Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort

3.5 star rating

This hotel is rated between 3 and 4 stars. 3 star - Standard accommodation with basic facilities and limited services. 4 star - Quality accommodation with a variety of facilities and services.

    What to expect (based on 1528 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4

    Location

    Location-4

    Rooms

    Rooms-3.5

    Service

    Service-3.5

    Value

    Value-3.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    March Break and Covid 19 travels

    Reviewed by Reina M() on Mar 24, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    After reading reviews, I have had reservations about going to Villas Sol. My family, 2 teens and spouse, are avid travellers. We have been all over the Caribbean, Panama, Belize, Nicaragua, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, US., cruises …etc. We have experienced a number of all-inclusives from 3 to 5 stars. I’ll try to detail our experience at Villas Sol-this is a unique experience since we arrived before travel advisories for Covid 19 and left just before Costa Rica closed it’s borders to all non-nationals and residents on March 18, 2020. On the whole, our time at Villas Sol was amazing and we had a great time. Sunwing flight and transportation: We left on time at 8am (EST). The flight attendants ensured that we all remained hygienic and we wiped all our surroundings. Aside from some turbulence, the flight was uneventful. We arrived on time (11am CST) and going through customs was efficient and the baggage was already set-up and ready to go. Our Sunwing Rep, Alexis Brenes, had us immediately on our private bus, with a really nice driver named Carlos. Within 20 minutes we had arrived at Villas Sol. Since we arrived prior to the 3pm Check-in, we had an opportunity to explore the beach, the grounds and the buffet restaurant. The Grounds: The grounds are shared with CondoVac and timeshare Villas. Everyday, there was maintenance crew that always trimming hedges and cutting the steep lawns. The resort is a bit outdated, however, for traveling during March break, we felt we had a good deal for Costa Rica. There is a tennis court and a small basketball court on the grounds. Even though we are very physically fit, the resort has a lot of steep hills so we took advantage of the rotating shuttle service-making sure we used the Villas Sol shuttle and not the CondoVac. All the drivers were great, and Brian was always there with a great smile and friendly conversation. The shuttle service included the beach, the hotel and the lobby and he even drove us outside the gates for our excursions meet-up points when needed. There are some cute cats that were always outside the restaurant and there were some daring Jays that would come by and steal food off your plates if you weren’t looking. The pools were well maintained and the bar staff were friendly and readily available to freshen your drinks. My husband enjoyed the local beer and the alcoholic drinks were not “over’ rummed. Room: We had a great room, 2209, that was corner room that had an amazing view of the ocean and we happened to be right beside a Wi-fi hub so we had great connectivity and Wi-fi is free, to much our teens appreciation. It was great to see the sunset from your room when needed. We had 2 Double beds, with a medium firmness which is clean with 4 pillows per bed, bar fridge and desk. Again the rooms were outdated, however were always kept clean. There were 4 of us in the room and we felt, with creativity, we had enough room for all our clothes and extra stuff. The balcony had enough room for 4 chairs (we asked for extra) and we were able to dry our bathing suits when needed. The bathroom was spacious and had a walk-in shower. We asked for extra shampoo since my daughters and I have long hair. Playa Hermosa Beach: This is a volcanic dark sand beach. We took advantage of the shuttle, that allowed us to carry all our beach gear-from our hotel room to the beach. There are chained lawn chairs that are covered by the Palm trees. A volleyball net is set-up and there are tidal pools that are near the mountains as well. Since we visited during the Covid 19 pandemic, the beach was pretty empty. There are some small “Soda” restaurants that offer meal entrees that can run about $10CDN. Wear your sandals to the water since the beach mid-day can be very hot on the feet. There was some people selling on the beach, since tourism is a form of income for these people, I gave out some spare change just to help these people out in light of Covid 19. Restaurant: My husband and one daughter are strict vegetarians and have found a number of options for their dietary restrictions. In addition, they had labels that also ensured gluten-free options for those who may have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. We loved the gallo pinto (beans and rice), the variety of meats and the fresh fruit and veggies. They also had fresh fruit juices. The restaurant overlooked the ocean and when social distancing was activated in Costa Rica, the service staff implemented the distances between guests. The main pool snack shack, had hotdogs, burgers and nachos for the mid-day options. Helionias Restaurant was offered with our inclusive package and the food was a la carte and the options were varied and delicious. Everyday was a themed menu at the buffet and staff ensured good turnover of the food-the chef seemed to be checking on it all the time. Continental breakfast started at 6am and hot breakfast started at 7am-10am. Lunch was 12pm-3pm and Dinner was 6-10pm. Excursions: We love exploring the countries that we visit and of course Costa Rica is not an exception. Typically, I would like to use a local company for my excursions, however, with Covid 19, the Canadian dollar was not strong against the US Dollar. On the resort, Wanderlust is the business that operates there. The prices are reasonable, especially with US$ prices, typically all prices are higher than most Central American countries, however you are in a cleaner, safer