How great is Nayara? So great I had to create a TripAdvisor account so I could leave them a rave review. Never have I received such personal and personable service. It starts the moment you step out of your transportation - with a welcome cocktail and refreshing moist towel - and continues until the moment you depart when they give you bottled water for your journey. In between, there are countless little details they've thought of which I've decided not to list so that you can be surprised too! :)
We spent 3 nights in Room #1, a Nayara Suite. The room is fantastic. There is an outdoor shower you enter through the indoor shower (not on your patio). On the patio, you'll find a hammock, two chairs and the two person jacuzzi tub with privacy curtains. The patio is surrounded by lots of plants so it is already pretty private but our room was the closest one to the pool and there was a walkway on the other side of the foliage so we did use the curtains! ;) We liked the convenience of being located so close to the pool, wine bar, restaurants and lobby but you may prefer a more secluded area of the property or, perhaps, to be close to the spa. We chose not to use the air conditioning and since we had the windows open we were able to hear the music from the pool bar in our room which we did not mind at all but if you prefer more seclusion you can let them know (after you make your reservation they send you an email asking about preferences, etc.). The only real downside was that the restrooms for the pool area are located on the path to this room and the doors slam so we could hear it from inside our room. I let the management know about the issue when I completed their follow up survey so, hopefully, it has already been fixed. The bedding was amazing. I want those sheets (seriously, where can I get them??)! Of course, there are robes and slippers. The mini bar was extensive and really reasonably priced (only $2 for a beer!). We did not try room service.
We had several meals including a breakfast, lunch and dinner at Altamira (the main restaurant). The breakfast buffet has ample choices and even some "to go" items you can grab when heading out on a tour. The service is fantastic. I highly recommend the Carpaccio on the dinner menu! We also ate at Sushi Amor a couple of times for snacks and drinks. It is really a fusion restaurant so even if, like me, you are not a big sushi/fish eater there will be still be plenty of options. I highly recommend the Trio of Chips (potato, yucca & plantain) and the Empanadas! We didn't eat at Nostalgia, the wine bar, (they have tapas style snacks) but we did drink there! They have a full bar and the wine is self serve out of machines that dispense a taste, a small pour or a full glass… it is fun. You use a card that keeps track. When we went back, the bartender remembered who we were and handed us our card. They also sell cigars (yes, including cubans) and have a patio you can smoke on if no one is dining there. At the pool bar, skip the cheeseburger and the "iguana" nacho style french fries even though they sound so tempting. The cocktail menu (available at the pool bar, Sushi Amore and Altimara) is extensive and my mouth is watering thinking about it!
The pool is an oasis! It was so warm and inviting. We loved the large lounge "beds" with the sunshades. There are three jacuzzis nearby and they are kept at different temperatures. A fourth jacuzzi is located at the spa. Unfortunately, we didn't make time for any spa services. The grounds are beautiful overall and worth exploring. While we were there they were finishing up construction on the new sister resort, Nayara Springs. There is a bridge by the spa that will connect the two properties. We spoke to a couple who said they heard some construction noise from their room (near the spa) but I believe construction is now complete.
The concierge booked several things for us. I recommend waiting until you arrive to book tours and activities so you can take the weather into account and decide how much you really want to do in one day. On our second day, we had the hotel arrange for us to go do the Sky Tram/Sky Trek zipline tour at Sky Adventures later that afternoon (at either 2 or 3 pm, I think it was the latest option). Sky Adventures came and picked us up and brought us back afterward. It was easy and it did not cost more than if we had booked it ourselves on Sky Adventures website. YES, you must do this even if it scares you. I'm not into heights and it scared the you know what out of me but I'm so glad I did it and you will be too. When we booked Sky Trek we also had the hotel book us a tour for the following morning. It was the Cerro Chato Hike + La Fortuna Waterfall (with Jacamar Tours). This really is an "extreme" hike for avid hikers and it will kick your butt. My boyfriend is an avid hiker and has run two marathons… I'm a casual hiker at best and I cycle for exercise so it was a challenge for me. You can do this hike without a guide (we saw plenty of people doing it) but you have to go up and down the same side of the volcano. If you take this tour, you depart from Arenal Observatory Lodge and end at La Fortuna Waterfall where the van meets you. Apparently, the hike is much more difficult if you ascend from the other direction. The front desk gave us towels (and insect repellant!) to take with us on the tour and we were able to leave them in the van until we arrived at the waterfall. Later that night we decided to go check out Tabacon Hot Springs and the front desk called us a taxi which arrived in about 10-15 mins.
We booked our transportation to Nayara via Interbus, however, I know that Nayara can arrange your airport transpo although I don't know how the cost compares. Wifi worked where ever I tried it. Safe is large enough for a dSLR camera and more.
So, yeah, it maybe the greatest place on earth and even though there are so many places in Costa Rica I haven't visited I already feel the yearning to return to Nayara. Don't hesitate to book it. You won't regret it.
Muchas Gracias to the entire staff. Pura Vida!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens is a five star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service at surprisingly affordable rates. Located on the outskirts of the amazing Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara is an oasis of tranquility, where guests can experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of our 50 spacious casitas (bungalows) provide an exclusive, ultra-luxurious retreat. Each expansive casita (ranging from 855 to 1905 square feet) includes a secluded garden with an outdoor shower and a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano with a private, intimate Jacuzzi for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Nayara Hotel And Gardens
- Arenal Nayara Hotel Gardens
- Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos