After a busy tour of Costa Rica it was wonderful to relax in this Pacific Paradise. We had tried to book an Ocean Breeze room but were given a garden room which was close to the reception area and contained a large, comfy bed, curtained off from a living area with bed settee, kitchenette and table and chairs. The mini bar contained free soft drinks, snacks and a closed jug of fresh water which was topped up daily. A coffee maker and coffee was also provided. Patio doors opened onto a terrace with cane furniture and jacuzzi. We were warned to keep the doors fully locked at night to avoid a raccoon invasion. The bathroom was well equipped with towels, robes and a large walk in closet with safe (and cute, live pet crab that scuttled out to visit me regularly!) Good quality organic shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are provided and you are asked to use these products to help avoid adding chemicals to the ecosystem.
Breakfasts were absolutely fabulous - fresh tropical fruits, smoothies, coffee and light healthy options such as oatmeal and berries as well as heartier fare such as burritos and pancakes. The restaurant has some tables outside by the pool, overlooking the pacific, where you will be joined by resident iguanas and serenaded by tanagers and grackles. Evening meals could be taken in the Mirador restaurant or, twice during our short stay, on the beach with live music accompaniment. Food is sourced from local organic farmers and fishermen.
Staff were great - friendly and helpful, constantly topping us up with free iced water, keen to point out wild life. I would have missed the delightful mother and baby sloth had it not been for one of the groundsmen beckoning me over.
So, what stopped me awarding 5 stars? Four minor niggles. 1) There were no guides to the hotel available written in English and I had to ask several times for a map of the hotel as, confusingly we had to go uphill then downhill to the main entrance and spot the walk through the forest to the public beach; and downhill the opposite direction to the hotel's "private beach" and pool. There are golf carts and drivers available and these were essential for my partner, but personally I prefer to walk. I eventually found I was able to translate the spanish guide and realised, on our final day, that the hotel had ipads and a Kindle fire available to loan to guests. This would have been extremely useful to have known upon checking in! I learnt on checking out that the hotel had received a delivery of English guides the day after we arrived. It is a shame no one thought to provide us with one. 2) I enjoyed an amazing early morning bird walking tour with the hotel's bird guide, Anya. I had assumed this was a free service, like the dance classes and was surprised to find a charge of $50 dollars added to my bill at check out. This was reduced to $25 when I pointed out that my partner had not accompanied me. It was certainly worth the money - I just would have like to have known about the cost involved. 3) During one of our evening meals taken inside the Mirador restaurant I had to ask for us to be moved as we could not hear ourselves think for the sound of cutlery being clattered by staff into cutlery trays a few feet away. The waiter told us other people had complained about the noise at this table - I wonder why the table, which, being beside the service corridor must be the worst position in the entire restaurant, isn't simply removed? 4) Because of our disappointment at not getting an Ocean Breeze room, we had been advised by our tour company that we would have something special in our room, I mentioned this to our hotel's "experience manager" whom we were introduced to on our first day but never saw again, and she assured us it would be in our room on our final night. It wasn't and we have no idea what it would have been! Kind thought but...
Although a few issues prevented our overall experience from being excellent, I can highly recommend this beautiful place and its stunning location.
- 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