country than most Latin countries. Due to the poor Canadian exchange, I ended up buying the excursions online. Sometimes, it is 10% cheaper to buy on Sunwing flight, however not all excursion options are offered as they are on-line. We chose to purchase three excursions; however, one was canceled due to Covid 19. At that time, we were fortunate to arrange for a private tour. Buena Vista Excursion at Rincon: We had originally had booked the Borinquen excursion with Sunwing. Online it was about $CDN190pp (reasonably priced since it would be about $US100 without transportation), however it was an excursion that could be cheaper on the flight. Since we had been initially traveling with Covid 19 pandemic, they had to amalgamate Borinquen with the Buena Vista Excursion. We met our pickup bus at 8am (they were about 1/2 hr late) and with a small drive, we met with a larger bus with others from other hotels-there was about 30 people then (not great with Covid 19). Amstar seems to be the company heading the tour. We had a great guide, Pablo, who explained our journey and we passed through Liberia. Victor was a great driver who kept us safe as he maneuvered the bus. We started with an explanation of how sugarcane is made into rum with Tico traditional methods. Then we got to try Guipipia coffee and had it made with the Tico “coffee-maker” and the corn pastries were pretty good. Finally we watched pottery made via traditional methods. At this point, there was an option for people to do either a canopy walk or zip-lining, there was a small hike involved. Our family chose the zip-line which had about 7 runs. We have zip-lined around the world, and this was pretty good to view the mountains and the valleys that are in the surrounding area. Our kids had a great time with the 425 m waterslide that snaked through the mountain and we chose the “Tsumani” level which helped make the experience totally memorable. For women you would be asked to wear a “leather” diaper if wearing a bathing suit to ensure proper sliding down the slide (you can wear water shorts if you have them). The Tico buffet lunch was great and very filling-there was vegetarian options as well. At this time, we got a chance to see some sloths up a nearby tree. We got dressed and had a fun time horseback riding and looking at the monkeys and the mountains. Now there is a lot of up/down; however the horses are well-maintained and mild mannered. I was an equestrian rider and found the horses easy to manage. There was an option for a tractor ride for those who didn’t want to ride the horses and any excess carry-ons could also be loaded on the tractor. At the end of the ride (about 30-45 min), we took a trail that led us to Borinquen falls and that was amazing to see. Hiking out was a bit dusty but manageable if you are in reasonable shape. We had a 10 min steep walk to Pacaya Waterfall Hot springs. We started off with a sauna (even though it was a 36C day), coating ourselves with volcanic mud, drying out then having the mud rinsed/hosed off. We explored the 5 rustic natural spring pools that had various temperatures. It was very relaxing, especially that the view of the mountains and the brooks around was spectacular. After a quick change, we tractor back to our bus and had a quiet ride back to our hotel. There was an opportunity at the bus transfer to buy souvenirs at Tio Leo store. Tenorio White-water rafting Excursion: This was another Sunwing excursion that costs about $CDN180pp. This was not offered on the Sunwing flight. The price was $US135 normally. Our driver was Jose and he drove the big bus on Highway 1. Our guide was Jose Corea, he pointed out some howler monkeys and anteaters on our travels. Jose C. was great to work with and was very informative. Again due to Covid 19, there was a small number of people, with only 14 people which normally would have 40-50 people at this time. Our safety instructor, Daniel “The Terminator” gave great instructions about the safety of the raft and water. The gear (helmet and PFD) seemed pretty sturdy and the rafts are in good shape. We endeavoured on our 22 rapids, 12 km water tour. We had so much fun with our raft guide, Luis Guillermo, and we felt safe and he instructed us when to paddle, when to duck, when to jump out etc. As it was also my birthday, Luis serenaded me with a beatbox version of the happy birthday song for me-very talented! The vista was amazing and the rapids were very thrilling. We started off with level 1-2 rapids and then took a break at the La Gato falls and had a great swim at the natural pool. The cliffs and the trees were all mesmerizing and then we did the level 3-4 rapids-of course “Baby Drop” and “The terminator” were my favourites. After having a quick snack, we took the bumpy road (Costa Rican massage) to the restaurant. We had the opportunity to buy the photos, my husband who is also a photographer found the shots very impressive, so we bought them for $US35. The Tico meal was again amazing, and there was also vegetarian options. This was my first time white water rafting and now I am looking forward to another adventure on the rapids and wouldn’t hesitate to use Tenorio services again! La Leona Excursion: We had received a recommendation for Alejandro (Alex) Fernandez at 4x4 Trippin Offroad (Eco Tour) from past clients. We are so glad that we had taken the recommendation. Alex picked us up at 8am and we had a comfortable ride in his 4x4. He was very educational on the surrounding environment such as the animals, birds and the Rincon volcano environment. My teens loved his adventurous nature and he pushed us to try climbing vines, bouldering, crawl into caves and swim in deep pools. We are a family that are in decent physical fitness and are all strong swimmers so this excursion was right up our alley. Alex taught us about the plants and insects in the area and had a great time walking through the rivers and jumping off cliffs into falls. This was definitely memorable for our family. La Leona falls is stunning and we also explored a new fall, let’s call it “Le Reinita” and was challenging to get