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“Toad Hall as Burma Shave” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Toad Hall Arenal Hotel

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Toad Hall Arenal Hotel
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Highway 142, Nuevo Arenal 50807, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 11 Nuevo Arenal B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Eastsound, Washington
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Toad Hall as Burma Shave”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

I used to love Toad Hall --- charming location, interesting art, wonderful smoothies. All have changed for the worse. The obnoxious signage (as cited by another reviewer) is about as appealing as Burma Shave signs without the clever rhymes. The selection and quality of the art has declined to nothing different from the many other roadside tourist stops --- no more beautiful tiles or cute welded-metal leaf-cutter ants. Toad Hall is no longer worth the stop.

Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
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145 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Tampa, Florida
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

We've been to Toad Hall many times, though we've never stayed there. The gallery/gift shop is nice, though by no means the best in the area. Meals are fairly good; prices have been a little high, but not so much since the last change of ownership.

But the real problem (apparently starting with the last change of ownership) is their zillion signs along the highway...all kinds of signs, at VERY frequent intervals, for a long, LONG way. This might or might not seem like an issue with the establishment itself, but on an otherwise beautiful stretch of highway along the lake and tropical forest, it really looks cheap, and is annoying if not outright offensive. We just don't go to Toad Hall any more.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lydia V, Owner at Toad Hall Arenal Hotel, responded to this review, June 23, 2013
Hi Friends,

I am so sorry that our signage has disappointed you and that you will not return to Toad Hall.

I noticed that since you have been a member of Trip Advisor you have made only 4 reviews and 3 out of the 4 were negative reviews.

This is most intriguing !

The most intriguing part of this is not that you have made only 4 reviews with 3 of them negative , it is that all of the reviews are from Nuevo Arenal Costa Rica (a very small town)and the only one positive review of the 4 you made is for Moyas Restaurant (which happens to be a fine place) but so are the other 3 you mentioned, in fact The Ginger Bread is one of the finest restaurants I have eaten at anywhere in the world (and that's saying alot being that I have lived in 19 different countries).

It makes one wonder are you a relative, employee or ??? of Moyas .

Something is definitely seems questionable here.

But, on the off chance that you really are from Tampa Florida and apparently do not travel anyplace else in the world that rates a review, I welcome the opportunity to explain to you and our Trip Advisor community a little more about us.


Our signs serve many purposes (besides the obvious advertising). We have many young people (locals) which paint our signs and it makes a big difference in their lives.

Parents traveling with children along the long winding lake road tell us how much they enjoy them and how they play games and keep count, they find it a wonderful distraction. If you read our Trip Advisor reviews you will indeed find many positive comments about our signs.

Perhaps you were here on a day when we just put up fresh signs as they do not last long, (we encourage this as it helps all of us who have businesses in Costa Rica and therefore the people who are natives here) if you have a look at our face book page you will see photo's from all around the world where people have taken the small signs home (as many as 40 per month) with them and sent us back photo's of them at their town sign holding a Toad Hall sign. We even received one photo from South Dakota which shows our Toad Hall sign among the many Wall Drug signs that say's 3,000 miles to TOAD HALL, Cost Rica :)

We love Costa Rica and have had businesses here for over 25 years and have contributed much to the country as it has to us. We pay 100% of our taxes, contribute to the education system, work with the municipalities and try to repay 100% or more of what we have been blessed with by living here.

The previous owner abandoned this beautiful place, left the employees high and dry with no money, never paid any taxes or contributed one thing back to this country, cut down the Jungle for a better view, and left an eye sore of shacks in this beautiful little town. We are trying to do right by all , show our appreciation and care for our little community of La Union. We help protect the jungle behind Toad Hall vigorously as it is one of the very few places along the lake where the Jungle is left intact. We have completely restored and revitalized the original Toad Hall to the original owners dream . We are rescuing and caring for little animals and birds that are brought to us weekly. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture................. WE CARE !

The signs in one way or another , benefit us all.


I would love to share more of the story with you and chat when you are next in town, please stop by for a drink on us.

