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“Fabulously luxe but very patchy service; avoid the weekend”

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Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 March 2014

Poor signage meant we also took the 'back' road from the Bijagua side. Our so called 4x4 Hyundai had poor clearance and no power up the hilly and rocky road. With careful driving we made it to virtually the gates of the hotel then had the bad luck to run over a small piece of construction wire carelessly tossed aside and got the inevitable flat tire!

We arrived much earlier than check-in time so were pleased to be told our room would be ready in 40 minutes. We returned from the suggested trail down to the rio Celeste (lovely) 70 minutes later to repeated excuses and were kept hanging around for nearly another hour, which was irritating.

We eventually got delivered to our room (following another delay outside it as they went back to get the key they had forgotten) to find it was indeed highly luxurious and simply beautiful. The pool, hot tubs, bar, restaurant etc., all stunning. The gardens were very densely planted with exotic species - so much so there was no hope of bird watching, but it did mean privacy.

We tried to arrange the advertised 4-hour bird walk the next morning, followed by river tubing in the afternoon. They kept messing us around on the timings, duration of walk (reduced to an hour or so yet they still tried to charge the same amount for it until we complained) and basically wanted us to fit in with the guide's convenience not ours, so he did not have to wait to take us tubing after lunch. Several calls from reception later, we finally agreed to go tubing earlier to suit them. The bird walk started at 5.30am, which was a waste of an hour's sleep as we were waiting around in the road outside the lodge for ages before we got a sighting of anything. The birding was the poorest we experienced to date. The only time we saw anything was when we were invited into a local's garden and when we sneaked into the gardens of an adjacent hotel. The roadside tour of largely denuded land was a non-starter. The guide did not even have a scope, so no close-ups of those non-existent birds!! We grabbed some breakfast then we were off for our earlier than planned river tubing. Unfortunately the river was very low so rapids were just opportunities to get your tube stuck and have to struggle out and drag yourself over to a clear stretch. I did enjoy it nevertheless but my partner's tube was too big for her to properly brace herself over the rocks so a stiff neck and bruised bottom ensued. Lunch was included in the tubing, but because they made us do the trip early, we arrive at the restaurant just after 11.30 which was far too early to eat. We instead asked to be delivered back to the hotel, whereupon we later paid for our own lunch.

After the above very disappointing trips, we at least thought we would go and relax by the pool. Oh no we wouldn't! We arrived to find the whole pool area overrun with weekending Ticos who had claimed every lounger in sight and were busily having cocktails in the hot tubs or playing loudly with their kids in the pool. Fascinating watching the locals at play but not if you want to relax.

The restaurant did reasonable food, but it was very expensive. We understood why when we saw the enormous 'supersize me' portions, which to our European sensibilities was wasteful and very off-putting. Pricing was bizarre as well, with a huge piece of tuna costing much less than a plain bowl of pasta! Waiting staff were extremely obsequious, over-familiar, overbearing and unnervingly, ever-present. This contrasted sharply with the reception staff's indifference and ineptitude but neither approach was particularly welcome.

Overall, despite the luxury, this hotel left us cold. With 26 suites and a very large, busy restaurant it was not so much a 'hideaway' but party central, at least at weekends. The Tenorio area is developing rapidly and has been stripped of vast forest areas for both agriculture and tourism over recent years. Our guide told us that less than 15 years ago, it was impenetrable forest with no roads. We did not visit the park to do the hike to the famed Rio Celeste waterfall as the huge numbers of tour buses and queuing visitors put us off.

If you still fancy staying here - and it's sheer luxury and indulgence will appeal to many - come midweek and perhaps not in peak season! Also, try ordering one meal between two!

Room Tip: Rooms 15&16 are furthest away but the trail to the river runs between them so their terraces are...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Gail N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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355 - 361 of 855 reviews

Reviewed 26 March 2014

Overall our stay at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel was a positive experience. The villas were tucked into the beautiful rainforest with winding walkways and gardens leading to them. We had a few issues though that we felt others should be aware of. First, the signage to the hotel was poor. We ended up turning off too early and came in the back way. Little did we know it was a treacherous way to take to the resort. Second, the villas are lovely but our mattresses were very uncomfortable and wreaked of mold. We had to lay bath towels across the mattress to eliminate the very strong mold smell. The resort sits in a cloud forest which makes it susceptible to problems as such. We wondered if a de-humidifier would help at all in the rooms? Third, the food is mediocre at best and VERY expensive! The food service was inconsistent. One meal, the servers would be attentive and then another meal we would be neglected. Mind you, you are not a freedom to eat anywhere else. You're in a remote area with no restaurants near by. Fourth, we were not prepared as we should have been for hiking. We brought hiking shoes and pants, but we really needed to have tall rubber boots as the water and mud was thick on the hike to Rio Celeste. It would be nice to have the staff at least give an idea of what the hike entails. Even though we encountered the issues as stated above, we would return. The location is prime, the grounds enchanting. If RCHH could work on the above issues I would give it an excellent rating.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank dinastew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2014

