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“A great surprise (it was exactly what they advertised)!” 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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Stay four - pay three
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Cambridge MA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A great surprise (it was exactly what they advertised)!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

After recovering from the shock of the road Down and uninviting entrance to the hotel grounds, which leaves you wondering why you are about to get into, and then the golf cart ride down and up the hill to the main entrance building, we found this hotel to be a gem -- great service, great staff, lovely beaches, excellent breakfasts and lunches, and we had a terrific ocean breeze suite on the third floor down by the hotel private beach. The staff merit special mention --Rodbin and Jose were exceptional in getting us settled, responding to every request or issue, and providing personalized care and treatment. They were not alone. The only two downsides we found: the dinner selections are limited and, hence, Dinner there three nights is not recommended; and, second, to go anywhere off the property requires a taxi or use of the hotel service and, hence, you pay. But they can range it all. Otherwise, everything except a fitness center is right there, and the key features are two nice pools and a very nice private beach and easy access to the huge Manuel San Antonio beach. While totally different in size, feel and cost, it rivals the quite spectacular 4 seasons five hours further north off Liberia in papaguyu peninsula, where we began our 8 day vacation.

Room Tip: The ocean breeze suite on third floor in buildings right off the hotel beach is special. So choose a...
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  • Stayed December 2013, 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.
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1,181 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (374)
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English first
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

This resort was an amazing place to stay while visiting Costa Rica. The property was beautiful and the staff provided great service. Daveed, Alexander and Emilio were very friendly and welcoming. Also, if you want to surf Alex is set up at the beach to help you learn. He was friendly and professional. Justin and Kiki were great and give lessons too. I highly recommend this resort for your stay!

  • Stayed December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

I am not one of those “repeat each year” kinds of traveler, but I have been to Arenas del Mar several times. I have been here solo, as a couple, with friends and this place is just perfect.

It has the most amenities you can possibly have while staring nature in the face … it’s a private property with exactly what you expect: modern, beautiful accommodations, restaurant and bar, multiple pools, two beaches, an excellent spa and a plethora of wildlife that will have your camera exhausted.

And then there are all the little things that make this place a gem: gracious and helpful staff, interesting activities and tours, easy access to nearby Manual Antonio National Park, breakfast al fresco at your leisurely pace and daily visits from the adorable monkeys.

I chuckle at some of the food reviews that complain that the dinner menu had seafood or rice and beans dishes. Of course, it does! This is Central America. I have had excellent meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), a good variety, and good service. One evening, I walked into the restaurant to be surprised that an acclaimed chef from Philadelphia was preparing a multi-course culinary feast that went far beyond excellent. Blown away, I came back this year specifically for the chef event week. I ate to oblivion incredible dishes, participated in cooking demonstrations, food and drink tastings and ate desserts that cannot even be described really except to say - Incredible! So I recommend you try the local dishes (pinto gallo or avocado shrimp) to experience Costa Rica cuisine and if it’s a chef event week when you do, recommend you don’t miss it. Maybe venture out one night to a local restaurant if you need to mix it up.

This hotel shines for me because whatever kind of vacation a person wants can be had here (R&R, adventure, bird watching, spa retreat, etc). And it feels good to know that while I am lounging on my deck, sipping a delicious cocktail at the bar, or getting pampered in the spa, I know that the hotel is genuinely respecting nature and going the extra mile to remain upscale and environment friendly. There’s no marketing hype here – they walk the talk.

Final suggestions: book the spa early to ensure you get your desired time, take a birding tour even if you swear it’s not your thing, and my personal favorite: take an afternoon nap on those amazing, soft and luxurious bed sheets!

Room Tip: Higher Floors have "better" views. Bldg 4 second floor has great location/views. Also Bld...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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.
El Sobrante, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

Stayed four nights two weeks before Christmas in a Superior Ocean View room--breakfasts and one dinner included. Service was superb (thanks to the staff and especially our host, Ariel). Guests are constantly asked if they are comfortable, if everything is fine. They address you by your name.

