Hotel Villas Playa Samara

4.0 star rating

Quality accommodation with a variety of facilities and services.

    What to expect (based on 1124 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-3.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-3.5

    Service

    Service-3.5

    Value

    Value-3.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    Warm place on Pacific ocean

    Reviewed by claudelaferriere(Gatineau, Canada) on Apr 11, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    All inclusive very nice place with a great beach on the Pacific ocean. Pool with a bar; stay in the shade, water is very hot. There is however only one restaurant a la carte, and you can go there only once. On the other hand, the buffet is complete; you can even have omelettes prepared for you at breakfast. Good choice of day tours on the ground and on the ocean, including deep sea fishing. We walked on the beach to the village of Samara (40 minutes), worth it.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4

    Service

    Service-4

    Had to stay here with tour group

    Reviewed by RHtravels(Rocky Hill, Connecticut) on Apr 01, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			2
			 out of 5

    We did not choose this hotel since it was part of Costa Rica Monkey tours "resort" and they had a tour desk here to upsell excursions. If you have a choice, stay elsewhere. We arrived at 2pm and were told that check-in was 3pm so we had to wait for our rooms to be ready (poor planning on tour group's part as there should have been a stop en route or a secure location to store luggage upon arrival rather than on the lobby floor). We were the last people in our tour group to get our rooms at 4pm so we were forced to hang out in the lobby and watch our luggage. We had 2 rooms, 1 with a king bed and 1 with 2 queen beds. The room with the queen beds was OK, but the room with the king bed was unacceptable. The couch in the room was falling apart and stained. The curtains were ripped, mismatched and stained. The closet shelves were falling out of the wall so we had no place to store our luggage except the floor, where there were hundreds of ants. There was a broken faux sink shelving unit (basin with no water attached)area where the refrigerator was stored under that I'm not sure why remained in the room as it served no purpose. When I went to take a shower after swimming, the shower head did not stay on the adjustable bar so you had to use it as a hand held, however there was a hole in the tubing on the backside so that meant spraying the entire bathroom with water in order to shower. When I went to get into the bed, the sheets and pillowcases were stained and dirty. That was the final straw- we went to go to the desk but there was nobody there. We walked over to the hotel next door, Hotel Azura, to see how much it would cost to stay there because there was no way I was sleeping in that room. A man named Max was working there and my husband noticed that he was working at our hotel earlier in the day. We told him about our problem and he came back with us to our hotel desk and checked what other rooms they had open and told us there were 5 other rooms available and he could show them to us. The first room he took us to was like night and day. The room was updated and the sheets were clean, so we took that room. Why would a hotel give out a room that isn't fit for accommodation when another room is available???? Clearly that room was slated for renovation, so it should have been the last room to be provided for guests. Kudos to Max for going out of his way to help us and also help move us to the new room. We were talked into getting the all-inclusive option at check-in and told we could eat whatever food we wanted and get unlimited drinks. We were upset to learn that we could only eat at the buffet. When our entire tour group complained, we were allowed to eat one night at the on-site sit-down restaurant for the 8:15pm seating. There were only 4 other diners at that time, so I'm not sure why they force people to eat the sub-par buffet when they could have accommodated all guests for a much better dining experience. The people setting up the buffet were typically at least 5 minutes late for the start of meal times and were unfriendly. I'm sure it is annoying having people stare at you while trying to set up the buffet, but they could have smiled and said "I'm sorry, we will be ready shortly" instead of looking angry that people were hungry.Perhaps management should move the meal times up a half-hour. The bartender that seemed to always be on duty was not friendly at all. I know he was busy making drinks all day and night, but a smile or two may have helped fill his tip cup and make the guests stay here enjoyable. The hotel location was good, although I was not a fan of the water at this beach, but the hotel was on the beach and the sunsets were lovely here. The hotel grounds were pretty and the paths were kept clean. The pool could have been cleaned a bit more often since there were bugs and debris in the pool throughout the day, but the water temperature was perfect and there were plenty of chairs (few shaded areas/umbrellas). They also could have used a few trash cans around the pool area so we didn't have to walk far to discard trash and keep the hungry birds away. The hotel has potential to be a "resort", due to the location, but service and food quality needs to be greatly improved here.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-3

