Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort
Historical Traveler Reviews Woodland Bed & Breakfast Ashford
Different is good.
Visited the Villas Sol mid June. Didn't really know what to expect after reading the up and down reviews. For an all-inclusive, though, reviews are important, as you'll spend a lot of time at the resort. Here goes...
First time in Costa Rica; kinda Mexico, kinda not. We got there in the rain, on bumpy roads (Costa Rican massage...). The resort is way off the beaten track, sharing the area with one other resort, Condovac. Two parts to the resort, the villas and the hotel. We stayed at the villas, a 2-br "house" with enough amenities to enjoy a week. The furniture could have been comfier, but the kids had their own small bedroom, the bathroom was adequate, good water pressure, and a living room/dining room. High ceilings. A patio in front, with benches and tables, and the best part, our own private pool. Not large in size, but it made the entire stay great!. We got sick one day, it rained another, but knowing we could hop into our own pool at any time: priceless. When booking, be sure to "beg" for a pool if you reserve the villas, as not all have them. They stock the refrigerator with beer, coke and water, but not often enough. Just call the front desk, ask for Luisa, and she'll help immediately.
The hotel part of the resort is way on the top of a hill, with the most spectacular beach view I've ever seen. They have free shuttles that go all through the resort every five minutes. The beach is another shuttle away, or a five minute walk.
Darkish sand, a little unclear water, but extremely warm, and good for boogie boarding. It's actually a bay, not the ocean. Lounge chairs exist, but they're chained together, and some of them are falling apart. Either way, the beach is really nice. 1/4 each way to walk. Not crowded at all. But not Hawaii.
The hotel is weird, a smaller building. There are two pools at the hotel, one with that killer view, and the other a bit down the road, a smallish meandering pool with a swim up bar. They had a jacuzzi, but it wasn't working during our week there. No great loss, as it was hot enough, and oh so humid.
They have two travel agencies on site to arrange tours. They're all about the same price. The Buena Vista Mega Combo (zip line, water slide in the jungle, lunch, horseback ride and hotsprings) was great! The Palo Verdo Boat tour was a waste of $75. Remember, cost of living in Costa Rica is very cheap; the tours and activities on the other hand, are very expensive.
They have one very nice buffet restaurant there, right at the pool, where we had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Very similar in style to the buffets you'd encounter in Mexico all-inclusives. Some of the foods are really good, others just ok. They did have great waffles (who would have thought?) and omelettes, and the beef was generally good. We're dessert people, so the small choice choice of cakes each lunch and dinner was rather disappointing.
Remember, this is a county relatively new to tourism. They don't quite have it yet, but they'll figure it out. The staff are friendly, though lacking in English. So what. Use your one year of Spanish, that's what I did.
Overall, if you've done the Caribbean, if you've done Mexico, and if you've done Hawaii, and wait something similar but different, try this place. Be sure to get the private pool. It made all the difference in the world...
Would not return
I sell time share at a 5 star gold crown resort listed with RCI and I have traveled and stayed at resorts all over the world so I have some knowledge about what I'm talking about! At this resort which is listed as a gold crown resort which it is not--maybe a 2 star, you are a captive in the sense that you are far removed from anything nearby. you would think that at a resort that caters to primarily Canadians and North Americans that the staff would speak fluent english but thats not the case and the food they serve there is very bland, over priced and nothing to write home about, there are other places to stay in the area that are more resonably priced, my suggestion is if you are going just check out the various places to stay when you get there!
Will definitely return to Villas Sol Playa Hermosa
We just returned from a glorious week at the Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It was a time-share exchange in a 2-bedroom villa. We traveled with two of our best friends. We arrived on Saturday, April 23 around noon at the Liberia Airport. We had arranged for a van to pick us up at the airport and drive us to the resort. Check-in wasn't until 4 pm but we got in right away. Our villa was situated half way up the hillside overlooking the Papagayo Bay and Pacific Ocean. The villa had a spacious living area, dining area, and full kitchen on the first level with two bedrooms and a bath on the second level. The rooms were well appointed and clean and very roomy for two couples. The balconies on both levels had a fantastic view. Daily maid service was included. Shuttles ran every 15 minutes to take you to the beach or anywhere within the resort. There were two restaurants, two bars, two pools (our favorite was the swim up bar/snack bar), a gym, tennis courts, a hotel gift shop, a tour desk, and a small convenience store. We were located close to the pools and restaurants, so we usually took the steps and got a lot of exercise.
