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“Amazing place to stay”

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Ranked #4 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 11, 2010

This was one of our favorite places to stay while in Costa Rica. Service was fantastic and food was great! The view from our premium suite was amazing! We saw more wildlife at Arenas than we did at Arenal or Monteverde. Our kids are asking when we go back - it was perfect!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank 3kidstravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 11, 2010

As soon as we arrived the staff greeted us with fantastic drinks an a lovely attitude.
Costaricans are soooo nice, not only in Manuel Antonio!!!
But the hotel was perfect. The rooms are out of this world, super clean and nice.
The staff is so polite, Juan Diego helped us with our luggage and was very kind to our kids...our kids thought he was "Diego" the cartoon, and he went alone with that.
This is our best experience in CR...Arenas del Mar is the best of the best.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank blackorchidNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2010

My two teenage boys, my husband and I have recently stayed at Arenas in 2 standard rooms. Although located in the back of building four we still had a beautiful jungle and playitas beach view. Our terraces were huge with a wet bar and comfy chairs. Our room was smallish but we were never there. I did not miss a hot tub as it was in the high 90s during the day and mid 80s in the evening and would not have used one. The bathrooms were attractive and outfitted with a tile and glass block shower that let in all of the natural light while preserving privacy. Despite the total capacity of the hotel filled for our stay we were never awakened by outside noices. We had twice a day housekeeping service and our room was always immaculate. Those we spoke to that did not need the sofa bed in the suites had kept the door to that room closed as it had no a/c. They also said they did not use it. The staff at this hotel is terrific. From Dadiana at the front desk, to Robin and Victor manning the van and golf carts to Davy and the other waitstaff-we have never encountered a friendlier crew. Our building was close to the lobby but during our walks to the playitas beach we saw sloths, spider and capuchin monkeys, iguanas, lizards and a large assortment of birds. The roving golf cart drivers always let us know when they saw wildlife as they zipped by (they would have picked us up and always offered but the journey by foot was the one worth taking). We even saw howler monkeys and land crabs by the upper parking lots and agoutis down in the walk to Playa Espadilla. In fact after 10 miles of hiking in the National Park we saw more wildlife at closer range at Arenas (with the exception of the begging capuchins on the beach in the park). The pools are small but really felt great after a hot day of actiivty. We loved the beach service of food and drink-pineapple and watermelon smoothies rocked. The lst night of our stay we had dinner at El Mirador and thought this was our best meal in the 5 nghts in MA. It was no more expensive than some of our other MA meals and no more expensive than our meals at home in a similar level restaurant. That being said we are kind of "foodies" so we are not as price sensitive as many others would be.The included breakfast always consisted of some little pastries and delicous fruit and fruit juices along with cereal, yogurt, etc plus it included a hot entree choice of every type. Almost every day we had lunch at Playitas and thought it delicious and reasonably priced ($6-$11). Every night the main bar had happy hour with 1/2 price non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks with either live music or a food preparation demonstration. It was mobbed and we enjoyed chatting with our fellow guests. At only 40+ rooms you get to know many of your fellow guests and made you feel that you were with good friends. At the beach the security guard had towels, boogie boards, sunscreen, some beach toys, surf boardsonly at Playa Espadilla, and would call for a golf cart transit should you want one. My boys loved their post dinner time in the ice cold gift shop with two complimentary computers to keep in contact with their friends. I called this place Native Lux with 5 diamond service.As a point of reference we stay in 4 and 5 star /resorts. Hearing that we had a late departure on our last day, the front staff secured a room for us to shower in prior to our pick up at no charge despite our offer to make payment--we could not believe their generosity . The only caveat is one that is not particular to this hotel but to MA-the sea is very rough off Playa Espadilla and Playitas. If you go in the water you must stay very close to the shore as the riptides are the fiercest we have ever experienced and there are many boulders in the water that could be hidden during high tide. There was a tragic accident in MA while we were there and the MA emergency response was poor. A lot has been said of the expense of Arenas on this board but as compared to a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton in the Caribbean this hotel had much more value with what we now feel is the best location in MA. Thanks to the staff for a memorable family vacation!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank drivinggirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2010

We spent four nights at Arenas during Spring Break (& Holy Week). Overall, Manuel Antonio was incredibly busy, but we never had that sense once we returned to our hotel. It was always very calm and relaxing.

The hotel is very committed to ecotourism. They did an outstanding job of preserving the natural forest in the area. When you arrive, you enter a Welcome Center that is the end of the road for motor vehicles. You are taken to the resort reception area via golf cart. The drivers of the golf carts are always very knowledgeable about where wildlife is currently hanging out. They pointed out a baby sloth to us on a number of occasions. They also helped us find all types of monkeys, agoutis, and lizards. The wildlife viewing is amazing at the hotel. The monkeys like to hang out at the reception area and can usually be easily found every day. What a treat to have monkeys running around while we were in the pool or having breakfast.