to but was worth it. We had a late Tico lunch and was another delicious meal with a mouth savouring Mora (Blackberry) milkshake. Our drive home was relaxing since we were pretty tired from our very physical excursion. Arenal/La Fortuna Excursion: Originally we had this excursion booked with Sunwing ($CDN190pp); however, it had been cancelled due to lack of people now flying into CR due to Covid 19. Luckily, we had an excursion with Alejandro Fernandez at 4x4 Trippin Offroad (Eco Tour) where we went earlier to the La Leona safari excursion. He picked us up early at 7am and since Covid 19, there was no traffic on Highway 1. The drive was easy and he pointed out the sights along the way, windmill farms, valleys, vegetation and birds. He took the time to bring us to villages, and proudly explained his Tico culture. Arenal volcano was a bit cloudy but seems to be the normal at this time of the year. We then had a great time, to go to La Fortuna Falls, the admission price was a bit steep at $US18pp. We took about 500 stairs down to the base of the falls and had great pictures since hardly any people there. The foliage was breathtaking, and climbing the rocks/boulders around the water was a bit tricky. We walked along the river, and there was a lot of rainbow trout to see. We took our time taking the 500 stairs up, but was good for our exercise for the day. There was a butterfly farm and orchid garden that you can look at the top of the climb. We had a delicious lunch at Lava Lounge and we were the only people at the restaurant. Typically, this would be a popular lunch spot, but not this time. The owner also donates monies to rescue dogs. We entered Los Lagos Resort (1050 acres), which only charged $US17pp. It is a beautiful resort that allows access to the base of Arenal Volcano. We hiked up the trail to an abandoned church which allowed for picturesque photos. Then we had access to the 12 volcanic hot spring pools, which also had water slides. Normally, there would be 200-300 people there, however due to Covid there were only 15 people there and really quiet-we were the last people there before they closed the resort due to the pandemic. It was definitely a relaxing time and the jet beds and the massage falls were really therapeutic. The facilities were well maintained and the staff very helpful. We found this please very reasonably priced and perhaps we will try Tabacon hot springs next time. The resort also had a butterfly conservatory, frog area, crocodile and leaf-cutter ant farm. Our drive back to our hotel was relaxing and we also stopped off at a Soda and grabbed a snack. Alejandro was so informative and we had so much fun with him. Our teens learned so much from him. Staff: Everyone seemed pleasant! We found everyone quite helpful, from the cleaning staff to the souvenir staff, such as Raquel. The lobby staff was very helpful and picked up the phone when we needed fresh towels or more toilet paper. English was not a problem; however a bit of Spanish does go a long way. Again, the shuttle drivers were great and always were helpful and drove safely (in spite of all the hills), Brian you were awesome. I’d also like to send a special shout-out to our Sunwing Rep, Alexis Brenes-he was helpful and was amazing in communication when dealing with excursions and also with keeping us informed during the Covid 19 crisis. We relied on using the WhatsApp App, which is very helpful to communicate in this country without using your data. Alexis I’m sure is one of the hardest working Rep that I have ever met. He went the extra step by giving us a ride to a nearby beach (Coco beach) and gave us tips to use the government, “red taxi” since they have standard rates and will not overcharge. Covid 19: We had travelled just before the travel advisory to stay at home, this was before March break. When we had arrived we weren’t sure if there was less people at the resort due to the pandemic. As news unfolded (luckily we could access CNN, CBC etc), we soon realized that the world was shutting their borders. It felt surreal as we were enjoying this paradise and it seems that the world is falling apart out there. We have been fortunate that our Sunwing Rep, Alexis Brenes had been in constant communication and answered any questions we might have re: travel bans etc. (highly suggest you download and be prepared to use WhatsApp as before traveling as this is used by everyone we encountered in Costa Rica). We appreciate his help since there have been others on the resort who had no access to their reps and were left without any results. We even asked Alexis questions on other resort patrons questions. Luckily, we already had our returned flight since we had our charter Wednesday afternoon and got to leave just before Costa Rica closes its borders at midnight. The shuttle bus picked us up at 9am and was an easy 20 min drive to the Liberia airport. Customs and immigration was easy and although the airport was initially sparse it did pick up when the exodus of people leaving the country came in, since Liberia airport was to close later that day. This was a crazy time to travel but felt fortunate that we were able to experience the country, people and excursions without complications. We used the Canadian Declarations App to ensure the least amount time in the airport. This expedited us leaving Toronto. Customs gave a quick review about self-isolation and we were allowed to leave. We have abided to the 14 day self-isolation. Wrap-up: You can buy Colones to use as currency and things maybe slightly cheaper then; however, they also use the US dollar. There is a market just outside the gates that the locals like to go to, however, we never had a chance to go. We also took a “red taxi” to Playa del Coco beach, which was $US20 for one way. There is a shuttle from the hotel as well for $10USpp roundtrip, but the taxi was better for us since we can go on our own schedule. This has been on my bucket-list for a while and would easily return to Costa Rica again and would go to Villas Sol and Hotel.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-5

