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“I so wanted to give this hotel a better score but...” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
536 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 390 helpful votes
“I so wanted to give this hotel a better score but...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2013

...the food is terrible.

I can't believe all the reviews raving about how good the food is. I think we must've stayed at a different place or maybe the chef has recently changed?

Anyway, I'll start with the good stuff. The hotel is beautiful and the staff are mostly lovely. We especially liked Oscar, Grelvin and Mauricio. Very well mannered and helpful and Grelvin went to a lot of trouble making us a honeymoon pudding and giving us coffees on the house etc. What a nice chap! On arrival we found we had a bottle of wine in our room, and there were red rose petals on our bed in the shape of a heart, plus flowers around the room. Very nice for a honeymoon treat!

The rabbit who lives on the property, who we nicknamed Celeste, is gorgeous and loves to be stroked!

Rooms are generally nice. Large and clean and beautifully furnished and the balconies overlooking the rainforest are lovely. There is plenty of hot water, and a fridge and coffee maker.

The hotel is in a good location for hiking the Rio Celeste - the entrance for the National Park is a 5 minute drive away or a short walk. This hotel is also driving distance for a day trip to Volcano Arenal which we did and thoroughly enjoyed it. (The drive took about 1.5 hours each way) Also drove to Monteverde for another day trip (drive about 2 hours each way). We also did the Don Juan coffee tour which is just down the road and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

The road leading to the hotel isn't great from the Liberia side especially, but it isn't as bad as other reviewers have made out and you're not on it for long after leaving the main highway. Certainly, we drove on many worse roads while in Costa Rica!! Remember that 80% of the country's roads are unpaved, so if you are planning to drive, a 4x4 is essential even in dry season as the roads are extremely bumpy and you need to ford rivers in some areas (although not to get to this hotel). We drove from San Jose and it took just over 3 hours, no big deal.

There isn't a lot of wildlife around the hotel. During our week's stay we only saw a sloth, an agouti, a stick insect plus loads of frogs, snakes and pretty birds.

The hotel has a wonderful trail leading to a section of the river where you can swim...thoroughly enjoyed this! Saw lots of frogs on the trail and the river was cool and refreshing to swim, and never saw anyone down there, but bring your own towel as each time we got there, the towels provided had been used and were dirty and it's a fair walk back up quite a few steps to fetch one from your room once you're down there.

Now I'll get to the bad stuff. Firstly the food. I am vegetarian but my husband isn't. We both hated the food for different reasons. For me, there was very little choice at lunchtime and nothing in the evening. And I mean nothing. Not even something which could be adapted to suit me. It was all steak or chicken or pork and no vegetables offered. And it's expensive. Expect to pay $25 for a basic main course. And i mean basic. The few times I did try to adapt something it was a disaster. I was just given bread and bread and more bread. The hummus is just a massive bowl of it with yet more BREAD. The same bread they bring you at the start of the meal. My husband didn't enjoy his meals either and each one gave him indigestion. The breakfast was ok if you avoid the eggs, as our fried and scrambled eggs continually had massive chunks of SHELL in them. Really gross and it put us off eating the eggs after it happened twice. One night the chef made me a dish which was supposed to be spaghetti with tomato sauce on...you know, the basic cop out dish they make when they can't think of anything else to make for a vegetarian. Anyway it came. OMG it was more like a noodle soup with boiled to death broccolli. Dear God it wasn't good. I will attach a photo! Not appetising. I asked for it to be taken away. We resorted to driving 1.5 hours each way for a meal at La Fortuna one night! I emailed Oscar and he promised the chef would try to make something else for me, but by then we were nearing the end of our stay and just tried to avoid the restaurant as much as possible. Gabrielle was kind enough to come and speak to me about this, and admitted that they are still learning. Perhaps I will email them some basic recipes the chef can use?

The pillows absolutely reek of mould. Now I know it's the rainforest, but we stayed at other places in Costa Rica in more remote locations that this, and they managed to keep the bedding smelling fresh. Both my husband and myself got sore throats and we're sure it was from having our heads on mouldy pillows for a week.

The shower pressure is very weak and I found it hard to wash my hair properly because of this.

