My seventeen year old daughter and I returned, last night, from a six day stay at Arenas del Mar. I've read some of the positive and negative comments. And, I'm very sorry that those negative things happened. I agree with the positive comments. In our six days we had great service, a pretty view, an extremely clean room with nightly turn down service, free phone calls, delicious free breakfasts, a bottle of complimentary of wine in our room on arrival, delicious food and beautiful beaches while being nestled in a rain forest.
This is our second trip to Costa Rica in four months. We've stayed at the Westin at Playa Conchal and the Springs and Arenal. I'm happy to report that each of those hotels offers excellent and unique opportunities. Arenas del Mar was also what we had hoped. The beach is fantastic and the rain forest is all around the hotel. Being a "green hotel", it is very natural. For example, they don't use plastic straws, they use bamboo. And, everything is open air. The larger, main lobby, restaurant has no windows (no bugs or other animals bother you despite the openness) and the restaurant at the small beach has tables on the beach (again no insect repellent required day or night).
We paid for and got a Garden Room because that was all they had left when we made the reservation. Typically, we ask for more expensive rooms in hotels, however, this was not a disappointment. I'm so glad we got the room we did. It was small, I admit. It had a king-size bed, two nightstands, two small closets, a nice bathroom with a large shower and a nice large porch. On the porch was a refrigerator with juice and snacks free of charge. Oh, and the phone in the room is free of charge for local or international calls. Although we expected a garden view, we could see the ocean through the trees. So, we had rainforest and beach all in our view. It was great. I agree with the person who said there are no gardens. We'd seen lovely gardens at other hotels. However, it seemed obvious to us that this, being a natural hotel, was focused on the indigenous plant species. Gardens are imported. That would have been out of sync with the hotel.
No matter where you go in the resort you hear the waves of the ocean crashing against the shore. On a few nights, we turned off the air conditioner, opened the screen door, and slept to the sounds of the Pacific. The waves in Manuel Antonio are great for jumping and surfing. There are two beaches at Arenas del Mar. The smaller beach and the larger beach. The larger beach is connected to public beaches. If you walk down the beach you end up in the village of Manuel Antonio and at the Manuel Antonio National Park. They offer surf lessons (charged to your room) at the hotel-end of the larger beach. However, we took three lessons at the Manuel Antonio Surf School which was a little walk away. The surf closer to the hotel is more for the professionals.
It's true that unless you like to hike hills, you need to call for a golf cart to come and take you to different parts of the resort. Our room (101B) was adjacent to the smaller pool, and about 30 yards from the smaller beach where there is a restaurant, life guard, waiters to bring drinks as you relax in the shade of trees or in the sun, towels and all. So, we spent the first day at that beach. To go to the larger beach, we called the cart. In fact, to go to the main lobby restaurant or to see the concierge, we called the cart. Here's the thing with the cart . . . although we were far from the main lobby, if we didn't go right outside after calling the concierge for the cart, that cart driver would be waiting for us. I honestly don't know how they got there so quickly. They were quite fast, friendly and interested in learning about us. I have to say that calling for the cart sometimes took three minutes, but that was only if all of the three concierge phone lines were busy. This happened a couple of times, but, it was only for about three minutes. The cart drivers would remember our names and always wanted to know what our plans for the day were, or if we were having a good time, and if everything was bueno. Si. Everything was bueno.
When we wanted to arrange an activity (parasailing) with the concierge, they had it taken care of in minutes. Then, when we postponed, they took care of that as well. And, one day I wanted to call the Manuel Antonio Surf School, but I didn't have the number. So, I called the concierge to ask for the number. He didn't remind me that there was a surf school connected to the hotel. He happily provided the phone number I requested.
There are two pools. The larger one is up at the main lobby (where the concierge sits) and the smaller one was right outside our room. We never went into a pool but noticed that people with small children were having a great time there. Near the smaller pool are big round cushioned seats-for-two sitting under the shade of trees as well as regular seats in the sun. I like those little details.
Although the hotel was filled to capacity, there were always plenty of beach chairs. No need to go claim a chair prior to breakfast! And, we recommend the breakfast (free) is not to be missed.
All in all, we had an excellent experience at Arenas del Mar. I would recommend it to a friend. One thing, I would not have wanted to be located in one of the buildings half-way between the main lobby and the small beach where we were staying. It was nice to be able to walk out the door and be on the threshold of the pool or the beach. However, I think those buildings had excellent views of the ocean.
- 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