Rio Celeste Hideaway is an exceptionally nice hotel. The layout provides excellent privacy while in your room, the rooms are flawlessly clean, and the hotel staff are friendly and very helpful. Three of us stayed 4 nights and took some guided tours led by excellent guides who were very skilled at spotting birds, howler monkeys and other wildlife. We used the pool every day, hiked the short trail down to the river for a dip in the water, and we enjoyed the excellent food.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank BBandS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

This is a MUST-See place! Situated in a cloud forest, the view of jungle from your deck is breath taking! The hike to the river is wonderful and full of sublime beauty.We woke to rain and I felt like I was in heaven! I was also able to enjoy a gluten-free breakfast!! The staff are great and the rooms are comfortable. The outdoor shower is simply brilliant! This spot is worth the bumpy road in!!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Lori K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

We recently got back from a five night stay at the Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel. As explained in other reviews, the road to the hotel is extremely bumpy, especially if you take the road from Bijagua. We hired a private transport from Liberia, and boy was it worth it! They did say they are working on the road and it will be much better soon. In fact, there were construction workers working on the road on the day that we left.

Once you make it to the hotel, you're relaxation begins immediately. Reception greets you with a cold tropical drink upon arrival. Then, the bellhop graciously takes your luggage from reception and drives you in a golf cart to your room. It's not very far, but still a nice touch after a long day of traveling.

The food was delicious. We had just about everything on the limited menu, but never got sick of it. It is slightly overpriced, but close to being on par with US prices should you go to a decent restaurant in the States. There aren't much for restaurant options in the area, other than two sodas at the entrance to Tenorio National Park, which is about 1.5 miles away. We went to one soda which was lovely, however, the owner spoke very little English, if any, but we got along fine with our limited Spanish vocabulary.

The service at the hotel was top notch, with special kudos going to Mauricio. He was very attentive and very friendly. All the servers, in fact, were very cordial and genuinely seemed to want to help you in any way they possibly could.

The property appeared clean, with attractive landscaping throughout.

The tours offered through the hotel were extremely overpriced. You would be better off setting up a similar tour of your own on your own after a short Google search. We did go on one excursion which was incredible, but again, very overpriced in my opinion, especially after searching similar tours on the internet.

All in all, we had a fantastic time and would like to return again some day. We will definitely recommend this hotel to our friends and family as a relaxing, quiet getaway.

Room Tip: We had a garden view casita (room 26) which was lovely, but the rainforest view rooms seemed more pr...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jeff K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Difficult to review. This resort is just beautiful, a feast for the eyes. Loved the outdoor shower, truly enjoyed the short hike to dip in the Rio Celeste on the grounds. Used the pool every day and the staff were quite friendly. Don't forget to tip the housekeepers -- they will take good care of you. Quite expensive and much poshier and stuffier than what I am used to when I travel. You will feel pretty pampered. We were surprised that the bathtub had mold around the grout and some of the roofing tiles on the cabanas were rotted. Is it possible the place isn't doing well enough to keep up with the maintenance? The food was okay and expensive ($18 hamburger? really?), much fancier than most in the country, and the type of dishes were not locally inspired. Our server Janette was wonderful...very happy to help us learn more Spanish. The sodas nearby close by 6pm or so, so you need to go out and eat early if you don't want to eat at the resort. But it is a very romantic hideaway if you're comfortable in that pampering environment.

Room Tip: Room 19 is beautiful with a private deck.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank a2z_travelerSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

I was with a group of photographers, and we stayed two lovely nights. The rooms are beautifully appointed, with a balcony facing the jungle, a lovely bathroom, an indoor and outdoor shower. The outdoor shower is private but a piece of heaven. The food was very good, but the service in the restaurant was slow. I would recommend it and go back.

Room Tip: I'm sure any room would be lovely.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank RobertaKayne
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

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: £97 - £237 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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