    Service

    Service-5

    Value

    Value-4

    If you don't require much and are in great physical shape, you might like this resort.

    Reviewed by Diana N(Millis, Massachusetts) on Mar 23, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    Villas Sol is quite far from the rain forest and other beautiful settings in Costa Rica, but if you've seen them already, then you'll probably enjoy this resort. If you have high expectations for the variety of dining options, you'll be disappointed. Only 2 restaurants and one was only open M - W - F night with limited seating requiring a reservation. Great Staff! Not at all handicap accessible. You need to be in great shape to hike up all of the stairs to get to dining or the pools. No WiFi in the rooms. And ungodly uncomfortable furniture. But still, it's a lovely setting. If you don't require much, give it a try.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-5

    Location

    Location-3

    Rooms

    Rooms-3

    Service

    Service-5

    Value

    Value-3

    Great resort and experience!

    Reviewed by PAULABeachBikeCruise(Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina) on Mar 18, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    We had a group of 10 who came on a diving trip and we had an excellent experience and great time. The staff got to know us and set up a big table for us at meals, the shuttle drivers were great at getting us to and from the beach for our dives. The food was delicious, (repetitive selections sometimes but we only had 2 meals out of the Resort so that says something!) and the bars were great. We did one tour through the tour desk and that was well done. It's a beautiful location and I would definitely return!

    Glad I didn't listen to the negative reviews. We had a wonderful experience

    Reviewed by chiefbluehawk(Onalaska, Wisconsin) on Mar 09, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    The clean rooms, good tour company, the restaurant workers, it really was very good. Restaurant offers a different themed buffet every night. I would say this resort would be geared for younger families or older couples...though the walking to the villas would be a challenge even when you take a shuttle. The beach is not too far away. The shuttle takes you right to it. The tour company on site is Wanderlust and Dilan was amazing to work with. We had different guides but Gabriel was our favorite. Other tour optionsIf you like to get into the nightclub scene-you may need to go to coco beach-shuttles are $10 roundtrip from Hermosa Beach to Coco Beach. There are other restaurants nearby Playa Hermosa and Villas Sol also has another restaurant that you need a reservation for, we tried the burgers/pizzas/ sandwiches at a snack area was good, a nice gift shop, and a mini mart. The views of ocean are amazing and we only had one small maintenance issue-our key plate got knocked off but someone came by fairly quickly. When we needed any extras from housekeeping they also were over in a proper waiting time. Was it the best all-inclusive I have stayed at? no, but it was quiet, and it was much better than some reviews. Bar had all kinds of booze, and they were NOT watered down. Themed meals were always enough food to choose from. Our wi-fi worked splendidly. Very good is probably a more accurate rating, but to hear some reviews it would be very difficult to rate this resort below average.

    Pretty good hotel, but potential dishonnest staff members

    Reviewed by JFQuessy(Joliette, Canada) on Mar 02, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    Very good hotel, pretty clean, nicely located. Most of the staff is smiling and really helpful. We had a trouble with our balcony door when we arrived and 5 minutes later, someone was in our room to repair it. The room (we had an upgraded one) was perfectly comfortable and air conditioning worked well. The shuttle service works great. Drinks are hard to beat, not too much sugared and tasted real fruits. Buffet is small, not very varied, but tastes pretty good and really did the job for us. You have to know that you won't have water, juice, coffee (except one), soft drinks in your fridge. Nothing. You'll have to refill your bottles by yourself. Also, no bar at the beach (2 days/7, a table was installed at the beach with juice and water). However, when we checked out, the woman at the front desk told us we had to pay an extra 50$US because two towels in our room had vomit and needed a special wash. What the hell??? The housemaid sent her a picture. That was totally absurd and we refused to pay because nobody had been sick among our family. She insisted a lot, said we had to pay. We still refused because that didn't make any sense. She downgraded the price, but we still refused to pay. My wife and I asked for a supervisor and, 5 minutes later, she told us that we could leave. Another family, that left by the same bus, had to pay an extra fee because they had supposedly left the room "dirty". Be careful, some staff members look dishonnest.