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“Breakfast With A Side of Bees On A Landlocked Cruise Ship” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Springs Resort and Spa

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The Springs Resort and Spa
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Near Montana de Fuego, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Breakfast With A Side of Bees On A Landlocked Cruise Ship”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

My husband and spent nearly 2 weeks in Costa Rica in mid-November 2011. Of the 4 hotels we stayed at, The Springs was our least favorite. We expected it would be our favorite; hence why we ended our vacation there. We spent 6 nights in the Arenal area; 3 nights at The Springs. It's hard to review the Springs because there were a lot of very positive things about the resort; however, there were negatives and for us, those overshadowed the positives. Breakdown to follow--

Pros:
- Beautiful hot springs/pools
- Large, private patio and amazing view of the Arenal Volcano from the Honeymoon Suite
- Amazing view of the Volcano from the entire property (especially from the Las Lagunas infinity pool)
- Fitness Center was HUGE and very well equipped.
- Private Dining options were reasonably priced, the food was really good and the floral arrangements were tropical, fitting for Costa Rica and very nice. And the location was great -- yet another wonderful view of the volcano.

Cons:
- Concierge: Did not follow up with confirming our pick up from another hotel. I had to call same day and after being transferred several times, I finally spoke with somebody who had no idea who I was or what I was requesting.
- A LOT of people and kids: we found odd given the price point. Babies in diapers crawling on the bar? Yuck.
- Price Gouging: Admittedly, prices in gift shops and mini-bars are higher, but I find it completely inappropriate when a hotel is simply price gouging. A bottle of water in the gift shop was $8.
- Club Rio: Gimmicky and was presented in similar fashion as an all inclusive mega resort or cruise ship.
- Spa: I scheduled 2 spa treatments before arriving at The Springs and reconfirmed upon arrival at the hotel. My first treatment was a 4 Hands Massage. I have had many massages before and this is the only one I have literally counted down the minutes to it ending. It hurt BADLY - even after I told the massage therapists they were hurting me. My body continued to convulse throughout the treatment and they still continued to manhandle me. My second treatment was forgotten about and I just sat in the holding area thinking they were running late. I asked the spa’s receptionist if they were running late and she didn’t apologize, just said a therapist was not available and asked me to come back in at 7:30PM for that one. My first spa treatment was at 8:15AM.
- Breakfast Buffet at Tres Cascadas: Disgusting. Food was displayed in open containers or just on plates (not in chaffing trays or covered dishes) and there were dozens of bees and bugs all over the food. The worst part was there was an abundance of staff standing around just looking at it. This happened every morning. One morning, I thought the cereal may be the safest as it was in a container. Just what I wanted while in Costa Rica – dry cereal I could get at home, but it was food, so I went with it. Alas, a bee fell into my bowl along with my Frosted Flakes.
- Tres Cascadas (restaurant): The slowest service we have ever experienced. The menu was all over the place with pasta, chicken wings and steak. Typically I would be sold on a menu with variety, but this menu was just too all over the place. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. It was supermarket grade quality. The fries were literally thrown on the plate. Basically, the taste and presentation was terrible. Also, rather than one server there were multiple. Yet still with multiple servers, I still had to ask for drink refills, etc.
- Las Ventanas (restaurant): The resort says to make reservations here, but when the place is empty, they still turn willing paying customers away; which we found odd. When dinner will run *easily* $150/couple, why would a resort turn them away if there are open tables? We kept being told that people had reservations, but after 90 minutes all the same tables were still open. I am all about making reservations, but I am also about accountability and do not see it as good business sense to allow patrons to reserve tables and perpetually wait for them. If the resort wants to give a 30 minute grace period; great, but to keep the table open the whole night seems to lack basic business sense.
- Game Lounge: Nice board games; but the pool table looked abused. All cues were missing the ends on them, except for one. Most were bent.
- Tip Grubbing: We are tippers. We tip everybody as is customary. But The Springs just seemed to view us as open American wallets and went way too far. For instance, at check in we had our luggage watched by one person, another person take us on a tour of the property, and another person who actually brought the luggage to the room.. All expected a tip.
- Customer Service: it just lacked overall. Not even comparable to any of the other service received from the 3 other hotels we stayed at while in Costa Rica.

