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“A jem, we loved it!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam | Escazú, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 1250, Costa Rica   |  
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Westchester, NY
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A jem, we loved it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

Upon arrival, there was a cold tropical drink waiting for us- along with breath taking views from our windows and the nicest staff waiting on our every whim. The room itself was beautifully designed and clean. Cozy jazzuzzi and contempo-rustic feel. The horse ride, tour, and excursion were a treat. The hotel is located few miles on top of the mountain- perfect for those who really want to get into the tropical atompsophere. But what a gorgeous view- I can't stress that enough. Yes, it is located 20 minutes away from the town, but who wants to be suffocated by the touring crowds when this gem of a hotel is the perfect picture of tranquillity? For those complaining clouds over the mountain: dont visit the RAINforest and expect no fog. And as for those complainging about the bugs and frogs, let me say there are also monkeys and toucans and parrots....Costa Rica is not for those who cannot appreciate mother nature.

Room Tip: we traveled during September adn got an upgrade.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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450 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (110)
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London
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

Our stay at Arenal Lodge was a bit of a mixed experience. We stayed 3 nights in one of the chalets and the view of the volcano is absolutely stunning – especially in the early mornings! The chalet itself seems rather run down, but the room was clean and the coffee mashine excellent. If there is a world championship in towel origami, the maid at Arenal Lodge will get the first price – we loved the various towel animals that were waiting for us every day!! The main lobby and restaurant also seems rather run down and there was a strong smell of mildew in the restaurant – a real shame as the view from the restaurant was amazing and the staff really nice. The garden is beautiful, but the pool smaller than it looks at the pictures. The Jacuzzis were nice though with superb views to the volcano. Included in the hotel stay was a guided walk in the hotel’s tropical forest and a horse ride on the hotel grounds. Our guide was Miguel – a really nice guy with a great knowledge on all plants and animals and a fantastic ability to spot animals. This could be such an amazing place if the buildings and grounds were cared for a bit more. If you are in Arenal for the view and wildlife experience, then I would recommend spending a night or two in a chalet.

Room Tip: Definitely go for a chalet - preferably top floor if you have the option!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Brooklyn, New York
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

The location and grounds of this facility are quite good. My biggest criticism is the upkeep and the aesthetics. The room was not as clean as it could be and the fixtures were very dated. I had no problem with the rustic vibe, what I did not care for was the grunge element almost everywhere I looked. I was slightly uncomfortable laying down at night and using the restroom. The workout area was also grossly lacking, boasting a leaky roof and equipment that was rusty and not completely functional. The staff was quite friendly and accommodating but the place needs a face lift and a thorough cleaning...get out all the cobwebs.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Charlotte
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

The staff was pleasant and accomodating and the property has a nice view. However, the property lacks warmth, a sense of being inviting, and overall dated. The front desk area/reception area, restaurant, and rooms looked like they are more southwestern that a rich, warm, tropical feeling place that Costa Rica is. It really looked liked a dated Best Western in Arizona or Nevada than the beautiful mts of Costa Rica and was overall dirty looking and upkept. The rooms had a dated, blah, and minimalist look. For being a mountain resort, it had no nice shampoo/condition, soap, or bath robes; just shampoo/condition in a pump on the wall. For being categorized as a mountain resort is an understatement. It looked like the place had been decorated from a tag sale with twenty plus year old furniture. If the current owner doesn't want to put money into the property, SELL IT!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Elk Grove, CA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

My husband and I just returned from our first visit to Costa Rica. Unfortunately the Arenal Lodge was the first hotel of our vacation package. The property is located in a beautiful area with great views of the volcano. However, the goat trail from the main road to the hotel is a nightmare, especially at night. The staff is cordial and friendly however, the entire property is need of updating. The beds are the hardest I've ever experienced. From what we understood the owner has little interest in making improvements because this is a losing investment for her. One night would have been tolerable but three nights was a test. We were happy to move on.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
austin, TX
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

We stayed at the lodge, rather than being "in town".

The grounds are pretty impressive (jungle), with views of Arenal volcano across the lake.

The rooms were just in the "OK" category, and the buildings are in need of some major TLC.

We ate breakfast in the dining room each morning, and it was always a treat, as the dining room has large (and I mean LARGE) picture windows looking out over the grounds. There is a wide variety of colorfull birds that come in for the food placed out for them, and it was always enjoyable to have a nice breakfast (food was pretty good) and watch the birds and critters come in.

The staff was pretty nice.

Overall, I'd stay there, again. However, if you want to be "in the action" (we did not), you might consider staying in La Fortuna.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashburn, Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

This hotel is in a steep decline due to owner neglect for the past 20 years. We counted 32 rain leaks, one large one in the middle of the dining room, several in the reception area and four in the fitness room (all the equipment was broken). There is no "on site manager." He resides in San Jose (four hours away) and comes to the hotel "once in a while" according to the staff. They told us he has other things he works on in San Jose, not related to the hotel. The assistant manager, Marco, has many plans to save the hotel, but with an absent female owner who lives in Brazil and who has spent sparingly in the past, he is facing a tough battle.

Too many problems to list, but will try: (1) box spring mattress combinations in use in many rooms, very cheap and uncomfortable, ((2) broken, cracked sinks and tubs, (3)little attention to safety in bathrooms, (3) no bars of soap, only liquid dispenser in shower, (4) use of chicken (yes, that is correct, chicken wire) to increase footing on steps where water drips, Naturally you catch your foot on it and trip (5) Parrot poop in the middle of the reception area every morning until 11 PM. Asst. Manager said they would work on that, (6) wooden floors have not been refinished in many years and look old and scruffy, (7) totally inadequate lighting to the point we had to use flashlights to see in the room (room number eight).

Spend your money some place else where the management and owner show they care. A professional in the hospitality industry in San Jose told us the lodge has a bad reputation among the professionals and is the one they mention as giving the hotels near the volcano a bad name. Too bad, nice staff.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Arenal Lodge

Address: 200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam | Escazú, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 1250, 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 Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Lodge provides guests with the excitement of staying in an authentic rainforest lodge with breathtaking panoramic views of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Guests will enjoy a casual and relaxed rustic lodge setting with the added value of a complimentary breakfast daily. Located on 2000-acres of beautiful tropical rainforest, the lodge is situated near Arenal Volcano National Park. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest - housing hundreds of exotic birds, small animals and the beautiful tropical flowers and trees of Costa Rica. and is it's own local tourist attraction due to its exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. The lodge features a full service restaurant with local and international cuisine, gift shop, three heated outdoor Jacuzzi's, an infinite edge swimming pool, walking trails, a butterfly garden, horseback riding, a game-room and outdoor playground for children, fitness room, sauna, and free wireless high speed internet access.Guest rooms and suites feature cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, clock radio, and all have private baths. Complimentary crib and wheel chair are available on request. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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