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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
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Reviews (2,036)
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Reviewed April 27, 2013

We spent 6 days in April 2013 at the fabulous resort. We arrived at the airport 4 hours late due to a problem on our plane, but there was Bernie waiting for us as we cleared customs. He was very gracious and made our drive to the resort very pleasant. He stopped at Crocodile Bridge and told us so much about Costa Rica. When we arrived at the resort it was late and we were greeted with a cold refreshing drink. Heiner kindly offered to let us postpone the check in procedure until the morning but we chose to do it right away. We were then brought to our suite- 401. It was spacious and very well decorated. We ordered room service as we were hungry and tired and it was brought to us very promptly.
When we woke up and went out on the balcony we were greeted by a spectacular view of the ocean and the rainforest. We had our own private jacuzzi and two sitting areas. We had our first visit by a group of monkeys on our balcony that morning as well as a variety of iguanas and other lizards.
We chose this resort because we just wanted a peaceful, restful vacation and to see monkeys- and this was the perfect place. The grounds were beautiful and Playita Beach was fabulous. We always walked down to the beach but took advantage of the cart ride back up the hill. Thanks to Alexander, Brandon and Paul for all their help and kindness as they drove us around the property.
Thanks also to Jorge for his friendly chats and advice whenever we saw him. Thanks also to Alan for helping us arrange for transportation to Quepos and Manuel Antonio.
We had a great breakfast every morning which was included and we had two fabulous dinners at the resort. We had a great dinner at Kappi Kappi and another at sunset at El Avion which was excellent. We also had dinner at El Gran Escape in Quepos which was very good, so there are plenty of places to eat near the resort.
We spent hours sitting at the beautiful beach in the shade of a tropical tree, walking along the beach and reading. Everyday the monkeys came to the beach and were so much fun to watch. There was a sloth in a tree right above us at the beach. The water was too rough to swim but we could go in a little ways which was fine with me. There are two beautiful pools to be enjoyed- one of which is an infinity pool near the ocean.
I would highly recommend this resort... the seclusion,spectacular views,plants and wildlife, the delicious food and beverages, along with the wonderful, friendly service and attention to detail, makes this a fabulous destination.
Lastly we would like to thank Bernie for all he did for us to make our stay special. He picked us up at the airport, he took us in the hotel van each night where we wanted to go and came back to pick us up. He always seemed genuinely interested in seeing we had a good time, offering suggestions and advice. He made our trip back to the airport fun as he stopped at a nice shopping area for one last chance to buy some nice souvenirs. Thanks Bernie.
I know there were others that made our stay wonderful so may I just say... Thanks to all for making our stay wonderful... And we would love to come back soon. God bless. Barbara and Neil

Room Tip: Room 401 had ocean and rainforest views, and a private jacuzzi on the balcony.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Barbara K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We just spent 5 nights at the property, and found it to be an outstanding property. If you don't know much about Costa Rica or this property (and we didn't, prior to arrival), here are some points to consider:

* Costa Rica is a really beautiful country, and the area around this hotel (near Manuel Antonio park) is especially impressive--- beautiful area near the coastline, with amazing hill views of the ocean

* the local town (Quepos) is ok but not super interesting; there are however other interesting hotel properties in the area

* Arenas del Mar combines a really pleasant set of buildings (we stayed in Building 1, down by the beach, and it is a great location with an impressive view of the beach, as well as a very luxorious and functional room); we would especially recommend Room 102A--- fantastic view of the ocean, right up on the beach.

* Probably the most noteworthy aspect of Arenas del Mar is the service provided by the staff and the overall attitude--- extremely helpful, very positive and proactive approach, everybody speaks English well. Just as an example, staff members came to find us to tell our 10 and 13 year olds that there were monkeys to be seen up by the main lodge.

* The food at the restaurant is certainly good, but is a bit on the "homestyle" side; the best choices seemed to be the local items (e.g., fish) and Costa Rican recipes. Again, the key aspect is service and outstanding attitude; but if you come here expecting Michelin 1-star quality meals, you will be disappointed,

* There are a number of tours available through the hotel--- your stay will be materially enhanced by taking one or more. We did the zipline (canopy) tour, and while it was fun, I would not recommend it for folks who don't really like heights. We also did a nice walking tour of Manuel Antonio with a nature guide--- really interesting if you like that sort of thing.

Overall, our expectations were met and materially exceeded here. We would happily return (tomorrow). It is a long trip from the east Coast of the U.S.--- basically one full day door to door for us.

Room Tip: Try the ocean suites (down by the beach)
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank ordinarymind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

The three nights our family spent here in April left us wanting for more! This was our first stop in Costa Rica and was a great introduction to the country. We dealt directly with the hotel and they were extremely helpful with driving directions, accommodation choices and local recommendations.

