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“A must see” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Toad Hall Hotel

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Toad Hall Hotel
3.0 of 5 Guest house   |   La Union | 9 km SW from Nuevo Arenal on route 142, Nuevo Arenal 50807, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 11 Nuevo Arenal B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Michigan
1 review
“A must see”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

We stopped at toad hall on our way back from arenal. We ate at their restaurant and our breakfast was fabulous! The service was amazing and the people there were extremely nice! They had a great view of the jungles and lake arenal. Also a super nice pool. Jeff gave us information about the roads and easier ways to travel. It was overall incredible and is a must stop if you are close by.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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155 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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portland oregon
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

We found Toad Hall on the Internet sight unseen and it completely blew away our expectations. After a long drive from the Nicoya peninsula and Rincon de la Vieja, we were just ready for a warm bed, but the sight on my kids' faces when they saw the view was worth the wait. The jungle view, beautiful terrace and pool, aviary and outdoor art gallery is stunning!

Lydia and Jeff, the gracious and talented hosts, will immediately make you feel at home.

it is not often that you stumble across a boutique hotel in the middle of a jungle. Each room here, carefully designed by the owners, has its own distinct flair. We are traveling with three boys ages 8-15, and we have the perfect setup-the Villa Arriba- 2 bedrooms with a private patio and kitchenette. the kids room can sleep up to 4. Our room is somewhat of a Western theme, with really unique artwork, and wood and metal work that Jeff designs and builds. I had to take pictures of the bed, it was so unique. And after a week on the beach with sand in the sheets it was so nice to sleep in a bed with high thread counts and the perfect temperature.

We are so happy we took the path less travelled and decided not to stay in La Fortuna. This is a little bit farther from the volcano, but it actually makes you less inclined to hyper recreate and more inclined to recline. Bring binoculars so you can sit by the pool and check out the toucans and hummingbirds. We drove 45 minutes to the Cavernas de Venado and it was well worth the trip. You will need an SUV to take the shortcut. The tour is about an hour and a half and is not for claustrophobics, or the faint of heart. its a must see from Toad Hall .

enjoy!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Castle Rock, Colorado
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

I really can't say enough about how much we enjoyed staying with Jeff & Lydia and how comfortable they made us feel in there beautiful place. Jeff himself was a wonderful host & would take time out of his busy schedule to make sure that we always had everything we needed & that we were always having a good time. In fact, he made a custom menu for dinner hust for us. We surely didn’t expect him to have time for much more than a quick wave hello as we passed, as we could see that he had a lot going on – yet he offered so much more than that, which really shows the type of persons that Jeff & Lydia Are. Toad Hall itself quickly became home for the weeks we were there, & we fell completely in love with this little piece of paradise . My favorite parts of the day were beginning & ending with the peaceful half mile walk to & from the the lake - the charming stones tucked inside beautiful tree-lined trails. We really can’t wait to come back & can’t imagine staying anywhere else. My wife & I both look forward to staying there again!

Room Tip: If you want a all natural wake up call ask for jungle room!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

We really felt like family here. Great value, as many other places were twice as much without offering twice as much. Fabulous food. It is great for a person that normally likes a place some where between the Hilton and a Hostel. ;) Lydia and Jeff gave us a lot of inside information on places to go and were very pleasant to be around. They have a wonderful hike through the jungle right off the property as well as a very lovely swimming pool. Enjoy!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012 via mobile

We stopped here for lunch and were first shown the toucans in the trees before we were shown a menu. We dined with seven toucans in the tree right next to our table. Lovely experience and the food was great.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Potrero, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

With an incredible view of Lake Arenal, a cozy, family feel, and a friendly vibe, Toad Hall was just what we were looking for. Lydia and Jeff, the owners, greeted us with smiles and never failed to keep us as comfortable as possible.

