We stayed for a week and it was good, but not great. Maybe our expectations were a bit high from the other reviews? I know this is a long review, and just our opinion, but I hope it's helpful...
First, the website says all Nayara Suites have a view of the volcano. This isn't the case. Our first room was nothing but rain forrest. Don't get me wrong, the rain forrest is beautiful, but we booked the bigger suite because we wanted to see Arenal. Our bellhop (Esteban) was actually the one who arranged for us to move to another room the next night after he realized we were staying so long. Thanks Esteban! The second room had a slightly obscured view of the volcano, but it was better than before. The first room was a bit larger and cleaner (newer?). The second room had something growing (mold?) up the wall behind the toilet, the walls had the normal dings/dents and the wood floors needed some retouching. It was showing it's age a bit. The indoor shower is fantastic! The bed was a bit hard - we both woke up with sore backs each night. The outdoor shower is nice in theory, but both shower heads seem to run off the same water source which made it impossible for both of us to find the perfect water temperature. The jacuzzi on the balcony was fantastic. We used is 3 times and it was very private and peaceful.
Speaking of water....we lost water one morning for about 30 minutes one morning. Not necessarily a big deal except we were trying to head out for one of our excursions. I had to forgo washing my face (ew!) and brushed my teeth with a bottle of water. On another morning, we lost significant water pressure. As bad things seem to happen at the most inopportune times, I happened to be mid shower.
Sushi Amor is great. Definitely do happy hour from 4-6 where drinks are 2 for 1. The two waitresses there are the best on the resort. Try the Arroz Verde, coffee mousse and espresso. The manager, Jorge, hosted a reception there one night and after finding out I didn't eat seafood he had the chef prepare some chicken for me free of charge. Very nice gesture! The outdoor seating is great.
Altamira needs some work. The breakfast buffet was ok. It probably would have been better if we weren't staying for so long, but it only rotated between pancakes and french toast. We tried the omelette bar twice; each time it was ok. It always offered typical CR food, but it wasn't to my liking - it was nice to try as far as experiencing a new culture, but after a week I just really wanted something sweet. They had "Grill Night" which was our best dinner (steak and baked potato), the other meals were just ok. Both restaurants and the bar bill to your room, so by the end of the week we were feeling more like a room number than a guest. I'd rather get a bill at the end of a meal to decide to pay outright or then bill it to my room.
The website also says the pool is heated. Technically, this is true, but it isn't warm. There are 3 pipes which pump in warm water, but it's just not enough to increase the overall temperature. I thought we wouldn't need a heated pool for CR in July, but the weather wasn't as hot as we had expected. We usually love spending time at/in the pool, but when we went we had to get out because we were cold. It's more of a relaxing pool rather than a swimming pool so being so still just left us cold. The jacuzzi's are also minimally heated. Again, we had to get out because we were too cold. The swim up bar is nice in theory, but our bartender didn't speak great english and we didn't speak great spanish so our ordering was done more by pointing. There is a dry area to the bar, but it is very small and got crowded with just a few people.
We picked a couples treatment at the spa - exfoliation and 1 hour massage. The girls were SO nice, but the exfoliation was downright painful. It was too hard in the same spot for too long. I couldn't wait for it to be over. The massage was nice, but lacked "technique" that I've had here in the states. It was nice because someone was rubbing on us, but I was disappointed that I didn't leave feeling more relaxed. Maybe the staff isn't trained like they are in the states, but I wish we hadn't spent that $300.
Our excursions were handled by the concierge (Jonathan) and all went off without a hitch. The staff also impressed us with how fluent they were in english. Our transportation was also arranged through the hotel (I think it's contracted to a single company) and both of our drivers were fantastic (Norman and Arnando?). It is a solid 3 hour drive from/to the airport, but the drivers were personable and pointed out great picture opportunities along the way. We had our best cup of coffee the entire trip at a roadside shop that I never would have stopped at on our own!
We went zip lining with Sky Trek, canyoning with Pure Trek and hiked the Tenorio Volcano and Rio Celeste with Jacamar (our guide Alberto was fabulous!). Definitely would do the first two again, but the hike ate up the entire day. We knew this going in and the sites were pretty, but in hindsight we would have probably picked something else. If you do go to Rio Celeste, take $5 to rent a pair of wellies and buy a pair of knee high socks. The trail is deep mud at times and you will ruin any hiking/tennis shoes you bring. It was the best money we spent the entire trip. We also spent a day at Tabacon which we would absolutely do again. The entrance fee was $60 per person for one day (no meals), but when we got there we were told it was for a 2 day access. It is absolutely beautiful and we were surprised at how few people there were. Make sure you make your way up the top at the adult only gardens. Super peaceful. The food there was also great (especially the bread that wasn't mushy from humidity).
Overall, a nice trip, but not our best. I think anyone would have a nice time, but it lacked just a few key things to make it perfect. Not a place for kids, even well behaved, older, quiet ones. It's obviously meant to be a sanctuary for couples. Very romantic!
Not all Nayara Suites have a view of the volcano like the website states. Make sure to inquire with...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
23 July 2012
Dear valued guest,
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Thank you for choosing Nayara in your last visit to Costa Rica and for sharing your recent experience with us.
We take our guests’ feedback very seriously as this is the best way to improve our services.
I was disheartened to learn that we did not meet your expectations in the different areas you mentioned; please rest assured that we are taking action in all these areas and they will be addressed accordingly.
Nayara’s philosophy is to deliver impeccable experiences to all of our guests. As such, we thank you for allowing us the privilege of serving you and are working tirelessly to enhance the Nayara experience as per your comments.
Again thank you and we hope you give us the opportunity to serve you in the future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC