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“Do your homework people!!!” 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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Mandan, North Dakota
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Do your homework people!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

This is the first review I have ever written but after reading all the negative comments for Arenal lodge I feel I must speak up. My wife and I stayed here last February and April and it was one the most rewarding experiences in all our travels. We are in the restaurant/service industry back home and I will tell you I would be proud to have any of these people work for me! Everyone from the owners to cleaning personnel were stunningly gracious and friendly! Miguel is the best tour guide ever! Jesse lined up fun activities and was so helpful with advice on things that were not in her job duties. Rebecca was a sweet desk clerk that was always helpful and friendly(I cannot remember the other clerks name but he was equally gracious). Henry is an awesome waiter (I know good servers because that's my business), the food was excellent and it was fun when he would help us learn some Español. Freddy the owner took much time from his busy schedule to chat with me. The fact that we still remember most of these names a year later tells you that they left us good memories. It is because of these friendly people that we will be back to Arenal Lodge again this February(bringing our children with this time) and will visit Costa Rica every chance we get.
Before we booked Arenal Lodge we looked at maps and google earth and yes it is off the beaten path which is one of the things we liked about it. The road up to the hotel was adventurous and to me that was fun. If you don't like that kind of thing do your research so you are not surprised when you get there.
The hotel is a remote lodge and I believe that is what makes it unique and special. We felt it was clean and well maintained. As far as bugs or humidity, what do you expect in the middle of the jungle where it rains often and the humidity can be high? We were there during the dry season and didn't even notice the humidity, we thought the climate was like paradise! If you want regular resort type surroundings there are plenty of those around La Fortuna but if want a true adventure in a jungle setting with great people Arenal Lodge cant be beat!!!

Clyde and Lisa
North Dakota USA
(snowstorm today, -25 F couple of days ago, cant wait to get back to CR!!!)

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Dear friends,

Thank you very much for your kind comments, we really appreciate your feedback.
We have a group of great people who work for us, for which we feel very happy and motivated. Without them, we couldnt do anything. We are glad that you had a great stay during your last 2 stays. We will be happy to see you come back with your kids this month, and hope this wil be a great stay too.
Thank you again for your words, very informative!!
Your friends at Arenal Lodge
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466 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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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

My husband and I stayed 2 nights at the lodge in January. We did not expect when we arrived after dark that it would be such a long drive up a windy mountain road to get there, and it felt appropriate when we saw a sign before the lodge that read "you made it!". We soon came to understand why it was worth being so far from the road. The view is amazing, and you are surrounded by acres of rainforest, with well-maintained trails that are open to guests. The kind of trails you pay good money to walk on a guided tour elsewhere, the lodge offers for free, guided by their wonderful naturalist Miguel. We saw a family of howler monkeys with their babies, and spent about 2 1/2 hours out in the forest. They also offer horseback riding on site, which we didn't do. The Arenal Lake dam is right next to the entrance to the lodge, and from there we rented kayaks for $20 each and spent a morning on the lake enjoying the view of the volcano and the wide variety of birds around the lake. As long as you have a good 4x4 car, and don't mind driving 30 minutes to La Fortuna for meals (which we didn't, esp since a lot of the things you will want to do are on the way), this is a great place to stay.

Room Tip: The views from the Chalets are amazing.
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Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 23, 2014
Dear friends, thank you for stopping here to leave your comments. We are always learning from our customers and their comments. Yes, we are far from the crowds deep in a private reserve almost 3 kms from the main road, this is one of the things that makes us special. We are glad you liked your visit and had a good time, specially with Miguel our naturalist guide, who is very knowledgeable. This is a great place to see nature and wildlife since we are 2000 acres big and we are right next to a national park.
Since we are away from La Fortuna, we are in a point where you can take any direction and not to far you will find tons of different outdoor activities that can be done almost by all the family.
We are glad you like the visit and had a good time, thank for leaving your feedback.
Your friends at Arenal Lodge!!
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

Hugely disappointing. It's 3k up the driveway (so not anywhere near the lake or anything else). You'll need a car if you want to see more than the hotel grounds. Taxi's are called from La Fortuna -at a call out charge of $30.00 before starting your trip to anywhere. There is NO HOTEL SHUTTLE, as advertised. So without a car you are stranded. They have a desk which offers to organise you on expensive guided tours to all the local attractions and includes transport (do you really need a tour guide to soak in a hot springs?).

