Budget-friendly hotel next door to Manuel Antonio National Park and across the street from the beach
Clean rooms with flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and some balconies with nice beach views
On-site restaurant serves three meals and drinks across from the beach
Breakfast buffet included in room rate
Free Wi-Fi and secure parking
Fast walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops
Bus stop located across the street
Family-owned and operated
No swimming pool
Room decor is forgettable
Complaints of lack of choice in the breakfast buffet
Busses idle in front of the beach
Some rooms don't have beach views
For travelers on a budget who don't want to deal with renting a car in Manuel Antonio, it doesn't get any easier or any cheaper than Manuel Antonio Hotel. The two-pearl hotel has 26 identically decorated rooms located directly across the street from a public beach and next door to the national park. The bus from San Jose stops, literally, in front of the hotel. A meager breakfast buffet and Wi-Fi are included in the room price, as is parking. There's an on-site restaurant and bar with beach views, but no swimming pool. Some rooms include a balcony and views of the beach; all have air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs. If you're looking for nicer digs and beach access, check rates at Karahe Hotel -- but expect to pay more.
Manuel Antonio Hotel is made up of two identical, two-story wings painted a pale yellow that house the guest rooms, and a third two-story building that makes up the restaurant and bar. The restaurant and one block of rooms have wonderful views of Manuel Antonio Beach, located just across the street. The second wing of rooms is built behind the first, and overlooks a lawn and garden. The lobby is located between the restaurant and rooms, with the gravel parking lot just behind it. The front desk is made of natural stone and there are four wooden chairs and tourists brochures to peruse. Large windows allow ample light in the space. The outdoor, covered restaurant makes excellent use of beach views. Wooden tables are set with bright yellow umbrellas.
Overall, the grounds and buildings are well-maintained and tidy. Flowering bushes and small Aztec statues add a little personality. Guests range from families to couples and backpackers. The restaurant is popular with non-guests because of its close beach proximity.
For those arriving from San Jose via bus, it doesn't get any more convenient than Manuel Antonio Hotel, which is located at the dead end of Route 618, the highway that winds through Manuel Antonio and ends where the national park and beach meet in a roundabout. The beach is directly across the street and guests can access the entrance to the park in a five-minute walk. Shops, restaurants, bars, a grocery store, and parasail operators are within a five-minute walk of the hotel's entrance. The busses can cause a bit of noise and pollution, and the area is bustling during the day, but quiets down at night. Expect about a three-hour bus ride to the capital or a two-and-a-half hour car drive. Parking at the hotel is free and easy. During our visit, we were greeted by a troupe of curious monkeys on our car in the parking lot; visitors from the neighboring national park.
The 26 rooms at Manuel Antonio Hotel are simply decorated with wood ceilings, tile floors, and white walls -- plus the occasional light-blue accent wall. Brown and white plaid bedspreads don't add much to the design style. Light wood furniture is substantial and shows a little wear, but rooms are spotlessly clean. Each comes standard with a telephone, air-conditioner, balcony, ceiling fan, flat-screen TV, and safe in the closet. Bathrooms are small and include showers and single sinks. Towels and soap are provided. The best rooms are on the second floor of the wing that faces the ocean -- though the occasional idling bus can disrupt the view. Housekeeping folds towels into the shape of swans, set on the beds. Landscape paintings hang on the walls.
As a budget property, Manuel Antonio Hotel is short on features other than the on-site, ocean-facing restaurant that serves a free (but limited) breakfast buffet. Lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks are available a la carte throughout the day. There's also a small area that sells postcards and souvenirs. Wi-Fi is free and reliable throughout the property and there's free parking in an outdoor lot behind the lobby. Access to the public beach across the street doesn't get any more convenient. There, guests can rent chairs, take surf lessons, parasail, and buy snacks and beer from vendors.
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