Warmest Regards,
Lydia
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We did not stay here, but enjoyed coming for drinks and food several times during our stay at Lake Arenal. We did see the rooms though, and they are beautiful. The owners and the staff are friendly and welcoming, and create a fun, lighthearted atmosphere. You instantly feel like an old friend.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Waterloo, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

This was an amazing lunch spot on the road from Liberia to Arenal. The staff and owner were so friendly and my husband swears they had the best fish tacos he had in all of
Costa Rica - and he had a ton! Great views from the restaurant as well.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Aransas, Texas
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

The new owners of Toad Hall have really got it going on in Costa Rica...the views, the reno, the delicious food. Thank you for making us a special tray of goodies to taste all the yummers! Ya'll are amazing - can't wait to come back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Vancouver
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

My husband and I, along with another couple, stayed at Toad Hall for four amazing & memorable nights. Collectively, we have been to many different parts of the world and have stayed at many different resorts/hotels/B&Bs along the way. We would easily rate Toad Hall as one of our favourite travel experiences of all time. I don't usually write reviews, especially as long as this one will be, but I feel compelled to share our amazing experience so that others can find this joy as well.

We arrived at Toad Hall without many expectations; we had seen pictures of the place online but knew that photos can be deceiving. In this case, the online photos did not even remotely do the "Hall" justice. I can vividly remember the absolute excitement, pure happiness and wave of relief that all four of us felt when we first saw the view behind the restaurant and then were shown our accommodations. From the moment we stepped foot into Toad Hall, we felt like we could have stayed there forever.

ACCOMMODATION: Since there were two couples, we rented both the Hacienda and the Casa Cabina. Each couple spent two nights in each villa.
The Hacienda: This is truly an AMAZING villa. There are two bathrooms, a gigantic living room, and a GORGEOUS kitchen. Staying in the Hacienda was like being in our home away from home. It was comfortable, had everything we would ever need at home, and was so spacious that I could easily get away from my husband when he was bothering me (just joking).
Casa Cabina: This room was pretty small but still comfortable. The shower was gorgeous but I have to say that I preferred my privacy in the Hacienda showers & bathrooms.
Comparison: The Hacienda is definitely the nicest and most accommodating villa in Toad Hall (We became friends with a couple that was staying in the Jungle Suite and were able to check that place out too, to compare). If you get a chance to stay at Toad Hall, I would highly recommend that you request the Hacienda before any of the other Villas. However, one thing that we did notice is that the bed in the Casa Cabina is a lot more comfortable than the one in the Hacienda. There was only a bit of warm water in the showers, which we found was quite normal throughout Costa Rica.
The infinity pool outside the Hacienda and Casa Cabina (literally right outside their doors) is where we spent most of our time. The view beyond the pool is breathtaking and I sat/swam there for many hours just staring at the jungle. There are countless birds that fly back and forth between the trees. I spent many tranquil mornings bird-watching with a cup of coffee in hand. Lake Arenal can be seen in the distance. The ducks that claim ownership of the pool are hilarious and, Jeff, we're sorry again about the "ducks in your office" incident (hahaha....quack quack?)
The grounds are kept in immaculate condition and there is always staff around keeping the place beautiful. There is a gift shop and a restaurant right next to the villas (see below for info on the food in the restaurant)

SERVICE: The service at Toad Hall is world-class. The owners, Jeff and Lydia, are amazing people with amazing hearts. They are incredibly personable, down-to-earth, and unbelievably accommodating. Jeff is a big joker so beware of some of his "tricks". Both Jeff and Lydia have great knowledge of the surrounding area and were able to provide us with some great insider tips. One of our favourite experiences in Arenal was finding the free hot springs that the locals all frequent. Without Jeff and Lydia's directions & recommendation to go there, we never would have found it. Across the street from the free hot springs is the expensive Tabacon resort...we are so grateful that we didn't have to waste our money going there. Jeff and Lydia also helped to arrange our zip-lining experience & pointed us in the direction of a few other adventures (including our memorable dinner at a restaurant called Gingerbread). If there was anything at all that we needed, there was never any hint of hesitation from any of the staff at Toad Hall to accommodate our every wish.

