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“Best Hotel in Playa Samara. Period.”

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Hotel Villas Playa Samara
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Reviewed 15 September 2010

Hotel Villas Playa Samara

My girlfriend and I first came to Hotel Villas Playa Samara mid-July on a weekend trip to Playa Samara. We were staying in Tamarindo and were pretty unhappy with the town and our lodgings so we decided on a weekend. Tamarindo's a nice place but it's got nothing on Playa Samara -- and much of what Samara Beach has to offer centers around this magnificent hotel.

We never really planned to stay so long. We came for just a 3-night stay and ended up planting ourselves for MUCH longer than we ever planned. Costa Rica was on our travel list for a long time. We went there Here are all of the details...

To find Hotel Villas Playa Samara, you have to head out of "el centro" a bit on a direct road towards Playa Carillo. The hotel pops up out of nowhere like a beacon in the night with its ominous walls and very pleasant gated-entrance area. I'm not really sure if the gates are necessary in terms of safety but it sure looks nice and makes it very clear that the hotel stands out from the crowd.

When we arrived the first time, we had zero plans and zero bookings. Thank God! Unfortunately, the rankings on TripAdvisor for the Playa Samara area were grossly misleading at the time of our travels. Some of the hotels ranking high at the time (who knows where it is now) were really not that impressive. Neither my girlfriend nor myself can still figure out to this day why hotels like Esperanza or Leyenda were at the very top. Sure, these places seem nice but they're very much out of the way and not really that impressive.

I'm pretty convinced now that this hotel is more popular with local Costa Ricans than with foreign travelers. Hopefully my review will help to change that!

When you pull into the expansive grounds of Hotel Villas Playa Samara, the first thing you notice is the serene and picturesque setting. Since it's outside of the main town area, this hotel enjoys spectacular views in a nice remote-like setting. But don't worry.... it gets better.

After you check-in at the guarded entrance, you pull in on the dirt road and park just in the front. When you get out of your car, you'll first see the HUGE pool and the restaurant off to the right-hand side. The reception can be a bit hard to find, but just ask one of the many roaming staff members and they'll point you in the right direction.

Our check-in experience was simply.... wonderful!

Keep in mind -- we had NO reservations and no prior contact with this hotel. We walked into reception and were immediately greeted by a staff member (Faride, a very nice girl). Although her English was not perfect, she did her very best and was exceptionally nice. She walked us out to see an available villa -- #11-A.

This is far and away one of the best (of not THE best) villa in the joint. Set RIGHT on the beach, you literally fall asleep every night and wake up each morning to the sound of waves crashing near your doorstep. Marvelous! Maybe we lucked out because it was available. If you can, request 11-A ahead of time when you make reservations.

Inside the villa, the decor was tasteful and very nice without being "too Tico" or "too Gringo." Our villa was also fully equipped with a kitchen, full-size refirgerator, stove (no oven), microwave, toaster, coffee pot, cooking utensils, eating utensils, and basically everything you need for daily living. Since we're more the long-term traveler types, this was EXACTLY what we needed. But even for more short-term travelers this is a very nice addition -- and the price is well worth it. Cook some of your own food and save a little cash on your trip!

Outside our villa we also had our own little private patio with a very good hammock. Both of us spent many hours relaxing on the patio, reading books, working on projects, painting, and sharing the tranquil views of Samara Beach. In all seriousness, the feeling you get here is like having your very own private beach. And the beach here is clean, quiet, and perfect for getting out in the water.

Another amazing feature of this hotel is the on-site market. While not exactly a huge supermarket of US standards, this little mini-shop offers much more than you'd typically find at a hotel shop and at very fair prices. Everything from drinks, waters, and snacks to full-on grocery fare of breads, cereals, pasta, sauces, meats, frozen items, and even produce. We took many walks over to our own little "residence market" and enjoyed the staff who worked there. Our absolute favorite was Melania, a friendly and fun-loving girl who laughed and joked with us every time we went to buy our little treats and goodies for making dinner or just relaxing in the hammock. She's a real treasure, and so are so many of the other staff members at the hotel -- Alejandro, Faride, Randall, Laura, and even the very nice girls in the restaurant.

Speaking of the restaurant, the food there is definitely worth your time too. If you get tired of cooking in your villa (or just don't want to), there are lots of special offerings in the on-site restaurant that will impress you. My personal favorites from the Main Menu (lunch & dinner) are the Filet Mignon, the T-Bone Steak, and the Chicken Cordon Bleu. I also really liked the Chicken Strips and Club Sandwich from the Snack Menu. Also, be sure to try their Hamburgers -- seriously, some of the best I've ever had. I know this doesn't sound like typical Costa Rican food, but you can get a lot of that everywhere else in Costa Rica and even in the main town at Samara Beach. They also have menu offerings at the hotel that fall more into the local cuisine (or comidas tipicas). We really loved the Ceviche!

When you get tired of eating, there's lots to do at the hotel too. The entertainment room has a big screen tv and two gaming centers (Xbox and Wii), plus a billiards table and an air hockey table. These things do cost money but the prices are reasonable.

And let's not forget the pool...

We spent a lot of our time in Samara just relaxing and soaking up the sun. The pool at Hotel Villas Playa Samara is one of the very best places to do exactly that. Frankly, it's one of the biggest hotel pools I've ever encountered and is clean and fun to use. The shallow end is large and stretches all the way across the pool, perfect for lap-swimming and really getting exercise. They also have a nice volleyball net for playing games with groups in the pool too.

