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“Arenas del Mar Resort is Exceptional”

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Ranked #4 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Monterey, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Arenas del Mar Resort is Exceptional”
Reviewed November 20, 2013

On our recent birding vacation in Costa Rica, we spent three days at the Arenas del Mar Resort near Quepos, Costa Rica. This was my second stay at Arenas del Mar and, like my first visit, was an exceptional experience. The property is fantastic with great views of the Pacific Ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park. There are exotic birds everywhere -- with the help of our guide, Ersel, we spotted 40 species in just over two hours on the Arenas property. We were greeted each morning by the calls of howler monkeys and saw several white-faced monkeys scamper through the trees on the property. They have beautiful beaches – both public and private, and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful staff. They gave us a coffee tasting that was fun and informative, with great coffees. The food at Arenas del Mar was exceptional. On our last night there, we had a five-course dinner prepared by Chip Roman, a well-known chef from Philadelphia, who used Costa Rican ingredients with an American approach to preparation. It was truly a unique experience and exceeded our expectations. The owners of Arenas happened to be there that evening and spent time with us asking about our stay, our guide, the service and staff, and the dinner that Chip Roman had prepared. Overall, an experience that cannot be missed.

Room Tip: All rooms are great.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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2 Thank dmtaggart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Silicon Valley, CA
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2013

I fluctuated between wanting to give this place 4 and 5 stars, but ultimately decided on 5 because of the service. The staff here is unbelievable, able to anticipate our every whim before we could even be bothered to ask. They are genuine, good people, which makes it easy to like them!

The reason for the almost 4-star rating? The rooms are sort of meh. We arrived in a torrential downpour, and after driving down the super sketchy driveway to Arenas (unpaved, super steep), we were holed up in our room while we waited out the thunderstorm, super disappointed with the barren, smallish, tiled, vaguely 70s decorated (must've been the tile and drapes) room. That said, the room is PERFECT when it's sunny out and you're spending most of your time outside. The view from the balcony on ocean view rooms is killer, the beds are comfy, and the showers are large. It's just not a spot I'd want to be if I were stuck inside while it rained all day. To avoid disappointment, arrive in the morning when it's generally sunny and beautiful. That way, come the rainstorm, you'll be more than ready for a little siesta with your gorgeous ocean view.

The ocean is warm, the surfing is sweet, and the vistas are memorable. I definitely recommend this place!

Room Tip: Opt for a suite if you want to spend more time in your room/are visiting in the "green" se...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank meganguimarin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed November 17, 2013

I spent 3 incredible days in Arenas del Mar, located in Manuel Antonio. This was probably my 6th visit to the hotel. I love it's location: you get amazing ocean views, direct access to the beach, huge trees and palm trees that provide shade all day while you relax on a bench feeling the ocean breeze. Few places in Costa Rica offer you all these wonderful things in one. On top of these, you can take a long walk on the beach and go to the national park as well, one of the nicest parks in the country where you can enjoy 2 beaches. Bring food along if you are planning to stay the whole day since they don't offer anything and once your there you probably will enjoy staying for a while.
Black to Arenas del Mar. The rooms are great, they have suites and deluxe rooms that can be rented together and you'll get the feeling of staying in an apartment. The suites are larger with a separate seating area and 2 full bathrooms; they also have a large terrace with a Jacuzzi and amazing views in most of them. The deluxe room is a normal room with a large bathroom and a smaller terrace. Bedding is as good as it gets, I even looked for the tags to buy one for myself.
All the personnel are super attentive, they are from the area and you sort of get the Costarican feel through them.
The spa is wonderful. I personally love Priscila. Look for her if you like to get a massage. The view from the spa cabins is to dye for, I even felt sad to put my head down and let the sunset go while getting the massage, but the whole experience was worth it; and by the way, they're prices make sense, a massage costs $80, not $180 as you may find in many hotels.
Breakfast is included and delicious. Lunch will be perfect soon, is good now. The fact that you take a few steps from your bench and grab a table under the trees facing the beach, touching the sand, makes your ceviche taste even better. Costarican chef Jose Lopez is coming this week to improve their menu, which will make me wanna come again soon! I didn't stay for dinner since Manuel Antonio offers many options to dine out, another reason why I love this area. I'll give you details on food on a separate post.
Yes, Arenas del Mar is expensive, you should try to get special rates either in low season or throughout the year if they offer them. You pay for its location, the view and their nice personnel.
They need to improve on many little details, but they are on top of it. I'm sure that with the new personnel, most of whom I met this past weekend and seem very professional and totally aware of these details, this magnificent place will be incomparable.
For more info you can visit my blog Costa Rica by Nataly.

