Hard to write negatives about this lovely place but the constant variety of mostly "little frustrations" accumulated over the course of our 5 night stay to a level that we felt was unacceptable at a hotel of this quality. First, some real positives....The location is spectacular and the staff is for the most part exceedingly friendly and helpful. Check in was a breeze. The beach area at the end of the walk/road is fantastic with excellent service and we enjoyed delicious lunches and drinks every day we were there.
Now the problems...The first one was huge, but resolved. Unfortunately, when we entered our ocean view superior room, we immediately smelled what seemed to be sewer gas. This was UNACCEPTABLE. The young man who accompanied us to the room said that he'd get right back to us. 45 minutes later, waiting for a response and getting somewhat frustrated, I walked up to the front desk (concierge) and asked what was being done. The young woman I talked with just looked at me and said there wasn't anything else open. I became upset since this was supposed to be a luxury hotel and said we could not stay in that room, we would pay for an upgrade to get out of the room. Minimal response from the concierge and then the young woman sitting at the next computer took over and was extremely accommodating, finding availability in 2 gorgeous oceanfront suites (2 nights in each). We had to stay that first night in the foul smelling room but we had no choice and kept the bathroom door shut. The second, very helpful woman stated that we would not be billed for the accommodation change. What bothered both of us was that during the conversation with the concierges, we were told there had been this problem with our initial room in the past?!?!? Really?
The following is a partial list of ongoing frustrations we experienced:
-There was no information in any of the 3 units about the hotel and it's services...
-Several times I called the front desk and no one answered, so I'd walk up there and literally no one was at the desk nor could anyone else help me.
-There was DAILY promoting of the restaurant by various staff. Within an hour of arrival we were encouraged to promote the restaurant on Trip Advisor and another person asked us where we were having dinner that first evening and bad-mouthed the place we were going and suggested we should cancel the reservation we'd made and eat at the hotel. This behavior continued throughout our stay.
-Showers were huge, very nice but the placement of the soap and shampoo was on the opposite side of the large circular shower in permanently placed bottles which was exceedingly inconvenient.
-Bath linens were minimal
-Garbage (colorful food wrappers and a bottle) remained on the ground in front of our ocean front balconies the entire time we were there.
-There were no gardens (we'd just come from Nayara in Arenal where the flowers were spectacular). There were obvious patches where it appeared there had been gardens at one time....Now there were weeds and overgrowth. I asked why there were no flowers (except in one large pot by the pool) and the person hesitated and said they didn't know but there used to be flowers.
-One morning, almost an hour after ordering breakfast and asking several times when it would be coming (others were being served) we got up to leave for a tour we had booked, hungry and frustrated putting it mildly. Our server said he'd have our food boxed to go for us immediately and brought us two boxes (neither contained what we ordered) and couldn't find any eating utensils to go....so my husband ate his pancake with his fingers. I had a couple pieces of fruit.
-The final straw was when our toilet wouldn't flush. Looking under the cover of the tank, we could see that the flush handle had been tied internally to the bulb stem with DENTAL FLOSS, which had broken..
It is our opinion that something is seriously wrong with quality control at this hotel and that is definitely a management problem. While we were there, we were told that a representative from Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, SA was there doing a periodic assessment. We stayed at two other resorts run by this company (Lapa Rios and Finca Rosa Blanca) and they were superb in every way. Something is amiss at Arenas del Mar. Would we stay there again? No. Would we recommend it to our friends? I realize other folks did not have our experience but given our 5 nights here...No, we would not recommend this hotel.
- 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 And Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park