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“Lovely rooms but...”

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
50 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Lovely rooms but...”
Reviewed 25 December 2011

We stayed 2 nights and 3 days in December. It was our bad luck to have pouring rain during most of our stay so the main attraction, the Rio Celeste, was a muddy brown. On the morning of our departure, the rain held off for 5 hours and we were able to hike to the river. The river was a dark turquoise, rather like the pacific ocean. I guess if it stayed clear for a few more hours, then the river might turn more blue. The hike itself was beautiful and the soak in the natural hot spring in the river was really a special experience.

As another review has noted, there is absolutely nothing else to do other than the Rio Celeste hike. If it rains, that hike is dangerous and then you are stuck at the hotel. The hotel itself is lovely, very much like Thailand in feel. However, the hotel is still under construction and the gym is not yet complete and the spa only offered massages. The locals tell me that the region is rainy most of the year, with March/April being the dryest. Given the lack of activities to do and the climate coupled with the beauty of the hotel and its surroundings, it seems that adding yoga and meditation classes and other holistic and spiritual activities and spa treatments would be highly desirable. Also, when it rains, the rooms get VERY DAMP. The floor is sticky with condensation and the bedding is cold and damp to the touch. We put the A/C on dry mode to get comfortable. That didn't seem to help much and the place was so cold (around 60 degrees at night). The dampness and the cold made for rather uncomfortable sleep. So, perhaps adding a dehumidifier or a heating element to the rooms for the really damp and cold days would help with making the rooms more enjoyable. Lastly, the food is poor in both preparation and in presentation. It is expensive yet everything tastes the same. The meats were uniformly overcooked. All the salads had the same italian dressing. The hotel has huge potential. I hope management improves the cuisine and expand its services because I really love the location and the ambiance.

Lastly, I agree with prior reviews that the staff is wonderful. I think they are the most friendly, cheerful, and joyful people of all the hotels we've stayed in Costa Rica so that is a big plus! If the rooms were dryer/more comfortable, I'd give this place a 4 star even if sighting the blue river is a chancy thing!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank XHTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2011

When we went here for the first leg of our honeymoon it was our first trip to Costa Rica and driving down the rocky road at night blindly following the gps I thought we were crazy & almost had our first marital fight... but then it appeared and it was wonderful. The staff was amazing, the rooms were beautiful, everything about it was immpecable. Just know that there isn't much to do around the hotel. But if you're going ot relax, or on your honeymoon? We probably couldn't of made a better choice.

PS if you book the american option I think it's called, you get your choice of a free meal a day. We usually missed breakfast, but it really turned out in our favor. The free breakfast is just bread & fruit, while when we missed it, we got free dinner &/or lunch, which really added to the value of the place.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank BGSUgrad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 December 2011

I love, love, love, love Hotel Nayara in Arenal so we book 3 night at Rio Celeste since one of Nayaras owners runs Celeste. Unfortunately, the rooms were soooo damp and moldy that I woke up with a sore throat each morning and a stuffy nose. The food was mediocre although the staff is incredibly nice.

The hike to the waterfall and blue water is gorgeous and worth it, but be advised you cant really go in the water. its just about the hike. its so stunning and like nothing you've ever seen before. but maybe stay one night here, do the hike and move on. there is NOTHING else at all to do for a 3 hours drive from here... and the drive is the worst thing we've ever done. we popped a tire on the way in one day and had to change it ourselves. if you cant change your own tire, dont stay here. (dollar car rental was nice though, we went to get a new spare and they didnt even charge us - i guess this is common in CR).

stay at hotel nayara though. its the best place ive ever been. seriously, id consider having my wedding there. so perfect.

Room Tip: skip this and stay in hotel nayara
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank EEM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2011

We just finished our stay at the amazing Rio Celeste Hideaway and all we had read on the reviews here was confirmed. This hotel is simply extraordinary. Quickly:

-Service is impeccable. The staff is oustanding and they truly care about the visitor's experience. They are also some of the most genuinely kind and happy people I've met
-Hotel grounds and amenities are superior, particularly considering how remote this place is. The rooms, pools, restaurant, etc...all incredibly luxurious in its own understated way.
-Very quiet, very relaxing
-Food was just fine. We had read some not very positive comments but we found the food very good actually, particularly for Costa Rican's standards. It is clear they are still working on this part of the service but it was far better than I thought it would be based on some comments here. Prices are fine, not cheap but not over the top either.

