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“The ONLY place to stay at Manuel Antonio”

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Ranked #4 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Newton, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“The ONLY place to stay at Manuel Antonio”
Reviewed January 1, 2011

My family of 5 arrived on a 19 minute Nature Air flight to Quepos airport from La Fortuna where we stayed at The Springs(see my review of the Springs for info about the best resort in Arenal and info about rainforest adventures). Our taxi driver Javier drove us 20 minutes to the La Mariposa hotel where we had to stay for one night due to a miscommunication between Arenas Del Mar and me. Although La Mariposa had beautiful views and a friendly staff, it was disappointing coming from the Springs and from what we were about to experience at Arenas Del Mar. My wife and I have stayed at the Four Seasons Costa Rica up North and could not imagine another hotel could compare to that in Costa Rica but Arenas came close. We went to dinner at Arenas the first night in Manuel Antonio and met Mariana,from reservations, and the GM Fabian while at the bar having drinks. Both apologized profusely for the mix up and offered us complimentary dinner. Just prior to sitting down for dinner, Fabian came out and told us he had a family that couldn't get out of NY due to the snow storm. He offered us the rooms at no charge, (We had already paid for rooms at La Mariposa, at about half the cost of Arenas). That was an unbelievable gesture and that was the story of our stay there. The accomodations AND service were exceptional. The review posted by the person from New Jersey was hard to believe as we were there during those same days. I could go on and on but if you are accustomed to high end accomodations and service, Arenas Del Mar is really the only place you will want to stay in Manuel Antonio. Their private beach is at the end of the long, sandy, public beach we we were able to rent Jet Skiis. This beach also leads into Manuel Antonio state park. The Ocean view suite with connecting room was perfect for our family. The pacific water temperature had to be in the high 80's and we there were great waves. We had great beach service by Julio, Davy, Luis, and others, they always had a cold Imperial ready for me.. Andres was our waiter for two dinners and he was exceptional. I had an excellent massage with Paloma. Although the food was great at Arenas we chose to eat in town for dinner a few nights. We had typical food in town but the best food was at our hotel. Our family vacation to Costa Rica couldn't have been better with 4 nights of adventure in Arenal at the Springs and 3 nights on a gorgeous beach at Arenas del Mar. One more thing: we again chose the 19 minute Nature Air flight to San Jose to stay overnight at a beautiful cozy hotel in San Jose, Grano de Oro. Although San Jose is not a place you want to spend much time in, the restaurant at Grano de Oro is excellent, the best dinner we had in Costa rica.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank JSB60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2010

We are into the second week of our two week vacation. Everyone at the hotel treats us as royalty. The service is exceptional; the restaurant is excellent with an abundant selection. Even if an item is not on the menu they will make it for you if you ask. Breakfast is the best: far better than in other places and clearly better than in other high class resorts. The staff tend to our every needs be it arranging transportation, tours, reservations, and recommendations. One of the staff members even drove us to the grocery store and helped us shop the day after we arrived. The hotel guides are the best around. We have a premium suite with outstanding views and a clean hot tub/jacuzzi.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank StevenB-cpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Far Hills, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2010

Beautiful rooms (get ocean view suite!) overlooking the bay. Expensive hotel but sadly service is extremely poor. Minibar is empty - you need to order what you want. Ordered some club sode - no opener. Said they would send opener - received 3 hr later ! Asked for salt 5 times at breakfast - got it when we were finished. Asked for free golf cart shuttle from beach - waited for 15 minutes - when it came we got in the driver got a call to go to the parking area and told us we should get out and walk ! Same problems with dinner. Too much staff and absolutely no management. Give this place a pass and stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank busy_idle_rich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, General Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this review, December 29, 2010
Dear busy_idle_rich,
Thank you for your review of your stay at Arenas Del Mar. We were shocked to hear about your service experience. Exceeding guest expectations is our number one goal, but something went wrong during your stay with us. We apologize for the situations you encountered and ensure you will do everything possible to make sure that our future guests, as well as you if you give us another chance, will be receiving 5 Star service.
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NYC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 24, 2010

It is literally in the middle of the rainforest. Eco-friendly hotel with the best staff in the world. In the middle of the night there are hardly any lights on the property and you get around via golf carts driven by hotel staff. The hotel has excellent food, breakfast is provided for you, and the best beach I've ever been to.

