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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
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Reviewed 11 March 2018

I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel. I loved the fact that it is a small property and the walk to the beach just takes a minute or two. All the staff were warm and friendly and helpful. The food was good. We went on several excursions set up by Monkey Tours and they were great! The water pressure and temperature was inconsistent. There seemed to be a shortage of linens especially facecloths. Aside from those items, it was ok. I would not hesitate to recommend this property to people who are looking for a small and quiet hotel.

Room Tip: Request a room on the opposite side from the construction. If you want two big beds, you have to request them.
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank pillar2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thaddeus H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2018

Dear pillar2018,

Thank you very much for sharing your travel experience with others here on Tripadvisor. We are glad you were able to enjoy your stay and can assure you I will be personally investigating with housekeeping team to make sure we are stocking all is needed in the rooms, once again we thank you for your candid response and we encourage you to join us hopefully in the near future.

Pura Vida

Kind regards,
Thaddeus Hoffmann - Villas Playa Samara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2018 via mobile

We arrived in to Liberia and found the airport to be very clean and the customs folks very welcoming, the Air Canada representative from Swiss Travel and the mini bis driver were both very nice to speak with and the driver was not a crazy driver. The drive take two hours or more if it is in the afternoon, when more vehicles, horses and pedestrians are on the roadways, lot of twists, turns and lush landscape to take in of not during the dry season. Hotel has a welcoming main gate, construction was evidently immediately upon entering the main gate - which I had already read about from other Trip Advisor reviews, lobby was quaint, small open air, we were met with welcome drinks and a hot towel. There were 3 doing check ins an it didn't take long, our bags were delivered to the room. In general we found the workers to be friendly, like many have stated there are areas that require attention and improvements for sure, somethings are a little dated, the gym equipment is essentially not functioning, there were no entertainment staff, or events during the day, the buffet while small was typically tasty food, I did find various stations if nobody was at the pool bar, or omelet grill in the mornings, the person posted to that station frequently left their post, that said as it is a small, quiet property, there workers could be seen working other task. There was food out in the buffet for snack time and far longer hours than advertised which was good, some days lunch was buffet and other days a la carte, with some items not available. We had the basic economy room with the deal for the kids, it had been renovated, bed, pillows and linens were very comfortable and the room and property itself, very quiet, the bar does close at 11 PM. We met some really nice folks from Canada and of course they was lots of loud, demanding, obnoxious Americans, thankfully for short durations. There were some locals staying there on weekend deals, they were also friendly and nice to talk to. There were not any activities for young children, a small section of one end of the pool was good for the little ones. There was some construction noise during the day, but with in a couple of hours after sunset, work would be completely stop, depending on the stage of the construction this will change. The beach was very deep at low tide. You can walk to town during low tide down the beach, be cautious around the stream/brook/river towards town, there is an alligator or crocodile living there. We found people in town in the friendly enough and never felt unsafe, or threatened in anyway, it is also a cheap cab ride to or from town. We did n excursion from the Air Canada Flight, again Swiss Travel, the Palo Verde tour, where we got to see lots of local wildlife.

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thaddeus H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2018

Thank you very much for sharing the travel experience you had with here at Trip Advisor. We are glad you and your family were able to enjoy your stay and can assure you I will be personally investigating with Food & Beverage team to make sure we are stocking all is needed in both restaurants, once again we thank you for your candid response and we encourage you to join us hopefully in the near future.

Pura Vida

Kind regards,
Thaddeus Hoffmann - Villas Playa Samara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2018

