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“I've stayed in worse places” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

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Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   13 Km Northwest la Fortuna de San Carlos | Arenal, Alajuela, Costa Rica, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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North Carolina
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“I've stayed in worse places”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2007

My wife and I enjoyed our stay at Tabacon. This was our first trip to Costa Rica and we were looking for a comfortable resort to decompress. Tabacon did well.

Driving to LaFortuna (or any other place in Costa Rica) was a bit more trouble than we expected. This is why I would recommend not renting a car to get to Tabacon. Arrange for transportation from San Jose through the resort and let your Tico driver deal with the local conditions. You'll thank yourself for doing so.

The restaurant was decent, but pricy. That's mitigated by the fact that you are in a remote location on the planet. We enjoyed the food, the service was mostly friendly, however one of the waiters we had seemed miffed when we had menu questions/ food requests.

The hot springs were indeed hot and a very interesting experience. The thermal swim up bar was fun and the informal restaurant at the hot springs was nice for lunch.

While hot springs are nice, since the weather is warm and humid, a cool water pool would be a nice addition to the resort. The coolest water is in the main pool, next to the formal restaurant. It's the farthest away from the volcanic source, but the water is still warm.

The hotel was very good about setting up well run, guided activities, i.e. volcano hikes, canopy tours, etc. We made the mistake, however, of taking our tour book seriously about taking a day trip from LaFortuna to the Monteverde Cloud Forest region. The hotel did their best to recommend a LaFortuna canopy tour, but we wanted to go to Monteverde. It's quite an undertaking. Jeep ride to the lake...boat across the lake...then a long jeep ride over dirt roads to Monteverde...then back again by dark. In short, we spent way too much time trying to get there and back in a day. If you want to see Monteverde...stay in Monteverde.

If you have the budget, Tabacon is a good choice. I'm sure there are other nice places in LaFortuna as well. Shop around.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with very nice people. The Ticos were very welcoming and we would return. But we wouldn't rent a car. The second half of our trip was to the Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos. After the very long drive from LaFortuna, across two dilapidated bridges (which are being replaced as we speak, we arrived at Manuel Antonio only to find that there is frequent air service from San Jose (approx 20 minute flight). Usually we do better homework prior to a trip like this, but we've had very busy schedules due to some family illnesses and didn't consider transportation options other than a car rental. We travel extensively and have rented cars in other countries, but good roads in Costa Rica are still being constructed. Our trip back to San Jose for our flight home was nearly 8 hours long (should have been 3 hours). CR route 3 is a direct, but mountainous, route from Manuel Antonio area back to San Jose. The day we had to return to SJ, the entire country of Costa Rica was having a traffic jam. (yikes!!!) So if you don't need a car, don't rent one. There are many transit options available to you.

  • Liked — View of volcano from room
  • Disliked — No cool water swimming pool
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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lynnfernan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2007

I booked a 4 day/3 night hotel stay at Tabacon through Skyauction.com, for a price that was at least 50% off the regular rate. My girl friend and I took a trip to Costa Rica for 10 days for some R & R. Our first destination when we arrived was at Arenal. When we arrived at Tabacon, we were amazed at the expansiveness of the resort. It is truly deserving of the 5 star hotel and resort rating - apparently one of the "Leading Hotels in the World". The rooms are very comfortable - that you never want to leave your room. We had a large balcony that overlooked the Garden - so you can hear the tranquil and calming sounds at night. You can also have a Volcano view room. The restaurants on site had amazing seafood and spa cuisine selections. The hot springs and surrounding gardens were truly breathtaking. The Grand Spa offers a Volcanic mud massage - it is a must do! The spa experience was unlike anything I've ever had. You get your massage in the middle of an outdoor cabana close to the hot springs. You can hear the water rushing and the sounds of nature while I get a relaxing massage with exfoliating volcanic mud. You can then rinse off the volcanic mud in a private hot springs. We didn't want to leave after our 3rd night. Tabacon was the best choice we could have made for our "girls' getaway".