We stayed in an Ocean Breeze suite, and this was perfect with our teenager. The accommodations are huge! Our teen had his own bed on a pull out couch in a large sitting room and his own bathroom, and my husband and I enjoyed the master suite and gigantic master bath! Our room faced the ocean and had a large patio that encompassed both the sitting room and master suite. The patio was completely furnished with comfy chairs, couches and table. A sunken hot tub was in the middle of the patio and was a great place to enjoy the sunrise and sunset. Did I forget to mention the iguanas that sunbathed right in front of the railing!

The staff was friendly, and genuinely interested in customer service. The property is quite hilly, and the car park is probably 1/8 of a mile from the hotel itself. Extensive use is made of golf carts to transport guests from the welcome pavilion/car park area to the hotel proper. At first we felt funny calling for carts, but the staff was so generous that it became another chance to get to talk to 'Tico's', or take a walk

Our only constructive comment is with regards to the breakfast service. The food was quite good, but one needs to allow one hour. This is non-negotiable. The kitchen just needs one hour for everything. Most of the tours leave quite early, so the 'leisurely' breakfast pace needs to be planned into your time frame. We didn't figure this out until the day we left and it made for stressful breakfasts. It would help if the staff would advise guests upon check-in that an hour is needed. We ate lunch down at the Playitas Grill and the pace was fine. An alternative would be to figure out how to speed up breakfast service or provide a buffet option

The location of the hotel is great for activities in the Manuel Antonio area. The town of Manuel Antonio can be walked to along the beach and taxis are plentiful for a night time return. We used both beaches and liked them both. The beaches here have good waves for body surfing, but are a little rougher if you want to paddle around in calm water. The water temperature was divine!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank BearKamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

We stayed 5 nights here in Feb 2013 and I would highly recommend this property to anyone. This was by far our favorite stop in Costa Rica. The hotel is quiet, relaxing, family friendly and offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Manuel Antonio.
We stayed in a premium suite on the hilltop and loved our room. The balconies on the premium suites are very large and offer multiple views as they wrap around the building. Our balcony was nicely furnished with comfortable furniture and had great spots to cozy up with a book, while monkeys and birds passed by regularly. In fact while we were watching one monkey in a tree his partner ran in our room and attempted to raid the refrigerator. The room furnishings and bathrooms are not ultra luxurious but are tastefully decorated and the views and balcony are so spectacular that it is not an issue. The beds are very comfortable with quality linens and comforters. All of the electrical wiring and fixtures are US style so voltage converters are not required.
The swimming pools are small but very conducive to small children and peaceful relaxation as they are never crowded.
The resort uses golf carts to transport people so there are no cars beyond a certain point. This helps to maintain the jungle feel of the property. The grounds surrounding the property are kept very natural and lend to the natural beauty of the resort. The amount of wildlife that can be seen from the property is outstanding. We had great sightings every day. The Iguana makes regular visits to unsuspecting diners at breakfast!
The beaches are quiet and beautiful. The surf can be a little rough for small children however for a change of pace we visited a protected cove a short ride away (end of the long driveway). The hotel shuttle dropped us off and picked us up. This water is almost tide and current free and has snorkeling rentals on site.
We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast each morning. The dinner on the beach was also a worthwhile treat. The main restaurant for dinner was ok but not my favorite. We ate better food at restaurants in town a short cab ride away. Using cabs we felt completely safe traveling with a six year old. As a side note we only encountered wonderful helpful people in our entire stay in Costa Rica. We ate lunch at the lower restaurant on the beach a couple days and it was ok.
As amazing as the scenery and property is the staff members just may be the crown jewel, they really deliver above and beyond with great sincerity. They are all incredibly friendly and helpful. Roger is amazing and is worth seeking out for a natural tour. The tortilla tour is a local tour and is great fun. My daughter and momma really took a liking to one another. If your travels bring you to this area I highly recommend staying here. You will be hard pressed to find a better place to stay. It is with partial reluctance that I rave so highly about this place…Please save a room for me when I return.

Room Tip: We had a premium suite with an ocean view and I would do the same again. However I think the hotel gives adequate descriptions and people can choose based on their needs. If you plan to hang out and it is a great place to hang out then by all means splurge for the large room.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank mlsLincoln_MA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I have traveled all around the world and have found one of the best places on the planet. The staff (especially Ersel, Rodbin, Roger and Alexander) could easily meet Four Seasons standards. They just really want you to feel comfortable and welcome and will go to any lengths to make. We are checking out this am and a knock came to the door at 6:30. Rodbin knew we liked coffee in the morning and that we were checking out so he just brought it to us. Amazing. This is an ecolodge with monkeys, iguanas and various other wildlife above the roaring Pacific with two beaches. You walk down the (almost deserted) beach to get to Manuel Antonia and the nature park.
I like luxury and the best hotels, but often feel they can be too stiff and not relaxed enough. This is different. Beautiful rooms with a huge veranda and breathtaking views. The food is good but not great (kind of a more general issue in Costa Rica) but there are lots of other choices a short cab ride away. Arenas del Mar is a top-notch, must-try keeper.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank BostonBeachGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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