I decided to sign up to review places on TripAdvisor after a recent trip to Costa Rica with two girlfriends, when I learned how much a lot of the hotels rely on reviews to get business. PLEASE - come visit this place! From my very first interactions before arriving, I had a 5-star experience. My friends and I were trying to decide whether to rent a car or take shuttle buses during our trip, so I emailed Mario, the owner, asking for directions to the hotel and advice. He was immediately responsive and suggested we talk on the phone, during which time he gave me about half an hour's worth of travel advice. Then, he helped me find a rental car at a lower price, plus a pickup with a driver from the San Jose airport, since we were reluctant to navigate the road after dark. Throughout our stay, Mario gave us thoughtful and helpful advice about what tours to take, where to spend our days, etc., and he never led us astray. He actually got us substantial discounts for several of the attractions we visited. In short, he's an unbelievably helpful person who made a huge difference in the quality of our vacation.
The hotel itself is located about 10 minutes outside of La Fortuna, the main town near Arenal Volcano, at the end of a dirt road. It's an easy drive that takes you into the foothills of the nearby mountains, with stunning views. The hotel is small, with only about 10 rooms, a small pool and two open-air common spaces for eating and sitting. There is a small stream at the border of the property, and the whole thing is surrounded by trees and plants, so you feel like you're in a jungle retreat. It's stunning. Very quiet and perfect for when you need a true getaway. The rooms were clean, well air-conditioned, and comfortable. My only quibble was that the shower didn't have the greatest water pressure, but that certainly doesn't take away from recommending the hotel overall.
The breakfast was heavenly - fresh fruits, traditional Costa Rican rice and beans, and some kind of egg dish was the usual fare, plus Costa Rican coffee. Breakfast provided a great opportunity for bird-watching - we saw toucans among many other beauties.
In sum, if you are looking for a fantastic value hotel that's not a lot of frills but more than makes up for it in location, natural beauty, and outstanding service with easy links to all the major tourist attractions nearby, this is the place to be.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Lavas Del Arenal Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park