    Location

    Location-4

    Service

    Service-1

    Shoutout to Mari and Kevin

    Reviewed by chs2369(New York City, New York) on Mar 27, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    My friend and I checked into the resort for the latter half of our trip with Monkey Tours. What struck me initially was the meticulous grooming of the grounds the entire time we were there – no litter in sight and the walkways were always pristine! …if only I could say the same for the housekeeping. Other than making our beds every day, I’m not entirely sure what was done. We spotted a couple stains in our sheets that clearly weren’t replaced throughout our stay until we threw them on the floor (lo siento!). Towels won’t be replaced unless they are on the ground as well. The front desk has a great system of replacing your pool towels with new ones when you return the old. While the villas themselves are a bit bare boned, you’re not spending much time in them – you’re there to enjoy the beach, so we were able to overlook this. While the resort itself is a bit further from town (30min walk along the beach, 5min drive), its seclusion is what makes it the most relaxing. We woke up super early on our first day to claim some beach chairs in fear that they would all be taken by noon, but that was never the case! If the beach is not for you, there’s also a pool located in the heart of the resort. There’s only three umbrellas by the pool for shade, which always seemed to be taken, but plenty of trees around for coverage as well. There’s a pool bar that also has shade and is open for all ages! You’ll be surrounded with people drinking mojitos (guilty), beers, and kids drinking fun milkshakes. Why not try a shot of Cacique (traditional CR liqueur) while you’re at it – we did! While the all-inclusive package seems nice, the food at the resort is sub-par and you could get much better quality at the same price by going into the town of Samara. The first night, we got in a bit late and opted to eat at the restaurant on site for a $37 buffet… needless to say, we didn’t go back – breakfast was decent though! Following Mari’s recommendation, we decided to walk along the beach into town earlier in the day (9am) before the sun got too hot and we are so glad we did! The rays are unbearable from 11am – 2pm and you will be running for shade (don’t forget your sunscreen!). It took 3 tries, but I learned that the locals do not know the word ALOE, they actually have a different word for it: sábila. Lo Que Hay and Casa Maxou were great for lunch – don’t forget to grab a coffee from Bohemia Café! There was a cute stand on the side of the street by the soccer field where Marvin sells pipa fria (coconut water) for 500 colones – very cool to watch him take a machete to a coconut before serving with a straw! I would recommend Gusto Beach and Locanda for dinner; both were amazing. There are also a few supermarkets in town where you can buy your normal day-to-day necessities (2L of water for 1,200 colones!). Mostly our time at Villas Playa Samara was made so much more enjoyable and memorable due to Mari and Kevin. They were both so friendly and felt like old friends! Mari provided us with the best restaurant recommendations: Gusto Beach ftw (we went twice)! Kevin kept the drinks and laughs flowing while we were at the pool – and didn’t judge us for starting at 11am! I told him once how I love Pitbull and immediately an entire playlist of his hits came on through the pool speakers. All the staff we encountered during our stay were friendly, but these two were exceptional and really went above and beyond to make sure we had the best vacation in Samara! Pura vida!

    Individual ratings:

    Service

    Service-5

    Value

    Value-3

    Family Surf Trip

    Reviewed by ToeSideToronto(Toronto) on Mar 23, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    We have 3 children under 10 and have been chasing a family surf trip for years but haven't found a great place for the whole family. We finally succeeded. All three kids got up on a board by themselves and my husband was able to catch nearby advanced waves almost every day. Be warned though, if you're reading reviews that say there are waves right out front of the hotel it's no longer true. An earthquake raised the reef so the only waves come in the bay right in front of Playa Samara town and only at high tide. The bay is about a 25 minute walk from the resort but we just loaded up our boards and drove the 10 minutes. Parking was free and easy. The town is super safe. We left our things on the beach unattended many time without incident and I stupidly left my bank card in the atm machine on our last day. Instead of emptying my account, the young local man chased me down the street to return my card to me. We were so grateful! Restaurants in Playa Samara were pricy but REALLY good. Food at resort was okay - not a lot of selection but that's to be expected of a smaller resort. We are vegetarians and vegans. This was challenging although they had fruit, salads, rice and vegetables with every meal. We could taste the butter on the rice and one day the vegetable dish was full of bacon. Sigh. So expect to eat pretty much the same thing every day if you're vegan. There was a noticeable lack of chocolate! Not a single chocolate desert in our 2 week stay! Staff were a mixed bag of really friendly & helpful and resentful & useless. Wifi was off and on most our our trip. Had some issues with the room. Balcony door (easily accessible from stairs) wouldn't close and lock properly, when they tried to fix it they smashed the glass completely so had to move us. The safe was out of batteries and we had to ask multiple times about everything before anything was done about it. Cleaning staff weren't friendly and one day I asked them to change the sheets, they just brushed the sand off and remade bed with same dirty linen. Another guest hit our little girl in the face with a plate by accident and cut open her eye. There was a lot of blood. When I went to the front desk to ask for a first aid kit the woman looked at me like I was crazy to be bothering them with something like that and just shrugged her shoulders. A man eventually come out of the restaurant with one and we were able to sort her out. Luckily we had a medical professional with us. I read complaints that there is no shade. While a few more umbrellas would definitely be good, this isn't the case, we were able to find shady spots around the pool everyday with a view to keep an eye on the kids. Some were under trees where birds liked to poop but it turned out fine. It's a nice pool and Kevin the pool bar staff was amazing. Biggest complaint was lack of water. No bottles in rooms and only place you can help yourself is in restaurant. Definitely bring your own water bottles from home to avoid dehydration.

