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“"Complejo de Chicklets", a good thing!” 5 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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Alajuela
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“"Complejo de Chicklets", a good thing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2009

After almost five years in Costa Rica as a tour guide, and having been a fan of "La Paz Waterfall Gardens" before it was damaged by landslides on the occasion of the January 8th earthquake (which incidentally I recently inspected and was informed by the owner that the target date for La Paz to reopen is June 15th, 2009 - "Hooray!"), I have finally found the "Complejo de Chicklets" destination. Allow me to explain. "Chicklets" is the Costa Rican word for chewing gum (which I like very much). Getting it stuck to the bottom of your shoe in the positive sense keeps you in one place longer than usual, therefore the term: "Complejo de Chicklets" applies regarding "The Springs Resort & Spa - Arenal, Costa Rica"... Each part of the resort is so fantastic that you get attached to it, stay there longer than usual, and forget that there is so much more to experience! That's a good thing! For example, there are many hot springs pools, cascading from one to the other and romantic couples nestled or playfully giggling in various corners of the pools, or behind waterfalls, even a water slide. Some pools have in-the-water chairs in front of pool water level bars serving tropical drinks.

Upon arrival, we were served cool tropical drinks on a platter by a native smiling Tico named "Alan" as we checked in at the front desk, a great start. We were hardly finished with the drink when "Alan" escorted us to a golf cart to take us to retrieve our luggage and a wonderful orientation tour by "Alan" of the Resort & Spa. It was overwhelmingly wonderful. The rooms are tastefully detailed, including jacuzzi in the large bathroom, Satellite TV mounted above the 10 foot wide picture window framing volcano Arenal, an active volcano. DVD movies can be selected and picked up at no charge from the front desk and enjoyed on the high-quality screen in a huge plush comfortable bed. Hammocks and Leather rocking chairs are on the patio surrounded by tropical plants and flowers. The safe is electronic and when I reported a low battery, the helper arrived quickly and replaced the batteries after which I used the safe and had peace of mind, although I have no reason to think that any of the friendly workers are anything but totally honest and trustworthy, qualities hard to find these days. One worker even let me win at a game of "eight-ball" in the billiard room. :)

I highly recommend the restaurant on the third of five levels called: "Tres Cascades" (three waterfalls). We enjoyed appetizers such as Mantego cheese & Japanese beans, grilled salmon salads, and main courses such as chicken curry, not to mention delicious cheesecake for desert.

Those are only some of the many positives of the experience which greatly outweigh any negatives such as a strong lacquer smell from the newly finished exotic woods in the rooms which smell will go away soon; the volcano was enshrouded in clouds and we only saw the bottom half, but we could imagine that a longer stay would be an absolute must in the future; and the power cut off during our evening meal at the "Tres Cascades" restaurant, which was outweighed by the excellent response of the generator turning on, of the staff running to bring six candles to our table as well as handheld light sources and a free ride on the golf cart back to our room, not to mention handing us a flashlight to use in the room itself. The power came back on an hour later, not too bad. I just stayed up a little later watching a DVD movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall, and all I recall is wanting to stay longer than usual in each of the wonderful attractions including the humming birds, the cat's exhibit and the monkey exhibit, I didn't want to leave... a "complejo de chicklets" which is a good thing!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
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IL
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2009

I took my husband to this resort for his 30th birthday. Best decision I've ever made. This resort absolutely made our trip unbelievable. After a long bumpy ride down the road to the resort we arrived at the most amazing resort and views. We've stayed in some amazing hotels but this one beat them all. Check in was a breeze. We were greeted by the manager to ensure everything was going as planned. We were given a tour of the springs and taken to our room. The rooms are amazing. From the view of the volcano, that upgraded bathroom, to the overall aesthetic. Our patio had table and chairs, two rockers, and two hammocks. We even had a cat that seemed to live on our patio. That kind of topped it all off for us. The mini bar was stocked with wine and prices were reasonable. We had lunch and dinner at the resort and everything we ate was excellent. We enjoyed the springs from cold water pools to hot springs. The swim up bar was even a bonus. It felt like we had the place to ourselves in most of the pools even though we know the resort was at capacity. There are so many pools everyone can get their privacy. Even though they are still under construction you simply don't notice.

We had a couples massage in the spa. The spa experience was unbelievable. It is one of the nicest spas I've been to. The atmosphere is very relaxing. No way you can't enjoy a treatment here.

We went on an ATV tour with Andrey on our last day. He was the best. It was just the three of us (myself, my husband, Andrey the tour guide). It was the best way to see Costa Rica.

At the end of our trip we simply didn't want to leave. This resort made our trip the best. It's worth the splurge. Don't hold out and book at this resort.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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toronto
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2009

We visited The Springs in February of this year - we day-tripped here from Alajuela (Xandari). A day pass was $30 US PP and was worth every penny. The vista from the hotel's main pool deck is spectacular - exactly as shown in the photos on The Spring's website. The springs are not exceptionally hot, there are a couple that are relatively hot, but we overheard a few grumbles from other bathers that the water wasn't hot enough.

The hotel itself was a little fancy looking - we couldn't get a casual dinner and had to leave the resort after viewing the menu (entrees were all $30+ - not what we had in mind after five hours of soaking, but would have been fine if we were dressed for the occasion.)

Definitely recommend as a daytrip.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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CT
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

We were told The Springs has been open but 7 months (after six years of construction). It shows: both in its pristine newness, and in how it's still a little rough on the edges. I have to say, however, that despite some minor issues, it's still one of the nicest hotels you'll ever stay at. The setting is spectacular, the rooms are amazing, and the people are as nice and helpful as you can possibly hope for. I'm guessing that, once the guide books and travel sites catch hold of this place, and they work out the kinks, this will be THE destination in the area. So my advice is, do what I and my family did, stay there now!

