Serena is right on the beach, while Mantra is 500 yards inland with no view of the water.
Serena is very small, very chic, with European flair. Mantra is very large, but also with European flair. Serena would attract a movie star who wanted to lie on the beach and get away from the crowds. Mantra would attract one who wanted to lie by the pool and be seen by the other guests. Serena has reallyneat "beds" plopped right onto the sand by the water.
The beach Serena is on is the river, but it cannot be distinguished from the ocean. Mantra has a very, very nice beach club to which it will minibus you in 2 minutes (or you can walk in 10 minutes), and it's an Atlantic beach if that matters.
Serena is poorly located in terms of its surrounding area; when you leave the grounds you are in one of the less-nice parts of the Punta area, but you quickly (less than one minute's drive) leave that part in both directions and get to nice parts. Mantra is nestled among woods at one end of La Barra and there's a "ritzier" feel to the immediate area.
Mantra is about 12 miles from Jose Ignacio and 30 miles from Casapueblo. Serena is about 25 miles from Jose Ignacio and 5 miles from Casapueblo. For the entire area (fom Jose Ignacio to Punta Ballena, where Casapueblo is located), Mantra is much more centrally located.
The bars and restaurants at Serena are small, warm, and look directly at the ocean. The bars and restaurant at Mantra are large, cold, and look at parts of the hotel, i.e., they have no views except of the hotel pool and interior grounds.
Since I live in Punta, I can't speak to the rooms or the service at the hotels. I've heard the service is excellent at both places.
Two very different places.
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