Pleasant spa with plunge pool and steam room plus modern gym
Free Wi-Fi throughout
No beach access
Room decor is bland and some rooms are outdated
Few dining and entertainment options within walking distance
Hotel Parador Resort and Spa is an upper-middle-range resort located on the outskirts of Manuel Antonio National Park. While the resort’s 121 guest rooms come with plenty of appealing features such as furnished balconies and mini-fridges, the decor is bland. The resort’s green, 12-acre property offers ample opportunities for hiking and wildlife-viewing, plus there are several restaurants, three pools, and a spa; however, the facilities aren’t as luxe as guests might expect for a resort at this pearl level. Rates at nearby Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort are higher, but travelers looking for something fancy may find that it’s worth the upgrade.
Relaxed resort with beautiful grounds and crowd-pleasing features
Hotel Parador takes its name from Spain’s “paradores,” a term applied to castles and convents that have been repurposed as inns. Fittingly, terra-cotta-tiled roofs, graceful columns, and Greek statues give the property a European feel. Parador encompasses 12 acres of rainforest, with many guest rooms and common areas showcasing wonderful ocean views. Nature trails zigzag through the property, offering opportunities to spot monkeys, armadillos, sloths, anteaters, and a variety of other creatures.
The resort is well-suited to both couples and families. The adult-only pools provide privacy for couples, while a playroom, babysitting services, and large suites cater to families. The atmosphere is low-key -- in fact, guests looking to party may find it a bit too quiet in the evening. Although rates are more affordable here compared to some of the area's other resorts, the Parador’s guest rooms and facilities are no match for the glamorous offerings of nearby properties like Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort or Gaia Hotel & Reserve.
At the end of a winding road, on a 12-acre peninsula
Hotel Parador is set on the Punta Quepos promontory, at the end of a long road that provides access to most of the major hotels in the Manuel Antonio area. The resort is not on the beach, but Biesanz Beach can be reached in about 10 minutes on foot along a jungle trail. The beach is small and quiet, and travelers can rent kayaks and snorkeling gear here.
There are a few hotel restaurants within walking distance, but otherwise the nearest major outpost of shops, banks, and dining options is the town of Quepos, a 15-minute drive away. Manuel Antonio National Park is a five-minute drive away or, for avid walkers, 25 minutes on foot. The party-hardy surf town of Jaco is about 90 minutes away by car, while San Jose and Juan Santamaria International Airport can be reached in three hours.
Plain, dated rooms plus newer suites in Ocean Vista building with large balconies and whirlpools
Guest rooms at Hotel Parador are tidy, but the decor could use a refresh. Off-white walls, older wooden furniture, and reddish-brown bedskirts make the rooms look dated. All rooms include flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. Coffeemakers and mini-fridges are also standard, along with simple work desks or two-person tables. Closets hold safes, irons, and ironing boards. Private balconies or terraces furnished with wrought-iron tables and chairs feature views of the ocean, jungle, or grounds. Bathrooms are run-of-the-mill, with fixtures that are well-maintained but far from modern. Some have glass-walled showers, while others have showers with basic white curtains. Premium Rooms have shower/tub combos. Towels, magnifying mirrors, hairdryers, and bath products by Pacifica Spa are provided. Some guests complain of noise from the hallways.
Suites in the newer Ocean Vista building, also known as Las Suites, are brighter and more modern. Suites are decorated with deep coral accent walls and sleeker furniture. Some have open-plan layouts and/or sleeper sofas. Larger balconies include whirlpools, while bathrooms feature frosted glass doors as well as separate tubs. Vista Master Suites include separate living areas, while the Penthouse has an extra bedroom, an additional balcony, and a kitchen.
Three pools, spa with plunge pool, large fitness center, and shuttle service to the beach
Hotel Parador offers a range of on-site features to keep guests entertained. There are three pools, all with lovely ocean views. The large, lagoon-shaped family pool has a zero-entry edge as well as an infinity edge overlooking the Pacific. It includes a swim-up bar, fountain features, and a kitschy concrete crocodile. The other two pools are adults only: One is a lap pool surrounded by Roman-style pillars, while the other is an above-ground pool with a small rock-and-waterfall feature.
With its yellow walls, floor mosaics, and arched windows, the resort’s spa has a vaguely Mediterranean feel. Treatments include a variety of massages, wraps, body scrubs, and facials, as well as hairstyling and makeup application. The spa also features a steam room, a plunge pool, and a Swiss shower in addition to areas for yoga and relaxation. The large fitness center has light wood flooring and a stone accent wall. Big windows offer views of the surrounding rain forest. There’s a decent range of cardio machines, free weights, and mats. The property also encompasses a tennis court and a mini-golf course, and there's almost a mile of great trails, one of which leads up to a set of cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Free shuttle service is available to the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park at fixed times throughout the day. Two shops, Dulcinea Gift Shop and La Joyita Souvenir Shop, sell souvenirs, beachwear, and sundries. There’s also a cute playroom with toys geared toward young children.
The resort’s main building has a large conference room that can accommodate up to 64 people; there’s also a smaller, eight-person room in the Las Suites building and a no-frills room off the lobby with several computer stations. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. Other features include wedding-planning services, babysitting, and free on-site self parking.
Five pricey restaurants and bars with variety of options plus free buffet breakfast
Hotel Parador’s restaurants get relatively positive reviews from guests, although most agree the food is fairly pricey. The main restaurant -- La Galeria -- has white columns, wooden tables, and brick-colored tiled floors, and while the restaurant isn’t especially striking, it has good views of the grounds and family pool. A buffet breakfast included in the room rate features an omelet station. Lunch and dinner menus are a mix of local and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. Bar Don Juan shares the same space as La Galeria, but features cozier, lounge-style seating areas, flat-screen TVs, and high-tops along the bar.
Other dining options include El Quijote, which focuses on Latin American cuisine. It has an attractive wooden bar, but the arched windows have uninspiring views of the parking lot. El Galeon Pool Bar and Terrace Restaurant serves light lunches in a small, open-air venue by the family pool. La Fragata Ocean View Restaurant and Bar is located in the Ocean Vista section of the property. It offers a full menu of light, healthy fare during the high season only, as well as pool bar service. Two private dining rooms are available, and the hotel offers room service during set hours.
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