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“Outstanding resort but some rooms are small...” 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
northern virginia
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Outstanding resort but some rooms are small...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2009

There is much to like about this hotel and all the other positive reviews are spot on. The beach must be one of my top 5 favorites ever. The staff is super friendly and accomodating. The grounds are gorgeous. The restaurants are very competent, in fact the management offered to have the chef prepare a special meal for us on our last night, -- it was superb. The bar staff make great drinks. Loaner laptops and free wi-fi is typical of how far they go to please their guests. With only one note of caution, I would absolutely stay here again.

So, the caution: when booking your rooms, unless you are booking a suite, be aware that some of the rooms are on the small side. The suites are very spacious, but any room ending with the letter B, will be smaller than we expected, for the price. By the end of our 6-night stay, we had figured out how to stow everything, and were quite comfortable. Never the less, the size of our room was not up to the standard of comparable resorts.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 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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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)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2009

We loved the private beaches, the lush grounds, the friendly staff, and the wildlife. It was great to see monkeys and birds in the nearby trees. Our room was just steps away from one of the private beaches (but if you wanted to walk to the public beach, it was just a nice walk away). The Pacific Ocean is warm here, and the wildlife preserve (Manual Antonio National Park) is nearby, making this area pretty much a (neo)tropical paradise.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Scottsdale, AZ
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

My husband and I just returned from a fabulous 6 night stay at Arenas del Mar to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday. I read the reviews on Trip Advisor and did not experience anything similar to any of the previous negative reviews.

One of the main reasons for booking this resort was the fact that it has direct beach access because many hotels do not offer this in Costa Rica. There are two lovely beaches which are both down the hill, but it is not a problem if you don't mind walking five minutes downhill or calling for a cart. I loved the fact that there were not autos on the property - only goflcarts driven by the friendliest staff who are available for you 24 hours a day. We never waited more than a few minutes for a cart. Victor, Diego and all of the other bellman always greeted you with a smile and always stopped to point out wildlife when they saw it. The beauty of this hotel is that is built into the hillside with beach access. With that, comes steep terrain, but that only adds to the intrigue of the property.

The rooms are clean, stylish and spacious for the two of us. We stayed in an ocean breeze suite on the third floor and had a quaint view of the ocean through the trees. I suppose the best views of the ocean would be the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms in buildings 6 & 7, but even if you don't stay in those buildings you get the feeling you are among the trees in one of the most beautiful rain forests you'll ever see! I was a huge fan of the mini bar situated on our expansive patio where I made coffed every morning, listened to the waves crashing below and watched for monkeys, sloths and birds. A totally mesmerizing experience!

Upon arrival, we were notified our room did not have A/C due to a recent storm, however after two nights, the manager moved us to another room once one came available. I trust that the management did the best they could under the circumstances, and in the meantime, we were given a portable A/C unit which was so-so. Yes, this was a bit of an inconvenience, but it certainly did not hinder my experience or opionion of this resort.

The social and evnironmental responsibilty of the staff and management of this property is to be commended. Pablo, the resident naturalist, is well educated on the local wildlife and ecosystems. You must book your tour of Manuel Antonio through the hotel. In fact, all excursions (white water rafting, canopy/zip line, and Manuel Antonio park) we booked through the hotel were top-notch. We normally don't book these things through resorts, but after asking around town. we learned that the hotel's vendors were all recommended as the best in town. Rafting - Amigos del Rio; Canopy - Safari Canopy.

We ate about 50% of our meals at the hotel and were thoroughly impressed with the variety, quality and value. All waiters spoke very good English and were eager to please.

I highly recomomend this resort to those who seek a luxurious, peaceful, romantic spiked with some outdoor adventure.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

This was our first trip to Costa Rica, for our honeymoon, and we were at Arenas del Mar for 6 nights. Arenas del Mar is a very unique property. It is situated in the jungle, but with direct beach access. You can get whatever you want here from a relaxing afternoon by the pool with food/drink service, to an adventure through the rain forest.

The staff here is very accomodating, and the golf carts that take you around the property (required unless you are REALLY wanting a workout) come very quickly, always with a very friendly driver. Victor and Rodbin were the two we seemed to have the most and they were great.

