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“Expected much more.” 3 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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sao paulo, brazil
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Expected much more.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Tabacon being part of the Leading Hotels of the World group and quite expensive, I must say I was expecting a much higher level of service and quality. It is located in a beautiful area, with tropical gardens all around and, of course, the Arenal volcano. The main attraction, besides the volcano, is the hot springs, which are not in the hotel area, so you either walk (5 minutes) or take a shutlle that runs back and forth all the time. When staying at this hotel, you have free and unlimited access to the springs, so you can spend the day there, bathing in the rivers or in the pools, and also having beautiful massages in the spa, which is very nice indeed. But don't expect a luxury resort, it is a public club, with lots of tourists coming in.
Now let's talk about the hotel itself. The staff is ok, nice and polite, but not very accomodating. We had a Superior room with 2 queen beds, and it was nice and big. My complain is that you can hear absolutely everything from the other rooms, so if you have noisy neighbours, too bad. Wifi is free and it works well. There is also a small pool in the hotel, nothing special but good for relaxing, right next to the restaurant. Talking about restaurants, this is maybe what made me not like the hotel so much. Since it is the only place to eat in the hotel, you have to make dinner reservations as soon as you arrive, because it books fast. They advertise it as "fine dining", but the food was not good at all, terrible really. The other choice you have is going to the springs for dinner, where there is a buffet restaurant. We did that on our first night, and what a joke it was. Bad and very expensive food (US$ 40/45 pp), ok service and very noisy. I wouldn't mind staying at this hotel if I was paying not more than $200, but at $400+ it lacked everything, really. Oh, and the volcano is hard to see, because ir rains quite often, so there is fog most of the time. If you get a good deal, I guess it is ok, but don't expect a luxury hotel in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear Claudiaspiandorim
We are glad you enjoyed our natural thermal mineral springs, which are one of the main attractions not only in the resort but also in Arenal Region since this is a natural river with a perfect combination of volume, temperature and mineral content; all our hotel guests have free access to the hot springs . All the treatments at The Grand Spa are rendered in open air bungalows offering a relaxing experience and we are glad you had the opportunity to visit the spa. In regards to the food and beverage options, we are sorry to hear we did not meet your expectations, at this moment, our chefs are working in the annual menu updating, so if you do not mind, we will really appreciate if you contact us directly to customerservice@tabacon.com, it will be very helpful to receive your feedback. Warm Regards Maricela Durán    Customer Service Director       
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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 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (239)
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

The pools and grounds are beautiful (even in the rain), but then had to wait 30 minutes for a bad table, bad service, and (at best) mediocre food. Oh yeah, and my vodka on the rocks cost almost $20! Glad I went, but don't think i'd go back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear Jeffcar8,
Thank you for your comments, we apologize for the inconvenient you experienced during your visit to our restaurant; we already informed about your comments to our food and beverage director since our service standards are always revised. In order to better serve you, I will really appreciate if you contact me at customerservice@tabacon.com since we would love to follow up your claim.

Cordially
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
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CA
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Tabacon was a beautiful place. I personally thought that the property and rooms felt like a fancy Motel 6.

The property was beautiful, the pools were gorgeous and warm.

The restaurant was great. Excellent service, but VERY VERY Expensive. The food was wonderful and I can almost say, worth the money.... HOWEVER, if you're staying for multiple nights, prepare to come home broke.

Breakfast buffet was amazing, with a huge selection, but again, at $38 (I believe that was the price) per person, I thought that was just a little outrageous.

Something that is not pointed out enough is the fact that the Thermal Hot Springs are NOT located on the hotel property. It is probably a 5-10 minute walk Downhill (which means you have to walk back UP coming back).

They do offer a free shuttle from the hotel too.

The hot springs were out of this world. The property was huge and I honestly dont think I saw everything in 2 days.

The spa (located at the hot springs) was small but great. My husband and I got massages, in the middle of the rainforest, in an open hut in the night with the sounds of nature around us. Amazing!

To go back into town (La Fortuna), it costs $15 USD EACH WAY! You can go into town and stock up on food etc., or to each at a MUCH cheaper restaurant.

My advice: Stay at a much cheaper hotel, closer to town, and take advantage of the day pass at the Thermal Spa. You'll save a ton of money!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear Karla C,
We appreciate your time for sharing with us your comments. Our aim is always to improve and provide our guests a high quality service, Tabacon sits on over 872 acres of lush rainforest and all our thermal springs comes from the majestic Arenal Volcano forming cascades and natural pools through the property, since part of our philosophy is to keep nature as an integrated part of Tabacon experience we do offer the natural pools at the resort but also we do have a thermal pool located at the hotel facilities as well. Free shuttle is available for hotel guest and there is also a trail that connect the hotel and the thermal springs area.
In regards to cuisine we offer different options: buffet, a la carte, tandoor and special menus for snacks so you can choose between different price ranges depending on your personal desires or take advantage of our packages if staying multiple nights..
The Grand Spa is as you well mention a great place where the treatments are rendered in open air bungalows and this make the experience really unique.
In case you have any additional feedback please feel free to contact me directly at customerservice@tabacon.com
Cordially,
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Diamond Bar, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

