. The villa was decorated with all granite flooring, including the staircases, fully equipped granite kitchen, 4 TVs, hot tub on the deck, ceiling fans in every room, and on the decks. Spectacular ocean views from nearly every window. Plenty of outlets (same as US) for all the kids and my electronic devices. Wireless internet was overall great, much better than some of the finest US hotels I’ve stayed in. There were a couple brief network outages over our 8 day stay, when it was running, it was strong and fast.
The scenery is out of this world, from the pacific to the plants to the animals. We awoke one morning to howler monkeys, around 4:30 am. What a treat. They stayed until about 6:30am, then moved on. That same morning a pack of squirrel monkeys came through and even came up on our deck. We shared one of our mangas (thank you Andres). This was a “first” for all of us, experiencing monkeys up close and personal.
Now for the improvement opportunities:
The facility provides a shuttle service. This is both a good thing, and their #1 improvement opportunity. They have two shuttles during the day, and one at night. You have to call for pick up. During busy periods, it could take 20+ minutes to get a shuttle. Their policy on shuttle usage was a bit vague, some said on property only, some would take us to nearby (less than 1 mile) grocery or restaurants. The drivers were caught in the middle of this policy fuzziness. They need to figure out how to make the shuttles more guest available. Either: add more, run them on a schedule, e.g. every 10 minutes, and/or utilize external contractors (e.g. cabs) for busy evening periods.
Some of the stuff in our villa is starting to show its age and will need updating soon. TVs are old school flat screens, probably 10 years old or so. Hot water heater in my bathroom tripped the breaker repeatedly. One of our AC units would freeze up due to low coolant pressure most likely. Lantern lights around our hot tub were inoperable. Emergency flashlight (which we didn’t need) inoperable. And a few other minor things. As I always say – it’s the little things and attention to detail that can make or break an experience.
Here are some tips and watch outs:
The property, while gorgeous, is extremely steep. I would not recommend for the very young or infirm. The walk to the beach is about 8 minutes downhill, and 10 minutes up (you’ll be drenched with sweat). We mostly took the shuttle back from the beach. Next time I would strongly consider a rental car.
The food on property is limited, and average quality. We mostly ate out (there are fantastic restaurants available) lunch and dinner. We stocked our kitchen with bread, fruit, cereal from the local grocery store and ate breakfast in our villa. We also stocked plenty of bottled water.
They offer dinner prepared by a chef in your villa. I highly recommend this!!
The mighty dollar is accepted everywhere, and purchases made this way are a good means of getting local currency – for tips, cab fare, etc. I tried to change money at the local Quepos bank on several occasions. Both times the line was over 30 minutes long and I aborted. Banking must be a real pain in this town.
Alcohol is very expensive. Wines 3x what I pay in the states. Single Malt ditto. In hindsight I would have brought my own from the states. Someone told me the San Jose airport has a reasonable store, however it was closed when I arrived.
Net, this was a fantastic place to stay. I would go back.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CulinarySnob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 15 January 2012
Thank you for your very nice review and compliments to our staff, we’ll be sure to share your kind words with Andres. We are pleased that you enjoyed your unit, pools and beach. In regard to the issues you had while in unit, we apologize for any inconveniences you experienced during your stay. We do maintenance checks on all “working parts” of the unit, thank you for your notes on our emergency lighting. We will be sure to double check all of our units’ equipment. We do also have air conditioner parts and new units to use as replacement. If a guest ever has a concern about anything in unit, we suggest letting our staff know as soon as possible so it can be fixed immediately. We have been renting the premium villas since 2005/2006 (depending on unit), therefore all items are still in solid working condition and when they are not, we fix/replace/upgrade as deemed necessary.
Our shuttle service is for on property use and to our preferred restaurants in the area, Karola’s and Victoria’s and Spa Uno. If a driver chooses to take a client to an alternate location, it is the Costa Rica hospitality of never wanting to say no to a visitor. Since our company policy is to transfer to only the locations listed, we will review policy with our drivers, again, thank you for your feedback.
As a side note, banking in Costa Rica is a time consuming process. For this reason, we suggest to our clients that there is no need to exchange money. All establishments will take either the US Dollar or any major credit card; change will always be given in Costa Rican Colones. As a convenience to travelers and locals, the bank across the street from our property does have an ATM that will dispense either the US Dollar or the Costa Rican Colones.
We are pleased to hear that you would vacation again at Buena Vista Luxury Villas and look forward to seeing you in the future.
Pura Vida, Our staff and management
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Chicago, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed 12 January 2012

The beach is amongst the best we have visited, the pools were beautiful, the villas were very modern and clean. The beds were comfortable. We particularly loved the balcony-it was wonderful to sit out and read or talk surrounded by beautiful trees and wildlife. We also loved our personal concierge Bryan Miranda. He was very interested in making us have a wonderful time-he made reservations for us, arranged outings and transportation for us and it did this by coming to our villa or meeting us at the pool. He always had a wonderful smile too.

