Pros

  • Ideal location near the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Walking distance to one of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches, Playa Espadilla
  • Outdoor pool with loungers in a lush garden setting
  • Bright rooms with mini-fridges, air-conditioning, and espresso makers
  • Adult-only property guarantees a relaxed, quiet vibe
  • Deluxe buffet breakfast with cooked-to-order options is free
  • Fast, free Wi-Fi in all rooms and common areas
  • Off-street parking is free (limited)
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Cons

  • No full restaurant or bar
  • No kids allowed (a pro for some)
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Bottom Line

A simple, but bold design sets the two-and-a-half-pearl Hotel Vela Bar apart from most budget hotels in the area. All 20 rooms are crisp, bright, and sleek with modern amenities like air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and luxury Britt espresso makers. Lush, tropical greenery envelopes every inch of the intimate grounds creating a relaxed, quiet feel that’s conducive to its adult-only policy. However, with a small pool and breakfast-only dining space (no full restaurant/bar), guests will need to venture off-site for dining and entertainment options. Thankfully, it's located right next to the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park and near Playa Espadilla. Falls Resort at Manuel Antonio offers the same amenities and a similarly great location, but it’s a bit pricier and it lacks contemporary flair

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Amenities

  • Internet
  • Pool

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel Vela Bar

Scene

Quiet, contemporary garden hotel that’s strictly for adults

In an area marked with traditional, decades-old hotels, Hotel Vela Bar is a distinct departure. Every aspect of the design -- from the bright white buildings to the tiny, swanky reception area, to the boldly designed rooms -- offer subtle nods to South Beach style. The decor is crisp and minimal as though each space was thoughtfully coordinated by someone with an understanding of interior design, but only an IKEA budget. The small pool and adjacent breakfast area constitute the entire social scene which is frequently quiet by late afternoon. It’s clear the hotel targets adult guests looking to explore the nearby beaches and Manuel Antonio National Park by day, but who want to come “home” to a guest room with a bit more panache than most of the area’s more well-worn properties.

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Location

Walking distance to the beach and Manuel Antonio National Park

Route 618 is just a few minutes walk from the hotel entrance. Here, guests will find the tourist district surrounding Playa Espadilla with numerous restaurants, shops, tour providers, and, of course, the beach itself which is one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful. A few minutes farther south lies the official entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. Five minutes north by car is the center of Manuel Antonio with dozens more shops and services (including markets, banks, and pharmacies). San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is approximately three hours away by car. The hotel can arrange for paid shuttle transportation which is often the cheapest, safest, and most convenient option to get to and from the airport. Car rental is an alternative, but -- with the country’s sky-high rental insurance and downright dangerous roads -- it’s a less than attractive one.

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Rooms

Bright, bold rooms with mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and Britt espresso makers

Rooms are crisp and clean with a minimalist design that feels more chic than austere. Modern materials like laminate flooring, frosted glass doors, and bold wall art elevate the feel above the staid decor found at most area hotels. Every room category offers a similar design and amenities of mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, espresso makers, and free Wi-Fi (we found the service fast and reliable). The main difference is in the floor plans. Deluxe and Double Rooms are smaller than most typical mid-range hotel rooms, though they're not cramped. Suites upgrade to larger layouts, plus spacious private terraces and bathrooms with dual vanities. Bathrooms in every category feature ample walk-in shower stalls and generic toiletries. Most rooms have a small furnished outdoor space. 

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Features

An outdoor pool, free buffet breakfast, and free Wi-Fi throughout

The tiny grounds are spacious enough to accommodate only a small outdoor pool and the modest breakfast area that overlooks it. The pool is clean and well-maintained with a handful of lounge chairs and umbrellas bookending one side. The tropical greenery that surrounds the space adds a hint of intimacy and natural beauty, however, it feels a bit bare. By morning, the open-air breakfast terrace offers a free buffet with a decent selection of hot and cold items. Several cooked-to-order options like eggs, omelets, and pancakes are also available daily. Wi-Fi is free property-wide, and we found the service reasonably fast and reliable. Self-parking is provided in a handful of off-street spots in front of the hotel, however, these fill up quickly.

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Free Breakfast

  • Full Kitchen

  • Internet

  • Laundry

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pool

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.