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“Gorgeous setting, staff helped us navigate a tough time” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens

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Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   6 KM West la Fortuna Town, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 21007, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens)   |  
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Free Dinner Breakfast
GreenLeadersGold level
Ann Arbor, MI
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Gorgeous setting, staff helped us navigate a tough time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2011

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.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2,348 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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chicago
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2011

Very nice rooms, but a poor value for the price. I stayed Feb. 24 - Feb. 27th in a room that was supposed to have a view of the volcano. Rooms were very nice. Mine had a view obscured by foliage, and the other similar rooms had no view due to foliage and the rooms were dark for the same reason. Internet only in lobby and wine bar, which was fine. Swimming pool was small and dark. Hot tub on the room deck was a regular jetted bathroom tub and too loud to use comfortably or late at night, and common hot tub was 114 degrees so no one ever used it. Massage was easily the worst I ever received, and food is mediocre and overpriced, even for a hotel. Staff was not helpful when I wanted to hire a guide and driver for a day - they steered me toward set tours for specific sights, as did all the tour companies I contacted. Location is such that you need a taxi to go anywhere. La Fortuna is too overrun with tourists for my tastes but if I had to go again I would certainly stay nearer to town and rent a car and see the sights myself - few needed a guide..

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
azaragovia, Manager at Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, responded to this review, March 9, 2011
Nayara is a hotel that prides itself on the complete satisfaction of its guests. We are very saddened whenever we’re not able to meet a guest’s expectations. We are very sorry that you left disappointed, and we hope to have an opportunity to change your mind about our hotel in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, ON
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2011

If there's a book on running a hotel ..it's being written every day at this place..
Everything is just one spectacular surprise after another .. Beautiful rooms with outdoor jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor showers that scream to be used. Amazing views from the rooms.. Spectacular pool with swim up bar.. Landscaping through the hotel that are indescribable. Convenient location to nearly everything the area has to offer.
What truly sets this place apart is the staff. We stayed for 3 nights .. And everyone, from the reception to restaurant and other support staff took the time to remember us .. To pay attention to dietary restrictions and they never had to be reminded again.
My vegetarian diet had the restaurant staff prepare wonderful meals that weren't on the menu .. None of them seemed an after-thought, but delicious, balanced, well-plated gourmet adventures! The first night saw us sandwiched between loud people on either side .. A quick phone call and we were moved into quieter rooms the following morning ..WITHOUT even needing to repack.
Arenal Nayara sets the bar so high on what an ideal hotel should be .... every place we stay at is going to be compared to it.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bloomfield hills mi
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2011

Can't add much to all the other accolades except we asked for a private guide for hanging bridges, volcano hike and waterfall. They arranged a driver(Marlon) and a guide(Hugo) and we could not have been more pleased. Thye both were delightful and we spent the entire day with them. Hugo was very knowledgable and found the monkey and frogs we never would have spotted on our own.

Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2011

Nayara is a great hotel located up on a hill that looks towards Arenal Volcano. We were there three nights in suite #35 (Nayara suite), which must be one of the nicest there--it was absolutely huge with both an indoor and outdoor shower. The weather in this area is unpredictable, even in their "dry" season, we had 2 rainy days out of the 3 we were there. Luckily, we chose the dry day to go over to Sky Trek for the most amazing canopy tour in the world--the ziplines are incredibly long and fast and have great views of Lake Arenal if you dare to look as you "zip" by!

The hotel staff were helpful, but not perhaps as personal as one would like. We really didn't get to know any of them well, but then again, had no real need so it's not a problem. The breakfast buffet is very good and plentiful. Omelets can be made to order. Dinner was not as good, we were there on both "Typical" and "Costa Rican" nights and both offered the same menu. Food is just average we thought, I'd head to nearby La Fortuna and Don Rufino if you have transportation, which we did one night.

The pool is ok--rather shallow, but has a nice bar. Their winebar is a nicer place to hang out, with wifi and computers as well as an intriguing self-dispenser of many different types of wine, with 3 sizes of "pours," from a taste to 8 ounces.

We also spent a day at nearby Tabacon Springs, happy we chose not to stay there, Nayara has much better grounds and feels more private, but spending a day in the hot springs should be on everyone's list who goes to this area.

Finally, we drove from here to Santa Teresa on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula--we were first told to drive back north around the lake to Las Canas, but someone at Nayara suggested we drive south to San Ramon and over to Puntarenas that way, which saved us almost 2 hours of driving. The roads to San Ramon are fine, but it is hilly and can be misty/foggy, so drive slowly!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, TX
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

My husband and I went there for our 10 yr wedding anniversary in December. I can honestly say that I would not change a thing. We travel a bit and have stayed in places more expensive and found this to top it all. It is honestly my favorite hotel ever.

I will start with the personality of the hotel. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner in the wine bar. I emailed him commending on his hotel and received such a gracious response. Every person we encountered from the room keepers, concierges,bartenders, waiters...all the way to the owner added such a personaly touch that money can not buy. The house keeping even noticed our soggy wet shoes on the balcony from a white water rafting trip and took the time to lay them out in the sun to dry.

Now the other stuff. We stayed in the Nayara Suite. Big Room...Big Bathroom...amazing outdoor shower, Beautiful decor...even better balcony ...great views. The grounds were lush. And, I loved all of the animals. The parrotts...two little white bunnies hopping around...cute.

Spa: We had a couples massage: My husband and I both agreed that it was the best massage we had ever had. He had Deep Tissue, I had relaxation. It started raining during the massage which put me into even a deeper level of relaxation. Nice little gym next to thr spa.

Restaurants. We own a restaurant ourselves. While we only had breakfast at the restaurant and appetizers at the wine bar, we really enjoyed it! The wine bar was beautiful...and we loved the wine preservation system. We enjoy good wine and we definelty find some worth drinking! We spent quite a bit of cash in there!

Pool: I read a post that it was small. It was smaller than most "mega resorts" but I would take the experience I got over a big pool Plus, even on the sunny day it was not crowded for the 4 hours we were there. I've stayed at a mega resort in the Turks n Caicos that had a pool 10X + the size of that one....I paid 9K for 1 week...and had to fight for chairs! This was not the case...pure relaxation...pura vida! Thank you, Angelo for a WONDERFUL HOTEL! I hope to return in the next year.

PS...take time to white water raft the rio toro and to repel down waterfalls!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
phoenix
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

We stayed at the Arenal Nayara in a deluxe casita and it was beautiful!

The view from our room was breathtaking! We had a direct view of the Arenal Volcano. The rooms are very clean and the jacuzzi on the private balcony is awesome.

We had been looking at lots of different hotels and resorts in the area and are very happy with our choice with Nayara! The grounds are lush and beautiful and the breakfast that is included is delicious. There is a great selection of fruits, hot dishes and pastries.

Do not hesitate to book Arenal Nayara! There is a reason it has won so many awards!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens

Address: 6 KM West la Fortuna Town, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 21007, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#1 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#1 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens 5*
Number of rooms: 50
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

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