    Individual ratings:

    Rooms

    Rooms-3

    Service

    Service-3

    Value

    Value-2

    Great potential if improvements continue

    Reviewed by Shirazfan(Ottawa, Canada) on Mar 19, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    We stayed at the Villas Playa Samara for two weeks, at the end of February and into March. It's a visually beautiful resort. The grounds are attractive and well-kept, with lots of flowers and greenery, and pathways bordered by floral hedges. The beach is as lovely as we've seen in Costa Rica. It's pure sand, beige in colour, a couple of miles long, and barely populated. We spent more time there than anywhere, and did most of our swimming in the warm ocean, protected from overly-large waves by a coral reef extending across the bay. It was hot and sunny every day, and the nightly sunsets were stunning. Our room was clean and quite modern, but sparsely furnished and in need of some repairs. The housekeeping lady made us feel very welcome, as she always left us fresh flowers in a vase by the bed, blossoms loosely strewn across our bed, and arranged artistically around the bathroom. There were clean towels when we needed them, but no more than the bare minimum of one bath-towel each, two hand-towels, and two facecloths. The bed was very comfortable and the air conditioner worked well, without any noise. The (empty) fridge worked well, but this is the first all-inclusive hotel we've seen that doesn't stock it with at least a couple of bottles of water. Most we've been to, in the past, supply beer and pop in the fridges too. Unfortunately, we were given one of the few Deluxe rooms without patio doors to some sort of porch area or balcony, with not even a pretense of a garden view. Our room faced the new hotel on the other side of the path dividing the two properties. We asked for a change, seeing as were were going to be staying there for 2 weeks, but were told we had to wait for a man named Max to be on duty, as nobody else had the authority. We waited until the next day, but never did get to meet Max. However, when the desk clerk phoned him to ask him, he refused to allow it - so we were stuck with a view of two air conditioners and the side of a building for the full 2 weeks. The first week we were there, we encountered several frustrating problems caused by poor management. It seemed as though all the owner's attention was focused on his brand-new-just-opened luxury resort next door, and the original hotel was suffering for it. While the food was tasty, there was hardly enough staff to work in the restaurant, there was a dire shortage of bowls, dishes, glassware, and cutlery, and they were regularly running out of everything - including some of the food. Tables were often left unwiped and unset, so we would have to find our own knives, forks, water, and other beverages before we could attend to the buffet. When I wanted soup, there were no bowls or spoons - I would have to find a staff person, and then wait until they brought me one. (That's one bowl, and one spoon - none set out for the next person who might come along wanting soup - they would have to request their own!). We figured that most of the staff and supplies must have been moved to the new sister hotel. It was the only explanation we could see for such extreme shortages. However, the staff members were very friendly and did their best considering there wasn't enough of them, they had little to work with, and they worked very long hours. Marie and Brian, at the reception desk, always greeted us with a big smile and friendly "Hola", and did their best for us in every way they could. Hesse and Walter, in the restaurant were two more who stood out for their friendliness and willingness to help. And Kevin, at the pool bar, did a great job of keeping all his customers happy - always cheerful no matter how busy he was. (They really need two bartenders working together at that bar in the afternoons.) During the second week, something must have shaken up the management, because, as the the days went by, we watched a transformation. We saw deliveries of supplies to the restaurant, additional staff added, new shade umbrellas for the pool area, and other very obvious improvements like properly-set tables with decorative centerpieces. We also saw more attention given to the upkeep of the swimming pool, which became noticeably cleaner. The overall service gradually became more organized. Whereas after the first week, we had said we'd never go back there again, we started to change our minds about that by the end of our second week. Other guests said they felt the same. New arrivals, who hadn't witnessed the previous problems, had nothing bad to say about the place. They were puzzled by the negative reviews they'd seen on Trip Advisor. And, by the time we were due to leave, we had decided that we might actually consider a repeat stay, especially if the improvements keep up as much they were when we left. The resort has many good things going for it, and potential for higher ratings, with proper management and some additional financial input. And we must admit that, on the whole, we enjoyed our vacation very much.

    Individual ratings:

    Location

    Location-5

    Service

    Service-3

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