Beach access here in very unique. I believe it is the only hotel in Manuel Antonio with direct access and will be the last, due to a law about building proximity to the coast. Other hotels may bill it as such, but from what we heard, it was either very hard to get down to the beach, or there really was just a view. Here, you simply walk out from the cafe onto the beach. You can even have your lunch out there if you like and they will also serve drinks.

ROOM - We stayed in Ocean Breeze Suite 103A. I think this may be the best room in the whole property. It was really close to the untouched jungle, as well as had views to Playitas beach and the crashing waves. We were steps away from the cafe and pool also. We saw monkeys playing outside our room a couple of times. Really really cool. The room is huge with a kitchen/dining area, living/sitting area, huge master bathroom and shower, ANOTHER bathroom, plus a king size bed that is SO COMFY. Now onto the terrace - WOW!!! It was so humongous that even the pictures don't do it justice. There are two distinct sitting areas. You could have a party out there! The whirlpool (both hot and cold water available) was really nice and romantic also. I also loved that the sliding doors has both glass that locked as well as a screen. You could get some great breezes through the room by opening the windows and doors. Be advised that the only room that has AC is the bedroom. We really didn't find this to be a bother. There are so many ceiling fans both inside and out that we never were uncomfortable.

TOURS - We did a few tours while here - the canpoy tour through the hotel (highly recommended), as well as an ATV tour which was really neat (not recommended by the hotel as it's not considered environmentally friendly), and the tour through Manuel Antonio National Park. Pablo from the hotel is incredibly knowledgeble, friendly, and must have some sort of laser vision. I don't know how he saw all the animals we spotted! Even though it costs more, I'd recommend going on the hotel tour. You never know what you might get when you hire someone at the entrance, though I'd say that doing that is better than nothing. We talked to people how just walked through and saw nothing, while we saw spiders, monkeys, crabs, sloths, bats, toucans, and many more animals.

FOOD - I thought the food overall was pretty good. Not super spectacular but very good. We did have a few dishes that were exceptional. Breakfast is included here which is great - and it's a full menu (french toast, eggs, traditional costa rican dishes). The only thing I'd recommend is going into town to buy water and soda as these are WAY overpriced. You have a mini bar fridge in the room so you can put it right in there. Everything else is pretty normal though (you can get a sea bass meal for $17!). Room service prices are the same as regular menu prices, making a nice romantic night in within reach.

SUSTAINABILITY - This hotel really is very eco-friendly. No bulldozers were used to build it, they recycle on site (you will have a bin outside your room), and they use bamboo straws instead of plastic. Just a few things they do to help the environment.

OVERALL - I would definitely recommend this hotel to both families and couples looking for a really uniqe, relaxing getaway.

Thank you, Arenas del Mar, for making our honeymoon so memorable!!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Houston
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

Arenas del Mar is the best place I have ever been and was the trip of a lifetime!! It is perfectly nestled in a gorgeous and lush rainforest, with awe-inspiring scenery of the coast and easy beach access. The resort decor is absolutely beautiful.The staff are positively phenomenal, super-friendly, professional, and very knowledgeable. The food at both restaurants was amazing. The tours of the rainforest and grounds with Jose Pablo were extremely educational and made our trip memorable. The resort is highly eco-friendly and the grounds are filled with wildlife, from squirrel monkeys to crabs to iguanas. Our room (702B) had a breath-taking ocean view and very comfortable and luxurious accommodations. The walk to the beach was easy and scenic. The guard booth at the beach offered boogie boards and lounge chairs for free. It was like a dream come true!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2009