Room Tip: some rooms had king size beds and some had two full size/queen beds
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank andrea5517
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 15 January 2012
Thanks for the pura vida review!
Come back soon, the staff
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2012

We stayed at Tulemar Bungalows for a week in December. After reading the great reviews, we really looked forward to our time there but it turned out to be a disappointment. I should note that we booked a Tulemar Bungalow through Buena Vista Luxury Villas and not Tulemar Dave as they did not have availability, so I’m not sure how this may have influenced our experience.

When we made our reservation, we were informed that we’d have access to all three pools on the property. After arrival, we checked in at the Concierge desk as the front desk building was closed for renovation. The concierge pointed out our bungalow on the property map, pointed to the pool that was the closest to the room and told us that breakfast would be available there each morning. After unpacking, we strolled to the pool and found that it was . . . closed! And judging from the condition of the pool area, it had been closed for a while. Understandable if the booking office in the U.S. did not know of this (although that’s still a poor show), but for the concierge to be “unaware” that one of their pools was closed?? It was a big disappointment especially since that particular pool had a great ocean view, and it didn’t give us much confidence in the concierge. The second pool is the adult pool by the concierge desk and may once have had a nice view but a huge white private house has been built next to it giving it a claustrophobic feel. That left just the third pool as an option for our family. We called to request to be moved closer to the pool and were told that the manager would get back to us. We never did hear from him and decided to stay since the room had a nice view.

Fortunately the property has a wonderful small private beach that has boogie boards, kayaks, towels, and beach chairs at no charge, and a little restaurant and bar. The convenience of having a private beach cannot be understated. It was great to go back for a swim after the day’s activities, watch the sunset, and return to the room to get ready for dinner. We rented a car and always drove to the beach as it’s a steep hill climb.

Unfortunately, other things conspired to make our stay less than comfortable. We’re not picky travelers but accommodations have to be clean and the basics have to work. The cushions on the daybed in the living room smelled strongly of sweat and had to be covered with a towel each time we used it, water temperature in the bathroom shower was inconsistent so that one had to hop in and out of the water every time it got too hot or too cold, shower curtain rings were an odd design – pretty to look at but each time we moved the curtain half of the rings dropped off the rod and had to be re-hung, the toilet paper holder was inconveniently located on the wall behind the seat and was obviously never used because of this as housekeeping simply left the paper roll on a ledge next to the toilet, bed sheets were scratchy and worn and did not fit as we woke many mornings to find the sheets had come off the mattress, pillows in the bedroom were lumpy and either too flat or hard and many of them smelled bad, housekeeping had not serviced the room when we returned at 5:30 p.m. on our first day and had to be called.

We also experienced a different level of concierge service from what many other reviewers have written about. We got the impression that they were overworked/understaffed. Our personal concierge did not contact us until our third day there (unlike some reviewers who mentioned being contacted prior to their arrival), we had to call for a laundry list both times we wanted to do laundry and waited more than five hours to receive it the second time, laundry promised to be delivered by 2 p.m. arrived at 10:30 p.m. after several calls to the concierge. Everyone we spoke with was pleasant and apologetic but they did mention that they were very busy.

Individually, none of these issues would have bothered us but taken as a series of inconveniences during a stay at one hotel, it was a big disappointment. At $430 p/night, we expected better facilities and services.

The final straw was check-out. We called the day prior to our departure to request that our bill be prepared and ready the next morning as we had a 6-hour drive to our next destination and wanted to leave promptly. The bill included a double charge for room service (easy to spot on the bill) and charge for a third load of laundry that we didn’t do. When asked about this, they produced three slips – the third did not include a guest name, room number, date or signature and was clearly different from the two slips that I did complete.

We left with a bad taste in our mouth. Sadly, our stay started and ended on less than ideal notes. The saving grace was the beach which we used everyday.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LiveBetter88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 11 January 2012
were glad that you did take the time to let us know about your stay. All I can say is we did not perform to the best of our ability and we sincerely apologize.
Tripadvisor readers know that things can go wrong at a hotel, from time to time, and can accept that, but what is really important to the Trip Advisor reader, is how the hotel responds to the review and presumably, how the hotel will respond to them if they encounter the same problem. First of all it doesn’t matter who your stay was booked through the quality of our service should always be the same, so there are no excuses that can be laid at that door step.
We have four pools at Tulemar and one is currently being renovated; they did stop working during the holidays but it should be finished soon and the other three pools are delightful! All guests receive a map of the property that also shows where all our pools are located. We are sorry for the confusion during your stay.
We are very glad you enjoyed our beautiful exclusive beach and our free beach toys. While you accessed the beach via your own car, we would like to note there is a free hotel shuttle running all day to take and pick up guests who do not have their own transportation.
I hope you will give us another chance to show you, like so many of our other reviews tell, that we do provide a great vacation experience. Please contact me personally and I'll make sure your next stay is handled the way it should be. Pura Vida, Chris
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2012

We arrived here in December 2010 with our 4 kids 8-10-11 & 12 after the longest trip ever and I have to say it took our breath away.
Top Notch house rental, glorious views, beach was amazing and the monkeys on your verandah were the icing on the cake.