We were in a rainforest suite. The layout of the suite worked well for a family with small kids. That furnishings are all very nice. The master bedroom is separated from the living area and pullout sleeper with a privacy curtain. While the room is not large, it provided enough space for our family. We did not have a view and knew that when we booked. When I arrived, I was a bit disappointed I had not paid up for a view as the setting is gorgeous. But, then again, many of the rooms probably had just an average view as the natural setting was preserved thus saving many trees and plants that could obstruct views from some rooms. With that said, if I was to go back, I would consider paying more for the view.

Rooms are located in buildings that taper down the cliff. Your room will either be close to the reception area, upper pool, and breakfast/dinner restaurant. Or, it will be close to the lower pool, beach, and lunch restaurant. Either way, you have a slight inconvenience getting between the two primary areas. We were in the 500 building near the reception area. This was very convenient for meals, however it was a hot, steep walk up a hill from the lower pool and beach area. We usually called a cart which would come in less than 5 minutes. You might think about which area may be more appealling to your family and request specific locations.

The pools are small. If your kids are used to slides and lazy rivers and other fancy amenities, they will be disappointed. However, the water was very warm and they were never crowded. The beach chairs were always easy to obtain and well shaded.

The beach was our biggest disappointment. It was absolutely gorgeous (and relatively private for a public beach). However, both beaches seemed to be unsafe for kids to swim in during most hours due to the riptides. If you are hoping for a vacation spending lots of time in the ocean with small kids, you might want to spend some time asking the staff about this issue in advance, or consider another location (our friends stayed at Buena Vista Villas and could boogie board all day). This would be our top (and probably only) reason for considering another hotel if we were to return to this region.

Breakfast exceeded our expectations. It started with continental buffet. You could then order from the menu which had lots of delicious choices. We also really enjoyed lunch at the beach restaurant. Food quality at dinner was very good, however the restaurant could get unpleasantly hot. They had ceiling fans, but the half walls seemed to block some of the breezes from the ocean. We found it more comfortable to request a table by the pool. The temperature in the restaurant was a real negative in the evening...too bad because the furnishings were very nice.

Overall, however, we had an amazing time at this hotel! We did not want to leave!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank PassionForTravel42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2010

We stayed here for 5 nights. On the first night our room was on the ground floor with a view of two other buildings. After complaining we were moved for the rest of our stay to a 3rd floor room with a sea view. The rooms and balcony area are splendid. The hotel is off the main road at the bottom of a very steep hill. The only way up or down is by taxi which costs £10 each way! or sheer endurance, uphill anyway. Therefore in the evenings you will have to eat in the hotel restaurant which provides pricey, acceptable but not very interesting food. We did get a taxi to a restaurant on the main road which is in an old American plane. The food was great and half the price of the hotel with lovely views at sunset. Not to be missed. If your room is down by the beach you will need a golf cart to come and get you to take you to the dining room for breakfast or if you need to get to reception. There is a small beach in front of the hotel - which doesnt have enough loungers. There is also access to the main Manuel Antonio beach again by golf cart and there are loungers and towels here as well. The most impressive thing about this hotel are the staff who are warm, friendly and attentive. The rooms are also good. The only way to get to the small town nearby is by taxi or walking along the Manuel Antonio beach. You can also get another beach which is excellent and where the sea isnt too rough via the National Park. You will need to get there earlyish as you have to queue to get in as they only a certain number of people in the park. Again you will need to take a taxi from the hotel which will cost £10 or walk approx 1 mile along the beach.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank eleanordavies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2010

Thank you for your review of Arenas del Mar. We appreciate your feedback and it will help us get better every day. We are especially thankful for your comment about our “staff who are warm, friendly and attentive”. In terms of the location, you are right, we are a bit off the beaten track in Manuel Antonio. But most of our guests actually like that the hotel is not located along the same busy road that most of the other hotels as well as the plane restaurant you mention in your review. We are the only luxury hotel that is located right on the beach in the middle of the rainforest with views of the National Park. This might be worth the added expense of the occasional taxi ride. And as you mention, the walk along the beach is quite nice to get to the park or restaurants nearby. Thanks again for taking the time to write this note.

All the best,

The Management at Arenas Del Mar

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Reviewed March 25, 2010

Stayed here for 4 nights with fam of 5 (kids: 22, 19, 11). It was pricey, but you got what you paid for. Hands down one of the friendliest, most helpful staffs I've ever stayed with. Every tour we booked from this hotel was stellar (Rafting, Zipline, National Park Nature Tour). But staying on site is great too, because you've got the unrivaled beach access, and you share the place with monkeys, iguanas, sloths, and halloween crabs. The location? You can do no better.

