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“Got refund for service. The place won't survive if they do not change the chef.”

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
USA
Level Contributor
70 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Got refund for service. The place won't survive if they do not change the chef.”
Reviewed 15 March 2012

We came to this beautifully decorated place from La Fortuna. A part of the journey is a 43-km drive on gravel road. We had a breakfast at 6:30 am, were starving when got there at 2 pm. We waited for 1 hour (!!!) to get the food. My 7-year old almost started to cry. The food was terrible. I found only shrimp and one empty shell in my seafood MIXED rice. ??? My child's noodles were overcooked. Yes, they had a 20-people party recently came before us - but did not they know the party and we were coming? For the first time we asked a manager for a talk. I showed her my meal... She said that the kitchen was "disorganized".
The place is very pretty done and new (1.5 year), but needs a better chef and management. The food for breakfast was poor - the rice was warmed up, not freshly made. The dinner was average. My child's ice cream came melted (???).
The pool was too cool to swim, all 3 jacuzzi opened, but the wet bar closed. It is a small facility with no place to go for fun - nothing to observe, but the pool and restaurant. I am not the one who like to stay in a room even if it is very beautiful. Good news - we stayed only 2 nights.
Our destination was Rio Celeste - we could simply walked (15 minutes) to the entrace of the park. We had greatest time there and came all over dirty (mud is typical for this hike). I decided to use the laundry service. Our clothes came the same day, but... the spots were there! Horrible! I had a feeling that the clothes was simply thrown in the machine as a bulk.
That was too much for me. I did complain again.
One more word about the staff. Very friendly, but the place with rating and prices like this one should have more people who at least understand English. One young waitress tried to speak Spanish with English accent using a few English words (???). It is easy to say "I do not speak English". English is not my native - I am very undestanding and patient, but why did she try to make a casserole from two languages? I felt pity about her. We were told that there was no difference in salaries if you spoke perfect English or no English at all. It should not be that way. IMHO
Good news is our stay was short and the food and laundry were refunded.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Elenasun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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760 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (127)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 March 2012

Too bad we didn't have more time to spend on the hotel property. The rooms are beautiful and right outside our bathroom was an outdoow shower. The casitas are not that close together so you do have privacy. We didn't get to view the river or go hiking in the area, but I'm sure it would have been a lot of fun. Breakfast was good. There is an up and down side to the location. You can't beat feeling like you are truly away from everything. However, you do have to plan on transportation ahead of time and prepare to be on the road for awhile since it takes about 20 minutes to get to the bottom of the rocky hill and attractions are not nearby.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RoadITraveled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2012

I travelled to the Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel with my significant other for 7 nights at the end of February through the (since expired) Groupon deal. Everything about this place absolutely blew us away.

Transportation:
As other reviews have mentioned, the road to the hotel is quite rough. We arranged for transportation through the hotel, which I would urge everyone to do as well. It may seem like a lot of $$, but the peace of mind is worth that and so much more. From LIR, it took close to three hours, of the last hour or so was the difficult, "gravel" road. If you do decide to drive yourselves, get a truck/van/SUV - I don't think a small car would survive as well on the road. On the way back to the airport, we were able to get an excellent deal by sharing a van with another couple going to the same airport at the same time - cool!

Rooms & Pool:
The casitas are everything the website depicts and so much more. Never in my life have I stayed in such a beautiful and luxurious room (even compared to my trip to the 5 star Royal in Playa del Carmen)! The outdoor shower was so wonderful, I never even thought to use the indoor one, even the couple times it rained. The balcony and view was spectacular - we spent many hours relaxing in the lounge chairs. A few reviews complain of a musty smell/feel to the rooms - I urge you to consider where you are staying. The rainforest by definition is extremely humid. We did not think that the rooms had any odor, and using the air conditioning and/or dry setting while we were in the casita was more than sufficient for us. (There is a mechanism so that no electricity is used in the casita unless the room key is inserted.) The pool and hot tubs are fantastic. I was able to swim in both, despite my chlorine allergy. We spent a good amount of time soaking in the relaxing, wood hot tubs.

Food & Drinks:
With our Groupon, we were included Breakfast and Lunch or Dinner each day. Breakfast was a fantastic buffet each day, with hot dishes like rice & beans, eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, and french toast rotating depending on the day. Each day they also had fresh squeezed fruit juice, fresh fruit, toast with jams, and other sweet breads. More than plenty to hold us over until our next meal, and absolutely delicious! We had the lunch menu a few times, and loved everything that we tried. Worth mentioning was the cevice, tica soup, arroz especial, and the typical Costa Rican dish (Comida Tipica?) with fish. So delicious that we bought a cook book at the airport with these recipes in it! The other days we had the dinner buffet which, like everything else, was fantastic. One of the standouts at every buffet dinner was the soup! One night it was so delicious, I had 3 cups! Each night they had a soup, two or three meat dishes, hot vegetables, rice, bread, salad, and other cold salads (and dessert!). We thoroughly enjoyed everything we sampled. We typically had a drink each night, and were always impressed with our selections. We loved the pina coladas, enjoyed two different bottles of Casillero del Diablo wine, and tried the Imperial beer along with one other. Just what we wanted!