After exploring the restaurants and bars at the resort we decided to opt for the all-inclusive package because we figured with all the food and drinks, it would more than pay for itself. The Helconia was an a la carte restaurant specializing in seafood and beef and as part of the all-inclusive we got one dinner there during our weeklong stay. All other meals were at the Bahia Restaurant right next to the hotel. It was a buffet but the food was wonderful with lots of variety each day, the fresh fruits and veggies were amazing, especially the pineapple. The chef attended an omelet station for breakfast that varied each day and then for lunches and dinners his station featured a variety of dishes made to order such as fajitas or roast pork with special sauces, etc. The regular buffet usually had some type of beef, chicken, pork, fish, veggies, and rice dishes. We ate lunch at the pool snack bar when we weren't out on tours. They had great mixed drinks, Imperial beer, and wine. Activities included water aerobics, water volleyball, bingo, Spanish lessons, karaoke, kayaking, and snorkeling to name a few. The staff was amazing and so friendly. We only knew a little high school Spanish, but since most of the staff and guides spoke some English, we really didn't have a language problem.
Since this was our first trip to Costa Rica, we wanted to see some of this beautiful country we had only read about. So we arranged for four tours with a day of rest between the more strenuous ones.
We went sport fishing on Sunday for a half day. The boat picked us up at the beach in front of the resort. Our captain spoke some English, but he was up on the tower finding fish for us and we didn't see him much. The two mates only spoke Spanish and it was very interesting communicating with them but we caught about 18 good-sized fish among the 4 of us - mahi mahi, yellow fin tuna, school tuna, a 3-foot baby sailfish that got away, a needlefish, and a blue runner. This was the best fishing trip we had ever experienced.
Monday we went snorkeling, fishing, and swimming on our own at Playa Hermosa in front of the resort. The fishing is not too good on your own. The sand is gray because of the volcanic rocks in the area, but the water is clean and clear and so warm. Then we spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool with the swim up bar and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
In front of the hotel on Tuesday morning we boarded an 8 passenger van with a bilingual guide and went on a mega tour that started with a canopy tour that zipped you through the treetops of the mountain/jungle taking you to 10 different platforms above the forest and trees. My husband and friends did the canopy but I opted to walk on the suspension bridges instead with my own private tour guide. The guides rigged them up with gloves, helmets, and a harness with a hook to attach to the pulley on the overhead cables. They teach you where to place your hands, how to hold your legs, and how to brake with your hands. Then you gently swing off the platform and zip along the cable to the next platform. We saw some pretty neat birds, wildlife, flowers, and trees. It was exhilarating and quite a thrill. Then we went by horseback through some hilly rugged terrain and streams to a volcanic hot springs and spa. We changed into bathing suits and smeared hot volcanic mud on each other, baked in the sun until it dried, washed off, and then soaked in the hot springs. Our skin was so smooth and we were thoroughly relaxed when we arrived back at the resort around 5 pm. It seems like a long day, but it was well worth it. What an adventure!
Wednesday was a day of rest and we just relaxed at the pool most of the day and enjoyed the resort. Thursday we went to Palo Verde National Park and took a boat tour on the Tempiski River to see the wildlife and some different countryside. We saw crocodiles, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, iguanas, and colorful birds. Our van driver stopped at a unique Costa Rican restaurant on the way back and we had a wonderful home cooked family style lunch. Friday we went out sailing and snorkeling on a catamaran for a half day. The ocean was so warm and the snorkeling and swimming were great. We were back at the resort by 2:30 and had the rest of the day to relax and get ready for our last beautiful sunset, this trip anyway.
Costa Rica is close to the equator so the sun usually sets and rises at the same time all year round. We were surprised that it was pitch dark by 6:30 pm and light at 5 am with bright sunshine streaming through the windows and the howler monkeys howling in the distance. Our tours started anywhere from 7 to 8 am, so we were usually up in time to have a nice breakfast before starting our day. The last week of April is at the end of the dry season and most of the terrain in the North coastal regions was very dry and brown. The trees were just coming out in leaves and there were many blooming trees in bright oranges and yellows. They said the rains would start soon and in another month all the hillsides along the coast will be green and lush. It was lush at the resort, but they water. There are two active volcanoes in the country and the coastline is very rocky and mountainous with beautiful stretches of beach tucked in between. It was very hot and sunny but it felt so good after a long cold Pennsylvania winter.
