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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Memphispubcrawler (quite a Tripadvisor name!!!),
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greetings from Arenas del Mar. First of all, thank you very much for your constructive feedback on your stay with us in early September. We appreciate the great comments about our unique location in the rain forest with walking access along to the beach to the National Park and were were happy that you found our food and especially the sea bass to be spectacular. Thank you. To address some of the areas that you pointed out that need room for improvement. As you noted, the rooms are laid out to spend as much time as possible outside on the terraces enjoying the warm temperatures, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the monkeys and birds that are ever present at the resort. We understand though that due to bad weather (especially in the months of September and October which is the height of our rainy season) the area cannot be used all the time. If you are a guest that is looking to spend more time in your room, we suggest you opt for a suite that has a living area in a separate room. The superior rooms work very well for guests that are looking for an active stays with many tours and adventures. We are sorry you were not able to see all the games of the US Open. We believe that keeping the public areas TV free is a plus, though for very special occasions, we have set up a screen for our guests. Early September is still a time when we have many families stay with us and we understand that this can sometimes create conflict with couples that are looking for more peace and quiet. We try to manage this very carefully. We will take immediate action on improving the way we deliver ice and watching for kids touching silverware on tables. In terms of the guides, we would like to clarify that we do not "rip" anybody off at the hotel. The rates for a tour booked at the hotel with a private guide from Arenas del Mar (Ersel has been mentioned in many previous TA reviews) are a bit more expensive, but our tour provides a much superior experience than going with guides that hang out at the entrance of the Park. We strongly advise you not to go with those guides as we have received various complaints from previous guests. Once again, thanks for your feedback and we hope that the positive memories of your stay with us outweigh the details that you mention in the cons category. All the best.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.