The room was attractive and clean--a little tight, but there was plenty of room to lounge on the sizeable balcony. Partial view of the ocean, more of the forest. We could see monkeys in the trees outside of the room. The complimentary mini-bar is a nice touch and coffee/coffee maker is convenient. Make sure the mini-bar (on the balcony) is locked up or the monkeys will raid it!
The bed was very comfortable--I've never slept so soundly.

Breakfast is a la carte and includes coffee, fresh juice, and pastries. The eggs are always come out overcooked, despite being ordered otherwise. Not a big deal. Pancakes are great. Service, again, exemplary. Their Mirador Restaurant food is very good. We had medallions of beef (good quality beef) and arroz con pollo, which was authentic and tasty. One thing: There are no soda or water machines anywhere on the property. Part of their policy on staying ecologically green. Their hotel water, though, is purified, and they will provide reusable water bottles for your use.

This is one time I didn't bring my own shampoo and wish I had. The hotel provides organic liquid soaps and shampoo, and I found the shampoo to be irritating.

Location: The hotel has a secured entrance and sits above the beach on beautiful acres of property. Staff will pick you up in an electric cart to take you to the beach, reception area, or tour pick-up area. It is not safe walking distance to any restaurants (hotel is on a winding, narrow street) so guests take a taxi or the hotel shuttle. I hate the idea of being ripped off by taxis, which will charge you an inflated "turista" rate, so instead took the hotel shuttle for the same inflated rate of $11 US.

The hotel offers a couple of free tours and can arrange for other adventure tours. We went on their National Park Tour with hotel guide/naturalist Irsel, whose unending enthusiasm and energy made it a highlight of our trip.

Highly recommend Arenas Del Mar. I am already planning my trip back for next year.
THANKS TO THE WONDERFULL STAFF and world-class service! PURA VIDA...

Room Tip: Rooms in buildings with a higher number are closer to the main lobby and restaurant area and therefo...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Anselmo, CA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

My wife and I spent 3 nights at Arenas Del Mar during December 2013. It was the final stop on a 10-day tour that included stays at two other luxury properties in Costa Rica - Nayara (Arenal) and Florblanca (Santa Teresa/Malpais).

It took me a couple of days to make reservations here for a couple of reasons. There are many classes of rooms, and it's expensive, so I wanted to make sure I got a room that I was happy with. The hotel was offering a 3 nights for the price of 2 promotion that included a free dinner, but the reservation agent never mentioned it during two conversations. I ended up finding it on their website and inquiring about it. This is a level of deception that I don't appreciate. As it is, I ended up spending almost $500 per night (including taxes) AFTER the discount in order to get an ocean view superior room.

We arranged for transportation from Quepos Airport through the hotel. The hotel occupies a hill adjacent to the beach. You can't really walk to restaurants from here (there are two restaurants on the property), but taxis here are inexpensive, unlike other parts of the country. We arrived at a rustic open air reception area at the bottom of the hill and were transported via golf cart up a hill to the main lobby, which features the front desk, gift shop, pool, and restaurant.

From the beginning, service was clearly a strength. The bellman, Ariel, provided helpful information about hiking paths located around the property and worked hard to develop a rapport. Likewise, the front desk clerk, Allan, was extremely nice and helpful. This would be a theme at this property - world class service - not just friendly, but extremely solicitious. They seemed to always anticipate our needs. This is why I can remember their names so well - they clearly wanted to make sure that we were well taken care of.

Our room was a bit of a disappointment, however - a bit shocking to me, given that it was the most expensive room of our stay, even with the 3-for-2 discount. It was small with aging yellow floor tile, dusty taupe curtains, and a bathroom that was well-maintained but simply showing its age. When we turned the fan on full speed, dust flew off of it. The air conditioner promised 17 degrees Celsius but it couldn't deliver it.

But the bed was comfortable and the view of the ocean was spectacular. We had a small deck with two chairs and a mini bar. Arenas Del Mar provides complimentary beverages and snacks in the minibar, which is a really nice touch.

Upon doing a little recon, we noticed that the property is sizeable. We were at the top of the hill in building 6. There are 7 3-story buildings, with a variety of different room types in each. The higher the building number, the closer you are to the lobby and the top of the hill.