I can't say anything bad about this place except that the location was not the safest town we understand but we never experienced anything bad and did travel off property quite a bit.

Great place for breakfast down the street and a italian restaurant as well close by with great food.
Grocery store was expensive, but then when isn't it in a foreign country while on vacation.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank theallinsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 8 January 2012
Thank you for staying with us and for the great review! Sorry to hear the Manuel Antonio area appeared menacing can’t say that I’m aware of any troubles. As with travel anywhere be conscious of your surroundings and you should be fine. Glad to hear you enjoyed breakfast and Mark at Victoria’s (the Italian restaurant) always loves to hear nice things, Thank you! Thanks again and Pura Vida, The Staff.
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Westport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2012

My family as well as my parents stayed in 2 bungalows during Christmas week and New Years. We were assigned our our personal concierge, Orlando, who was helpful in booking our tours and dinner reservations. He really tried to make us happy. The first day we opted to walk down to the beach (via a steep, winding paved road), I fell and sprained my foot. Not a great way to start the vacation. Staff told me that a woman fell just a few days earlier and broke her wrist. We opted to take the shuttle van to the pool and beach from then on. Usually it was quick, but during the busy times, we had to wait 20 min. The views from both our bungalows (116 & 117 were beautiful.) Beautiful place, but not user friendly for elderly or persons with limited mobility. Units are individually owned and some are better renovated than others. Unit # 117 had an old shower/tub which had cracked tiles and a 20" threshold for for elderly parents to navigate. We were told that the unit owner did not want to spend the $$$ to repair/renovate the problem. Additionally, the shower ran hot for 2 min. then went ice cold. It took several days to have it repaired and the parts replaced due to the holidays. We were compensated with a meal at Victoria's restaurant.
Family pool was very nice. Small, exclusive and uncrowded feel at the beach was relaxing. You need to climb up 40+ stairs to get to the restroom at the beach, no small feat for my parents (they went to the beach only once) and stayed at the family pool which was on level ground along with the restrooms and patio bar. On the first few days, towels were provided at both the the beach and pool for us, as the week progressed, Buena Vista was at full capacity and we were reminded to bring our beach towels which were provided in our room everyday. The problem was that when we left our bungalow in the a.m., the cleaners had not yet come in to replace the towels which we tool to the beach the previous day and we were left w/out towels. maid service was inconsistent. Some days, it was clean and fresh, other times we were left w/ no toilet paper and the microwave or Mirrors were dirty.
Overall, Buena Vista was a beautiful place, convenient to the national park and Quepos, some units need updating and service while attentive can be inconsistent.

Room Tip: Find out if your villa has been renovated and ask to see some photos before booking.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 8 January 2012
Thank you for staying with us and for taking the time to review us. You are correct the property is not for the physically inhibited, if fact outside of some places in San Jose the whole country could be described this way. Your point is well spoken, high season especially ultra-high season (Christmas/New Year’s) is crazy and we really do our best to stay ahead of the curve, if we do the we do everything in our power to make it up to you. We’re sorry to hear about your ankle. Thank you for staying with us and for your review, Pura Vida. The Staff
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New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2011

We had Villa number 406 and it was an awesome 3 bedroom unit with great views. We looked out on the ocean and saw monkeys every single day. We never had breakfast at the restaurant but had very good lunches. Food was simple and casual but very good including excellent burgers, fish and fajitas. Kids loved the milkshakes and our trip was made better due to the excellent concierge Alvaro. Could have stayed a month.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BuenaVistaLuxuryVil, Manager at Tulemar Resort, responded to this review, 8 January 2012
Thank you for staying with us and for the great review! Sorry to hear you missed breakfast, maybe next time! Pura Vida, The Staff
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tulemar Resort

Property: Tulemar Resort
Address: Tulemar Gardens, Manuel Antonio 6350, Costa Rica (Formerly Buena Vista Luxury Villas)
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Tulemar Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Tulemar Resort The Premier Resort Hotel in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Rated as the number 1 resort hotel in Central America and Costa Rica and number 9 in the World by Trip Advisor Tulemar Resort is a full service resort set in the peaceful 33-acre gated and secure Tulemar Gardens Condominium. A wide variety of standalone accommodations are available for our guests, including the famed Tulemar Bungalows & Villas, as well as our luxurious 1, 2, and 3 bedroom Buena Vista Luxury Villas. The property itself is spectacular, nestled in a lush rainforest overlooking the beautiful Manuel Antonio coastline. Surrounded by nature, Tulemar Resort features incredible gardens, walking paths, thriving wildlife, and the ONLY exclusive sandy beach in the region. At Tulemar Resort you will enjoy the luxury and privacy of your very own villa, along with the amenities of a high end resort, including concierge service, daily maid service, 4 swimming pools, beach bar, spa services, tour desk, and the best sunset bar and restaurant in town. We invite you to review our website for photos and details, then book one of these magnificent villas or bungalows and experience the most unforgettable vacation of your life! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buena Vista Luxury Villas Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Buena Vista Hotel And Casas
Tulemar Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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