If I hadn't stayed at the Nayara for a night before coming to Tabacon, I would be telling you this was by far the best place to stay in Arenal. Even with that comparison Tabacon holds its' own. It's a beautiful and relaxing hotel. Luxurious and with great views of the volcano/rainforest and a very good buffet at the restaurant. However, I was even more impressed with the Nayara. Why? Well, the buffet was even better in my opinion and their restaurant was superior. More importantly, Each room had private terraces with personal hot tubs and hammocks. The Nayara was really the best place for someone on a honeymoon. The grounds were superb and the hidden Jacuzzis and swim up bar were nice touches. They even had indoor and outdoor showers with each room. But on the other hand, Tabacon did have the thermal pools - the best I've ever seen and I'm thinking they may be the best in the world. Entrance was included with our stay. The thermal pools alone make Tabacon an excellent hotel - but still #2 in Arenal in my opinion. I would have stayed longer at the Nayara but it was booked beyond the first night. Also, I was travelling with my brother and it felt a little weird staying at a "honeymoon" type hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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TabaconGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 11, 2013
Dear Bearyz,
Thank you for sharing your comments with us, we are glad you enjoyed our thermal resort which in fact has been recognized as one of the best worldwide, thanks to its exuberant gardens and the natural hot springs river that our guests can enjoy in the middle of the rainforest. The experience itself is memorable and all our hotel guest can experience the resort facilities during their stay as an add value. We understand you were not impressed by our breakfast and it will be very much appreciated if you let us know to customerservice@tabacon.com your suggestions to improve our breakfast, as we aim to improve our services and your feedback will be of great help. Regarding rooms, Tabacon offer 7 different room and suites categories all of them with a special design and decoration. We have developed Honeymoon Suites and Rainforest Suites, this second suggestion does have an outdoor terrace and bathroom designed with floor to ceiling glass walls that allows guests to enjoy the rainforest environment. There are also options as our Tabacon Suites and Senator and Ambassador Suites with both a dining and living room area included. If your travel plans bring you back to Costa Rica, it will be our pleasure to host you again and provide you with services and facilities more appropriate to your personal taste and travel requirements that will include as you know, free access to the unique Tabacon Thermal Resort.

At your service,
Maricela Duran
Customer Service Director
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Bogota, Colombia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

In November I spent with my wife a great vacation at this fantastic resport hotel.
Great thermal pools, good food ( although we missed this time the Duck with risotto prepared by previous chef) and great accomodations,

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear Viajero961,
We are thankful for your comments. We are glad to hear that you and your wife enjoyed your vacation in Costa Rica, we appreciate your preference and we look forward to your next visit.
Regards
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed at Tabacon for 3 nights at a Honeymoon Suite and there's not enough words to describe the magic of this place. Our visit here was so unforgettable. Our room has a stunning views of the Arenal Volcano and lush rain-forest. It was luxurious, incredible, relaxing and we didn't have to leave our room to see wildlife- we saw exotic birds and anteaters from our balcony .

We truly enjoyed everything Tabacon has to offer from the buffet breakfast, to unlimited access to the natural thermal mineral springs, to room service and the restaurant. The Shangri-La Gardens is a must to visit. This is a very unique place. Located at a secluded area in the upper area of the mineral springs complex with beautiful plants, delicate flowers, towering trees. You can enjoy cocktails and snacks here. Try the Guacamole it was tasty.

Off-property, we hired a guide to hike Arenal Volcano National Park we saw Toucans, lizards, more anteaters, bats, spiders etc. This place is so rich in nature. A paradise!!

I will definitely comeback for relaxation and rejuvenation.... Pura Vida!

Room Tip: Tabacon Suite or Honeymoon Suite.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear Rhezy D,
Thank you for sharing your comments with us. At Tabacón we strive to always provide unforgettable service, that's why is a pleasure to know that you enjoyed a memorable experience during your stay with us, we are blessed with a marvelous natural setting and our facilities are in harmony with the rainforest offering the opportunity to our visitors to have direct contact with nature and explore the richness of Costa Rica's flora and fauna. We are sincerely grateful and thankful for your visit and we hope to receive you at the resort soon.
Best regards
Maricela Durán Customer Service Director
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Look no further than Tabacon when booking your stay in the Arenal area. It is truly an exquisite property from the rooms, to the service, to the on-site amenities. The lovely host at reception greeted us warmly at check-in, and saw that we received welcome beverages and hot towels to soothe or faces after a day of travel. From there we were whisked away to our room by the bell staff in a golf cart, giving us a chance to take in the gorgeous grounds. My breath stopped when the doors to our sure opened -- lofty ceilings, beautiful bed and sitting area, well-designed tasteful design/accessories, jacuzzi tub (with TV in the bathroom!), computer and DVD player in the room, and so much more. But the best part was the views, the way the resort is built into the natural surroundings with beautiful foliage right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Access to the hot springs is included in the stay, and we loved the experience of visiting at night (the springs are open until 10 pm). We started off up the hill in the hotter pools, then ended up in the lowest, coolest pool with the swim-up bar.

We did not dine in the a la carte restaurant, but found the dinner buffet to be delicious with a wide range of choices.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear Melissa11201
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, we firmly believe that every single detail is part of Tabacon experience. Check in process, your suite, our food and beverage options and the hot springs are key moments in which your experience becomes more enjoyable. Our natural environment helps turn vacations into moments of perfect relaxation, we hope to see you soon!
Warm Regards
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 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
#14 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#17 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*
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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