Not to make any of you readers jealous, but here was one highlight-filled day we had at The Hall: Up with the sun, we dipped in the courtyard pool and lounged on beach chairs as Toucans and Parakeets swarmed about the treetops. After breakfast we took the quick stroll down to the lake (munching Guavas and Oranges from the trees on the way!) and tried our luck casting in some hooks. Twelve Tilapia later (no joke) we took the adventurous route back to the road: up a small creek that wound its way through the jungle. We returned for another dip in the pool, grilled our days catch, and watched the sun set across the lake from our dining room table. The only risk coming to Toad Hall is that it has all that you could want, and we found it hard to leave -- even for the Volcano. I would definitely recommend this gem to any family, group, couple, or lone traveler. Good luck finding a place to match it!

Room Tip: The Jungle Suite is a dream palace with a panoramic view
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

"It's never the wrong time to call on Toad. Early or late he's always the same fellow. Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go!"
- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

At 3:00 a.m. on June 28, 2012, I sent an e-mail from our rental home in Nicaragua to Lydia at Toad Hall. "I'm hot, tired, there are bugs everywhere and my wife stepped on a bat (the fuzzy, flying mammal kind...not the Louisville Slugger kind). How much would you charge if we showed up at your place 5 days early????" I hit "SEND" and went to sleep. At 7:00 a.m. that morning, I had a reply, "Come on down early. We'll be glad to have you. We have glorious air-conditioning!" 

Right then, I learned two things. One, I should never write e-mails in the middle of the night when I'm exhausted, hot, frustrated and slightly tipsy. Second, I learned that Toad Hall is where I really wanted to be!

I spent months researching and making plans for our monthlong trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. My wife and two young children, 6 & 8, were very excited about our pending trip and VERY excited about staying at Toad Hall. The pictures and descriptions were terrific. I purposely planned it for the last week of our journey because I knew we would want a nice, clean place to relax after spending 3 weeks in Nicaragua. Plus, anything with the word "Toad" in the title sends my kids into apoplexy because they think frogs are the greatest things since sliced bread. Which, when you think about it, is kind of a silly expression since practically no one can remember when bread was NOT sliced. 

My wife convinced me to stick it out in our hot, bug-filled house on the beach in Nicaragua and it ended up being OK...green pool notwithstanding. So, I told Lydia we'd arrive at Toad Hall on July 5, 2012 as scheduled and we did so as planned. 

Our drive from Nicaragua to Arenal was beautiful. Toad Hall is not exactly in Arenal, it appears to be in a place called La Union...at least that's what my iPad locator kept telling me. Who cares. Find it and go there. 

Lydia met us at the front door with warm welcome, as if I were a long lost relative. Of course, after the late-night e-mail, she was probably concerned I was a little crazy so maybe she was trying to be nice in case I was an ax murderer or something. Or worse, French. Shortly thereafter, we met her husband, Jeff. If you were to go to central casting at a movie studio and tell them you needed a Southern, Marlboro Man looking smooth-talker, they would send you Jeff. 

From the time we arrived, we loved the place. I won't bore with details about the beautiful, well-maintained rooms or the groomed grounds because the pictures tell that story. I'll sum up my take on the place like this...I have never stayed in a place so reasonably priced where the owners put so much thought, effort and time into every detail. Even the toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms were cool. Seriously. 

We had an amazing week. Typical Costa Rica stuff...zip-lining, horseback riding, volcano trek, etc. Blah, blah, blah. Let's get back to Toad Hall. 

The place runs like a well-oiled machine. And even if it doesn't, the amazing staff makes it seem so. Jeff and Lydia worked constantly while we were there, making sure that meals were perfect, rooms were clean, lawns were maintained. I've never seen a staff work so hard, but seem so family-like. Jeff and Lydia are not taking advantage of cheap Costa Rican labor and sitting around on their butts doing nothing. Everyone works and everyone has fun. Hell, while we were there, Jeff even put a lame horse to work, dressing him up in a sombrero and hooking his butt up to a beautiful hand-painted cart in the front yard so people can stop and have their picture taken with him! No one on Jeff and Lydia's staff gets away without pulling their weight! But Lydia and Jeff treat their staff like family, so no one seemed to mind working so hard. While were there, Lydia bought matching dresses for the ladies. It was very cool.

