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“"Cloth napkins on the beach!"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park 311-6350, Costa Rica   |  
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California
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65 reviews 65 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“"Cloth napkins on the beach!"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

From the time we arrived we were treated like royalty. The hotel is built on the side of a hill going down to the ocean, and our taxi took us down about half way on a tortuous road to the entrance, where were greeted warmly, provided with refreshing cold water. A three seated golf cart took us further down to the lobby, where we took care of the formalities. Throughout our stay, several of the staff assisted us with questions we had.
We were shown to our room, 602B, which is a standard sea view, no Jacuzzi (we don’t use them). Our luggage was already there. We had a clear view of the ocean, and could hear the surf clearly.
The bathroom is very roomy with a huge shower, a welcome change to the very small shower we had endured for our 7 day cruise from Panama (see my review of that cruise separately (coming soon). The sink was in a small counter, and the toilet was beside a bidet.
Of special note, the complimentary wifi was the absolute best I have ever experienced in a hotel at any price.
The bed was super comfy. There was TV, DVD player, remote controlled air conditioning and ceiling fan, and a sliding door leading out to a large deck overlooking the ocean. On the deck was a wet bar including a fridge with some complementary items in it. There was plenty of space for luggage, as well as a safe.
Near the lobby is a pool with beautiful views out over the ocean. Also a bar and a small gift shop. A small reading area is well stocked with books. The dining room features tables inside and a few around the pool. Breakfast (included) and dinner is served here. The area is visited frequently by large iguanas and white faced monkeys. Howlers were heard, and even seen once.
Breakfast was good, and lunch down at Playitas Beach was also very good. The special dinner on Saturday night (also offered on Thursday) was also very good. But the one dinner we had up in the regular restaurant was average. We ate out the third night, which was planned.
TIP: If you are here on a Saturday or a Thursday, definitely take dinner down on the beach. It is a wonderful setting and the food was really great. Tiki lamps lit the way to tables under the palms with little candles on them. My wife said, “Cloth napkins on the beach! How can you beat this?”
With a short golf cart ride, we were down at Playitas Beach, a small but beautiful beach at the bottom of the hill. The restaurant (and bar) here serves lunch, and on Saturdays and Thursdays, dinner as well, in a tiki lit beach area with outside tables. There is a pool here also. A security person is on hand to watch things, but the beach is a long ways from a public entry, so there are few non-guests. Showers and rest rooms are available.
While there were a few families here, it is most suited for couples. There are many restaurants within a short taxi ride. We ate dinner here twice, and lunch twice. We ate two meals out; El Avion, and Kapi Kapi, reviewed separately (coming soon).
This is really a special place. We saw lots of different birds, iguanas, and two sloths. The people here are very friendly and helpful with taxi’s, rides, advice, etc., as well as general conversation. They are quick to point out observed wild life. A very nice, relaxing, upscale place to get away from it all.
Pictures here are very representative of what you will find, so I won't add any more. Recommend whole heartedly.

Room Tip: TIP: If you are here on a Saturday or Thursday, be sure to take dinner on the beach. Beautiful and...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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USA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

Truly a well designed beautiful resort. With Ocean on one side and the secondary forest on the other, it is a very restful and tranquil place to stay. They have their own private beach and beautiful shady trees where you can spend your whole afternoon eating lunch and enjoying the views...And the hospitality was amazing. Everybody knows your name and are concerned about your comfort. Very charming staff. Free phone calls, even international. No charge for food & drinks in refrigerator. Private balcony. Loved this resort very much.

Room Tip: Because this is a hot and humid area, the bathrooms can smell a little musty.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Houston, Texas, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

We traveled to Costa Rica for the first time in June 2012 and stayed at Arenas del Mar and we could not have been more pleased. This eco-friendly, boutique hotel is tucked into the jungle on the beach.

If you appreciate wildlife like our family does, wildlife is abundant here. On the property, we saw sloths, coati, howler and capuchin monkeys, raccoons, agoudi, iguana and much more. The hotel owners have done an amazing job of providing a hotel with first class amenities while respecting the natural surroundings. We truly appreciated this.

The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. They were great about pointing out animals to us in the trees, many of which we would not have seen without their trained eye. The food was amazing and our room was incredibly comfortable with a lovely hot tub on the balcony overlooking one of several pools. I think we had the most fun enjoying the monkeys on our porch and the baby sloth that came down from it's tree.

We highly recommend a surfing lesson from Alex and his brother. They give lessons by the hotel. Our 8 year old daughter had a blast and has not stopped asking when we can go back.

The hotel's location is great with proximity to Manuel Antonias Park and many other activities.
If you rent a car, we suggest renting a GPS too. It saved us.

