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“Good location, excellent views, and good food” 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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Atlanta, Georgia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Good location, excellent views, and good food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

My wife, me, and another couple(all between 27-33) stayed here from 03/21 to 03/26. I booked the Superior room through hotels.com. When we arrived the guy at the front desk said they didn't have a room for us for 03/24; which was in the middle of our stay. That got us concerned for a moment, but he quickly replied that he would upgrade us for free to the junior room. Yes, I know that sounds backwards, but that's the way they have them names.

THE STAFF:
The complimentary breakfast buffet we had every morning was delicious. All of the various staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful! Drinks made by the bartender were excellent.

LOCATION(and stuff about the driveway):
So this place is about 20 minutes from La Fortuna. Just enough to be closer to the volcano and feel a little more "adventurous", but close enough that the trip into town we made every day(sometimes twice) no problem. It really is "on the mountainside" and the back of the location has a long trail that goes off "into the wilderness" and has some pretty cool un-obstructed views of the volcano and valley. Oddly, the only wildlife we saw were some wild pigs and I was out there at all times of the day. When we stayed on Playa Ocotal in 2006, there were plenty of coati, raccoons, iguanas, and howlers all over the place, but none of that near at the Arenal lodge.

THE ROOM .
The rooms are pretty typical(from what I could tell) in the Arenal area for the prices. It was very clean. I don't really care about the rooms so much anyway as long as it's clean. The TV had 2 English channels. Our back door opened right up to the pool and the long path down into the jungle!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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455 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (111)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in the chalet and definitely the most amazing view of the mountain. The room was dated as the other reviews mentioned (but glad to hear that renovations are under way).
The dinner at the restaurant was really good! Unfortunately didn't catch the waiters name, but he was super nice and had great recommendations. Also amazing view of mountain from restaurant and from the awesome infinity pool and jacuzzis.
Breakfast was ok, but coffee was really good.
Location wise, it was far (20km) from la fortuna which meant u had to be back at the hotel before sunset, which is 5:30pm. It was not walking distance which is a bummer.
As all others have said, the drive up from the main road is very treacherous. It feels like it's never ending and it doesn't get easier even after a few times.
The hike and horse back by Miguel was great. He really loves his job and will take the time to find wildlife for u to see.
The security at the base did not speak English, which was a bit challenging when there was a mixup with our reservation.
Don't know if I recommend this hotel, it was nice but could be other ones that are equally as nice but closer to the "city" - all the hotels in the area promote their great views.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Hampton Bays
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

I placed this review a little later we visited last August at the end.The view from the room was fantastic all 24h.You sit in bed oped the porch doors and you will have the best view from bed!!!The color of volcano was changing every 1/2h day and night,pool area is beautiful,wildlife around the resort,horse tours every day with an amazing Miguel who loves his job.Nighttime you feel the energy of the rainforest and sounds from wildlife are amazing-I never hear something so beautiful.You will need a car to go out for dinner and visit the springs and better come in a rental we didn't try the lodge restaurant at dinner there are much better options in La Fortuna.Breakfast is so and so nothing special,one day we had million ants on the table.Lodge needs improvements and take care of your socks -there is a cleaning lady or boyfriend of her who likes them-a LOT maybe because was Calvin Klein brand?Anyway we enjoyed that place a LOT and next time in Costa Rica we go back but without socks!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Victoria F, Operations Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hello!
Thank you for choosing Arenal Lodge! I am delighted that overall you enjoyed your stay with us. The volcano is truly mystical and has many "moods" and colors as you mentioned in your review. Until I moved here two months ago, I did not really understand what photographers meant by "magic hour" but 5:30 am here makes for incredible photos of the volcano. I invite you to follow us on Facebook (Hotel Arenal Lodge) as I post photos of the many facets of the panoramic view from Arenal Lodge.

We really appreciate your comment regarding room updates. You'll be happy to hear that we will be renovating many of our room categories this year, with highlights being private outdoor garden showers for the Honeymoon Suites, and a complete makeover for the Chalets. We're very excited to unveil the new modern lodge look we have planned so stay tuned!

Hope to see you back at Arenal Lodge in the near future!
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Hayfork CA USA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Absolutely loved this place!!!! Views were amazing, staff was friendly and helpful. The food, especially breakfast was quite delightful. We ate dinner here almost every night...and food was good. The little hikes and activities around the lodge on their large property were beautiful and informative. Don't be frightened by the road, it is a little rough, but it grows on ya. It's totally worth it to get a room with a view!!! Spend the extra few $$, the other rooms are located right behind the main lobby. Love the place, would totally stay here again. Not fancy, but comfortable, and a great place to relax!!