Weather:
Keeping in mind that this resort is in the rainforest, the weather was understandably unpredictable. Winter is their rainy season, and we had heavy rain two of our seven days, but we still did hiking on both days. It did rain on every other day that we were there also, but typically just in the morning, and not enough to be disruptive. It was understandably humid, but it felt great compared to the Minnesota winter we had left behind. It was probably in the mid 70's most of the time we were there, only to get warmer when the sun came out for extended periods.

Tours:
With our Groupon, we had two Rio Celeste hikes and a $100 spa voucher, each. We got a "couples" massage, which was absolutely fantastic. My s/o said it was the best massage he'd ever had! It was the ultimate pampering indulgence. We did the Rio Celeste hike twice with a guide, and once by ourselves ($10/person for park entrance). We saw monkeys, birds, snakes, spiders, and lizards! The waterfall is absolutely breathtaking, and the hot springs are truely unique. The look-out shows a spectacular view of some of the other volcanoes, and (according to others on our tour) is comparable to the cloud forest of Monte Verde. The blue color of the river is spectacular, vibrant, and is almsot unrealistic! The hike itself is rocky, muddy, and at places somewhat difficult. Slow footing and caution make it do-able for most people, although it may take longer than 4 hours. I would still absolutely recommend it. We also did the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge boat tour. We enjoyed the tour, just not nearly as much as the Rio Celeste hike. We saw caymans (small alligators), many different birds, turtles, and lizards. Part of the reason we didn't enjoy this tour as much was due to our high expectations - we wanted to see monkeys!! None to be seen from the boat, only if your guide knows their calls, hears them, and you go hiking into the forest. The highlight of this tour was the meal it included, which was a Costa Rican meal with our choice of Gar Fish for the meat - delicious!! There is a trail behind the hotel that also goes along Rio Celeste. The hike is not very long, nor difficult, but it was nice to have it available to fill the days that we didn't do tours.

Service:
If I could give the service we got at the Rio Celeste Hideaway a rating higher than 5 stars, I would. Everyone was absolutely accomodating, extremely friendly, and helpful. Literally everything we did went off without a hitch. I would consider myself near-fluent and my s/o functual in Spanish. We had wonderful conversations with the staff (in Spanish and English) which made us feel welcomed and comfortable. The staff at this hotel really take the experience at this hotel to the next level.

Tips:
Bring shoes that are functional in deep mud! Another couple had "Keen" sandals, which I thought were perfect. They had hiking shoe-type soles, closed toes (and heels), and were able to be washed off easily.
Bring a poncho! Rain coats are bulky in luggage, but are helpful. A perfect compromise is a compact, lightweight poncho!
Bring a sweatshirt or light jacket. It cooled off a bit for us at night, and since the dining room is open-air, one could be helpful.

We would absolutely, hands-down recommend this hotel to anyone and everyone. We would come here again in a heart-beat. Thank you, Rio Celeste Staff! You made our vacation wonderful, memorable, and picture-perfect!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank kastog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leadville, CO
Level Contributor
62 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2012

After a shakey start (missed the original flight), we reached the resort at 5am. We had called from the car rental desk to advise the staff we would be arriving later than expected. They advised us to check with Security when we arrived for the key and to check in later. A word of advice... USE THE PRINTED MAPS THE HOTEL PROVIDES...FROM THE RIGHT AIRPORT!
Due to the missed flight, we came in to LIR instead of SJO, but had not reprinted the map from Liberia. BIG MISTAKE! We had our GPS (fyi- the back roads are not on the GPS)... After being redirected in different directions by the local police it only took us 5 hours instead of 2...oops! By the way, the road is a bit rough, and when you are in a rain forrest, it rains...even during the dry season- get a 4 wheel drive
Security was wonderful! Got us to our room right away, and it was PERFECT! Just as pictured. After sleeping in (and not hearing a sound) we went to register. Simple, easy, the way you want it to be. When I mentioned I left some laundry in the room, the front desk called our housekeeper to advise. While we were at lunch, the housekeeper tracked us down to ask if she could clean our room then (after 3pm). Going back to the room, found our room perfect, laundry done and returned already! How cool is that?
Food was beautiful and tasted even better! 2 Laptops in the Library (across from the main desk) with free wi-fi. Didn't get to take any tours, due to rain, but the property was absolutely beautiful and perfectly tended.
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect spot to start our Costa Rica Adventure!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MariasMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Although I must admit the grounds, rooms etc looked very nice the smell was very moldy. We only stayed two days but that was too much. The staff were nice and were accomodating when our jacuzzi/plumbing flooded our room and they gave us a different room and a free supper, but the same thing happened again - a flooded bathroom because of the incorrect slant of the shower away from the drain and into the room. The smell was awful, both rooms were mouldy. The inside of the drawers had white mold inside as well as the bed posts. Found 3 roaches in the room including on my pillow. Everything was damp from the restaurant chairs, lounge and blankets including our beds, pillows, blankets, towels etc.
What added to our displeasure was the 24 hour/day running of a generator next to our room, we wanted to sit outside to get away from the smell in our room but after an hour we retreated to our room as the noise was too much after that. Except for one other room, you could not here this noise do to the lush vegetation. Rainforest or not have several dehumidifiers running in the rooms 24/7 to get rid of the mold and smell. Couldn't use the air conditioner to get rid of the dampness because you had to take your "door card which is connected to your power to your room" whenever you left the room. I don't think it would help. It is a shame, I am sure we would have enjoyed ourselves here but with all that happened in just two days, it was just too much. P.S. Don't book a walk to the falls until you know what the weather is like, we as well as several others had to cancel because of the downpour of rain and the possibility of falling on the walk. NO WALK NO REFUNDS. $120 out the window.