The activities director, Randall, often pops some fun music on in the mornings to liven things up which makes for a great vibe with everyone in the pool and some enjoying drinks at the swim-up bar. We took salsa lessons with Randall and some other guests and had a blast!

As I look back on all of this, I realize that this place may very well be one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at. It's not a typical hotel by any means but perfect for Costa Rica. And there's so much value! I can' imagine getting a better experience anywhere else in Playa Samara, let alone all of Costa Rica. Hotel Villas Playa Samara gets my highest recommendation!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank HavePointsWeTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 August 2010

This place has so much potential with it's beautiful location but unfortunately fell way short of our expectations. We had reserved a 2 BR ocean view unit which was not ready when we arrived at 5 p.m. They must have done a rush job cleaning it because it reeked of cleaning solution and still wasn't very clean. Even if it had been cleaned properly the unit obviously wasn't well maintained. The lights over the bathroom sink didn't work, the screens were torn, and the floors were sticky and dirty to the point where you didn't feel comfortable walking around barefoot. I'm not a clean freak but this place was gross and smelled bad. The service in the restaurant was horrible and the food very mediocre. People who came in after us were waited on before us, hopefully not because they were Ticos and we were gringos. We had to listen to horrible loud music coming from the pool area until late at night. The grassy area between the units and the ocean became a swamp due to heavy rain and when you walked through it smelled like you were walking through a flooded septic system. We spent 1 night there and were so miserable we called our booking agent and had them transfer our reservation to another place which turned out to be wonderful. I'm so glad we changed hotels as this was the last stop on an otherwise perfect vacation and would have been a horrible note to end on.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank margaret80550
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2010

Villa Playa Samara

My husband and I returned to the Hotel Villa Playa Samara this past June eleven years after we went there on a family vacation with our two children. We were pleasantly surprised to find the road paved from the town of Samara to the hotel which is about a five minute drive. The hotel is on a lovely beach where you can walk for miles. June is not a touristy time of year so it was especially peaceful and relaxing. We went there to relax and see parts of the Guanacaste Peninsula that we had not visited on our prior trip. There is some wildlife that roams the hotel grounds such as iguanas, mapache and many species of birds. The rooms do not have phones or TV but they do have air conditioning, kitchen and are kept clean daily. We enjoyed an ocean view and each day walked on the beach, read books and went on excursions. My husband likes to fish on pangas and made arrangements to be picked up in front of the hotel for a half day of fishing. I opted to have an hour massage for thirty dollars. It was wonderful! The staff at Villa Playas Samara are outstanding. Laura Gutierrez of guest services assists with travel arrangements, restaurant referrals, resort activities and having a good time. The office reception was very friendly and helped us make calls when they were needed. We found that we had a flat tire one morning and the security man quickly assisted my husband in changing the tire and the office staff called the auto rental company. They also surprised me with a birthday cake and flowers on my birthday. The pool was clean and inviting and it was nice to be able to order appetizers and drinks by the pool. One of our day drives was to Punta Islita. It took an hour and a half on some paved roads through Carrillo but mostly on unpaved roads. But, the visit to the Punt Islita Resort was worth the drive. We have visited most the beach towns from the Papagao Peninsula to Samara and will return to the Hotel Villas Playa Samara. We enjoy Samara, the beaches, restaurants, people and atmosphere. We especially like the Hotel Villa Samara because it is somewhat secluded and private and the staff was wonderful. We read prior to our visit that the villas were in need of some remodeling. While they were comfortable we did hear while we were there that remodeling will be coming.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Laurie48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2010

My wife and I and our two small children travelled to this part of Costa Rica mainly to look at real estate and relax after a busy number of months at work. We had a long travel day, but eventually arrived around 10pm. We were very impressed with the level of service from Laura G. and the rest of guest services. Laura arranged to have pizza and beer delivered to our house while we wrestled two little kids to sleep, and got settled in. Everyday she greeted us with a great smile and checked on how we were doing. When my company required my signature on some confidential material, the girls at guest services had everything printed out for me, and handled faxing everything back to Canada. Very professional. I enjoyed the restaurant and found the service to be great. The beach was right out my front door. When we were not out exploring the area, I spent most days going back and forth from the ocean to the pool with my daughter. Great location. Great staff.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank terrymccallum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2010

Excellent service, willing all the time to fullfill every inquiry or need.
The rooms had excellent welcoming and cozy designs in all the details.
The location of the hotel is very appropiate with Samara downtown just 5 minutes away. With a small island in front of it were you can go sailing or kayak.
The pool is just perfect for swiming or relaxing with pool bar and jacuzzi.
The amenities in the hotel are getting better everytime with pool table, hockey table and xBox ans Wii for little ones.
In generel is an execellent development in design, service and location.

  • Stayed: June 2010
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Thank miguelvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Villas Playa Samara

Address: South From the Center of Samara Going Towards Playa Carrillo 3km, Playa Samara 50205, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Samara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Playa Samara
Price Range: €245 - €488 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Villas Playa Samara 3.5*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a hotel with fully equipped villas and deluxe rooms. We are located in front of the beach very close yo downtown Samara. ... more   less 
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