Room Tip: Get one with at view!!!!!!!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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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 Emma! Thank you for your great review and for visiting Arenal Lodge! Our view truly is the amazing and our most distinguishing asset, so we're glad you were able to enjoy it! Our policy is to offer upgrades to rooms with a view whenever possible occupancy-wise, as we wish for all our guests to be able to wake up to an incredible view of the volcano and the lush rainforest surroundings. I look forward to your next visit!
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Appleton, Wisconsin
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We loved this resort. Older, but in the most beautiful mountain rainforest setting I've ever seen.
The first room they gave us was not good...mushrooms on the wall from plumbing leak. It was also tiny & uncomfortable bedding etc. When we complained to the manager; she was just wonderful. She went to see the growths & immediately transferred us to a much larger room w/great views of the mountain/volcano...no charge to upgrade either! The majority of the staff were good too. Their restaurant, though pricey, was very good & the included breakfast was outstanding. The free 2hr. nature hike of their jungle preserve was an added bonus! The drive from from the airport was one of the most captivating I've ever seen w/spectacular waterfalls & mountain views. One caution, if you rent a car (ours was included in our vacation pkg.) take the max. insurance, and look the car over well before you return it, and don’t leave it alone w/a service person. That person managed to put a dent in the rear panel w/his knee when we walked away. Thank God we had taken the insurance for $250. We will visit Arenal Lodge again.

Room Tip: Don't take the small interior rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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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 Victoria! I'm happy to hear that you arrived home safely and enjoyed your stay in the Junior Suite we relocated you to. We're updating a lot of our room categories in the coming months so by the time you come visit again they'll be ready for you. It was very nice meeting you and we look forward to your next visit!
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Raleigh, North Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We flew into Liberia and stayed in an upscale resort on the coast for the first three days. Then we drove to Arenal for the rest of the trip. I had read the reviews so I knew to expect a dated lodge but as they say -- you gotta see it to believe it. When we arrived we encountered the twisty turny adventure of the driveway. This was fun however as my husband loves a good driving challenge. The main lodge itself was comfortable and upon arrival my hopes for "better than expected" began to rise. It's a cute place and though the furniture is dated the restaurant is nice and the view is spectacular. True, the game room is a disaster but there is a pool table that is nice in the bar. Staff were friendly. Jessie at the tour table is extremely helpful but also out to make a commission so be careful. If you have a car you can skip some of the "tours" as the van transportation just eats away much of the day.

We were expecting a family suite but were assigned a superior suite instead. The lodge is set up with different types of separate buildings scattered across the property. We drove to our destination and were in awe of the beautiful view. It was spectacular. When we opened our "suite" however, it was dismal. We had two rooms. The king was in the main room (the one you entered) along with a small table and four dining chairs, a small tv cabinet and a tube style tv. The main room had a huge window to capture the view. The bedroom had a queen size bed and one little desk. That is all. No window except the upper slat style vents. There are no dressers, closets, sofas, lounge type chairs, safes. There may be in other rooms but we were told we "had the best" because of the view I suppose. We asked for a roll away bed and they did bring in a twin (not roll away). The beds are very old as are the curtains and bedding but the sheets are clean and our housekeeper seemed attentive. It certainly was as others have said, very sparse and very dated and yes somewhat moldy. The bathroom was kind of sticky and our clothes never dried. But it is a rainforest and there is no AC so that was to be expected. We did not need AC as we had wonderful temperatures-- but there is no sound barrier at all and so you are left VERY aware of the neighbors when the walls are thin and your windows are open. On one particularly cool night we tried to close our window slats and found that we couldn't-- they were jammed open.

At first, I hated our "suite" but we spent little time there and so I got used to it. We were there for four days and we were off the property from AT LEAST 8-5 each day exploring the area around Arenal. If you want down to earth, no frills, running water and a roof over your head, this fits the bill. Anything beyond that and you'll probably need to go elsewhere.

Room Tip: Ask about the details. Make sure you ask number of beds, types of furniture and view. We met some pe...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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
Hello! Thank you for visiting Arenal Lodge and for your helpful comments. As of February 1st we are under new management and have big plans to improve our lodge! We plan to put in a large window in the back room of the Superior Suites, because I completely agree with you that they need more than window slats. That should also help some with the humidity, although as you said, in the rainforest humidity is inescapable! We invite you to visit us again and check out our updated rooms coming Fall 2013!
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Indianapolis, Indiana
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013 via mobile

The grounds and view of volcano was fantastic and loved the breakfast. But that is about the only positive things I can say about this place. No AC so the comforter & sheets felt damp all the time from the humidity. The lighting is dark so i wouldnt read at night. There is no sound barrier between rooms in the lodges so I wouldn't suggest this place for honeymooners. The staff were semi-helpful when they weren't spending time Facebooking on their computers behind reception desk. Scheduled tours weren't on time either. We were suppose to meet in lobby at 12:15 but the van didn't pick us up to take us to our tour destination until nearly 2pm.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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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 Janna, thanks for visiting Arenal Lodge! You'll be happy to hear that we're putting in new bedding in the form of light duvets that are more resistant to the humidity of the rainforest. Better reading lights are next on our to-list of improvements to the Lodge that the brand new administration is tackling. We hope that you'll come back to check out our updates!
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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:
#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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