When asked about the advertised shuttle, the desk staff just shrug - their answer to most things. e.g Q.can the jaccuzzi be made hot instead of luke-warm? A. Shrug with no attempt to find out.

Once they have you as a captive audience, they offer the worst food service we've had anywhere. The menu offer several different cuts of steak. In reality, they are all the same suspiciously symmetrical round piece of grey meat, just prepared with (not very) different sauces. The wine is the usual plonk you get in all the small bodegas at grossly inflated prices.

The manager was very apologetic when we finally managed too get an audience with him. He commiserated with us. His compensation was to give us a lift to town in his car, so we could stay elsewhere.

Room Tip: Go elsewhere
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 19, 2014
Dear friends, thank you for your comments, we learn a lot from all of them. However we must say that it is surprising to read that you didn’t know where you were coming to. Of course we are away from it all, far from the crowds. When traveling, one must investigate your destination. We are well positioned in Google maps; it’s on our website and in all major booking engine websites. From anywhere in the world with Internet access you can find this out. Regarding the shuttle service, the only place where it is advertised, says –surcharge- right next to it, we do not offer free shuttle, anywhere.
We understand that not everyone has to like our fresh food, but we deserve a chance here, how can we find out when someone is gluten intolerant if we are not told? We did our best to accommodate your dietary needs. We offer rooms that have mini bars and microwaves, should you want to bring your own meals.
The weather was very rainy, foggy and cold, and you decided to leave, we were just kind to offer you a lift to La Fortuna as we were going the same direction to do errands.
With all due respect,
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Canmore, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

We stayed for 3 days at the lodge. The actual lodge (dining/pulbic area) was beautiful but poorly decorated with table linens frayed and old. Pictures were framed too large and hung askew above the windows. The sitting area off to the side of the dining room was furnished with games tables and extra long leather sofas. . Nothing cosy or comfy or inviting, but very functional. The views from the lodge were exceptional. The bird feeder off the dining room was a huge attraction to all!!
There was a variety of breakfast foods but not presented well and the same every morning. The lunch/dinner menus were set up for a short order cook...hot dogs/fries/burgers/fish/nachos/soup.salads etc.- all presented in a bland and unappetising manner. The boys serving the tables were efficient but not accommodating or very friendly. We asked for nachos as we watched a football game on a rainy day and that was ignored as they could only serve food in the dining room...but they could serve us drinks!
Our room was sparcely decorated with bedding and light fixtures from the 1980's. The place was spotless. They were a little stingy with towels and gave us one tiny bar of soap. Our balcony was great with views to the volcano and the lake. We were happy to see a safe in the room that was very easy to use.
We enjoyed our hikes around the property. Prices for activities organized by the lodge were high.
Front desk staff were helpful.
There is so much potential here to make this place a mountain retreat. The owners need to wake up and re-invest in this property with staff training/refurbishment of furniture/linens/bedding. It is a 2 star hotel masquerading as a world class hotel with prices too high for the value offered.

Room Tip: WE had a room down the hill from the main lodge...a steep walk but very quiet and views from our win...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 18, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write this review, it really help us knowing the different points of view of our visitors.
We thank you for your sincerity for not liking the pictures, the table linens, the sitting area. We are also sorry that you didnt think the extra long leather sofas were cozy or inviting. We are sorry you didnt like breakfast either, will work on a different presentation for breakfast, so its presented in a more atractive way, but with such a wide variety of ingredients like fresh fruits, 3 kinds of juice, cereal, eggs any style, 2 kinds of bread, pudding, Gallo Pinto(our typical dish for breakfast) farmers cheese, ham, sausages, potatoes, pancakes, omelettes with mushrooms, cheese, onions, pepper, bacon, coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate you can make a different breakfast every morning. I am not surprised to learn that you didnt like lunch menu either, but where did the hot dogs came from? We dont offer that on our menu, instead we have fish, chicken, beef, pasta, salads, ceviche, and more cooked in a sort of ways... we have an extensive menu....
Its not a secret that the hotel was one of the first ones to be built in this area, so yes, we are a mature hotel and we are in the process of renewing the rooms and the infrastructure, thank you for your suggestions, we are working on that. It comes to my attention when you say that you got a little bar of soap, we dont use soap in bars, we use dispensers in each of the rooms. As per the organized activities, there is a travel agency in our lobby that sells organized tours, with private vans, guides and drivers, depending on the tour, the price will be more or less, and like any other place, you can also do the activities on your own.
We are Arenal Lodge, as our name says, we are a lodge, not as you state in your comment: "masquerading world class hotel" where did that come from?
If you have other comments or suggestions please feeI free to email me at: mgutierrez@arenallodge.com
With all due respect,
Your friends from Arenal Lodge,
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Grinnell, Iowa, United States
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

