We stayed here for the last 3 nights on our honeymoon July 3 - July 6. We've been waiting to post a review because it really bothers us to say negative things...we don't usually complain much and are generally easy to please. However, we had numerous problems (and I mean lots of mishaps) with this resort and were pretty disappointed. Although it is unlikely, maybe we were just very unlucky...but after doing thorough research and reading the very positive reviews we had high expectations, especially since it was one of the more expensive hotels in the area. Overall, our stay was still nice because we don't tend to let things ruin our vacation and our honeymoon was a special time for us, but some of the issues we dealt with were very inconvenient, so maybe we can help other people avoid them in the future. This is going to be a long but detailed review!
I'll start with the positives:
**The resort property and rooms are beautiful and it's in a spectacular location with great views of Arenal volcano. The resort's surroundings are not as lush or natural looking as some of the other places we saw in Costa Rica (such as Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio...rainforest everywhere!), but there are gorgeous flowers all over the property and all plants and pathways are well-maintained. Although it's on the inactive side of the volcano, we were still able to hear and feel it erupt from our room which was amazing! We could also see it puffing smoke during the day. One night there was an eruption so powerful that several people said the lava flowed on the inactive side. We missed this particular event, but we did see red lava flowing on the active side and it was incredible...highly recommend driving to the active side one night!
**Another great thing was the complimentary buffet breakfast that is served every morning. They offer a wide variety of fresh fruits, breads, cereal, rice and beans, and other options that change daily (eggs, bacon, omelettes, etc.). There is plenty to choose from...you definitely won't go hungry!
**Each room is an individual casita. We had a regular, deluxe room and were placed in Casita #19 (VERY unlucky...I'll explain why in the following paragraph of negatives). It was very large, spacious, and beautiful. It had a king-size bed, high ceilings, a small table with 2 chairs, indoor shower, outdoor shower, and a patio with jacuzzi and 2 chairs.
Now for the negatives:
**Check-in was very difficult. When we arrived, the man at the front desk could not seem to find our reservation. Despite us having confirmation papers and emails for proof, he was still convinced that we hadn't made a reservation! He kept asking, "Are you sure?" And each time we politely responded, "Yes." and showed him the papers once again. He eventually managed to find our reservation. Everything seemed very unorganized and we felt as if they were blaming us for the mishap. We were so glad we remembered to pack our reservation papers and information!
**We were placed in Casita #19. Like I said before, maybe we were just unlucky...but we had so many problems with this room! I'll list them below:
--**It's not nearly as quiet as some of the others. It's located right between the pool area and lobby/restaurant area. At night we often heard loud music and people, making it difficult for light sleepers. It also doesn't help that the birds with clipped wings on the property are VERY loud all day long, so sleeping in and napping is easily interrupted.
--**Also, you cannot see the volcano as well from this porch because of the plants that obstruct the view. The peak is still visible but not a full view like the photos on their website show.
--**We kept having problems with our room key not working and instead of just giving us another one, the people at the front desk kept re-activating the same one...it became an on-going joke for us that every time we left our room we would head straight to the front desk to re-activate our key so we could get back in.
--**The worst part of all was the VERY foul sewage smell coming from the indoor shower every time we used it. We have no idea what it was, but it was terrible and corrupted the entire room for several hours after each time. Everything else was minimal compared to this. In fact, this was the only thing we bothered to complain about because it was just unbearable! On our second day, we notified the front desk and they said they'd have a maintenance person look at it, but nothing was ever done. We hoped they would at least apologize and either place us in another room or offer us a discount of some sort...but nothing. Luckily we had an outdoor shower, but during rainy season the mosquitoes are often bad at certain times of the day. We managed, but we were disappointed with how they handled it.
**Although the breakfast buffet was great, the restaurant staff were not. The food on the buffet is self-serve but the waiters take care of the beverages. The lady who waited on us almost every day was very polite but got our drink order wrong every time. We can understand if it was a misunderstanding once, but it happened every day...it was a little odd.
**I don't suggest booking any tours through the hotel. They use a tour company called Jacamar that was much more expensive than many other companies in the area. I'm glad we did some shopping around. We saved $60 on a full-day tour we did through Pura Vida tour company and loved it. We also booked the Sky Trek tour through Pura Vida and saved $30. They're located in downtown La Fortuna next to the central park area.
**The last problem we had was another VERY big one. Before our trip, we had booked and paid for one of the hotel's drivers to take us one-way to the San Jose airport on our last morning. It was $100 and once again, we had paperwork and emails (thank goodness!). They tried to overcharge us by charging us double ($200) for two-ways. Their explanation made no sense...they said their driver picked us up from San Jose on July 4. When I responded, "No...that would make no sense...we flew NatureAir from Quepos to La Fortuna on July 3 where we took a taxi to the hotel..." the man at the front desk apologized and reimbursed us for the extra $100 they overcharged us for. It was very strange. I'm not sure how they made that mistake...the dates didn't even make sense since we stayed the night at Arenal Nayara on July 3.
We had a great time in Costa Rica. This resort was beautiful and in a great location, but we felt it was a bit expensive (especially with the problems we had!) and lacked the charm that other cheaper hotels in the area seem to have. I hope this review helps other people. If you choose to stay here then like I said, don't forget your confirmation papers and any emails you have, and I would recommend avoiding Casita #19! Feel free to message me for more info.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We at Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens take it very seriously, and are very concerned whenever we are not able to meet any of our guests’ highest expectations, something we strive for at all times.
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The safety and well-being of our guests is our priority. We only work with the top government-certified tour operators with full-coverage insurance for all type of activities. We require that these companies employ accredited tour guides and to offer first class service on transportation and meals. Although there may be a difference in price, we truly believe that safety comes first and that certified, knowledgeable guides and prime service will make up for that difference.
The Arenal area was hit by unusually strong storms this month causing the foul odor coming out of the shower drainage that this guest mentions in his review. We have since revamped our drainage system to avoid this problem in the future.
We have also changed the electronic key card system to avoid any problems when accessing the rooms.
We are closely supervising our front desk, accounting, and restaurant personnel to make sure that inconveniences like the ones this guest went through do not happen again.
We take every comment and complaint very seriously. We appreciate all constructive criticism so that we can learn from it and improve our service. Again, we regret that you were not satisfied with your stay at Nayara and apologize for any and all inconveniences you may have had. Please feel free to contact me personally if there are any other issues you wish to discuss. Our priority is the complete satisfaction of our guests.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.