Room Tip: Love the suites, try to get one with ocean view.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank CRbyNataly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2013

Wow that is all I can say. I have stayed at other top notch resorts Nayara in Costa Rica, Victoria House and Chaa Creek in Belize, Butler Service numerous times at Sandals and some European trips and all of those trips together don't add up to my 5 nights at Arenas Del Mar.

The staff is out of this world and everyone that works there is on the same page. It would seem that there mission statement is to to always give more than expected. I never had an experience where someone gave me less than 110% enthusaism / customer service. Alan at the front desk helped me look for tree frogs at 5:00 am and got completly muddy doing it, did not seem to bother him at all. I mentioned I wanted to see a snake and Ruben in landscaping found me a boa constrictor than went to the trouble to find me and let me hold it and put it back into nature. I am sorry I forgot the lady who made the drinks but let me tell you she did her job with passion and was very nice to talk to, she saw me leaving for an excursion at 5:30am and made me and my wife coffee to go exactly how we liked it without asking, she remembered exactly that i like milk and sugar. The guys who drive the golf cart were awsome they alwasy made a point to stop and let me take pictures of wildlife at time they took us to a new wildlife spotting or helped us look for wildlife (we even saw a very young sloth that was a highlite because only our driver had seen it up until that point). What I really liked is the staff seemed to care about us and made us feel welcome they opened up to us showed us pictures on their phones of things they have seen, also helped with our Spanish and never laughed when we mispronounced something. It is important to understand that no need of Spanish is needed at the resort EVERYONE speaks better than average English and nothing is lost in translation. Finally I mentioned that I like to drink coconut water and guess what within 5 minutes I had 3 fresh coconuts. Nowhere else

The wildlife at the resort is awsome. We saw about 5 sloths on the grounds, an ant eater, a boa constrictor, a brown vine snake, monkeys every day all day (white faced, squirrel and howler monkeys), toucans right at the entrance, iguanas, lizzards, crabs, hermit crabs, and numerous birds). On two days we saw whales and not just blow holes but whales leaping out of the water, or whale tails. We saw way more wildlife than we did at Manuel Antonio.

The beach was rough and we brought snorkel gear but no way could we snorkel off the beach. The beach itself was very clean and well groomed. The water is warm but the waves tossed us around.

The room we had was right next to the reastraunt / pool. We were in room 301. Easy to get to the beach and we enjoyed the golf carts up to the main area. Our room was spacious, the bed super comfy, the view from the deck awsome. The bathroom was my only issue I mentioned on the survey it was a little dark and could use a stronger wattage lightbulb (really have to be picky for this to be my issue). The shower was always warm water and had great pressure (the floor gets wet from the spray).

Did 3 tours with Ersol from the hotel. He is great and very passionate. This was my vacation and I was super excited to go out looking for wildlife but I date say Ersol matched my excitment. He has tremendous knowledge about birds and other animals. We went to Carrara and found the Scarlett Mcaws, did the morning birdwatch and found an ant eater, did Manuel Antonio it was a slow day but he gave us lots of information and pointed out some neat bugs. Did the early morning birdwatch which was fun. The best thing was Ersol kept a typed log for me of what we saw, this is something I will keep forever. As soon as I got home I researched all the birds we saw. My interest in birds started out minimal...show me some cool stuff and lets go, by the end of my trip I was out at 5:00 am looking for birds on my own. We spent alot of time with Ersol and he was easy to be around and was fun to talk with. We were very comfortable with Ersol as our guide. I can see myself going back to Costa Rica next year and if I do will book a tour with Ersol every single day.

We went to Nayara after Arenas Del Mar and I can say in all honesty that Arenas Del Mar was the highlight of our Costa Rican vacation.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank warrend6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newtown, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 12, 2013

Arenas Del Mar "Buenissimo!!

What an Amazing slice of heaven on earth this "carbon zero" rainforest beach resort. Truly nature in balance with business of tourism.! Our room was fabulous and the service exceptional.