The beach is secluded with great waves and is for the most part cut off from the public. This is the best hotel ever!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank crunchy_84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2010

Our family's trip to Manuel Antonio was perfect thanks to our stay at Arenas del Mar. I have only good things to say about this wonderful, beautiful, spectacular hotel with warm and friendly staff.

Every day started with a delicious breakfast including fresh fruit, an assortment of yummy pastries, fresh bread, and a main course--eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. Then we would usually spend the day at Playitas or Espadilla beach and at the hotel's pool down by the beach. We would usually have a snack for lunch--the nachos are delicious--and then go to happy hour for tasty cocktails (smoothies for the kids). We followed up with dinner at their restaurant. While dinner could be pricey, all the food we had at the hotel was good and it was convenient for our family with young kids. My husband and I both enjoyed the local plate on the dinner menu (can't remember the name but includes grilled chicken, beans, rice, plantains, etc.). Our four year old and almost two year old were a bit pickier at dinner but enjoyed grilled chicken and fresh veggies.

The two things that stand out about our stay at Arenas are 1) the wildlife all around you and 2) the staff. We weren't in the right place to see monkeys the first day at Arenas, but the next day, the staff actually called us and sent a cart to our room when the monkeys showed up at the beach/pool area around 4, a time they always come to the beach. From that day on, we saw sloths, monkeys, iguanas, hermit crabs, lizards, butterflies, and birds every day. That made our trip soooo worth it. Our girls loved it!!!! And it was so easy because the animals were right there on the property so we didn't have to go on a trek looking for them. We actually preferred seeing the animals at the hotel than at Manuel Antonio Park, where we spent one day, because the animals at the park were so used to people that they were more aggressive when they didn't get what they wanted--thanks to ignorant tourists feeding them candy and other inappropriate food.

The other highlight of Arenas, as others have pointed out, was the staff. Everyone was wonderful and so kind with our kids. Everyone knew our girls' names and engaged them in conversation about their adventures. I hate to give names because I forgot many of them, but I have to give a shout out to Robbie, who introduced us to the property, Victor and Leonardo, who drove us around the property a lot and were funny with the kids. Also hi to Carla, our wonderful waitress, who the girls loved. Everyone was amazing, though. The front desk helped me set up ziplining with my 4 year old, the bartender recommended scrumptious tropical drinks, another driver (wish I remembered his name) stopped while we were driving to Espadilla beach and had no problem waiting as we came across about 20 monkeys (2 different kinds) swinging through the trees and we stopped to take pictures. All the wait staff were kind and patient with our rambunctious kids at mealtime as well. I also had a hot stone massage at the spa with Natalie and it was great.

It was a truly memorable experience and our family hopes we can go back soon!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jmadigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, General Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this review, December 23, 2010
Dear jmadigan,
Thank you for your wonderful review about your stay at Arenas Del Mar. We are very happy that you had such a wonderful vacation experience at our hotel. Besides all the nice things you said about service and food quality, we are happy to hear your appreciation about the wildlife.
Ever since the construction, we have worked very hard to keep the nature intact around the resort. We advise our guests not to feed the wild animals and employees know that if they feed the animals it will affect tremendously. Sustainability is very important to us and we want to make sure that many more families like yours are able to enjoy the natural beauty and biodiversity of the rainforest in Manuel Antonio. We hope you come back someday soon and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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Wien
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2010

After a two week trip across Costa we stayed in Arenas del Mar for 5 nights. We really enjoyed the stay, though we had hardly any sun (unexpectedly there was still rainy season) , however the very high exptectations (also based on tripadvisor reviews) were not fulfilled completely.

