As I confessed in an earlier post during my Costa Rica adventures, I adore forests and like to just get lost in them and enjoy the peace and quiet. Would you be surprised to find out that a study has actually found out that there is in fact a reason for some people preferring mountains and others being more inclined to lie on beaches. Well, I just found the perfect place to get both: a Beach Resort by Costa Rica’s most popular National Park. I was kindly invited to stay and try it out and here’s my verdict.
Beach and Forest Hotel – Best of Both Worlds
I am talking about introverts and extrovert. While I do love the reclusiveness of woods on top of a towering rock formations, I do also crave beaches and the fresh breeze mixed with salt water. In comes the absolutely gorgeous Hotel San Bada Resort, Spa and Conference Center which is both directly at the Manuel Antonio beach and at the entrance of the most visited national park of the country!
San Bada offers the best of both worlds inside its bright ochre coloured palace that could have been imported straight out of your Arabian Nights imagination. With round balconies lining the outdoor corridors on all floors as well as along the hotel rooms and suites and round globes on top the rooftop pool area, you will definitely feel very much royal.
Now, imagine my jaw drop when I did not enter one of the regular rooms but found myself upgraded to the Selva Suite on the 4th floor. It was a beauty of wide spaces, dark wood furniture, lots of throw pillows and a Jacuzzi! Did I mention the chocolate covered strawberries with caramel sauce and my welcome fruit punch? I just had to get comfortable on the big couches in the TV area (right after taking photos for proof and trying the balcony until I realised the sun would eat my chocolate before I could).
Some Serious Pool Time with Sunset Views
I watched a vintage Costa Rican black and white film (don’t ask me what it was about, my Spanish is very very rusty), took a quick shower beneath a rainforest shower, was a tad afraid to destroy the towel construction, which was beautifully arranged as a swan couple and then went downstairs to take in the scenery.
The Beach Resort has a big pool area including several pools, both for adults and kids as well as some spray fountains and a bridge to add a romantic flair. If you feel like basking in the sun instead of splashing in the blue, then you can also get comfortable on the sun chairs, which also are lined up at the pool on the roof on the 6th floor.
This hotel area is only for adults, which means you can get some downtime from families and noisy kids and just chill with a cocktail in hand. The bar is right between the pool and the sitting area that overlooks the beach and some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen. Just beware of the mosquitos at dusk as I did spray myself with insect repellent but my neck got bitten five times nonetheless in a few minutes. That’s Costa Rica for you.
Where Sustainable Is Key
What I particularly liked is that the four star Beach Resort is participating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program, which means it not only strives to offer tour activities that are respectful to the environment (e.g. horseback riding, diving), local culture and communities but also runs the hotel facilities environmentally friendly.
For instance, show presenters and entertainers come from Manuel Antonio communities and every morning the hotel helps clean up the beach. Also, the four star hotel wants to provide a comfortable stay for all kinds of budgets and physical conditions, and thus offers differently priced rooms as well as wheelchair accessibility throughout with constant improvements going on.
Moreover, the residual energy from the air condition also heats the respective room’s hot water. Cleaning products, laundry chemicals and even bathroom amenities are all biodegradable and there are on-site recycling facilities on site of the Beach Resort.
Relax, Get Active or Get Out (Literally)
But all this goes on behind the scenes while hotel guests enjoy themselves. One great way to do this is the Sana Spa, which is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm, where you can get massages, hit the sauna and just relax while overlooking the forest in a luxurious surrounding. Again, all products used are based on natural ingredients.
I also had a quick peek into the Rana Gym on the third floor that overlooks the tree tops, which is free to use between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm. If you are not as unsporty as I am, you can run treadmills, use the stationary bike, weights and so on while looking out over the tree tops.
If you want to check out the Manuel Antonio National Park, just walk out two minutes and you are right at the entrance. To avoid the crowds, you can ask directly at the reception for a ticket, which is $16 in cash and enter before 8am since the park only allows in 800 people at a time during the week and 1000 visitors on weekends. Oh, and leave your food in the hotel as the apes will steal it from you, but bring water with you.
Comfort in Your Own Four Beach Resort Walls
After a busy day walking in the rainforest and watching epic sunsets by the beach, I was happy to come home to my Selva Suite. This is a seriously large and luxurious room with a Jacuzzi! Plus, I had this giant bed with Egyptian cotton (a first for me) and towels that were beautifully arranged as different animals each day.
The whole interior style was mirroring the jungle setting with a luxurious touch and I later found out that a lot of the hotel’s furniture is actually made from local trees and by local carpenters. The paintings are done by the owner’s wife and everything blends together with creamy browns of the room. And did I mention my balconies? Yes, you read that right. Plural. It was the perfect setting for feasting on my welcome fruit drink and chocolate covered strawberries.
I might have stayed at this boss Suite with all its cool amenities, but all hotel rooms are equipped with Egyptian cotton sheets, LCD TV, mini fridge, Wifi and complimentary coffee. Plus, you get to dine at the huge breakfast buffet every morning, which includes typical Costa Rican casado, a selection of fruits and juices, pastries and a cook preparing fresh eggs just how you like them. I absolutely loved this buffet and stayed for as long as I could to try absolutely everything.
Book Your Jungle and Beach Stay Here
All in all, I truly enjoyed my stay at the San Bada Beach Resort and felt well taken care of. The Staff were super welcoming and helpful – even when I ran into issues with my credit card (as the local bank’s card reader kinda messed up) and had all my usual questions, they were super helpful and reassuring.
Hotel San Bada
Phone: +506 2777 5333
US Toll Free: 1-888-2948317
Prices from: $275/night
Selva Suite: $480/night
(prices subject to change)
A big thanks to San Bada for hosting my during my stay and making my time in Manuel Antonio such a great one!