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“Beautiful Casitas, almost didn't want to leave the hotel.”

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Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful Casitas, almost didn't want to leave the hotel.”
Reviewed December 12, 2009

The casitas/rooms are spacious and beautiful. All the vegetation gives a sense of privacy with a view of the volcano.

Included - DVD player, DVDs at the desk that you can borrow with NO charge, 3 laptops in the lobby with FREE internet, breakfast buffet included (at least in our package), umbrellas at each casita door and at the restaurant and lobby (even in the "dry" season it will still rain ocassionally), FREE shuttle to and from "downtown" La Fortuna (This is the same shuttle for employees to get downtown. It leaves the hotel at 210, 410, and 610.)

Rooms -
There are only 25 casitas, so it's a small cozy hotel. When I think back to Arenal, I remember how wonderful the rooms were and looking out the porch window and waiting for a glimpse of the top of the volcano. The rooms/casitas are huge, we had two beds, a flat screen tv, 2 large closets with slippers and bathrobes, large indoor shower area, an outdoor shower, large porch with a jacuzzi, two chairs, and a hammock. There are a lot of light switches for everything! (you'll understand what I mean when you get there)

Hotel Food -
Breakfast was pretty good as far as buffet breakfasts go. They have standard American pancakes, bacon/sausages and an omelette station, some Costa Rican stuff that was really good, fruits and assorted pastries. We only had dinner there once, the food was good but nothing truly exceptional. If you are trying to fit in lunch quickly before an excursion/tour, tell them when you order. Otherwise the "quick eats" section of the lunch menu will still take 30+min to come out. (no one in Costa Rica is on time except for the tour people)

There are 4 birds, and 3 bunnies that can be found on the property. One of the green birds will say "hola" and whistle at you if you speak to it.

The entire staff was very nice, especially the concierge guys in the lobby. Everyone spoke English, or at least some English.

The only thing I think they can improve on is the wait staff in the restaurant - they were disorganized, weren't the most friendly, and almost seemed like they didn't want to be there. When you are seated, 2 people come separately to ask you what you want to drink and your room number. They don't seem to realize someone else has already helped you. When we got the prix fixe dinner for $20pp it says that it comes with appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee or tea. We asked for one tea and the waiter said it wasn't included. Then someone else came out and told us they could give us one tea, as if they were doing US a favor. It was also weird when you got the "check" for the free breakfast that they always reminded you that the tip is not included and stood next to you until you finished signing and tipping them. Having someone hovering over you and reminding you that tip isn't included is a bit awkward and rude.

La Fortuna food - We only tried Don Rufino. It's clean and the food is good. There's no air conditioning, only the cross breeze. I had Grandma Style Chicken which came in foil and a banana leaf. It was delicious, moist, and had a great sauce. Also came with vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side.

I would return to Arenal Nayara with friends or my spouse without hesitation.

General Info about Costa Rica -
*Most places have a garbage can near the toilet - you're supposed to put your toilet paper there instead of flushing it because the CR pipe system isn't that good.
*They use the same outlets as the US.
*Everyone accepted US$, most gave change back in colones however. So you don't need to change money before you arrive.
*Even though the tour books say that tipping or extra tip is not expected, it really is. Bring a lot of $5 and $1 bills for tips. For zipline and rafting tours we gave $20 for the 4 guys to split amongst themselves. (However, we noticed a lot of people didn't tip.)
*Most people run late except for the tour/excursion people.
*You don't need to speak fluent Spanish if you're staying in the tourist towns, but it's a good idea to know a few words. Especially for the taxi drivers.
*Even in the "dry season" it will still rain unexpectedly. In Arenal it rained every morning, and a couple of times in the afternoon or over night, but wouldn't last long. In Manuel Antonio it rained while we were rafting, but was dry by the time we finished and got back to the hotel. Pick up a $8 poncho from Walgreens for hiking tours. It packs down pretty small and comes in a small mesh bag.
*Bring a small backpack or wear cargo pants with lots of pockets (preferably zippered pockets).
*at Manuel Antonio National Park - do the morning walking tour. They have good telescopes and can point out things you otherwise can't see with your bare eyes. The tour is about 3.5hours. They can give you a ticket to go back into the park to enjoy the less crowded beaches (which closes at 4pm). Otherwise it's $10pp for the park. The park is closed on Mondays. Wear your bathing suit, water shoes, and bring a towel. Do not bring food unless you're going to eat it right away. The monkeys and raccoons are not shy about taking food. We saw 4 monkeys harass a woman while the 5th monkey stole her box of crackers.
*Use the bus in Manuel Antonio/Quepos. It runs every 20min until 6pm, then every 40min. They will stop where ever you pull the stop request cord, so you just have to keep your eye open for your destination. It cost 470 colones for 2 people (which is about $0.83 depending on conversion rate.)
*If you are using Sansa (25lbs, 10lbs carry on) or Nature Air (30lbs, 10lbs carry on) for inter country flights PACK LIGHT! They are serious about their weight restrictions and will weigh YOU with your carry on, then your carry on by itself. They did make us take stuff out of the carry on, even though we had room to add it to our luggage. I hear they charge $1 for each pound you are over the weight maximum. It's worth it to buy a $10 luggage scale from Bed Bath and Beyond if you don't already have a scale.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank SFWDCNYCCHI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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gapeachy1
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2009

