I have to admit that my first impression of Arenal Nayara was a little hesitant. We're not resort people and I was a little worried we'd booked ourselves in basically a small resort -- everything cookie cutter, etc. But over the course of a four-day stay, the hotel and its staff won us over -- to the point that we added a fifth night at the end.
The rooms are beautiful and well-kept, plus the staggered location of the casitas affords a great deal of privacy on the decks. I could have spent all day in the hammock reading (and very nearly did one afternoon.) Unlike some people who were disappointed that the tub on the deck was not a hot tub, I was thrilled that it was an actual bath tub. I'm an avid bather and to be able to fill up a bubble bath and lie in the dark overlooking the rain forest was absolute heaven.
I concur that the restaurant food isn't terrific, on the whole, but the included breakfast buffet was varied and generous enough that anyone could find something they liked. Like much of Costa Rica, the hotel's a bit off the main drag, so sometimes we wound up eating there just because it was easy and we were too relaxed to head out and try to scrounge up something better (which in Fortuna is no guarantee.) The service was often slow but I suspect this is the norm in Costa Rica and there were a few standouts. (Especially Elquin, who made us feel welcomed and remembered at every meal.)
Yes, the pool is small and the jacuzzi isn't hot enough. But my husband and I both had hot stone massages which we thought were absolutely wonderful. (As someone with chronic pain, I'm no massage novice either.)
So why give it five stars when I was originally set to give it a solid four? A day into our trip we headed to Baldi Hot Springs where our backpack was stolen. We lost our camera equipment, the rental car GPS, our credit cards and IDs and much more. Within hours, someone was charging hundreds on our cards all the way to San Jose. The staff at Nayara, especially Jonathan, could not have been more helpful in aiding us after this unfortunate event. He went with my husband several times to the police station, and to various shops where the cards had been used, acting as an interpreter and helping us understand the way things are handled there. It would have been a much more scary and traumatic situation without his help and we are eternally grateful.
In addition, the management -- understanding that our credit cards were now frozen -- were incredibly generous and flexible in helping us secure funds to pay our bill and obtain some spending cash. We honestly don't know what we'd have done without their professionalism and understanding.
Being a tad shell-shocked from our experience, we decided to forgo the activities we'd planned on doing -- a Lake Arenal boat tour and the hanging bridges tour -- so I can't comment on the hotel's helpfulness in that regard. But I can say that my husband and I completely unplugged, relaxing and reading, napping and hanging out -- which was quite a feat considering what we'd lost.
After a couple of days of pouring rain -- which, while a bummer, was conducive to excellent napping -- the weather even cooperated. The sun came out, the clouds parted and we finally got to see the majestic, breathtaking tip of the Arenal Volcano looming in the background. That's when we knew for sure we were in the right place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens is a five star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service at surprisingly affordable rates. Located in the outskirts of the amazing Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara is an oasis of tranquility, where guests can experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of our 50 spacious casitas (bungalows) provide an exclusive, ultra-luxurious retreat. Each expansive casita (ranging from 855 to 1905 square feet) includes a secluded garden with an outdoor shower and a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano with a private, intimate Jacuzzi for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Nayara Hotel And Gardens
- Arenal Nayara Hotel Gardens
- Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park