The Pros: (1) We saw all three species of monkeys that live in the area - howler, squirrel, and white faced. We saw enormous iguanas and a sloth move so quickly to get out of a thunderstorm that we initially thought that he was a monkey! We also saw snakes and baselisk lizards by the pool. Very cool. (2) The grounds are nice at this resort. The actual resort is located way off of the main road. It is secluded and private and guests are really in the forest. There are no cars on site. Guests either walk or call for a golf cart to navigate the steep paths. (3) Restaurant food was pretty tasty - sea bass truly delicious. (4) The entrance to Manuel Antonio Park is a 20-30 minute walk up the beach. We did not have to call for a taxi or anything to get to the park or the restaurants over by the park. Very pleasant walk. Try the yellowfin at Marlin's. (5) Staff very nice people.
The Cons: (1) Our room was really, really small. We had been in La Fortuna for the previous 4 nights, and our room there was like a condo. Our room in Arenas del Mar was about the size of a budget hotel in Paris or London. A few feet of clearance on either side of the bed, and that was it for the bedroom. The sitting area was outside, along with the wet bar and mini fridge. Bathroom was okay, but the water pressure was not great. Scented toilet paper! There was a small flat screen on the wall, but you had to watch TV in bed. I know, I know, you don't go to a rainforest resort to watch TV. Unless, of course, there is a torrential, unending downpour and the US Open is on. (2) Drinks were expensive. On the first night, there was a very heavy rainstorm and we did not want to venture out. We went to the restaurant, and they tried to seat us near a family with two in high chairs and another couple with a baby. I asked to be moved away from the children, and they moved as a little. One kid got up and was touching and rearranging the stemware at an unoccupied table, and the parents were not doing anything about it, and the staff did not step in. I understand that it is not the responsibility of the staff to step in and control another guest's ill-behaved brood, but it did not do much for the atmosphere. We decided to drink away the presence of the bratty children, and it was a very large tab indeed. (3) No TV in the bar (Federer was playing!) (4) Calling for ice from room service was a pain. They would usually bring ice in a legitimate ice bucket, but a few times they came with a margarita glass of ice. Enough for one-and-a-half mixed drinks. Not okay. (5) I felt that there was a bit of a rip-off going on with regard to the tour guides. We were told by the concierge that we could get a guided tour for $60 USD per person to go through the park. We booked it for 7:00 am the next morning. We later went down to the town, and booked a tour for $30 USD per person for the same thing. From what I could determine, all of the guides cooperate. When one person sees something cool, he whistles and everyone on the path can come look. Don't be afraid to go off resort for things like this.
- Also Known As:
- Arenas Del Mar Beachfront And Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park
- 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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