This resort is not as seen on the web, or various vacation brochures. A lot of the pictures shown on this site are very outdated. My sister and I took an all inclusive package for one week in February, and were never told about the major construction going on right beside our hotel and all through the long entrance driveway. Our lobby was alongside a dusty gravel lot with green construction screen fences leading up to it. There is a new sister hotel being built right next door (Azura Beach Resort Samara)and looks a long way from being finished. People had actually been booked into it for February but it isn't open yet.There was all day (from early morning to late evening) banging, drilling, sawing, and large construction vehicle noise, as well as grit and dirt in the air at our hotel, by the pool and by the outdoor restaurant. They didn't even stop work on the weekend. Our transfer from airport to hotel was over 2 hours long. This hotel was not in a good location for a lot of the big excursions such as to the Arenal Volcano or Monte Verde, being about a 3+ to 4 hour drive to reach these destinations. The room we were assigned had one king bed, not 2 beds as requested before our trip. The room was only a lock-out bedroom from a villa and had a hand-painted sign for it's number. There was no actual paving stone walkway to the entrance door; we had to drag our suitcases through a narrow opening in the hedge and across dirt and lawn to reach the door. Nobody at the front desk had offered to take our bags to our room. It was NOT a deluxe room as we had been promised. It was a very old and grimy un-renovated room near the beginning of a main walkway close to the busy pool and restaurant (not a preferred location). The room was dingy, dirty, and way past it's best-before date, with a disgusting old bathroom with mold around the dirty window edges and nasty shower, counter, and floor; maintenance had to come three times to get us hot water, and there was very little water pressure for a shower. We vehemently requested to move to another room that first afternoon, but were told by Max at the front desk that we would have to wait a day or two because the hotel was overbooked and at full capacity. The room had no ceiling fan, mini fridge, or TV, no radio or phone, and the ceiling was cracked and sagging over our headboard. There was no place to sit in our room other than the bed. For 2 days we had no bath mat and only one hand towel for the 2 of us.The tiny hotel lobby had only one small dirty couch and two uncomfortable leather rockers. We could never get the front desk to break a U.S.$20.00 or U.S.$10.00 bill for tips, asking on several occasions (nor would the on-site store). We had to get pool towel cards at least 8 times because they were always out of clean ones. Each room in the hotel had it's own file in a file cabinet behind the front desk, and every time an employee looked for our file to give us a pool towel card, there wasn't even a file in the cabinet for our room. We wondered if this room was even meant to be rented out to a guest (especially with the hand-painted room #31A sign which looked like an afterthought). By the end of our week they had added our room to the file for room #17 in the cabinet. Because we kept asking, we were finally offered a tiny renovated room away from the busy area of the hotel, but it still only had one bed. We had arrived at the hotel on Thursday, and got moved to the new room late on Sunday afternoon. The entrance door had a 1/2" gap under one side and large ants constantly marched in under our door. One evening we killed 13 large ants by our bed. The room safe was so high up in the small closet that we had to stand on tip-toes to just get our fingers into the very front of it. I am 5'9" (tall) and had to jump up and down at check-out to try and see into it without success. There was nowhere to put our stuff in the bathroom as the counter was very small and had no shelf or drawer under it. There wasn't even a hook on the bathroom door. Our toilet area had a very foul odor like sewage. While walking around through the resort we saw the maintenance workers trying to sort out some problems with the septic tanks and could smell the nasty odours in a few outside areas. My sister made the mistake of walking up through the green area between the villas where the septic tanks were and went ankle deep in some oozing smelly brown seepage that splashed all the way up her legs. The pool was grimy on the edges and had no hand railing anywhere for safe entry. The tiles in the pool were sharp on the edges. The Jacuzzi jets did not work. One morning while eating breakfast outside we witnessed an employee wiping down ALL the pool lounges and tables with a filthy wet pool towel which he never rinsed (wiping bird droppings and sticky drink residue). For medical emergencies there should be a pay phone near the lobby; not everyone is carrying smart phones yet, and it should not be assumed. The restaurant and lobby area is pitch black late at night and abandoned. The only security guards we ever saw was in the daytime at the beach and at the main gate, way out by the road. We witnessed two incidents where the beach security guard had to be called because people were actually fighting about the lack of beach lounges, and taking them even though someone had reserved them with their towels (we refuse to do reserve them like some people do.). On two occasions we could not find a beach lounge. The TINY lobby bar was always sticky and dirty and insufficient for the # of guests. Beverage service at the dinner tables was on again/off again and the tiny lobby bar was the only bar open after the pool bar closed, and had to service the buffet diners, the a la carte diners, and the people just sitting listening to the entertainment. The employees were looking stressed and unable to give good service to the large groups that were there. There were long line ups and waits at the pool bar and tiny lobby bar.The safe food handling at the buffet was not the best; a lot of times there were no tongs for the bread or cold items and people had to pick things up with their hands. There were bugs on some of the uncovered food. There was no butter for 3 days. There were very few selections for a vegetarian at the buffet (neither of us are vegetarian but my late husband had been one). The a la carte restaurant had little atmosphere and seated about 34 people max. Each of our two times there they were out of several items from their limited menu. Even though the food was tasty and they were out of our planned choices, we ended up going back to the buffet after eating there. In the middle of the night we had no water to wash our hands on 3 separate occasions (it happened at both rooms we were in.) There is no business center at the resort and nowhere to use a hotel computer to do your online 24 hour check-in for the flight home. Our package was supposed to give us inclusive bicycles, boogie boards, non-motorized water sports, 10% Spa discount and a guided stand-up paddle board tour. We were told by Max at the front desk on check-in that we would get NONE of that. We didn't feel that the hotel staff or the destination Rep. had any empathy about our problems and complaints. There is no free shuttle to the very close village of Samara - you have to take a taxi, and there is no free shuttle to the very close neighbouring beach Playa Carillo. After years of extensive travel by both of us, we usually have fairly low expectations in certain warm climate destinations, but this experience was extremely disappointing and far below what we had hoped for on our first visit to Costa Rica.

