Updated October 28. Following the publication I was contacted by Cristina Sotela, general manager of Villas del Rio. In her email she apologized for the inconvenience and that they are reviewing their policies.
On Thursday, I personally met Cristina, at the Villas del Rio, where the front gate staff was more offered a different tone. Cristina explained the reasons for some the tight security and there was always room for improvement, including better communication by the staff.
Cristina was kind enough to offer me a night at the hotel, at no cost, to get to know the property and staff better. I declined, graciously (yes I can be sometimes) explaining that, that had not been my intention, but thanked her for the offer.
So, all is cool again, the Villas del Rio is off the BULL radar, so long as they keep to their word of communicating better situations as they arise.
Following is the original article.
TICO BULL by Rico – After almost 20 years of Costa Rica, I came across the latest annoying and asinine thing: a hotel requiring ID (identification) to enter their parking lot. Yes, parking lot.
Let me explain.
With the exception of a few, the majority of hotels in Costa Rica, at the entrance of the parking lot have a guard with a clipboard to write down the license plate number. Most will ask your name and reason for visiting. Not one, until now, has ever asked me to produce ID.
On Sunday, at the Villas del Rio Apartotel & Suites in Escazu visitors need ID to get past the guard.
“No soup for you,” is the first thing come to mind, memories of Seinfeld’s ‘Soup Nazi’.
It has been some time since I’ve been at this hotel, in the past only the routine questions for picking up or dropping of passengers.
This Sunday morning was different. I refused, and drop through the short distance to the reception. This is when a second guard, also with a clipboard, comes up to me and also asks for my ID.
Again I refused.
Reasoning with this person was futile, all he could say is that “it is hotel policy”, he hasn’t been to places like the Intercontinental or Sheraton, only a few blocks away, to know what the policy is there. There isn’t any. You drive into the parking lot, you reach the lobby. No one asks questions, less ID.
I tried, albeit uncessful, to explain I am here to visit one one of the guests. Not checking in (where it would then be mandatory to produce ID).
No, I needed ID.
“Do you want me to leave?”, I ask. “No, just need your ID,” the response. Repeat a few times.
I could have shown my ID, but it was a matter of principle. I am routinely at hotels, part of my professional driver services and have NEVER, EVER, been asked for ID enter a parking lot. Yet this piss off little place that calls themselves a hotel demanded ID to enter their parking lot.
Not to continue the pointless discussion, I left. Time to write my story.
But, before sitting down at the my keyboard I went over it in my mind. What had changed? I called on a couple of my drivers if they had they experienced anything this absurd. All answers came back negative.
Villas del Rio is now on my BULL radar. I could never recommend this hotel to anyone, will certainly not be bringing them any customers any time soon.
As to you, the reader, why would you want to stay there and subject your visitors to such abuse?
I have written the hotel (contact their website) for an explanation. Still waiting on a response.