We are planning our next trip to Arenas del Mar soon and cannot praise this "gem" enough. Thanks to Arenas del Mar, our first trip to Costa Rica far exceeded our expectations. Like some other reviewers, we are almost reluctant to let others know how wonderful Arenas del Mar is. We would like to keep it our little secret.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cayuga S, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Dear,
Greetings from Manuel Antonio. Thanks for sharing your experience at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort on Tripadvisor and not keeping it as your secret (-: Your review will be very helpful for guests looking for a vacation in Costa Rica that combines wildlife viewing, adventure activities, rainforest exploration and beach time. As you pointed out, our resort is in a privileged location within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park so that all of the above can be found within walking distance of your room. Thank you for pointing out our efforts to respect the natural environment where we operate. We were first hotel to receive the highest possible score of 5 Stars for Luxury and 5 Leaves for Sustainability from the Costa Rica Tourism Board. We are especially excited that you are already planning your next stay with us. Just let us know if we can assist you in any way. We have great green season values available for the months to come. We look forward to having you and your family back with us real soon.
Saludos from sunny Costa Rica,
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Cheshire
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

Really can't add any more superlative comments to those already made on Trip Advisor.

We stayed here in January this year for 6 nights & found it to be one of the most relaxing places in the world that we have ever been. The staff were just wonderful & we received the impression that the kindness, respect & willingness to make a perfect vacation for us was much more than just a job for them. Add to that the amazing location of this resort & you have heaven! Manuel Antonio beach must be on the world's top 10 list & hotel guests have direct access to it.

The only fly in my ointment is that Costa Rica is not easy to get to from the UK (& Manuel Antonio even more so). It will almost certainly involve at least one flight connection, if not two, to get to San Jose & then another flight to Quepos or a long car journey. And don't mention the CR road system!! If you plan on hiring a car, the GPS is unreliable at best & although the available maps appear more than adequate, there are little or no roads actually named with the numbers shown on the maps. As a result anticipated journey times are frustratingly extended by wrong turns & detours.

Room Tip: Top floor of the buildings near reception overlooking the ocean. You will have stairs to climb (no...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwick, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

I recently stayed at the Arenas del Mar and was totally captivated from the moment I arrived. This hotel has worked hard to gain a good reputation as one of the best hotels in the area, if not Costa Rica. It is small and spacious with only 38 rooms all located within the rainforest. My third floor room, overlooking the beach, felt as if it was in the treetops. At night I could hear ocean waves lapping and in the morning I was awakened to the melodious sounds of the tropical birds.
The service is superb, all the staff goes out of their way to help you and have a vast knowledge of the local fauna and flora. Gabriel and Rodbin were especially helpful as was Jonathan one of the managers. The food is fairly simple and all a la carte, my favourite place to eat was on the beach. There are also a number of restaurants outside the resort. The Spa is well worth a visit, especially if you choose their 'in house' massage.
This is an Eco-tourism resort and situated in its own private reserve. All types of monkeys, sloths and birdlife can be seen amongst the lush tropical trees. There is a small private beach, which leads to an expansive beach, where you can take a 30 minute walk to the Manuel Antonia National Park., alternatively you can take a taxi for around £5 ($8).This hotel is not for people who want a lively holiday - it is quiet, romantic and unpretentious.If you have problem with climbing hills they have golf buggies to take you to your room, however request a room close to the reception if you are worried.
This is a charming place to visit and a way to enjoy the best of Costa Rica's Eco-tourism and friendly hospitality.

Room Tip: Third floor, overlooking the ocean
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013 via mobile

This was our first trip to CR and we stayed at this gem for the first 5 days. We were completely blown away by this resort, the staff, the location, etc. We then stayed at Si Como No for 2 nights so we were able to compare two resorts in the area...

Staff - we cannot say enough wonderful things about the Arenas del Mar staff. The manager was very friendly and was often visiting with guests to make sure everything was perfect. All staff were accommodating, professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. Everyone was truly "at your service" and greeted you with a smile.

Food - although breakfast was good, we prefer a breakfast buffet over plated table service so that we can enjoy a variety of food on vacation. We never ate at the main restaurant for lunch or dinner. We did eat at Playitas twice and it was delicious. We loved the beachside dining as well as the beach service!

Drinks - happy hour was everyday from 5:30-6:30p and included local beers and cocktails with house liquor. There wasn't anything exceptional about happy hour for us as most of the guests did not come and the drinks were not overly strong. We loved the beach service for beer/cocktails during the day.

Location - the prime location and "private" beach is what sets this resort apart. There are no private beaches in CR but this is as close as you will get because it is quite a hike for non-resort guests. The majority of resorts in the area are high on the cliffs which offers a great view but you have to shuttle to the beach. There are golf carts to take you around the resort which is necessary because the steep hills. There is also easy access to another beach which you can walk down to the Manuel Antonioni national park. Do not expect to be able to walk to other restaurants, bars, etc from the resort.

Amenities - there are two pools although we did not see anyone use the one near the lobby/restaurant. The pool was refreshing but nothing spectacular. But you don't notice when you have the beautiful beach nearby! We stayed in building 2 which was very near to the beach and our room was great. We especially loved the balcony for morning coffee (delicious!) and watching the monkeys, lizards, etc. There was always plenty of lounge chairs at the beach which was a nice as we've experienced issues with availability at other resorts in the past.