Overall:
I had read some people complaining that this place was run by Americans. I did not necessarily think this was a big deal as they still bring money and employ locals. But after staying I understand the complaints more so I will be more forth-right in my review for others: The Springs has an identity issue. It’s trying to be high-end luxury and prices itself as such, but it caters to the all-inclusive, I-need-to-be-constantly-entertained crowd. It’s over-priced, lacks the local feel/hospitality, has poor customer service and caters to wanna-be high-rollers. Do yourself a favor and stay at Nayara. Reference my other review for that hotel.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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1,399 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (364)
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Usa, Japan
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

This review has 2 aspects to it that offset each other for an overall average rating; the physical hotel facility is beautiful. The grounds, hot springs and pools are unique. Also, our room was spacious, beautifully furnished, with fine wood trim all over and it was very comfortable. The views and terrace were outstanding. But there is something lacking with too many employees in terms of their knowledge of matters affecting guests, attitude, and the service level provided at this hotel. From having done a good deal of traveling and staying in similarly rated luxury hotels, I would say that too many employees at this hotel are in need of better training. I should be clear that some of the employees were pleasant, well informed, and seemed to care about their guests; however it was not the majority of what we experienced. Here is just a few examples during our stay of less than a week:
- Multiple food orders coming out completely wrong in one of the restaurants;
- Outside restaurant reservations made prior to my family's arrival, which were confirmed via email to me prior to my arrival from the hotel that I later learned (on the night we were to go out of the hotel to dinner) were never made;
-Being told by the hostess on New Years Eve that the dinner included a bottle of champagne only to have to argue with the waiter 10 minutes later as his understanding was that it only included a glass of sparkling wine. Then when the waiter finally agreed that we were supposed to get a bottle, and about half the bottle was poured for us, the bottle was taken away and I had to ask for it back and the waiter then lied to us and said it was already empty which was absurd as we saw the half full bottle taken away; and
-Being told on New Years eve that the buffet ends at 10:00 for dinner and they begin to take it down at 9:45 (on New Years Eve!) so we then went down to the bar and had the bartender tell us that the bar closes at 11:00 - yes, on New Years Eve!
With the proper training of employees, this could become a first class hotel but they have a ways to go vs. their competitors.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Orlando, Florida
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2011

This hotel is one of the most secluded, beautiful, exquisite boutique hotel properties I have ever been too, and we travel often. This is a great place to get away from any crowd - we felt almost alone at this hotel although it was booked nearly full (140 people - about 42 rooms). The on-site and nearby activities are abundant. Everyone is helpful and accommodating. The hotel is kept very clean, and insects were not a problem. The hotel food was awful to laughably bad, and at best average, but it hopefully will improve as they just hired a new chef Andre who heard plenty from me regarding the lack of quality food. The best food we found in town - I would recommend a first night dinner at Don Rufino, and then decide if you want to go anywhere else. The food is the main reason I couldn't give this property an excellent. The rooms are tight, but very romantic.

Room Tip: Our room faced Arenal with a large window facing a private natural hot springs sauna.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boucherville, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2011 via mobile

The welcoming party was wonderfull. They showed us to our room in on our way we saw the spa tubs and all the fantastic restaurants, spa and fitness center facilities.

A definite jewel with a direct view of the Arenal volcano in our room. Insured intimaty and total relaxation.

We also recommand the sushi bar. We had a full boat of sushis cruising to our palette.

The only element of improvement would be the organized tours. We had to insist a lot to get all the desired information for hiking on the volcanoes. But as soon as we got the information and the tour were booked we definitively had a great time thanks to Alberto, Karina and the head guide Hector.

Jean-Pierre and Isabelle

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Parkland, Florida
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2011

Our family recently had the pleasure of an adventure filled five-day stay in The Springs Resort. What can I say that most haven't already expressed about this exquisite property, it's perhaps one of the most beautiful destinations we've ever visited in our lifetime.