Arenas Del Mar is not just a resort tucked away in the jungle, it is a magical place where the people who tend to your needs while on vacation, treat you more like family and friends than customers or clients. My health system, Holy redeemer, is in the process of reevaluating every service we provide in health care focusing on customer service and providing a positive experience for the patient. The staff at Arenas Del Mar takes customer service to a whole new level. Jorge, the general manager, is an amazing individual who is respected and revered by his staff and his employers. You can tell when someone leads by example and makes his employees want to be the best they can be. He made sure that each and everyone who was staying at the resort received personalized attention. One evening I commented on our way to dinner that the candles around the pool were such a nice touch. That evening upon our return to our room, Ariel, the bell boy had filled out jacuzzi tub and outfitted the room with candles and flowers creating an amazing ambiance. I don't know who overheard the comment and who was truly responsible for that surprise at our room, but I suspect that all of the staff work relentlessly to make each persons stay individualized and special. Kudos to Jorge for being the leader and role model that he is!

So what is there to do at this place???
EAT EAT and EAT. We were fortunate to be present for one of the resorts celebrity chef events. Top Chef contender Jason Chicinoski of Ela in Philadelphia provided three evenings of delicious and artfully presented dishes. Don't know how he did it as he was on the beach in the afternoon and by 7 we were eating 5 course gourmet meals. He visited the local markets and Villa Vanilla, an organic spice farm and intertwined the delicacies of Costa Rica into his dishes. I could live on his lobster bisque! Had I not been walking the hills, beaches and doing a vigorous daily workout with Jorge and Ersel, I likely would be returning to the USA with a few more pounds on board. We cannot wait to go to Ela upon our return to Philadelphia and I encourage you to try it too. I head their Sunday brunch is a great way to become introduce to the cuisine.

I have to say that in all of my years of travel and people that I have met, Ersel, the naturalist, is hands down the nicest most genuinely happy individual on the planet. His love of life, his passion for the planet and all of it's creatures is so inspiring. His knowledge of Costa Rica and it's many ecosystems makes him indispensable to Arenas Del Mar. This 26 yo has truly learned to live in the moment. He started every morning 6:30 AM workout with "Everyday is a great day!" and form his heart of hearts he means it.

Walking up and down the hills and up and down the hills again to end up on a stretch of beach sprinkled with volcanic rock structures at the edge of the rainforest preserve IS heaven on earth. Living in balance and harmony with the white faced monkeys, iguanas, poisonous dart frogs, squirrel monkeys and so many beautiful and harmonious birds is a true testament to the visionaries of Arenas Del Mar. They have created a sanctuary for humans to live in equilibrium with nature.

"Everyday is a great day !!" A Blissful existence is our birthright!

Buenisimo

Room Tip: Building 3 is close to the beach with amazing view, Building 7 has a spectacular view of the public...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Beth444444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed November 9, 2013

We cannot say enough good things about Arenas Del Mar! We were down in October 2013 for our Honeymoon. Beautiful location with easy access to the beach and jungle right outside your room. We saw numerous monkeys, sloths, and an anteater just walking around. Food is delicious but pricey for Central America- much cheaper local food abounds nearby. Quepos is an easy $10 cab ride- Manuel Antonio is even closer and also walkable down the beach. Staff were very helpful in recommending more affordable local restaurants nearby. Resort is steep but staff is great about giving you a ride in a golf cart wherever you need to go on site. All the staff were super friendly and helpful and knew our names by the second day... they even called Sansa Air for us the day before we left to help sort out an issue we were having. Special thanks to Rodbin, Alex, and Alan- but really the entire staff made the trip! October was the end of the wet season but we had great weather most of the time- we got the occassional thunder storm in the afternoon and rain pretty regularly at night but plenty of time for the beach each day.

We are already thinking about the next time we can come out!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank C0l0nelF0rbin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
Reviewed November 6, 2013

Arenas del Mar has the best of both worlds, natural beauty combined with accommodation and staff worthy of a 5 star property rating. The staff went out of their way to be helpful and made sure we were able to relax and engage with local tour companies who offered amazing experiences for novice and experienced folks alike. Imagine repelling under waterfalls, zip-lining through the jungle, a relaxing day on the ocean spotting dolphins, turtles, and swimming with schools of fish just to name a few. The property has 2 pools and easy access to 2 beaches. The private beach offers a beach-side waiter service which confirms the notion of being on vacation! The suites are spacious, the decor very appealing and the views are speculator. The locals (the wild life that is) and humans co-habit in this idyllic resort with the integrity of this special place uncompromised. It was an absolute pleasure to stay at Arenas del Mar.
Linda
Haverford PA

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank linda116715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort

Property: Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Address: Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio 60601, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
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
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort 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, our hotel has 38 rooms with exclusive beach and nature views, 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. As well, we are proud to be the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to have been awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award. With this stunning location and a myriad of personalized services, on-property activities and land and water-based tours catered for honeymooning couples and families alike, 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 & Rainforest Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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