If you want to make a positive impact on my wife, Polly, and I, be nice to our kids. Jeff and Lydia treated my son, Grady and daughter, Annie, as if they had known them all their lives. True story...one afternoon, Jeff told Annie and Grady to make me and Polly stay in our room and then come down to the kitchen. The kids eagerly awaited 6 p.m. and then ran downstairs to the beautiful outside cocina. About 20 minutes later, I snuck down to check things out (OK, I really went down to get a beer...) and Jeff had them in the kitchen, making grilled cheese for themselves and dinner for us. Jeff had them actually working in the kitchen and they were having a blast. Jeff and Annie told me to go away. Shortly thereafter, they brought dinner up for us and we sat on the balcony and ate, overlooking the beautiful Lake Arenal. HUGE points on the scoreboard for Jeff and Lydia.

Jeff found out how much the kids like bugs, frogs and other creepy crawlers. On 2 different mornings, we came outside our rooms only to find containers on the balcony supposedly containing some kind of large insect. Of course, Jeff struggled with figuring out how to actually keep the bugs INSIDE the containers, because they got out both times! But how many places have you stayed where the hosts take the time to catch bugs for your kids?

The food was wonderful. On the first night there, Jeff asked "What do you want for dinner?" I asked him what they were having. He replied, "You didn't hear me. I asked 'What do you want for dinner?'" He and Lydia and their chefs went out of their way to make what we wanted and when we wanted it. It's a small hotel, so you need to be considerate of their time, but whenever we asked, they seemed to accommodate our every wish. 

They have a small farm down the road where they raise chickens, goats, pigs, etc. On our second day there, in the rain, Jeff took all of us down to the farm and showed us around. In the middle of all the work that is always going on, he took the time to again entertain my kids, thus scoring even more points on the scoreboard for Toad Hall.

Jeff and Lydia even planned a special dinner for the four of us one night while the kids stayed in the room and watched TV...or lit things on fire in the sink, I'm not sure which. Anyway, for a couple hours, Jeff and Lydia regaled us tales of their life adventures. I won't go into details, but suffice to say, I am boring and have apparently done nothing interesting in my life. And if you think you've done a lot of cool things in YOUR life, sit down with Lydia and Jeff over a beer during your visit and ask them this, "So, how did you two meet and what have you been doing the past 15 years?" Then, sit back and enjoy the show!

I "retired" (my wife says I'm a slacker and quit) from business 4 years ago to become a teacher so I could travel with my family. My wife teaches also, so we have summers off. We like to travel to interesting places and meet interesting people. Our week at Toad Hall has been a Top 3 stop along the path of our journey. Perfect for young kids, older kids, teens, couples, honeymooners, and anyone else who wants to visit a place where people treat you like family and you never want to leave. 

So, Jeff and Lydia, this is our late thanks for a great week in July. We'd love to come back some time, with our without the kids, so make sure you don't do something nutty like run off to Kenya and open a yurt motel or some sort of weird treehouse hotel. But if you do, let us know when you open so we can be your first guests! And when we come, we will bring our own container for catching bugs and we will make dinner for y'all!

Adios....Thomas, Polly, Grady and Annie!

Room Tip: Stay on the top floor. The views are great!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Toad Hall Hotel

Address: La Union | 9 km SW from Nuevo Arenal on route 142, Nuevo Arenal 50807, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Nuevo Arenal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Nuevo Arenal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Toad Hall Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the jungle, overlooking the magnificent Lake Arenal, Toad Hall is a must while traveling in Costa Rica! The Jewel of Arenal! Looking for relaxing time, a thrilling adventure or both? We've got it all at the best boutique hotel of La Fortuna! Reserve Online Today! Toadhall Arenal Hotel is one of finest boutique hotels in Costa Rica and the best on Lake Arenal. Each villa is custom designed with a charming fusion of rustic charm, artistic flair, natural beauty and all of the comforts to make you feel right at home. Take a peak at each of our villas, each comes with it's own unique enchanting features to see which one is ideal for you. Interested in reserving more than one villa or planning a private party? Contact our Events coordinator for your next picture perfect occasion! Toad Hall Arenal Hotel in La Fortuna Costa Rica is a magical place. Once you're here, you'll never want to leave! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Toad Hall Hotel Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal

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