The property is built vertically (yes, the road down to the place is like a slow-motion thrill ride), and there's a steep on-property walk between the lobby-main restaurant-pool #1-main guest building... down to the other 3 buildings, pool #2, snack bar and beach. We used the golf carts which always came within a few minutes of the request. You can do your tipping at the end of the trip, so it's not like you always have to have cash on hand for for the drivers. But you feel like tipping them all the time, because they're so friendly and obviously concerned about giving you the red carpet treatment. Jorge and Robin were particularly great, but really, they all were. They'll help you with your Spanish, and some are still practicing their English, but it all works out, so don't worry at all about that. The rooms are fairly posh, and everybody gets a nice balcony. The superior rooms have the jacuzzi out there (which the monkeys will "borrow" occasioanlly) and plenty of comfortable seating. For a fam of 5, you get the whole floor of these small, vertical buildings, one superior room with it's living room AND the smaller room next door, which you can "open up" by keeping a common lobby area open. The restaurant was great and affordable. $14-$22 US for most entrees. Breakfast is free and includes a choice of one hot item, along with all the breads and fruit they lay out. Most tours come with lunch or snack. They have occasional, soft evening entertainment in the lobby, and a half-price happy hour at 6pm. By the way, the restaurant is "open-air", and we got a kick out of the anoles on the ceiling protecting us from any bugs, and the crabs that would show-up on the sill beside us during dinner.

The rooms are mostly with A/C (they have to cart a portable deal into the living room if someone's sleeping there and wants it), and others have said it's a noisy unit. Fortunately, my kid prefered to do without, and we all fell alseep to the sounds of the ocean every night. You don't have to pre-book tours; just tell the concierge what you want to do the next day, and it happens. Early wake-up for some of these, but it gets dark so early in CR, that you're to bed early anyway most nights.

Nearby attractions include Manuel Antonio NP (definitely spring for the tour---you won't see nearly as much without the guide), and a wonderful raft trip on the Savegre River, which even in the dry season, was a class II & III river that the whole family loved. Amigos Del Rios is the outfit they book. You should hope for the guide named Anthony; he was funny, skilled, and educational, a great local guy who knows his stuff. We also did the zipline canopy tour, and again, the one Arenas books is the best. It's way up in a secluded treetop area, with a tarzan swing and two repels along with the lines. A great lunch is included. Fearful of heights? Skip this one, but kids are perfectly okay. Our 11-year-old LOVED this, and there were 8-year-olds on the tour, too, who also LOVED it.

The hotel is super eco-friendly. They skip chlorine in the pool so the monkeys and lizards can drink and swim---they clean it using eco-friendly methods. The water on-site is purified and they give you returnable/reusable water jugs for your stay.

Arenas Del Mar is one of the best hotels at which my family has ever stayed, and in one of the most beautiful and interesting spots. It comes close to the Hana-Maui in Hawaii in coolness, and equals that luxury establishment's service. If you can afford it, spend the money and just go and relax and have fun. If you can't? Save up for a while and do it anyway.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank pabirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2010

Dear pabirds,
We would like to sincerely thank you for the great review that you have written about Arenas del Mar. It was our pleasure having you and your family stay with us and we hope to see you again soon. And if you are ever looking for a second job in professional review writing, let us know… we might have some work for you here (-:

All the best,
The Arenas del Mar Management Team

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Reviewed March 22, 2010

This trip was our first time to take our two children ages 8 and 11 out of the United States for a vacation. My husband and I had been to Costa Rica before and loved it so we were excited to show them the country. When we arrived at Arenas del Mar, we were surprised by the location. You take a steep one lane road down to the entrance of the hotel. Just getting to the entrance in our car seemed a bit of an adventure! When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by name at the reception area and immediately taken to get settled. Our trip was off to a great start! The staff at Arenas del Mar really make the difference. Each day they helped us choose tours that suited what we wanted to see and do and every tour was great! We hiked to Beisanz Beach to snorkle, visited Manuel Antonio National Park and saw many interesting animals, rode the zip lines with Canopy Safari and rode horses to a beautiful waterfall with Jimmy at Brisas del Nara riding tours, and played at the beach which is beautiful. Not only were the daytime activities exciting, the hotel offers happy hour and a variety of events each evening which make for a fun and relaxing end to the day. Lastly, the food was excellent!! My children loved their visit to Arenas del Mar so much they didn't want to come home! And really, neither did I! Muchas gracias to the wonderful nature guide, Ersel, for teaching us so many interesting facts about the surrounding forests and animals. If you visit Arenas del Mar be sure to book a guided tour with him! And thank you to Jorge, Victor, Robin, Louis, Juan Diego, Michael, Jeff and all the others who made our stay such a wonderful getaway!! Pura Vida!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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Thank tspeaks
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

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 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $284 - $1,065 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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