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--
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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