We loved our stay at Arenal Nayara. The staff was extremely attentive. The food delicious. And the room in credible. There's nothing like waking up to birds singing - and then watching all the activity on your own private deck. My husband loved the swim-up bar. Our only regret was not staying longer.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank gapeachy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed December 11, 2009

I stayed here one the first leg of my honeymoon in Costa Rica. The hotel was amazing. I read the reviews on tripadvisor before making my selections of hotels. As noted by others, construction was going on during the day, but we didn't notice because we were closer to the pool. The only time the construction was an issue was when we went to the Spa for a massage. All I could hear was the drills and saws. The hotel did give us a bath oil for our hot tub. The staff is very friendly and the service was great. We got a free bottle of champagne as well as chocolate covered strawberries. The towel animals were really cool too. I actually liked this hotel over Hotel Punta Islita, where we stayed on the second leg of my honeymoon.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Nileshucf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NOVATO , CA
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2009

It was an amazing journey from Monteberde to Arenal. We had taken a van along some very bumpy and winding roads. We then transferred to a boat to cross Lake Arenal. Another van took us to our destination. 4 hours to go 40 miles. I love the jungle.

It was an unforgettable joy to check in at Arenal Naraya hotel. The outright beauty of the setting and the woodworking throughout the property. We had booked our vacation thru Costa Rica Vacations and once again they did not let me down.

We were taken to our room by Estevan , our friendly , insightful valet. He explained how the hotel was situated and how the room was set-up. He was extremely helpful and informative.

The room at the Arenal Nayara is incredible. The baliesque style of the hotel is seen clearly in your room. The incredible lushness of the property was enjoyed while we relaxed on the back deck , with a large jacuzzi tub and a great view of the Arenal volcano. or so we're told. We did get a good view the volcano one evening and early one morning , but we really enjoyed the rain too. We got our best view of the volcano while horseback riding in Monteverde.

The room was incredibly comfortable , (my wife thought bed was alittle hard , I liked it. go figure). The outside shower was a very nice touch It was very relaxing and comfortable. We wish we would have booked a longer stay. There seems to be a wide range of things to do in the Arenal region.

I really enjoyed sitting in the rain at the poolbar , watching an NFL football game .

We were very appreciative of Estevan when as we were leaving , my wife said how much she had enjoyed her stay, but was disappointed that she hadn't seen monkeys on our trip. Estevan says " You wanna see monkeys , I saw some this morning". He then took us to a construction area near the hotel and showed us a family of howler monkeys. Cool.

We did 2 excursions while staying here. We did a canyoneering trip to rappel down waterfalls. This was really fun, and you didn't need to be in great shape. We even got to rescue an 8ft Boa Constrictor , or should I say , rescued a rancher who had asked us to help with a snake on his property. I would recommend this trip highly.