We were very disappointed with our stay, it started off terrible, with the transfer of our luggage we noticed our camera didnt make it to the room.
As we investigated we did not get any cooperation from the hotel. Unfortunately it was our last destination and we had spent 2 weeks traveling around getting to know the country, and all of our photos were gone. We even explained that the photo card was all that we wanted back, since we had limited time with one of our sons during our trip and it was all we had of our time with him. Very disappointing! The hotel was not willing to do anything to make up for this obvious loss. Their attitude was that they had to support their staff, and sorry but we cant do anything about it. We had paid good money to stay there with a suite and extra room, thought this was a top notch accommodation, and you'd think they have trustworthy staff. I think they have lots of cheap workers and not a very good handle of who they are hiring, or hopefully only one bad egg in the bunch, but certainly not worth the risk. We've stayed at two other places in Manuel Antonio, Hotel Parador and the Gaia Hotel, their staff seemed more exclusive as in not too many and perhaps better managed.
I thought the hotel's appearance was nice, clean and the rooms did not have a ocean view but it was spacious and the bed were comfortable. The beach was nicely kept and the life guard was attentive but not obvious. The food was ok, and one needs to like lots of walking and be active in order to get around easily, otherwise your at the mercy of the cart drivers. It is remote but I think that is the beauty of it. But, with all that said, if your belongings arent safe then all the rest doesnt matter! We spoke with another visitor and we expressed our disappointment and experience, he said he was missing $70. and doesnt know where it went and wondered if he had been a victim too. It is really too bad, and certainly we will share our experience with other travelers here in the states.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, responded to this review, June 29, 2009
Thank you for your feedback on your recent stay at Arenas Del Mar. It is through our guests’ feedback and comments that we can grow and improve. We also like to get back to our guests regarding their feedback and so we hope that in this way we can somehow try and work this out.

Regarding your camera, we wanted to let you know that at Arenas Del Mar one of our priorities is our guest’s and guest’s properties safety. We are continuously working on different procedures to avoid this kind of incidents. A situation like this had never happened to us before. Since our opening date, we have been handling daily room arrivals and this is definitely an unfortunate, isolated case. This is the reason why when you reported your missing camera, all of our staff were willing to help you by calling the airport, looking for it everywhere and even arranging a transfer to the local airport on the next day for you to be able to look for it.

We deeply apologize for any and all of these inconveniences. We pride ourselves on our staff and our hotel and it is always a big disappointment for us to hear of anybody who did not love their stay. We also consider important to let you know that every staff member at Arenas Del Mar is inspected before they leave the hotel by a security guard and a camera was never found. Please be sure that if we ever find evidence that the hotel was responsible for any incident, we will take full responsibility and action both on our staff members and our security system since we would like to eliminate any possibility in this in the future.

Meanwhile, hoping that your memories of Arenas del Mar won’t be all negative and knowing that the pictures cannot be replaced, we would like to pay you back for the cost of your camera. Please let us know how much we owe you and where we can wire transfer the money to reimburse you for this cost.

Again, thank you very much for your feedback and we hope you come back to Arenas del Mar in the near future.

The Arenas Del Mar Management Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tennessee
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2009

My husband and I just returned from 5 nights at Arenas Del Mar and our expectations were far exceeded! From the moment we got there to the moment we left we were surrounded by beautiful views, spectacular grounds and the happiest staff I have ever encountered!

Our room (ocean breeze suite - 403A) was exactly as described and the deck was enormous offering us 2 directions of ocean views as well as some jungle view, too! The bed was incredibly comfortable and we slept to the sound of crashing waves every night. We were highly impressed with the time and effort put in by the cleaning staff as well. They did an exceptionally thorough cleaning every day.

We ordered drinks and ice from room service several nights and service was fast and easy. Everything we asked for from the staff throughout our trip was done quickly and seemingly happily. We had so much fun just talking to the staff and learning about their lives and their country. All of the Costa Ricans that we met (both in and out of the hotel) exuded so much pride and happiness with their country!! Such a welcome change from the US where people seem to be complaining a lot these days!

We booked several tours through the hotel and found it to be the easiest thing to do by far. We decided at 6pm one night that we would like to do the canopy tour the next morning that left at 6:50am and the hotel made it happen. What service!!

One of the tours we booked was a trip through Manuel Antonio with Jose Pablo and let me tell you, I think he has telesopes for eyes! He was able to spot the smallest creatures from far away and give us a close up of them with his high-powered telescope. We could even take pictures through the telescope giving us close up photos of tons and tons of fascinating creatures. Jose Pablo is such a pleasure to talk to and learn from and his passion for his country and his planet is contagious. I HIGHLY recommend doing that!! I have found myself still wanting to ask him questions that have popped in my head since we left.

Overall, I cannot think of one thing to complain about at Arenas Del Mar. It is certainly not appropriate for people with difficulties walking and there are less expensive hotels in the area but I cannot imagine having as great of an experience anywhere else. It seems to be the only hotel in the area that combines direct and easy beach access, a commitment to maintaining the integrity of the nature surrounding the property, and a high level of service and luxury. Thank you, thank you everyone for such a perfect adventure!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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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 Top resorts Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Green 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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