Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens Rating: 4.0 Pearls
La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Beautiful, lush grounds with tropical plants everywhere
  • Very private guest rooms, each in its own bungalow
  • Big rooms all have outdoor showers and amazing decks
  • Charming wine bar
  • Well-designed spa with some great treatment rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi and free breakfast
  • Free calls to U.S./Canada from lobby and wine bar phones

Cons

  • Pool is small
  • Some bungalows are a long walk from hotel facilities
  • 3- to 4-hour drive from main airport
  • Too close to nature (and critters) for some

Bottom Line

The beautiful Arenal Nayara's 44 individual bungalows, restaurant, wine bar, and spa are all tucked into incredibly lush grounds. Some of the amenities are small (pool, spa, fitness center), but guests come here for the private bungalows with special touches like an outdoor garden shower and a deck with a Jacuzzi and hammock. It's more luxurious than nearby Arenal Kioro, but Kioro's rooms have better volcano views.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Private and upscale, with individual bungalows tucked away behind lush tropical landscaping

The Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens
The Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens

Along the stone paths that wind through the incredibly lush, tropical flora here are individual bungalows or casitas, tucked away behind the trees and plants, each one a separate guest room. The casitas range from great to fantastic, and each has an outdoor shower, views of Arenal volcano, and a wrap-around wooden deck with a hammock and Jacuzzi.

There's not a ton to do, but one gets the idea that this is the type of hotel where people come to enjoy each other's... company. There's one restaurant and a small, charming wine bar; a small pool with a bar; and a lovely but barebones spa comprised of only treatment rooms. The hotel is next to a wildlife sanctuary with hiking trails, but for anything else, guests need to head outside the hotel.

That said, the only hotel in the area that compares is Arenal Kioro, but the rooms here are nicer.

 Location

Hilltop property close to La Fortuna

This 12-acre hilltop property is about three miles from La Fortuna de San Carlos, a town with shops, restaurants, and a park. It's 30 minutes northwest of the entrance to Arenal Volcano National Park, and boasts an unobstructed view of the 5,437-foot volcano. (The volcano's last major eruption was in 1968, and there are small tephra eruptions daily, so you’ll need an adventurous spirit to get up close.) It's also a short drive to Waterfall La Fortuna (a 236-foot waterfall). Hiking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting exursions are all available nearby as well.

 Rooms

Private, individual bungalows tucked among the lush tropical foliage, with outdoor showers and great wooden decks

Casita Suite
Casita Suite

Every room here is its own separate bungalow, tucked into the lush grounds. Each bungalow has a wooden deck with a Jacuzzi, hammock, and chairs; a big open bathroom with an indoor shower and an outdoor shower; and either one king or two queen beds. The decor is sparse, but it's well done and you won't forget you're in Costa Rica: There is lots of dark wood for the floor and furniture, a bamboo-like ceiling with exposed timber beams, and a whirling ceiling fan.

The hotel has 44 rooms, which are spread into two areas -- one that's closer to the public spaces, and one that's farther away (so guests either get privacy or convenience).

All rooms include:

Room types:

  • Casita Deluxe: An 855-square-foot bungalow with either one king or two queen beds. Closer to the pool and public areas. Outside deck has Jacuzzi, hammock, two chairs. Some views of volcano are somewhat obstructed by plants, others have full views.
  • Premium Suite: A 1,049-square-foot bungalow with king bed and a separate living room. Includes unobstructed views of Arenal Volcano. There are only two Premium Suites, and each one can connect to a Casita Deluxe (through an outdoor courtyard). These are recommended for families. When a Premium Suite is connected to a Casita Deluxe, it's called a Nayara Villa.
  • Nayara Suite: A 1,135-square-foot bungalow with a king bed. Indoor shower has two shower heads, as does the outdoor shower. Towel warmers, two sinks, phone in the bathroom. Deck has table with chairs, hammock, Jacuzzi, and two additional chairs. There are 15 Nayara Suites.

 Features

No one feature stands out here, but there's a spa, small pool, small fitness center, wine bar, and restaurant

A spa treatment room
A spa treatment room

While there's not a ton for the active traveler to do here, those who are looking to kickback and relax won't complain.

  • Nayara Spa is beautifully built into the forest. There aren't many facilities (no sauna, steam room, or central relaxation room), but the treatment rooms are well done. A few have stunning views, and one has an outdoor tub. Spa is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers treatments like coffee scrubs and volcanic mud baths.
  • Walk down into the forest from the spa and you'll find the spa's Jacuzzi, built into a deck in the forest. Any hotel guests are welcome to use the Jacuzzi.
  • Next to the spa is a small fitness center, open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • The hotel's pool is pretty small and can get busy. Kali Kali pool bar serves cocktails and snacks.
  • The open-air Altamira restaurant serves three meals a day, including a great, free breakfast buffet. Breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m., lunch from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Guests can sit outside.
  • Nostalgia wine bar is a small, charming space with leather couches and an outdoor terrace. It feels like a classy cabin in the woods. It's open from 2 p.m. to midnight, and serves Latin American and Spanish wine through a fancy push-button dispensing system. There are laptops with free internet, and phones that can be used to call the U.S. and Canada for free.
  • The lobby also has laptops with internet and phones for free calls.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and in-room
  • Private van can be arranged to San Jose (4 people, $220 round trip) or Liberia (4 people, $250 round trip).
  • Next door there's a 10-acre wildlife refuge with hiking trails

 Food

One main on-site restaurant, plus a wine bar and pool bar

  • Altamira is an open-air restaurant serving three meals a day, including a free breakfast buffet
  • Nostalgia wine bar serves tapas, with occasional themes like "sushi night." Open 2 p.m. to midnight.
  • Kali Kali pool bar serves casual fare at the pool from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Room service from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 Bottom Line

The beautiful Arenal Nayara's 44 individual bungalows, restaurant, wine bar, and spa are all tucked into incredibly lush grounds. Some of the amenities are small (pool, spa, fitness center), but guests come here for the private bungalows with special touches like an outdoor garden shower and a deck with a Jacuzzi and hammock. It's more luxurious than nearby Arenal Kioro, but Kioro's rooms have better volcano views.

Things You Should Know About Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens

Address

  • 600 Meters Northeast from the Entrance of Vaocano Lodge, La Fortuna, , CR

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Nayara Suite
  • Nayara Villa
  • Premium Suite
  • Suite

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Hotel Features

Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica
Address: 600 Meters Northeast from the Entrance of Vaocano Lodge, La Fortuna, , CR
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