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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.