Room Tip: Get a Renovated room! Get away from the construction!
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank nemtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thaddeus H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2018

Dear nemtex,

Thank you very much for your candid review of your recent stay at our hotel. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us. I greatly appreciate your comments about aspects of the room that need updating, and we will be taking great care of our charming hotel, our main priority is to be able to offer a very well-maintained and comfortable atmosphere. I hope that I can convince you to change your mind about another visit to our property. Please reach out to me directly at [guestservice@villasplayasamara] if you would be willing to give us a chance to turn your experience around. It would be such a pleasure to personally welcome you back to our new and improved hotel!

Pura Vida

Kind regards,
Thaddeus Hoffmann - Villas Playa Samara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2018

The Good: The majority of the staff are fantastic very hard working, Thaddeus, Victoria, Javier, Frolan, Eduardo, Danny, Ronal are stand outs. And honourable mention goes to Andrey who got me onto wifi after not being able to connect for 48 hours.
The Bad: If you get an older room, you get a lovely beach view but no TV, no fridge, no chair, no lamps that work...we had them fixed then they broke again. And an ant and mosquito super highway into your bathroom. I woke up the first morning and my toothbrush was covered in little tiny ants that led from he window around the shower across the wall and onto the counter.
The Ugly: Check your towels because they are not always clean and the mades only make the bed they do not sweep the floors or wipe down the counters. Hence ants.

We were here for 4 nights with Monkey Tours Costa Rica. Our package through Monkey Tours included breakfast only for 4 days. On arrival we were told we could upgrade to all inclusive for $50US per day per person but did not include dinner not he first night which made no sense to me as we were swapping out 4 free breakfasts for a total of 8 meals total including drinks. Nope we had to pay the $27US pp for that first dinner buffet. The food was good there was a good variety every day and you could go to the Al la Carte restaurant every 3 days. Which I found out from Thaddeus but not Max or Andrey who checked me in. They had great entertainment during the dinner time but after that it was dead. There is no entertainment during the day for the kids other then the media room. No poolside games or anything. It is roughly a 25 minute walk along the beach to the town in low tide. 45 mins in high tide as it is a rockery walk. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing resort where everything is in close proximity this is the place. Lots of offsite tours to choose from. If you are looking for more excitement at night or pool side go elsewhere.

Room Tip: Ask for a "new" room.
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank WendyBDob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thaddeus H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2018

Dear WendyBDob,

Thank you very much for your candid review of your recent stay at our hotel. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us, as we strive to improve with each and every day. I greatly appreciate your comments about aspects of the room that need updating. It is a pleasure to announce that we will be implementing many of these upgrades to the property within the next couple of months, and we will taking great care of our charming hotel, our main priority is to be able to offer a very well-maintained and comfortable atmosphere. I hope that I can convince you to change your mind about another visit to our property. Please reach out to me directly at [guestservice@villasplayasamara] if you would be willing to give us a chance to turn your experience around. We hope to see you soon.

Pura Vida

Kind regards,
Thaddeus Hoffmann - Villas Playa Samara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2018

My group returned from Hotel Villas Playa Samara last week and it was an amazing week! The staff is what made my stay so incredible! We had Ever help us with many fun tours which included: Zip lining, Surfing and ATVing! Ever made sure to accommodate our group and see that our experience was everything we wanted and more! He even helped us everyday to get the proper amount of cabs for the number of people we had! Ever was our go to guy for the week! Our instructors on our tours were phenomenal as well! Andre did a great job taking us through the town on Side by sides. Jefferson was an amazing surf instructor and Melvin was a great tour guide for zip lining!

The spa is also a very nice place to relax at the hotel. I had two packages done by Betzabe which were both so relaxing and enjoyable.

The days we weren't on excursions we spent by the pool, we were very entertained by Marco and Louis, the bartending staff! They made many yummy drinks and creations for us! They were both so friendly, and made our days in the pool very nice!

The food was very good and had a decent amount of variety!

Overall this vacation was definitely one to remember! Such incredible service, beautiful beaches, decent sleeping arrangements and much more!

I would recommend this hotel to many of my friends! I also plan on going back in the near future due to such an amazing atmosphere of amazing people!

Room Tip: Gorgeous villas with an amazing beach view!
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Victoria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thaddeus H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Villas Playa Samara, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2018

Dear Victoria B

Thank you very much for your wonderful review and for sharing your experience with others here on Trip Advisor. We are continually trying to improve our services and we loved to hear you had a good time with us. Thank you for staying at the Villas Playa Samara once again and we hope to see you next trip!

Pura Vida

Thaddeus Hoffmann - Villas Playa Samara

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