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“Great place IF it's what you're looking for” 4 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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Hotel amenities
Anchorage, Alaska, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great place IF it's what you're looking for”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

What's to love about the Arenal Lodge? It's all about location. We flew into Liberia, rented a car and drove to the hotel. (Check out the Volcano Brewing company on the way: Delicious food, awesome views (our first look at monkeys) and very good beer) The adventure started when we arrive at the gate. The lodge has a long (1.5 miles) driveway that isn't fabulously maintained. I actually think the driveway gives yoou a perfect perspective of what the lodge itself is about: A fun adventure in a not so well maintained place.

The lodge is located in a great place. Close to good ziplining, hiking, and Arenal lake adventures, but still in the middle of no where. There was a lot of wildlife right at the lodge. An injured McCaw and a friendly Coati kept us company a great deal of the day. We were on a hunt for a sloth in the wild and, while we never saw one, several more had been spotted in our area around Arenal lodge than most places around Fortuna. The Balconies on the Junior Suites faces the volcano with FABULOUS views. Arenal was nature at its best.

The not so great part was the room itself. Expect lot of bugs (after all middle of the rainforest). The rooms are really dark. The beds are hard. The pillows were really uncomfortable. My husband and I spend a lot of time in public use cabins in Alaska- and it was MUCH better than a sleeping bag and a mattress pad. It just wasn't really what I expect.

The restaurant's food was delicious. We LOVED the sea bass.

The pool and jacuzzis are in a really cool location- again- they make you feel part of your environment. They keep the Jacuzzis cools (About 70 degrees Farenheit) until you ask them to turn them up, but then they are more than happy to.

I really liked this lodge. I just spent a lot of time while I was there thinking about amazing it could be with some renovaitons. Like everywhere we went in Costa Rica though, the staff is very friendly, the atmosphere is genuinely happy and relaxing, and the view is breathtaking.

Room Tip: The Junior Suite and the Chalets have the best views!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hi Liz! Thanks for your candid review! I am 100% with you on how amazing Arenal Lodge will be after we update it. You'll be happy to hear that the brand new administration has big plans for room and Lodge renovations that will begin this month and we expect will be complete by this fall. We would love for you to come back and check them out!
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468 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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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for 3 days. The staff were very friendly and very accommodating. The restaurant food was excellent and when asked they didn't mind substituting e.g. veggies for starch. The rooms need to be updated and not all have fridges and hairdryers. The grounds are beautiful and the complimentary tour is enjoyable. I would recommend the outside lighting be improved so there are no accidents. Due to the remote location the store could possibly stock items such as toothpaste, asprin, ban-aids, suntan lotion, bug repellent etc. We didn't rent a car so 3 days was a long enough stay.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hi Hazel! Thank you for your review! You'll be happy to know that we're putting your suggestion regarding stocking up on basic toiletries, etc into action. We appreciate your comment on improving the outdoor lighting, we're adding more walkway lights as you suggested! Thanks for your visit and hope to see you at Arenal Lodge again someday!
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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

So after arriving after a long, nerve racking drive from San Jose in the dark, we arrived at the lodge. The staff was nice and the complimentary drink was good, but didn't make up for the room. Ok, the view of the volcano out our window was nice, but we didn't see it till the morning we left, the clouds usually cover it. The walls are paper thin!!! We could hear the rooms next to us on both sides crystal clear as if we were sharing rooms together, so we felt we had to whisper to each other so the other rooms couldnt hear us. The lighting is so bad in these rooms that it actually hurts your eyes. The rooms are so damp and musty that your towels are always wet along with your sheets and clothes, and the bugs are horrible. The have no threshold around the door so bugs come in at their free will. The back room had a dirty couch and the wall had a (what i think was supposed to be a safe) had no door on it. The whole room was just odd, even when you close your curtains you can see right into the room through the door, and that is right where your bed is. The food in the restaurant is mediocre at best. We never got to really eat anywhere in town bc we stayed 3 nights and spent each day on tours, by time we got back each day, it was getting dark, and did not want to drive down that road to go to town so were forced to eat there. The grounds are really nice and the bird watching is great, but if you want a good nights sleep stay somewhere else, and just make a visit here.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hi Amy, thank you for your comments! You'll be happy to know the brand new management will be renovating the Lodge starting this month through this fall and will be covering everything you mention in your review. The Superior Suites you stayed in will be one of the focal points of our upgrades. Our vision is to have a new and improved guest experience by Christmas, so we invite you to come back and check it out!
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Homosassa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

If you're looking to be entertained, don't come - but if you want authentic rain forest, volcano views, wildlife and relaxation, this is where you come - the nature walk in the morning is incredibly informative - Miguel is one of the finest guides we met the entire time - he took us horseback riding thru the property and up the mountain - breathtaking views - wildlife everywhere....We spent endless hours on our balcony overlooking the grounds - yes, its a 'trip' there...the roads are crazy - but thats how you get to see the real Costa Rica - front hotel staff very accomdating - we had a great stay!

Room Tip: The chalets on top of the hill are spectacular - but a real hike back and forth to the main lodge
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hi Sue! Thank you for your lovely review! We strive to maintain our original Lodge feel, and we're glad you appreciate it! We will be working hard in the coming months to renovate our rooms, so I hope you come back and visit us soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We had a great time at Arenal Lodge, after we got there. Getting there is not an easy climb but the views and wild life are amazing. The staff will not let you down. They even road us back and forth from the Chalet when our friends needed the rental car for the day. This is a far cry from a fancy resort but if it is wildlife and adventure you seek you'll find it here. The breakfast that was included was fine but I suggest get off the mountain and go to a Soda or to NeNe's for dinner and lunch. You get much better food for a good price outside the resort. The hot tubs were relaxing one morning. As soon as we mentioned we wanted to use them they turn them on right away. If I had a choice I would pick a different hotel with volcano views and a better entrance. This hotel came in a package with Jet Set Travels or Travel by Jen I still think old Jessica made a pretty nice commission off our trip. One more little tip they do let you bring your own liquor and they have an ice machine. If you want to lounge by the pool and have drinks, stop at the Christian grocery before you head up the hill and get your booze and mixers. Drinks are pricey and there is no pool services so you’re better bringing your own and mixing them yourself.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Yes, as others have written, the views from the lodge are fabulous, and the grounds are lovely, but, overall, our stay was less than satisfactory. Our first experience after arriving at the lodge's gate was driving down a long, winding road at night. We were terrified, as we often could not see what was ahead. NEVER arrive at night! My husband and I spent three nights in a junior suite. Our toilet did not flush properly, and our safe was broken. The room was supposed to have a hair dryer but did not, and it took a day to finally get one. The staff was friendly and helpful, but it took time to get everything as it should have been; the toilet never was fixed properly. As one reviewer said, the room was quite dated, and the supplies were not the best--a few threadbare towels.The food was mediocre, at best, and pricy. I will not return.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Littleton, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

We spent 3 nights in a chalet room with a great view of the volcano. Being away from the hub bub of activity suited us just fine. Visiting with a blue and gold Macaw right outside out hotel room was great. The road to the hotel was fun during the day but a little dicey at night. The pool and hot tubs overlooking the volcano were tough to beat. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys unique lodging experiences.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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:
#14 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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