Overall, I would recommend Rio Celeste for a few days (A week was too much) as long as you are aware that the food is very basic. If you have any special dietary requirements at all, email the hotel in advance, preferably with some recipes.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TravellingOrange
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gerencia de Rio... ., Gerente at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, responded to this review, 30 April 2013
Dear Valued Guests, Thank you very much for having chosen Rio Celeste Hideaway. We take very seriously any and all feedback as it is very important to us to continually strive to provide the best guest experience possible. We regret that we did not completely meet that expectation. We are continually striving to improve our menu choices and selections in order to satisfy the tastes of people who come to visit us from all over the world so we apologize your menu choices were not satisfying to your pallet. Part of the allure and charm of our hotel is the rustic adventure it provides to people who truly want to "hideaway". That journey begins on the rustic roads to the hotel, to the sophisticated, yet rustic and charming ambiance the decor and surrounding area provides. We would like to encourage our guests who have any discomfort during their stay to immediately bring it to our attention as we will make every effort to satisfy your needs in order to provide you with the most enjoyable experience possible.
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755 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2013

Hermoso Lugar. Gorgeous Hideaway indeed! most amazing staff ever! Felt at home. Romantic rooms. paradisiac scenario. Can't wait to go back! Rooms were delightful, the weather, the staff was great, good food,

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Dcastrohine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
denver
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2013

What a great find. This place has everything you could ask for and more. It is quiet, it is small, it is stunningly beautiful. The food was by far the best in all of costa rica over three weeks! Right in the middle of nowhere, this place is awesome. I would recommend this place to any couple. It is really not that far from la fortuna nor liberia nor san jose.... the location can take an 2 hours to get to and isn't really near anything but the rio celeste, but well worth a couple nights!

Room Tip: Any room is simply amazing here!
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  • Stayed April 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?
Thank SPGplatinumTenYears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Rafael de Escazu, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2013

A beautiful looking hotel, the bedrooms are fantastic in design and decoration. We had an out door shower which was a lot of fun to be at one with nature whilst in your birthday suit! All the trimming of a top quality hotel and perfect for exploring the Rio Celeste of course. They have a nice selection of DVD's for quiet night in. Awesome hot tubs to soak in after your hike (although Rio Hideaway... time to give those rotting hots tubs a make over!)... The restaurant served a lovely dinner selection and breakfast was fine... although after two days the selection would get boring... but I don't think most people would stay any longer than 2 nights as there is not much to do there other than the hike. The only thing that let the place down was the smell of mildew... the only way that your swimming drunks will dry is to blast the AC, but the pillows smelt of mildew enough to make me put a town over one.
Would I recommend this place to you.... yes of course, but just remember you are in the rain forest! Things are damp! PS: Listen out for the howler monkeys...so cool!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Smudge1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hull, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
48 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2013

Very lovely 4 nights in the rainforest. Grounds are beautiful, and pool was great. Meals were excellent which is good because there are no other choices in the area. The individual casitas were like a luxury, with comfortable king size bed and outdoor shower. Even though ac worked well, the air was always humid and clothes were damp. Nice private porch facing forest but saw one monkey and nothing else. Room was always dark and lighting was poor.
Our first day we hiked in the park, second day we took river float ride on tenorio river, and our third day took it easy and did easy hike on property to the river.
Our drivers and guides were all friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank daryl c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2013

Magical place! This was one of the most amazing places we've been. The bungalows were spacious and nicely decorated, and we loved the outdoor shower! It's in the middle of nowhere and we felt like it was our own private property as it wasn't very crowded when we were there.

Pool was great with three varying temperatures of hot tubs.

Food was amazing, service was exceptional.

It's super close to the amazing hike into the Rio Celeste and that was amazing!! Bring shoes you don't mind ruining with mud :)

The nightlife isn't very hopping, so they have movies you can check out, too!

  • Stayed April 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?
Thank Kirsten C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2013

This is one of three places we stayed at in Costa Rica. We chose this hotel based on phenomenal reviews and because it resembled Nayara Resort and Spa in La Fortuna, but it fell well short of our expectations. We stayed 3 nights in March 2013.

The pros were:
- Delicious food (everything we ate was delicious, hot, and tasty although the service was not always the greatest, such as forgetting to give us bread or charging us wrong).
- Complimentary breakfast (toast, eggs, bacon, fruit, muffins, yogurt, beans and rice)
- Full bar with good juices and tropical drinks
- Relaxing spa - great couples massage...one of the best I have ever had and much needed after the Rio Celeste hike.
- Nice outdoor shower
- Very close proximity to Rio Celeste hiking

