Let me start off by saying that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Arenal Lodge. With some effort by the hotel’s owner, we are confident that this lodge could once again be absolutely fantastic. It is hard to tell from the hotel WEB site that it is located about 18 KM outside of La Fortuna driving towards Arenal. [Note – the town of Arenal is now called Nuevo Arenal since it had to be re-built higher up on the hillside as the original town of Arenal is submerged beneath the waters of the lake.] Once you drive over the dam and drive 200m more, the entrance is on the right. Be prepared for a slow and zig-zaggy drive on a narrow cobblestone drive up to the lodge. This drive takes about ten minutes and boasts several blind curves. No need for a zip line for thrills when you can just drive up and down this road.
We were supposed to have superior rooms but got upgraded to jr. suites. These were very nice and large and you could walk to the main lodge under cover the whole way. When in a rain forest, this is a feature we all appreciated. The rooms were wood paneled throughout the floor, walls, and ceiling. The attached patios were large and lovely. We could see the volcano [when it cleared up as it usually did in the afternoons] and loads of birds in the beautifully kept gardens. Our daughter and her husband had a room at the far end, and saw a great curassow from their patio. However, the rooms clearly needed some TLC. The lighting was dim, and several bulbs were out in our bathroom. Our alarm clock was missing, and our coffee maker did not work. The bath gel and shampoo were not labeled at all in the shower, so I remained stumped on those. I recommend bringing your own bath products here. Some of the trim was missing from the hot water faucet in the shower, and it leaked though the wall soaking the Travel file I had on the floor. Since the hair dryer did work, I managed to dry out my papers.
The grounds were fantastic and the birding was good. There is a copy [somewhat musty but still greatly appreciated] of Birds of Costa Rica on a stand in the breakfast room which I used every morning. We even saw a toucan several times. We all loved the paved trails, and could not believe how far they were paved through the rain forest. This was truly a high point of the Lodge. Unfortunately, the butterfly house was in disrepair and looked like it hadn’t been touched in months. Miguel, the nature guide at the Lodge, told us it was being brought back to a functional state, so hopefully that will happen. Do not pass up the chance to go on the nature walk with Miguel. My husband said it was 2.5 hours of interesting. Same thing for going on the horse back ride with him. [sign up as soon as you can.] He is a font of knowledge as well as a great photographer. He took photos of a small pit viper for us. WOW! The walks and ride was truly beautiful.
Breakfast was good and the staff atentive. Everyone got a fruit plate and juice as well as a choice of American breakfast, typical costa Rican breakfast [our favorite consisting of rice and beans, plantains, of which you can ask for extra, two eggs any style and toast], or pancakes. The staff feed the birds in the garden just outside with window, so there is a constant show of colorful birds while you eat. Early one morning we watched a family of tolomuco climb up the bird feeder and around the patio. There is a book exchange in the breakfast room so you can drop off a finished book and pick up a new one.
We did wish there was coffee in the lobby, as neither our coffee pot or our daughter's worked.
We did not eat dinner at the Lodge, but ate at a steak place with a bull in front on the way to La Fortuna. Very nice . We ate in La Fortuna the rest of the time. Make sure you have time to go to Arenal National Park and see the Sky tree. The drive out to Arenal is very nice as well and the town is interesting to walk around.
I think the Jr. Suite is worth booking both for the UNBEATABLE view of the volcano and for the acces...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.