FOOD: As other reviewers have mentioned, when driving towards Toad Hall, there are countless signs for Toad Hall that both amuse, excite, and bring out the curiosity in all who pass by. A few of them boldy state: "Best Fish Tacos on the Planet". This is no word of a lie. The fish tacos at Toad Hall are UNREAL. Try them. Seriously. On top of the best fish tacos on the planet, Toad Hall is also home to the BEST GUACAMOLE on the planet. Hands down the best guacamole that I have ever had. I ate guacamole for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks while I was there. I have missed the Toad Hall guacamole every day since I've been back from vacation.
We went to the store one day and bought some chicken to throw on the awesome barbeque that is available for use at Toad Hall. It was a cool experience to bbq in Costa Rica.
On our last night there, Jeff, Lydia (who was in the kitchen), and their wonderful staff prepared a sit-down meal for us. It was a few courses of heaven.

LOCATION: Toad Hall is in a convenient location for anyone who is looking to visit the Arenal Volcano - it's right on the way. However, you will definitely need a car. We rented one through VAMOS in Liberia and I can't imagine how we could have gotten around Costa Rica without it. As a side note, the driving in Costa Rica was quite frightening and I would caution any first-time drivers over there to make sure you pay attention to the car ahead of you. The main roads look deceivingly comparable to North American roads. However, sudden stops are very common and many vehicles do not have brake lights, nor do they even bother to signal to let you know that they are stopping. We saw a lot of rear-enders and near-rear-enders. In fact, we barely avoided a few ourselves. Anyway, back to the location of Toad Hall... The drive to Arenal is about 20 minutes from the Hall. We drove it quite a few times and it was really easy. There are no other restaurants within walking distance from Toad Hall so if you need anything, make sure that you get everything before you arrive or you'll have to make the trip again. The nearest town & grocery store is about a 20-30 minute drive away. Trust me though...there really is no reason to leave anyway and if you really need something, Jeff and Lydia will likely have it.

If you've made it this far down and are still reading my review, I'm sure that you can guess what my overall recommendation would be to anyone who is considering a visit to Toad Hall. DO IT. There is no better decision that you could make in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
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Lansdale, Pennsylvania
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

From our arrival to our "sad" goodbye we were in love with Toad Hall. We stayed for 5 nights in the "Hacienda" and 3 nights in the "Jungle Suite".........we were only supposed to be there for 4 nights total! Jeff and Lidia are the salt of the earth (as well as their friendly staff). We met people from all over the world and with only a few rooms (sanctuaries), you get to know all the area before you start driving.........Oh, speaking of driving, take a shuttle from SJO and rent a car at Alamo in La Fortuna (we left a laptop on a shuttle and they transferred it to Alamo for us). I called on Friday and asked if we could keep the Jeep until Tuesday and without hesitation "No problem!" DON'T ASK JEFF TO TRANSLATE FOR YOU.......GO WITH LIDIA! Honor system with drinks cooler, just let the kitchen know and they keep track if someone is not at the bar. I am British, was a flight attendant and have vacationed many tropical locations but if you have never been to Toad Hall you have missed out! The prices on local artistic items can not be beat for prices (no pressure sales) and OMG they have an ice cream pop freezer too! You can't miss the signs from either direction.....we have pics :) The ducks in the pool area are an experience not to miss, we got worried when they flew to the lake for the day. I am posting pictures of them....they don't have names so I nicknamed them "Whacky & Quaky". Oh, I left my "NACHOS RULE" shorts for Jeff and do IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII have a picture to post :P We went to see all areas to consider and decide which area to purchase and never left where it felt home. Miss you guys! We'll be back, still keeping in touch with the guests and wish you the best with your future endeavors if we don't see ya soon! Julie & Don Diego Montemayor

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Toad Hall Arenal Hotel

Address: Highway 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): $
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 
Also Known As:
Toad Hall Arenal Hotel Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal

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