The cons were:
- The grounds could be beautiful but they need maintenance. There are fine details that this hotel has missed...gardening (raking leaves and cleaning roof/eavestrough of leaves (may prevent leaks), pool area maintenance, etc. They could learn from Nayara.
- The rooms look beautiful however they are insufferably humid and had a damp/foul smell which took away from the beauty that could have been. The sheets and pillows felt damp and had a foul odor. A slightly damp swimsuit did not dry in the 3 nights we were there.
- No wifi in individual rooms; wifi in lobby rarely worked. It worked best in the restaurant.
- The tours were mostly based out of La Fortuna, which is a 2 hour drive. Because we had come from La Fortuna, we did not want to go back that way for tours. The drive is incredible rough and bumpy. The tours are great tours, but are very expensive because they need the compensate for the cost of transportation.
- Location is very remote and is not well suited for any activities other than hiking to Rio Celeste. Be prepared for a VERY rocky and steep route to the hotel. I am glad we were not driving.
- We loved the Rio Celeste hike but it is long and the hike is difficult. Older people or those with young children should reconsider this. Alex, The tour guide was great; good english, knowledgeable, had fruit and water for us, however i would suggest you take an extra bottle of water as he did not have enough water for me, and take bug spray!! I got a lot of fly bites.
- We felt the pool area needed maintenance, particularly the hot tubs. The hot tubs were made of wood, which appeared to be rotting. There are suppose to be towels at the pool area, but we had to ask twice for them and waited quite a while before we got one.
- Bring bug spray - lots of bugs inside and out. Room is not sealed to keep bugs out. We had some interesting (by interesting i mean big and gross) bugs on the canopy of our bed, as well as lizards in our room. The first room we had, there were a lot of ants.
- The shower/jazuzzi appeared dirty (grouting) and did not look inviting.
- Evidence of leaks (could see the spots on the ceiling and walls).
- They advertise a bar at the pool area, however there is no bartender there and you have to go inside the hotel for a drink (or wait for them to come out to take your order).

Upon arrival we were taken to our room, which was not what we were promised. We had ordered a package that included a king bed, fruit basket, ipod docking station, safety deposit box, DVD player, etc. First thing we noticed was the 2 double beds (not the king), foul smell, the spots from the leaks, and all of the ants (mostly in the bathroom). Reception was not at all helpful when i expressed my concern over these matters, and didn;t seem to care much. I emailed Oscar, who I had been in touch with while booking. Oscar is an amazing guy and probably the friendliest person at this resort! He upgraded us to the bigger suite and moved us to a better room on Day 2. While we did get the King bed, fruit basket, safety deposit box, DVD player, there was never an IPOD docking station and the foul/mildewy smell was still present, as were the bugs. When i opened our bar fridge, the previous guests left over foods (which stunk) were left in the fridge; I guess housekeeping doesn't clean the fridges.

In summary, the Rio Celeste Hideaway might be suitable for a 1 night stay if you want to hike Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano National Park, but no longer than that. I considered checking out earlier. This place is trying to copy Nayara Spa and Resort in La Fortuna, which is beautifully amazing, but Rio Celeste Hiedaway has a lot to learn from Nayara. I was surprised to learn that this place is only 2-3 years old; seems older. There are a lot of other places in the area that may be cheaper; this place is not worth the price.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country and lots of fun. I highly recommend Nayara, plus it is La Fortuna where all the tours are.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AMANDAGDP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AngeloZaragovia, Gerente at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, responded to this review, 10 April 2013
We would like to begin by thanking you for allowing us to serve you during your trip to our beautiful corner of Costa Rica, the Tenorio National Park.
We greatly appreciate your bringing these matters to our attention so that we can improve the service we deliver to our guests. The problems you experienced at our resort are very disappointing to us and fortunately they are not issues that other guests have experienced since we fully revamped the hotel last year. Please accept our apologies and our assurance that we are doing everything within our power to make sure they do not happen again.
We want you and all of our valued guests to be aware that we employ a meticulous policy about cleaning up dry leaves as well as emptying the roof gutters. However, it is often right after a storm where the dead leaves tend to appear throughout the resort, and it may take us a bit longer than usual to re-manicure the hotel grounds. We use dehumidifiers to remove any odor from moisture, any remaining humidity can be removed by leaving the air conditioning on for a short while. We are inspecting the air conditioning systems of the two rooms you stayed in and will replace or repair the machines as necessary. Given the fact that the hotel is located in the middle of a pristine primary Rain Forest we have not been able to find a way to offer wireless internet in all of the rooms without disturbing our surrounding unspoiled nature.
We take great care to ensure our rooms are sealed and secure from insects, and as such we are dismayed that you experienced pests within your room. It is very unusual that you experienced this and we have had our maintenance staff inspect every room several times to take any further precautions to ensure all rooms are bug-free. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the shortcomings you experienced during your stay. Hopefully, your displeasure with our resort was somewhat mitigated by the upgrade you received to a deluxe suite. We have taken this matter very seriously and addressed it with the entire staff. We hope you will give us another chance to serve you. Thanks again and please feel free to contact me with any further questions.
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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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