We travelled as a family to Arenal Lodge in January 2014, and were thrilled by the beautiful grounds, troop of howler monkeys, wonderful trails, and stunning view of the volcano (we stayed in one of the chalets on the top of the hill). The hike with Miguel was also wonderful, and he stayed with us for five hours, photographing the howlers and talking with us. However, the positive aspects of the property end there. The chalets are poorly constructed, you can hear those below/above you. The food is very very mediocre and because there is a 2.5km driveway through the woods, you don't feel like leaving to go have dinner elsewhere. We felt stuck food-wise most of the time. The service is also sub-par. Reception was very unhelpful when we had problems with our room not being ready and one of the two hot tubs is broken. I would recommend the place for a night to see the views, but then leave because the service leaves much to be desired. It's a shame--it is a wonderful property with bad management.

Room Tip: The chalets are beautiful, but noisy.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 16, 2014
Good morning dear friends, thank you for letting us know your toughts, they are important for us so we can always improve our services and operation. We are glad you liked the hike with Miguel, he is really nice and very knowledgeable.Regarding the food, we have a full time chef who would have been very happy to accomodate your dietary needs, if told. We are just 13 miles away from La Fortuna, where many people like to go shopping for groceries, since some of our rooms have microwave and mini bars.
Thanks again for your comments
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Namur, Belgium
Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
109 hotel reviews
Reviews in 83 cities Reviews in 83 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

A small hotel nestled in a tropical vegetation that you will reach after 2 kms from the main road near the lake Arenal, using a little path.
This lodge has a nice garden, a pool (not heated, I mean cold) and 2 jaccuzi but remains a little bit "old fashioned" and the rooms should be absolutely refurbished!
When opening the door (room 23), you will be "welcomed" by an unpleasant smell of permanent moisture/humidity in the entrance as well as in the bathroom (shower only)
2 nights in this hotel seemed enough for us coming from San Jose and on the way to Tambor.
Breakfast and diner are corrects and are taken in the main restaurant with view on the garden and the Arenal volcano if the weather allows it... (Fog and rain for us)
Within a short distance by car, you will easily reach the natural park of the volcano where you'll find the Sky adventures (sky tram, sky walk and sky fly - see www.skyadventures.travel) , a pleasant moment to explore the canopy by amazing ziplines and to walk through the rainforest - round 80$

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 16, 2014
Good afternoon dear friends!!

Thank you very much for stopping here and let us know your opinion, it is very important for us.
We are in the process of renewing the hotel and refurbishing all the rooms, thanks for the suggestion though. Humidity in this areas can be a problem since the relative humidity in a day like today can reach 90 %, we will be more careful about this, thanks.
Thanks to our location, the views of the volcano are great, and the wide variety of activities the area has to offer, makes this place ideal to arrange all this activities from the hotel, where you can return at night for a hot , hearty meal in our restaurant.
Your friends,
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Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

We stayed at Arenal Lodge for 3 nights and were very disappointed in many ways. The biggest issues for us were on the comfort side: paper thin walls which kept up awake late and woke us up early, a shower that was barely a trickle and uncomfortable beds, linens and pillows. The food was marginal at best. It is a good location for touring the area, it has a great view of the volcano (when the weather allows you to see it) and staff is friendly. We would not go back or recommend.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
GutiMau, General Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear friends, greetings from Arenal Lodge

We are sad to know that you didnt like the experience at Arenal Lodge. We would have liked that you gave us an opportunity to change your mind by telling us what was wrong, but were never given a chance. Arenal Lodge is only getting better and better, and we appreciate you telling us what you didnt like, if we can change to make things better for you, we will for sure.
Your friends
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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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