Buildings with lower numbers are at the bottom of the hill practically on the beach. You won't have the same kind of views, but you'll get your own beach, pool and restaurant. The hill is steep, but you can call the front desk and they'll send a driver with a golf cart to take you up and down the hill. The beach at the bottom of the hill is small but quite nice, with bar service. There was a pretty serious rip tide which made it difficult to swim - that was disappointing, but we were able to frolic a bit as long as we didn't get too deep.

One of the best features of Arenas Del Mar is that there is wildlife everywhere. There were two sloths in the trees outside of the reception area, and we heard about monkeys visiting the beach the day before we arrived.

The hotel also has an absolutely incredible tour guide named Ersel. We did a basic hike in Manuel Antonio National Park with him and he turned it into an extraordinary experience. His passion for wildlife is infectious, and this very simple little hike turned into the highlight of our trip. Arenas Del Mar offers many different tours throughout the day, including free birdwatching tours at 6 AM and tours of many other area attractions.

We had nice meals at the main restaurant - a very good dinner and nice (free) breakfasts. The food at the beach restaurant wasn't quite as good, but the cocktails were delicious and reasonably priced.

Overall, I think Arenas Del Mar is a very nice property with rooms that need a little TLC. The service here is some of the best that I've experienced in the world and the location is spectactular, and those factors certainly help you forgive some of the issues with the rooms.

Room Tip: The property consists of 7 3-story buildings - the low numbers (100s, 200s, 300s) are at the bottom...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

If John Milton had been with us on this trip, he may have changed the title to his book. Arenas del Mar is truly Paradise Found and what we found here was a dream vacation. Tucked away on a mountainside, surrounded by exotic flora and fauna, this resort surrenders itself to its natural surroundings- which includes a beach that is both placid on some days and exhilarating on others. Sunrise and sunset are both an activity and not just a time of day. The staff are warm and attentive and helpful in every way.- always accommodating. Bird watching, forest excursions and zip lining call for special recognition of Ersel, a Costa Rican naturalist and expert in nature and our relationship to the natural world. And as beautiful as it was, it was hard to leave our sumptuous room! Delicious meals and great drinks were the exclamation point to a great trip we are planning on taking again as soon as possible. Go!

Room Tip: View, view , view!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Sarasota, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

My husband and I travelled with another couple and shared one floor of a building near the beach -- two bedrooms and adjoining living room. A bottle of wine and a fresh cheese plate awaited our arrival. Our room had a view of the rainforest and we slept to the sound of crashing waves in an insanely comfortable bed. We had delicious breakfasts around the pool with a view of the Pacific, lunches served on the sandy beach, and dinners in the open air restaurant. Jen Carroll, top Phila chef, cooked that week and did not disappoint. Every morning we walked along the stunning -- and incredibly unpopulated --one mile public beach. Tours of all local spots were easily arranged with the concierge. The hotel staff are THE BEST. We have stayed at top rated Four Seasons, Ritz, etc and the staff of Arenas del Mar were, in comparison, so genuinely hospitable. Their concern for our well-being was above and beyond. The staff ratio is high and they are successful in meeting their goal of learning guests' first names within the first 24 hours. Many of the staff drive the golf carts which are always available to take guests around the hilly property. The drivers are very knowledgable and eager to engage in conversation about things to do on and off the property. They know how to make you feel at home in an exotic setting.

Room Tip: Rooms in the buildings near the lobby are more expensive but have killer views.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Cayuga S, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, responded to this review, December 17, 2013
Dear Susan G,
greetings from Manuel Antonio and Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort. Thank you for your raving review about your recent stay with us. We love the fact that you felt "at home" in an exotic setting. We are flattered by your favorable comparison with such established hospitality brands such as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton. We work hard to provide top service with a 100% local staff and try to be as authentic and local in the delivery as possible. We are excited to hear that you enjoyed the guest chef event with Jennifer and all the other meals at the hotel. We are currently planning the guest chef events for 2014 and hope you can join us again then. Happy holidays and all the best.
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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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#3 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*
Number of rooms: 38
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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