The other excursion was a hike near Arenal Volcano and then to the Tobacon Hot Springs. The hike was really pretty , not strenuous but it was raining. Our guide Leonardo was very informative .The Hot springs was fantastic, Highly relaxing and soothing after the past days activities.

Since this was my honeymoon , I had booked my travels thru Costa Rica Vacations and my trip went flawlessly.Our only regret is not having more time at the Arenal Nayara. It alone is reason enough to go back to Costa Rica.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank markbaines
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid
2 reviews
Reviewed November 20, 2009

Great hotel, friendly staff, beautiful rooms and views. Highly recommendable for couples, families and spa-lovers.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank YogiMadrid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phila
1 review
Reviewed November 17, 2009

A friend and I stayed at the Nayara. It was so wonderful. The rooms were large and very comfortable. The staff and services were great. The views of the volcano were beautiful. The volcano mud massage was heaven. A great way to end my vacation.
Highly recommend a stay at this resort. The gardens are very nicely kept and makes the rooms hidden into the environment.
Cannot wait to visit again.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank glofly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2009

As much as it pains me to do so, I must say I was incredibly disappointed in my stay at this hotel. I had high expectations going in, and it should be said at the outset that as a whole, the hotel met (and even sometimes exceeded) them. The property is beyond beautiful -- lushly landscaped, well-designed, and very private. The pool is delightful, with a reasonably-priced bar, nice lounge chairs, and great views.

The rooms themselves are, in theory, wonderful. They're beautiful, private, and comfortable. However, my first issue arose when we were checked into a room with 2 double beds, although I had emailed a request several months earlier for a king bed. The person at the front desk informed me that they were no other options, and I settled in -- ultimately, that is not something that would color my opinion of a hotel.

However, things started to go dramatically downhill when we noticed the construction. There's a fair amount of it going on throughout the property, and in particular, toward the back of one side, which was literally about 10 feet from our room. During the first day, we certainly noticed the noise, but were not hugely bothered by it. However, when the construction started the next morning promptly at 6am, I realized we had a problem. Throughout our stay, we learned that the construction occurs from 6am until about 5pm, and it's nonstop. It's louder than I could have imagined -- normally, I read reviews complaining about noise and assume people are oversensitive, but this was insane. My husband and I tried to sleep with pillows pressed over both ears, but the hammering cuts right through that. We could even hear the conversations of the workers, if that gives you any indication of how loud the construction noises themselves were.

There is nothing relaxing about staying at a property where you're awakened every morning at 6am, whether you plan to be or not. And a private room does you little good if you're effectively sharing it with a construction crew. For $200/night, I expect to be able to enjoy my room for longer than about 5 waking hours/day.

As I mentioned, the front desk staff had told me that there were no other options, and we stuck it out, as we had pre-paid for the room and didn't have much choice. However, upon checkout, I again made clear that the room had been unacceptable, and got a very trite "We're sorry about the noise" with no effort to make amends or otherwise compensate for the experience. Truly, I think the management needs to spend a little time in room 5 to understand just how loud, disruptive and ultimately unacceptable the construction currently is. There is no way this hotel should be putting guests in that particular room right now, given the situation. I am perhaps even more disappointed by management's response than I was by the room itself, and ultimately, that is the impression I leave the hotel with.

I expect better at a hotel of this caliber, and simply did not receive it. While this would have been a 5-star resort otherwise, I cannot in good faith recommend that anyone stay here for the time being. To be offered no accomodation by management is something that would shock me, even at a neighborhood Marriott, but at this particular hotel, it is beyond unacceptable.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank elbat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens

Property: Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
Address: 6 KM West la Fortuna Town, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 21007, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#1 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens 4.5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens is a five star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service at surprisingly affordable rates. Located on the outskirts of the amazing Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara is an oasis of tranquility, where guests can experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of our 50 spacious casitas (bungalows) provide an exclusive, ultra-luxurious retreat. Each expansive casita (ranging from 855 to 1905 square feet) includes a secluded garden with an outdoor shower and a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano with a private, intimate Jacuzzi for two. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Nayara Hotel And Gardens
Arenal Nayara Hotel Gardens
Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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