The staff at the resort was so pleasant and friendly and most of them spoke some English. We had no real problem with the language but I would have liked to be able to speak Spanish with them a little better. It was quite an adventure and a good location. We will definitely go back to Villas Sol Playa Hermosa.
You should go
I was a little weary going here after looking at reviews on trip advisor and the pictures posted on the web. Perhaps I had such a great time due to the fact that I had low expectations??? The pictures on the web are awful and don't do the resort any justice. The staff was fabulous, we even got invited to go dancing in Coco Beach with them, which was fun. The food and drink was maybe 3 star quality (great meat). Very clean, no bugs in the room which is a statment in itself as you are surrounded by thick forest. A lot of local family's come on the weekend, even though we speak Spanish I didn't find them very plesant. Yes it is a lot of up hill...I lost 10 pounds while I was there! Costa Rica itself is awsome. You won't find a lot of white sand beaches in the Gunacaste province but there is so much to do we found we didn't have a lot time for the beach. The Mega Combo tour is excellent-definatly worth the money. Tamarindo is only 30 mins away and has great surfing...if you need an instructor go to Iguana Surf and ask for Chile. There is also Conschell Beach which instead of sand has about 1 mile of shells. There is fishing (we caught Tuna and saw sword fish jumping) and ATV tours and Volcano tours by day and night. Also you are only about an hour away from Nicaragua so you can go on a day trip by bus. I would recommend this resort to people who are a little adventurous and who are willing to try and have a fun, rather than being catered hand and foot.
Hotel is a dump, Villas are ok
We are a family of four on a quest to see more than half of all the countries in the world...our travels have brought us to many interesting places and we try to appreciate each place for it's own qualities.
Having said that...I would not stay at this resort if you do not have the money to take an excursion each day. This an adequate place for sleep only.
We checked into the resort and were give 2 rooms side by side...evidently there are no connecting rooms even though the travel agent said there were, so the first night I did not sleep well because of not having direct access to the kids. The rooms were pretty bad, dirty and run down. The kids room smelled like urine/smoke/vomit...who knows what else. There was no hot water...if there was I'm not sure I would want to shower in that shower anyway. On the plus side the view was Spectacular.
We complained to the hotel desk (mostly about not being able to have direct access to the kids) and much to our surprise we were given a 3 bedroom, 2 bath villa with a private plunge pool up on the hillside. This really saved the vacation...The villa was decently clean and mostly in good repair. Beware though, the property is loaded with wild cats that fight and carry on from time to time.
We generally ate only dinner, and occasionally breakfast at the resort. The food was fair...but very repetetive. We are not picky eaters and don't mind being adventerous in trying new things. The bar outside the buffet smelled like sour milk/vomit during our entire stay...we found it impossible to sit there.
We stayed at the resort only two days...one at the pool...one at the beach. Our day at the beach was mostly occupied with snorkelling (pretty decent). The pool was kind of our family joke...It was perhaps one of the smallest "resort" pools we have ever seen.
We probably would never return here...certainly never to the hotel, perhaps the villas. If you are not picky and want to save your money then I would go if it was REALLY CHEAP. Our trip from Toronto was only about $650pp US including air, taxes and all, so having been switched to the villa I would say we were satisfied.
As an aside to the hotel/villa...This is one country I would love to return to (after completing our 50+%). The excursions were top rate, the food off of the resort was Awesome...we loved everything about this country.
Would never go there again
January 2005 Summarized, most people that were there had said they would never go there again. One couple that were there for 2 weeks regretted it. When we arrived there, we were assigned a room that was not cleaned yet, were told to have supper then come back, came back and were given another room next to the lobby. We complained about it and they were very unfriendly. The food was terrible, greasy and every day, the same. The beach was awful, black sand and the water smelled. There are no life guards there, as one poor guy found out, if it were not for the other guests he would not be alive. Nobody from the hotel were there to help him. The resort is old and walking around is difficult as it is very steep. No nightly entertainment. Pool was cold. I could go on but this letter would be too long. Is there anything good here, yes, the room was clean. You should consider a different resort.