Room Tip: If you have any allergies to mould whether by smell or appearance...this hotel is not for you.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Andrea V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LGtravel, Manager at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, responded to this review, 7 March 2012
Dear Andrea - thank you for your passionate feedback. It is only through this dialogue that we can continue to improve. We sincerely apologize for the problems you had during your stay. The guest experience is of the utmost importance to us and there is no excuse for the string of bad events you encountered. We have now put in place a policy to turn the Air Conditioning on hours in advance of guests' arrivals to help reduce the dampness as a result of being set within the rainforest. Unfortunately, the few days you were there were very wet and given our location it is something we constantly battle.

With regard to the tour being cancelled, we understand it was booked directly through a travel agency. Although we didn't sell the tour directly our staff would have been happy to help chase down the agency to issue a refund. I am sorry you had those issues but more so that you didn't get to experience the national park which is very special.

Once again, we are terribly sorry about the confluence of events during your stay. Please know it is definitely an anomaly as delivering the very best to each guest creating a positive memorable experience is the reason we are in business!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Beautiful, beautiful hotel. Great amenities, wonderful service... Very secluded.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SarahMOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Easton, CT
Level Contributor
44 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Hotel is simply beautiful. How they were able to get the materials to create such a gorgeous hotel given it's remote location is amazing.
I agree with many others that it's very difficult to get here. We traveled at night in 2 vans, and turned at an orange sign for "Colonia Naranjena" as indicated in our directions, only to travel a very scary dirt "road". Upon approaching a very narrow, wood rustic bridge with missing planks and the sound of white water rushing beneath (it was pitch dark so we couldn't see anything), we stopped and agreed that this could not possibly be the correct route and turned around. Shortly afterward the police found us and agreed to escort us the additional 40 minutes to the hotel, over the SCARY bridge. The kids were crying, terrified that the bridge would give and we'd be washed away in the river, my adult sister was convinced that the 4 ouzy-touting policemen guns were simply going take our money and to leave us all for dead somewhere on this remote 'road'. But alas, after about another hour we finally arrived at the hotel to a puzzled staff who didn't think our journey was anything unusual.
Turns out there must be 2 road to get there, we took the "correct" route on our way out a few days later and it was still a long dirt road, but nothing like the ordeal coming in.

The casitas were beautiful, spacious and well appointed. However, I must note that the rooms were quite musty, and while I understand that you're in a rain forest it would have been nice to have had the a/c on in the rooms just to dry them out before arrival. Anyone with allergies could have serious problems sleeping here. The dining room was also beautiful and breakfast buffet was nice.

We opted for the Rio Tenorio hiking trip. We had a wonderful time, but it's important to note that it's a rather strenous hike (4 seniors in our group turned around shortly into the hike, and it was good they did). It was 5-6 hours, through slippery, rocky trails.

We did not have a meal package, however, we ate all our meals at the hotel because there was no where else to go in this remote location. Meals were all good, service at times was slow, but not unusual for the country.

Pool and hot tubs were delightful and we loved the shade canopy over the lounge chairs.
Exotic birds surround the hotel as well as other wildlife.
Overall, wonderful stay (once we arrived).

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sue F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LGtravel, Public Relations Manager at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, responded to this review, 6 March 2012
Hi Sue. Thank you so much for your detailed feedback which helps us continuously improve our offering. I am glad you were able to appreciate the beauty and seclusion of Rio Celeste Hideaway, however sorry to hear about your challenges in getting there. We are going to immediately look into posting new signage along the road to make it easier for guests to find driving on their own. We have also been meeting with government officials to improve the conditions of the surrounding roads. With regard to the Casitas, we are now going to turn on the A/C prior to every guest's arrival to ameliorate the must, which as you pointed out can occur as a result of the damp rainforest conditions. Overall we are thrilled to hear you enjoyed your stay and hope to see you and your family again inthe future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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