  • Liked — Hot Springs
  • Disliked — Remoteness
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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los angeles
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2007

Stayed here twice. Oct 06 and Oct 07. First time was amazing second time almost as good at twice the price. Rooms have gone up 50% or so this year. In a country where you can get a good multi course meal for $5, Tabacon charges $32 for a buffet and $10 for a 12 oz. mixed drink. They have built 7 new buildings and the result is a more cramped feel with a ton of traffic noise interupting your pura vida. Arenal's lava flow no longer faces the resort and you can't see eruptions from your room. The hot springs are still awesome and the staff is still top of the line but for what they are charging it's just not worth it anymore.

  • Liked — hot springs
  • Disliked — price
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Northern Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2007

We just returned form our trip from Costa Rica. Our first destination in Costa Rica was Arenal; we stayed in the Junior Suite at Tabacon. Wow, what a beautiful place to stay! I traveled with my husband and two children (8 & 10). We really loved the waterfalls and all the paths to diffent parts of the resort. All the pools were fabulous. The landscaping/foliage was unbelievable. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

I wish we had stayed a few more days. It really was the highlight of our trip!

  • Liked — It was luxurious!! Truly beautiful!
  • Disliked — I have no complaints!!!
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cruz
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2007

I stayed in Tabacon in Jan 2006, the hotel is not that well know out of Costa Rica but it has to be one of the best thermal waters spas out in the region. The hotel was recommended by some local friends and we booked via phone. The hotel rooms were clean and nicely decorated, our room had a view of the Volcano that feeds the thermal waters. The weather was cloudy so we didnt get to see the lava flows coming out of the peak, but in a clear day and with a little luck you should be able to see the lava coming out of the volcano. The hotel rate includes the daily pass to the thermal waters and breakfast, so overall it a pretty good deal. The thermal water facility is well maintained and very clean, it has beautiful gardens so you can walk around the thermal pools and just relax. The route to Tabacon from San Jose is a bit tricky if you rent a car but we found locals to be very helpful at the time of giving directions the 2 occasions we got lost.

  • Stayed January 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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San Francisco
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2007

Look, here is the deal... It's a nice hotel, the room was clean (though the hot water was sometimes MIA). The view of the volcano is cool, but only if the clouds break do you get to see it. The front desk staff could not have cared less when we got there, we had to wait in line, then wait in a corner, then wait some more. Access to the hot springs was the only perk, but for the money spent on this place we did not get the service, attention, or amenities deserved. There are better places for less money.

  • Stayed August 2006
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Boston
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2007

This resort is unbelievable. So beautiful and relaxing. The spa treatments are top-notch and reasonably priced. I went here for the first 4 days of my honeymoon and I highly recommend it. The service was so great and the employees remembered our names and would greet us by name everytime we saw them. Food is quite pricey but delicious. The town of Fortuna is close by and the hotel has its own car/taxi service for only $8 each way and the food in town is very cheap and yummy. If you do not have breakfast included in your package I suggest room service because they give you enough for 2.

  • Liked — Spa and Hot Springs
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Address: 13 Km Northwest la Fortuna de San Carlos | Arenal, Alajuela, Costa Rica, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#7 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#11 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#15 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 102
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heart of the tropical rainforest at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the northern Region of Costa Rica. This five-star carbon neutral resort offers a unique blend of nature, adventure and relaxation. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Tabacon provides luxurious accommodations, services and amenities in a picture-perfect natural setting. The resort's unique healing thermal mineral spring river emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds. Explore Shangri-La Gardens an hotel guests and adults-only hideaway, delight your senses with world- class cuisine inspired by local fares or surprise that special person with a gala dinner in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the gardens is the resort's Grand Spa, member of The Leading Spas of the World which combines a beautiful location with a singular spa experience, where treatments are rendered in open air bungalows all of them with private jacuzzi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Tabacon Grand Hotel Thermal
Tabacon Grand Resort Thermal
Tabacon Resort
Tabacon Hot Springs
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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