I fell in love
I've traveled the world...and the first time I went there I sincerely didn't want to leave....because of the charm, peacefulness, friendliness of the staff...nestled in the hills it offers spectular viewx..close to all attractions and a new airport! We have been back on many occasiions...just relax.
My boyfriend and I came to villas sol playa hermosa for spring break and it was perfect. i have travelled all over the world, and always intended to go to a different place each time. my vacation to guanacaste changed that. we had an amazing time! the beach is nearly deserted and BEAUTIFUL. the pools are great, the food is ok, the drinks are fabulous, the rooms are clean, the water pressure is high, and the staff is AMAZING. This is not a huge party resort, but is great for a relaxing and romantic time. we highly recommend the super adventure tour that gives you a canopy tour, a mud spa, and a huge jungle waterslide. we LOVED it at villas sol and are returning this year.
Not a 4 star resort.
I will break everything into sections.
I went here Nov 16- 23/ 2004
weather- awesome, I think it only rained 1 day for like 10 minutes. Most of the days were clear and the sun was hot, got a great tan.
Let me say that this place is definitely not for singles looking to get laid, it was an older clientele, average age 40(obviously this is unsubstantiated but my guess) lots of grandparents, and the weekend lots of families. I found the place to be overall pretty dull.
- didn't take long to check in, Sunquest reps their to meet you, and transfer you to hotel, which is good.
Check in at hotel
- all done in one small room, I was pretty much first in line so I can't complain, but for those nearer to the back may have been a half hour process. Went pretty smooth. Staff's knowledge of English is piss poor.
- standard room- clean, fridge stocked with 2 beer, 2 pop and 2 water. Supposed to be stocked twice during trip, I didn;t receive second stocking as well as many others I talked to. Nice balcony area.
Nice view from room, set up on mountain so everything is a chore to get to. They do provide transportation to and from whatever you are going to eg. beach, stores. I don't recommend walking unless in pretty good shape. Excellent view.
Not much English spoken here. My Spanish is better than anyone's English here. You would think that working in an environment that deals primarily with English speaking guests that the staff would atleast learn the language. A lot of them speak broken English, or when a problem arose no ingles. I could tell they could understand what people were saying but it was like they pretended not to understand.
Staff is very friendly and try to make your stay pleasant.
This place has absolutely zero entertainment. Bar was a joke, not much selection in drinks. Beer on tap wasn't functional for about 2 days, and after when it was it was skunky. Most of their drinks they will say are not inluded in the all inclusive, which is funny when one day one bartender will make it and the next guy won't. Laziness is what I see from this hotel, very few people seemed like they wanted to work. It could be the fact no one was tipping the bartenders, but what I found was when I tipped my service was slower, and the drinks weren't any stronger. Bartenders wouldn't even ask you what you want to drink even with an empty cup in front of you, you would have to ask them.
Not bad. Breakfast was horrible - fruit selection, omelette station, waffles on most days, stale bread, caremelized banana slices, rice and beans, sausage that tasted like hot dog, various cakes, scrambled eggs. That was the same for 7 days. Although they broke out the French toast on the last day and they basically ran out of that in minutes.
Word of advice to management, you would be better off serving what people want - bacon, pancakes and french toast, I mean everyone likes those 3 things, include them in addition to what you already serve and the complaints about breakfast are solved.
Lunch and dinner - pretty much the same - various salads, rice, vegetables, chicken , beef and fish dish daily, and pork loin on 2 of the days,just prepared differently. Overall pretty good although by about the 5th day I was tired of the same thing, but still managed to eat it and find it good. I am happy they used mainly white meat chicken, and good cuts of meat.
Beach not very good( Playa Hermosa) black sand , lots of bugs, smelled like urine, visually unappealing.
Pools - weak only room for maybe 50 people, not very many chairs, ran out of towels one day. This hotel obviously doesn;t prepare for excess people.
Last 2 days no hot water.
I would recommend Costa Rica, and will definitely go back, but I don't know if I would return to Villas Sol, it is close to airport (30 minutes), and under new management, so improvements may be forthcoming. This place does have potential to be 3 or 4 star with some work.
TripAdvisor Reviews Woodland Bed & Breakfast Ashford
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