Miscellaneous - wireless Internet was available in the room which was great. The local staff's knowledge of the rainforest was incredible and almost every interaction/golf cart ride was a mini tour! Don't be afraid to ask questions. Taxis (or the hotel van) are a must to/from this resort as it is a hike from the resort to the main road to catch a city bus. I would bring a small, soft-sided cooler on our next trip so that we could purchase our own beer and bring it to the beach. The resort overall was very, very quiet, even in the restaurant/bar areas, we would have loved a little salsa/merengue music to add to the ambiance. There were only 2 children at the resort, it was mostly couples.

We would definitely stay here again in the future and recommend this to anyone staying in the Manuel Antonio area. Our entire experience was excellent!

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Keller, Texas
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We stayed in an Ocean Breeze Superior room for 5 nights. Both the room and bathroom are quite small. No bath tub and just a single sink and small mirror. We had just come from a very spacious suite at the Nayara in Arenal and I won't lie my husband and I were both disappointed with the room at the Arenas. We thought about upgrading to a bigger suite but realized that would be an addition $200 - 300 more each night. The good news is that the bed and linens were very comfortable and we were able to get a great night sleep and the room was always very clean. Breakfast was great but we were never informed that they don't start serving until 7am which is a problem when you are booked for early morning excursions. We were told after the fact that we could "pre-order" a breakfast if we needed one earlier. So we did that for the following day to eat at the bar @6:30am. 6:30a passed and no one was to be seen at the bar. Finally a front desk staff member inquired if they could help. They passed along the information and someone from the restaurant came to the bar looked around the register and found our "pre- order" still taped to the keyboard. Food came out @ 6:55 we inhaled it and left for our excursion @7 am. Both the upper and lower pool have beautiful views but the upper pool had a total of 5 lounge chairs and the lower pool 2 lounge chairs. Do they not want people hanging out pool side? The pool towels provided were something you would find at a Hampton Inn not a "Deluxe" hotel. The sad thing is no one even used the upper pool, probably because of the lack of chairs and service. The afternoon we used the upper pool we were never offered food or beverage service. My husband would go to the bar each time. Again not the service you expect when you pay for luxury. Service at the beach/lower pool was better but the 2 chairs were always occupied so we had to settle for club chairs located in the shade under the trees. Dinner was very good and we absolutely loved Luis! What a pleasure it was to meet him!The resort is located in a remote part of the coast on a hill side so it requires golf carts to get around and all of the drivers were great! Brandon & Rodbin were our favorites. Very helpful and always looking to make sure you were enjoying your stay. The resort is lovely with beach access into town but access to anywhere else requires a cab or private car and you will pay about $5 - 10 each way to access some of the other local restaurants for dining. The beach walk is a great way to get into the "beach "part of Manuel Antonio and probably a 20 minute walk to the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Cayuga S, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Dear,
Greetings from Manuel Antonio. Thank you for your review. We appreciate your candid feedback as well as your praise for our staff members and your appreciation for the beauty and privileged location of our hotel. In Costa Rica you will find most rooms to be much smaller in beachfront and rainforest locations (like Manuel Antonio) than in the center of the country (like Arenal) where most hotels are built former pastures. We are working on some changes in the configuration of the rooms to make them more spacious and comfortable. Many guest that are into the outdoor adventures and beach experience, often choose those more economical rooms and others that plan to spend more time in the room, splurge and go for the suites. Our website has good descriptions on what room fits with what kind of traveler interests. We are happy to hear though that you enjoyed a good night’s sleep and that you found the rooms very clean and comfortable.
We are very sorry about the service failure for your early morning breakfast. That is an operational mistake on our side and will be corrected immediately. The lack of beach chairs at the pool happened during the holiday season due to the fact that we had many families stay with us and they were moved to the beach to accommodate our guests there. As of today, we have added enough additional beach chairs so that problem has been solved. We are happy that you enjoyed your dinners and we agree that Luis is a delightful person working in our restaurant. He will be very happy to hear your nice comment about him. Thanks for pointing out the ease of getting to the National Park by walking along the beach. An important benefit of our great beachfront location. Once again, we apologize that things were not 100 percent during your stay, but we are happy to hear that you enjoyed your vacation and hope to have you back with us in the near future. That will be our opportunity to make up for some of the glitches and truly exceed your expectations. Thanks again
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Additional Information about Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Address: Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park 311-6350, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenas Del Mar is an extraordinary beachfront and rainforest resort catering to travelers looking for more than the typical luxury hotel experience. Stunning, luxurious, and sustainable, this hotel has 38 rooms with exclusive beach and nature views as it is nestled in eleven acres of rainforest with private trails and two tree-shaded white sand beaches. Unique among the hotels in Manuel Antonio, our carbon neutral property offers sustainable, luxurious lodging—the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to be awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award. Arenas Del Mar is the perfect base for exploring on your Manuel Antonio vacation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenas Del Mar Beachfront And Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park

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