On a tropical hillside with peeks of the Pacific Ocean
Within a 10-minute walk to bars and restaurants
Water-view infinity pool with hot tubs, plus a bar and kids' area
Massive condos with kitchens, multiple living areas, and ocean-view balconies
Free buffet breakfast includes pancakes and made-to-order omelets
Breezy, open-air Karola's restaurant offers a varied, all-day menu and room service
Full-service ocean-view spa tucked into a hillside
Fitness center offers cardio machines and weights
Wi-Fi is fast and free throughout the property
Free self-parking in a secure lot
Beach is small and rocky
Hilly property could be difficult for travelers with mobility issues
Surcharge for more than two guests per room
Gym equipment is dated
Minimum stay rules apply
In an area beset with modest hotels and traditional guesthouses, the four-pearl Preserve at Los Altos stands out. The sheer number of resort-style amenities outnumbers the competition. There's an ocean-view restaurant, free breakfast, a sparkling infinity pool, and a hillside spa. The 28 condo-style units are the largest in Manuel Antonio, and include gourmet kitchens, multiple bedrooms, flat-screen TVs, and panoramic ocean views from all the balconies. But the rocky beach, hilly grounds, and pricey room surcharges for more than two guests may push some to look elsewhere. Tulemar Resort is the area’s only comparable lodging, offering similar amenities plus a full-featured beach for around the same rates.
Upscale condo resort that caters to both couples and families
The Preserve at Los Altos borrows much from Costa Rica's traditional decor -- decorative palm fronds, rain-forest-inspired pops of color, and rattan accents -- and adds a healthy dose of contemporary panache. From the outside, there’s a clear, understated sophistication to the architecture and design of the hotel’s twin towers. The heart of the hotel occupies only a small portion of the deceptively large property, which drops sharply to a downhill expanse of pristine rain forest all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The massive, multi-bedroom rooms and kid-friendly pool cater to large groups and families. However, the vibe is more family-friendly than family-centric.
On a steep, lush hill within walking distance from restaurants and shops in downtown Manuel Antonio
The hotel’s location -- tucked into a tropical hillside that feels secluded -- hides the fact that it’s situated feet from the heart of Manuel Antonio. Dozens of shops, bars, and restaurants are within an eight-minute walk, and there's even more to see in the larger nearby town of Quepos (a five-minute drive). A 10-minute drive takes guests to the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park. Just about every sort of outdoor activity is available in or near Manuel Antonio: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, water sports, boating, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling, and canopy safaris. Further afield, it's a one-hour drive to the party scene in Jaco and an hour in the opposite direction to Playa Uvita for whale watching. The nearest major airport, Juan Santamaría International (SJO), is nearly three hours away by car. Given the hotel's proximity to the town's major sites and the pricey mandatory auto rental insurance in Costa Rica, most travelers would do well to skip the rental counter and rely on the area’s cheap public buses.
Massive suites with kitchens, living rooms, and panoramic ocean-view balconies
Room decor is a tasteful blend of exotic, Balinese-inspired accents and chic, contemporary finishes. Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and upscale furniture are surrounded by locally inspired artwork, tropical plants, and liberal use of teak and mahogany. Guests should note that the hotel bases all of its rates on double occupancy, so you'll have to shell out for extra guests.
The apartment-style rooms are the largest in Manuel Antonio. Every Suite features a 2,500-square-foot floor plan with full kitchens, spacious living and dining areas, and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. Guests have access to almost every imaginable comfort amenity found in a typical upscale condo: gourmet cooking appliances, full-size fridges stocked with premium drinks and snacks, touch-panel climate control systems, and private elevators that open directly into each room (But don't worry, it's perfectly secure, so you won't get any surprise visitors.) Flat-screen satellite TVs, fast, free Wi-Fi, and laptop-size wall safes are all standard. The eighth-floor Penthouses expand on the already massive rooms with three-story, 4,200-square-foot floor plans with additional balconies, bedrooms, and a private rooftop terrace with a hot tub.
Bathrooms are equally spacious and upscale with Travertine tile, vessel sinks, and rain showers. Glass shower stalls and generic shower amenities are standard in most bathrooms. A private, panoramic balcony adds even more square footage, and all offer glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, the higher the floor, the better the view (and more expensive the rate).
An ocean-view infinity pool, a hillside spa, and a breezy restaurant with free breakfast -- but a small, rocky beach
The hotel features more amenities than most in the area. The main outdoor terrace offers more than enough to keep guests on the property till the sun goes down. The sparkling outdoor pool is set high above sea level with lovely ocean views. A bar nearby serves poolside drinks, plus two hot tubs and a shallow wading area provide dedicated spaces for adults and kids respectively.
Tucked beneath the infinity pool is the modern Orquídea Spa. Rows of floor-to-ceiling windows ensure the space feels bright and airy. The service menu includes most typical massage treatments (plus specialty offerings like couples and chocolate massage), plus facials, manicures, and pedicures.
Karola's restaurant is in a breezy, open-air building with lovely ocean views. The all-day menu varies widely with a good mix of Western and local favorites. A deluxe buffet breakfast (with made-to-order omelets and pancakes) is served free daily. The authentic Costa Rican cuisine includes locally sourced seafood and tropical delicacies. Room service is available during limited hours.
A large swath of the 21-acre property separates most of the common areas from the beach. Accessing the shore requires a long, arduous, downhill hike or a bumpy golf cart ride. The semi-private patch of sand is secluded and intimate, but it’s rocky, and the lack of chairs or a bar hardly make the trek worthwhile.
Just off the lobby are a modest game room and a bright, though dated, gym. Wi-Fi is fast and free in every common area. Self-parking is provided in a staffed lot for free.
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