The minuses (which are VERY minor overall)

-Internet access is very slow but such is in all of Costa Rica.
-Sometimes the hot tubs were kept rather cool but, upon request, the very quickly turned up the heat
-Our room smelled a bit "humid" but, grant it, it rained our entire stay and the hotel is in the middle of a rainforest

And, lastly, the hotel is truly remotely located but that is part of the charm. It WILL take you hours to get there even when you may be looking at only a 60 mile drive. The last portion of the road does not allow for driving faster than 5 miles per hour and you do need a 4x4 vehicle. Do not despair, paradise awaits you once you enter the complex

Do the Rio Celeste hike to the waterfalls, hotsprings and sulfur source. And the Cano Negro reserve is a MUST. Those are the only activities we did. The rest, we just enjoyed this amazing, relaxing hotel

Again, the staff!! Amazing, amazing, amazing people

Room Tip: A few of the casitas do not face the rainforest but the interior gardens. If you like to see the jun...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jose M C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oceanport, New Jersey
Level Contributor
41 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2011

My Wife and have been to Costa Rica over twenty times, and recently decided to visit a different area. We wanted to hike the trails around the Rio Celeste river (Blue River), and the Tonnorio Volcano so we decided to try the Hideaway. What a pleasant surprise! This place is owned by a Columbian investor who spared no expense in providing all of the comforts of home and more. The cabinas are well appointed, with four-poster beds, flat screen tv's, HUGE bathrooms with awesome outdoor garden showers. Most of our time was spent on the deck enjoying the view of the jungle/gardens while it rained (Green season)...The deck chairs were great, but could have used some cushions (My ONLY complaint). Extra pillows were delivered in 5 minutes, and my Wife enjoyed a massage, at a reasonable price, and she claimed it was the best that she had ever had! As long as the management performs proper maintenance, this hotel will likely see us as returning guests. This part of Costa Rica is very much agricultrual and fields of pineapple, mango trees and nursuries are everywhere in the valley...Just beautiful, and very few tourists. The staff was extremely helpfull and friendly and made us feel very welcome. The steak that I had in the restaurant was yummy, by typically rather small, as I have become accustomed to while eating in Costa Rica. One Note: There is a bridge only a couple of hundred yards away that is out, so it adds about AN HOUR to the drive coming in from Liberia to go around the other way to get to the hotel. This bridge should be rebuilt...The steel is sitting next to it, but apparently, there is a problem getting this very imporatant issue resolved.

Room Tip: Garden view for privacy
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank gsnowski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somerville, NJ
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2011

We stayed here last week and it was fabulous. There were only 4 other couples there so it was like having your own private getaway with servers. We did wonderful hikes almost every day and drove to La Fortuna two days which we highly recommend. (If you rented a car which most people do when they stay here its about a 2 hr drive but then the tours are much more reasonable) The road to get to the hotel is interesting. There were a bunch of bright blue and white signs for the hotel from the main Road #4 so it wasn't hard to find but the last 4 miles are up the mountain on an unpaved road that we found difficult to go over 20mph the whole way and my husband goes offroading all the time. It takes about 40min to go those 4 miles or so, so when you are leaving plan accordingly. The food is good but it was a little frsutrating that there is a separate menu if you paid for the full american plan and there are not many choices. We wish we just paid outright at the restaurant each night because we ended up paying for breakfast and lunch and werent even there to eat it. The staff is wonderful and very wlecoming.
The casitas are very clean and very well appointed.
We would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a romantic quiet getaway!

Room Tip: Casitas #18/19 give you a good view of only rainforest and river sounds from your dedk and are rear...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank goalgirl66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 November 2011

My boyfriend and I spent Nov 4 - 8, 2011 at the Rio Celeste Hotel...truly a hideaway. Do not attempt to drive the rocky road from Bijagua, as it will be a waste of time. There is absolutely no way to bring your car across the river. Instead, go through the city of Guatuso. As you traverse the 12 km bumpy road with a dilapidated-looking wood bridge somewhere in between, do not despair..there really is a beautiful rainforest hideaway well worth the drive!

The online pictures and descriptions of the hotel are accurately beautiful. Moreover, to exist in the rainforest and experience its tranquil ambience within the hotel compound, even from our casita with the french doors open throughout the night as we slept, was out-of-this-world breathtaking. From our balcony, we were entertained by howler monkeys swinging from the trees.

We hired a guide from the hotel to lead us through the Tenorio Volcano National Park hike. Elias is a young gentleman who speaks very good english and is highly knowledgeable about the different birds in the forest. Otherwise, the hike is paved well enough that a guide is not necessary. For the most part, the hike is easy. Few may find the hike coming back up from the waterfall challenging, as it is steep. We took our time bathing in the hot water springs!!!

The casita is comfortable and spacious, with a private outdoor shower on one end and a balcony mingling into the rainforest on the other. Everyday the maid service not only cleaned our rooms, but also beautifully decorated our bed with orchids, ferns, and even towel-crafted swans. We ate all our meals at the hotel, as there is nothing comparable within a two-hour drive. No complaints in this area, as we found the food to be very good and reasonably priced, and the service outstanding. The hotel helped celebrate my boyfriend's birthday with a cake baked by the chef, making the day extra special!

From the hotel, consider making a 1.5 hour drive to La Fortuna and a non strenuous hike in the Arenal Volcano National Park. It was a very easy drive. Again, we hired a guide ($30 for two) that spoke very good english. An absolute must is the Monteverde Cloud Rainforest for some thrilling zip-lining and more hiking experiences.

Off we went to another hotel in Tamarindo, on the Pacific side. While we had beautiful weather and the beach was beautiful for some horseback riding, snorkeling, and surfing activities, our hearts were still at the Rio Celeste Hideaway.

Room Tip: I imagine every room is great. We stayed in 23.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Alex R
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
Region: 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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