The hotel premises are situated across a hill with very steep roads, but also next to two beaches (which is very rare in Manuel Antonio). The walk the hotel roads up can be challengig and though golf carts will collect you upon request to the security guard, it still might be uncorfortable having to wait in rain for 3 to 6 minutes.

There are two pools on the premises, unfortunately they are both very small and suitable mainly for children. A single combined bigger pool would maybe have enabled also adults to swim as swimming in the sea is not possible in the hotel adjacent beaches as there are strong rip tides. However, we also enjoyed once a day the 15 minutes walk along the main beach closer to Manuel Antonio Park, as there swimming is safe.

The room was very nice, with a good view of the ocean. Our room was situated on the ground floor. Unfortunately the sliding door protecting against insects could not be closed as racoons kept coming came into our room at night. We had to close the proper door and as the side window could also not be kept open due to the noise of a generator we could not enjoy the sound of the waves at night.
In three out of 5 times either coffe or coffee crema was missing - however it was provided for immediately after a call at room service.

Breakfast was fine, we also had good dinner several times in the restaurant. However, we would recommend dining options also in the village, as meals are a bit overpriced in the restaurant (for instance a spinach salad as appetizer including all taxes and service charges for ca. 15 USD).

Staff was really friendly and again, I would recommend the hotel if you want to visit Manuel Antonio National Park. However again to the not complete fulfillment of the very high expectations.

Why are you asked for instance after the online reservation to fill out a form where inter alia you have to indicate your favourite food (when therefore you might expect the mentioned fruit for instance as surprise on your room, which was not the case).

Further prices are really high - which probably is due to Manuel Antonio National Park. As mentioned we travelled Costa Rica before our stay in Arenas del Mar and in overall three times in the past years: We have seen so many great places, nice beaches and great (and cheaper) lodges, that it is hard to understand what should be so special about Manuel Antonio Park (and therefore justify higher prices). Yes, there are two nice beaches and you can see animals (in the park and outside) which got accustomed to people. If that and entertainment is what you are looking for, Manuel Antonio is the right thing for you. If you prefer more secluded, but also wonderful places you have lots of other options in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Zocordat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, General Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this review, December 9, 2010
Dear Zocordat,
Thank you for your detailed review of your stay at Arenas Del Mar. Your feedback allows us to get better and improve the experience. While mayor changes like the size of the pool or the weather cannot be changed by us, we will carefully review the menu pricing, waiting time for the golf carts and continue to work on a sustainable solution to control the wildlife (raccoons). Greetings from sunny Manuel Antonio. We hope to have you back with us soon.
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Atlanta, GA
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2010

We stayed here for 3 of our 10 day honeymoon and I wish we had stayed longer. The location is ideal, walking distance to the park and the private beach access really sets Arenas apart from other hotels in the area. The hotel is not even 5 minutes from the main paved road in town, and we had no issues driving to/from the hotel with our 4X4. All of the staff were friendly and helpful and Jeffery the bartender makes the BEST mojitos! All the meals we ate at the Playitas cafe, breakfast & lunch were fabulous. El Mirador was pretty good, we enjoyed trying other restaurants in town, Ronny's Place (Best Sangria & awesome view), Rafael's (great view & seafood). Our room (503B) was perfect, not overly spacious, but we enjoyed a perfect ocean view from our private balcony and the huge walk-in shower. I think the ocean view premium rooms are the best value and perfect for 2 people. You won't regret staying at Arenas Del Mar!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ATLTravelAddict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GuestserviceADM, General Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this review, December 7, 2010
Dear Family_TravelBugs,
Thank you for your nice review of Arenas Del Mar. We are happy that your family enjoyed the visit in Manuel Antonio despite the tropical storm and rainy days we had in November. We apologize about the excess of leaves in the pool during your visit, but the winds and rain made it very difficult for our team to keep the pools 100% free of debris. Now the sun is out again, the pools have no leaves and we are headed for the dry season. Thank you for pointing out that Arenas Del Mar is a great place for families. We agree and hope to have you back with us as your children grow older. Happy Holiday Season!
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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 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 On the Beach 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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