First, the kinks. The road getting into the hotel -- like many other access roads in the area -- is unpaved, and jarring to say the least. If your car has poor shock absorbers, you're in for about 15 minutes of bumps. The good news is, by the time you finish driving it, you feel like you are in your own personal paradise, far removed from anything even remotely commercial.

The food is good, but not great. One gets the feeling that this is one area they're still working on. The prices are reasonable. The portions are good. But nothing really strikes you as special.

One bank of rooms is still under construction. Don't let this hold you back, however, because it is barely noticeable, regardless of where you stay on the property.

Lastly, because the main hotel (restaurants, bars, spa, etc.) is five stories high, you'll find yourself walking up a whole lot of steps. Another elevator or two would have come in very handy. And the one elevator they do have isn't very well ventilated.

Now the kudos. Our family of four stayed in one of the suites (room 201). Every detail was fantastic. A giant window looks directly out at the volcano, lush in its greenery -- with nothing obstructing the view. The patio is huge, with two hammocks. There is wood grain throughout the room, and every detail is well done. The beds are comfortable. And the kicker for the kids was the loft style second floor, where they had their own space. Hotel rooms don't get much nicer than this. Period.

The grounds are absolutely beautiful. The pools are elegant, but extremely family friendly. Some are heated by the hot springs -- in what would appear to be hybrid manmade/natural fashion. There is a separate bank of hot springs, one of which has a terrific slide carved out of rock. Though the hot springs lack that raw, naturalist feel to them, I found them perfectly lovely. Hot water is hot water! And there are none of the crowds that you'll find at Tabacon -- which was a zoo -- despite the fact that The Springs allows people to come in with day passes to use the facilities (as they do at Tabacon).

The spa services were great. People warm and friendly. Treatments were really nice. Priced at what you would expect them to be for a luxury hotel.

The staff is terrific. At least three times a manager or assistant manager came up to introduce himself, ask how I was enjoying my stay, and ask if there was anything they could do. I found it striking how, unlike the "warmth" you get at hotels in the Caribbean, for example, the people seem very genuine in their friendliness. In fact, I'd say that was true wherever we went in Costa Rica.

Proximity to activities like the hanging bridges and Sky Trek (which is a blast) is good. With that dirt road entrance included, you need to leave about 30-40 minutes to get to most places.

I guess the best testament is this: we stayed at the Four Seasons in Papagayo on the next stop of our trip. While it was different in that it is a beach resort, we easily would rank The Springs on par with it (except for the food), at easily half the price.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New Jersey
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

Just returned from vacation with family in Costa Rica and felt compelled to write my first review after years of taking advantage of other reviews. Without a doubt the highlight of our trip was our stay at The Springs Resort & Spa. When we finally found the resort (the hotel names in the Arenal Springs area are very similar, which caused some confusion) we knew we were in for a special experience. The resort is beautiful and upon check in we were greeted by Joey Duncan the general manager, who made sure our stay would be something we would not forget. Our duplex family suite (#203?) had a perfect view of the Volcano through a 40 foot wall of glass. There are 17 different pools on the property all heated to different temperatures, and my three kids(ages 6 to 14) wanted to try them all. We might have accomplished this except Mr Duncan kept us busy, either by arranging a private tour via horseback of their small on site zoo, or by arranging a canyoning tour with PureTrek Canyoning, where we rappelled down a 165 foot waterfall (even my six year old did it)

When it was time to head down to our final destination in Costa Rica, the Four Seasons, my kids did not want to leave. Even though the Four Seasons is beautiful, it could not compare to the time we spent at The Springs.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, UK
Top Contributor
188 reviews 188 reviews
96 hotel reviews
Reviews in 98 cities Reviews in 98 cities
190 helpful votes 190 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

We didn't stay at the Springs, we just had a day pass and dinner (3 April) and had a great time. We stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge for an outstanding view of the volcano and lava flow.

The hotel is new so the gardens are still maturing, which means you can see the roof tops of the hotel rooms from the hot springs/pool area towards the volcano. This did spoil the effect slightly, however the pylon in the distance was worse ! The road up there is very bumpy and I'm not sure for a 5* resort this would pass !

Overall, the hot springs and pool areas are lovely and relaxing. The prices for water, drinks, etc. are definitly 5* so take plenty of cash !

The dinner we had was very tasty and I would recommend it to anyone.

For a day pass and dinner I would strongly recommend The Springs. You could hire towels for $10 each and lockers for $5. They had changing rooms with showers and hairdryers (although the showers we a bit poor, with not much pressure)

We had a relaxing afternoon and evening here (day pass from 10am to 10pm) and were glad we picked The Springs rather than Tabacon Hot Springs, etc. as I had heard they get very busy with day trippers.

If you are going to Arenal for the volcano, check the lava flow as you can get spectacular views at the right hotel. When we were there (April 09) the lava flow was on the opposite side to The Springs, so we were glad we actually stayed elsewhere.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Washington, D.C.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

We stayed at the Springs on a recent trip to Costa Rica. The resort was beautiful, the rooms large and luxurious and the hot springs fantastic. While the rooms here are a bit on the pricey side, they are well worth it. I recommend getting the Springs relaxation massage at the spa and my husband enjoyed the workout facility. They have been building this resort for a while now and are not fully finished. We were told that only 26 guest rooms were open and there were a total of about 86 guests during our stay, which made it seem like we had the whole place to ourselves. I imagine when they open all 160 + rooms as planned it will be different.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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 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:
#2 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 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*
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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