We loved our stay at Arenas del Mar, where we spent 5 nights at the end of October! We agree with the highlights other reviewers have mentioned - friendly and helfup staff, beautiful property, amazing beach location, great food, peaceful and tranquil environment, comfortable rooms, great views.
But perhaps what most impressed us most is that this hotel is unique in Costa Rica because it is both 5 "star" and 5 "leaf" (I think the first, and until recently the only one with that status). The 5-star rating is well deseverd, with excellent service and all the comforts one could hope for. Initially less evident to the casual observer is what it means to be a 5 "leaf" hotel in Costa Rica - we highly recommend taking the free "sustainabilty tour" offered to understand and see first-hand what this means.
Piero, the sustainability manager, gave us an amazing tour of the property and insights into what "sustainability" means for Arenas del Mar - from reducing waste and recycling, use of biodegradable products, a pool-cleaning system that does not use chlorine and thus enables local birds to drink from it, an innovative laundry system that reduces water use, and purification of waste water to irrigate the property, to providing additional benefits to employees and direct support to address needs of local communities living in poverty. Most of this had been invisible to us prior to taking the tour, and it made us appreciate our stay much more!
Here are some of the highlights that we most enjoyed during our stay at Arenas del Mar:
- Starting each day with a great breakfast that begins with fresh fruit, fruit juices, pastries and wonderful coffee outside on the pool deck with an amazing view of the ocean from the top of the cliff;
- watching the sloths in the trees on the hotel property at the "playitas" beach (the friendly hotel guard at the beach was always happy to point out where to find wildlife);
- an incredibly comforable bed;
- great food, at both the main restaurant and the smaller one at the beach (we love seafood, and enjoyed many of the selections, but the tuna is definitely a highlight);
- daily happy hour at the outdoor bar in the lobby area (passion fruit moijitos and mango daquiris were amazing);
- walking down the beach to the Manuel Antonio park (we took a tour to the park once, but went back ourselves another day at our own pace - it's nice not to have to depend on a vehicle, and it's a lot quicker to walk the beach to get there!);
We stayed in an ocean breeze suite and enjoyed using the jacuzzi on the deck and hanging out in the ocean breeze. While we had a view of the ocean, we were on the ground level and soon realized we needed to heed the instructions to keep our sliding door to the patio locked to avoid sharing our suite with the local raccoons - indeed, we watched how a brave racoon was able to open the sliding screen only to find the glass door obstructing his entry! We appreciated that we were in wildlife terrain, so resigned ourselves to keeping the glassdoor shut and turning on the air conditioner instead of inviting the ocean breeze into our bedroom.
We took a couple of the tours recommended and arranged by hotel staff, and enjoyed them and found the guides to be excellent - very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Arenas del Mar. This was the second hotel we stayed in that was run by Cayuga - the company that manages small eco-friendly hotels in Costa Rica. The other was in the Osa peninsula, an amazing rainforest that was our favorite spot in the country. We highly recommend both!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.