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“Would not go back” 2 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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Boulder, Colorado
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Would not go back”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Stayed there with our 16 and 17 year old sons. The rooms were sterile, poor sound baffling, one of the toilets smelled bad, uncomfortable beds, dark lighting. The pool is not heated. They heat the jacuzzi when asked, saying it would only take 30 minutes. After 1 hour it still was not 100F. We waited some more, just as we were getting ready, another family went in. Since it is a small jacuzzi we didn't feel comfortable squeezing in.... And by the time they got out it was dark. We went on the hike with the very nice guide Miguel (!) and saw 2 frogs and tarantula legs in their caves. The bar man made a nice Piña Colada. People were friendly.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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463 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 (113)
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

My wife and father-in-law were traveling in Costa Rica and staying at a B&B near Manuel Antonio when one of the other lodgers recommended this hotel. The woman was a corporate travel planner and had been around the world and couldn't stop raving about the place. A few hours later, we were at the doorstep of the Arenal Lodge and booked a 2 night stay, sipping the complimentary drink received upon check in that is customary in Costa Rica.

We got a deal on the room and settled in for the night. The rooms are fine. I'm not sure what other people wanted to get. This is Costa Rica, not New York, and certain expectations need to be reset. I found the wood paneling and manual key entries charming, a throwback to the rustic cabin life of not too long ago. There was a patio set on the deck overlooking (what would be) the volcano, the pool, and the restaurant deck, complete with a swinging chair. We sat out there with our drinks and books for a couple hours each night listening to the rain and the frogs. Other rooms were up on the hill with (what would be) spectacular views of the volcano and the lake.

It's hard to say, though, if we would've stayed here if it was easier to leave. The hotel is 15 minutes past the last hotel in La Fortuna and another 5-10 minutes (depending on the road condition and weather) up the stone road that winds its way around the mountain. If you aren't comfortable with your manual transmission, this isn't the place to learn. The math boils down to about 45 minutes round trip to town and back. This factored into a decision not to get dinner in town. After a day at the Baldi Hot Springs, we thought we'd go into town for dinner, but it rained so terribly that we decided to head back to the hotel instead so as not to get stuck in the downpour. If we were at a closer hotel, we would've gone out for the night.

So therein lies the tradeoff. The hotel itself is self-sufficient in every way. You don't have to leave it. Unless you want to. And then it's hard to do so. So, if you're looking for what amounts to an all-inclusive room (it's not really as everything is extra except for breakfast) this will be good for you. If you want to be closer to the action, you might want to consider something in town or at least closer to town. You may also notice throughout this review I have (what would be) in parenthesis. It rained all 3 days we were there and our only glimpse of Arenal was about 10 minutes where we could see 1/3 up the side of the mountain. Add that Arenal itself is now dormant as of 2010, and the rumbling, magma-dribbling, smoke hurling sights are no longer there. I don't think that changes the view of the hotel or even the area, but it is something to consider before heading all this way.

Room Tip: All of the rooms except the low 20's require a walk to get to the restaurant, pool, and jacuzzi...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tacoma, Washington
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

We visited in March 2011. We did not have reservations and randomly drove up the long driveway to see about pricing, etc. they had a couple of vacancies and we arrived at a reasonable price. We opted for the chalet. I am glad we did. Whether sitting in the comfortable chairs in the morning sipping coffee watching the rising sun hit the volcano or w/ a bottle of wine in the evening as the sun set w/ different lighting or waking in the middle of the night to see the silhouette from bed was magnifcent. Sometimes the top was enshrouded w/ classic rainforest clouds but then the wind would blow in or the sun would evaporate it off and it would suddenly appear in a blink. Very cool, mesmerizing and peaceful to watch (and romantic!).
We didn't mind the drive (but we had a car).. The little town is about 15 minutes away and we did go into town one night (of our 3 nights there) for dinner but decided the food and ambiance was by far superior at the Lodge. We used our car every day to explore and to get to activites and scenic places. Not sure how that might be w/o a car tho--but it doesn't seem like there is any ONE place to be that gets you handily to everything. Driving, btw, was fine in Costa Rica. The breakfast buffet was superior at the Lodge. I can't remmber if it was included in the price. But whatever, the case, it was worth it!
We found the grounds, pool and hottub/jacuzzi to be well-cared for and a good showcase. Altho the lodge/rooms a bit dated, the pricing is fair for what you get. I would skip the horses (unless they have been replaced)--i think they are a bit sad. The nature walk with Miguel was great and walking alone thru the trail is even better a second and third time--if you like walks/easy hikes!.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HOBART
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

The tour company must get a heck of a deal sending people here. Yes it is serene because the drive there is a couple of miles of very windy, hilly, bumpy, brick road that is quite a pain to travel in the dark. The rooms were very dark with not enough lighting. It was a good sized room with a beautiful view, but the property is not well maintained. We were unable to close a couple of the windows, because there was no glass on a couple of the slates. On a chilly night we had to drape towels over them to keep the breeze out. There isnt heat or air conditioning, so hopefully the weather will be cooperative for you. If you like camping, this is a step up from that. Activities were good, the horse back riding-okay, the guided jungle walk, very good. Miquel was very knowledgeable The pool is lovely, but not heated. The hot tubs are not turned on unless you call and ask for them to be turned on. The people there are very nice and friendly. The wait staff were all very good and the food was also good. Breakfast on the weekends was buffet style. They do have a lot of wildlife there, a resident macaw, coatimundi, weasels, lots of birds, frogs, snakes. We saw wild pigs on the hillside where the horses were grazing. The best parts of the place is waking to the beautiful view of the volcano (weather permitting) and the excellent staff. The worst parts of the hotel are the disrepair of the buildings and the long windy, bumpy drive in and out of the property to go anywhere else. I would definitely choose a different hotel if I ever went back to this region.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Columbia, Tennessee
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

From the first time we set foot on this property until we left, we were totally taken with this peaceful beautiful place. Our bedroom was spacious, comfortable and had an amazing view of the Arenal volcano. We loved the windows that were all across the front of our room and we could have easily spent our days sitting on the balcony mesmerized by the beautiful scenery. The entire lodge had a relaxed, friendly feel. For the three days we were there EVERYONE (well there was one who was not so helpful but we don't want her to overshadow the other staff) was so accommodating and would go out of their way to make us feel welcome and a valued guest. We have wonderful memories of this great place and would highly recommend it.

Room Tip: We stayed in a junior suite and it was great. Would select this room again.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Fairway, Kansas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Just returned from three nites at this serene mountain top lodge. Wish I was still there. We stayed in a junior suite that overlooked the Arenal volcano. Amazing. Met the owner Theresa, a lovely Brazilian woman. All the amenities were great and for the money was an excellent vacation value. This place is exceptional!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

We stayed in a superior room which was very roomy and the balcony had a gorgeous view. Our vacation was during November, so still a bit during off-season. All of the staff was friendly and the travel concierge was very helpful, we were greeted with fresh juice when we arrived. We went on the free horseback ride the hotel offers which was nice, we were told you can usually see monkeys during the ride when the weather is nice but it was raining when we went so we didn't see any. The breakfast (and restaurant) was not extravagant, but pretty good. In general the hotel was clean and comfortable.

If you are looking for a luxe resort, don't stay here, but if you are looking for something more genuinely authentic, this place is perfect. I would not suggest bringing a family here, it seems better for couples. It is nice and secluded, a great place to relax.

Room Tip: Superior room on the second floor have the best view and nice balconies.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#13 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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