Needless to say...it's always a challenge traveling with a large group of eleven adults & kids, especially when traveling abroad. Our concerns immediately evaporated from the moment we stepped foot on to the property, where we were welcomed by an extremely courteous staff, ensuring our comfort from start to finish. We thoroughly appreciated the guided tour of the grounds and our rooms we received immediately, it gave us an excellent lay of the land and feeling like we belonged.

There were many highlights of our stay, starting with there warm & friendly staff, always eager to lend a hand to the knowledgable concierge team of Natalia and Johnny, who helped us navigate through five days of tours and reservations, making it a seamless and effortless week for us, thank you guys!!!!!!

Each of our rooms were generously sizes and boasted of exquisite views of an active volcano and lush landscaping right off your balcony. You'll never get tired of the numerous hot springs and waterfalls that line the property. After a long day of activities, it's exactly what the doctor ordered.

We've traveled to many countries and stayed in some of the most beautiful resorts in the World, never have we experienced the complete package as we did at the Springs. A must-see if you're interested in a world-class resort with all the bells & whistles!!!!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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.
new york
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2011

Of the three hotels i stayed in costa rica this was the best of them.That being said the staff had nothing to do with that.The rooms and the views are the selling point here.It being the week before christmas and the busy season maybe they were taking that opportunity to rest up.Literally nothing to do at the hotel no happy hour no coordinated activity that they actually stick too.You can get a tour of their zoo just dont expect them to show up when their supposed to,Food was average but acceptable.Dont try to exchange money there i asked three different front desk people exchange rates got three different answers.Then when i did try to exchange all they could exchange was twenty dollars ;0

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2011

My husband and I stayed at The Springs Resort and Spa for three nights at the end of November 2011. I had high expectations for this resort, given its reputation and prices, and I was not disappointed. It was definitely a five star experience from start to finish.

This resort is absolutely beautiful. The grounds are amazing. The Laguna Pools and Perdido Springs are super relaxing and fairly private. The resort sells day passes to tourists not staying at the resort, and my husband and I still had our choice of unoccupied pools.

The rooms are very large, clean and comfortable. The owners spared no expense and thought of every detail. Every room has a beautiful view of Volcan Arenal (IF the clouds lift – we only saw it 1 day). Our favorite detail of the room was the hummingbird feeder on our patio. The hummingbirds swarmed over it from dawn until dusk every day. The free wifi was also a nice perk.

There was a spa promotion at the time we booked our trip, which allowed my husband and I to receive a couples massage for free. The spa was amazing after a long day of hiking in the rainforest. It has a very clean, professional and relaxing atmosphere.

Be sure to take the Jungle Cat Tour on the resort property. This is a complimentary tour and one of the favorite parts of our stay. Our guide was very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We loved the ocelots!

The restaurants offer a decent variety of foods, and my husband and I had no complaints with any of our choices. Yes, the menus are pricey. The resort could benefit from an all-inclusive breakfast option.

Travelers should note that the resort is located about 15 minutes outside of town. My husband and I liked the privacy and preferred to stay at the resort for meals, but this might be something to consider if you expect to spend time in town or expect some kind of nightlife entertainment. There is also an upcharge for transportation for excursions you might book.

Overall, The Springs was an absolute treat. Our stay was very enjoyable, and I’d recommend it whole-heartedly to other couples who want to relax in La Fortuna.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Springs Resort and Spa

Address: Near Montana de Fuego, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#6 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Springs Resort and Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A world class luxury resort featuring spectacular Hot Springs, picture perfect views of the Arenal Volcano from every guest room and four restaurants including our famous Ginger Sushi Bar and Las Ventanas fine dining. Enjoy our 18 mineral-laden, artesian hot springs and our 14,000 square foot Spa and Fitness Center. On our exclusive 165 acre rain forest and riverfront property we offer horseback riding, river activities, ATV and hiking tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Springs Resort And Spa At Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
The Springs Hotel
The Springs Resort And Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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