We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful hot springs, ok rooms, expensive for poor quality and service” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 10 more sites!
Save Saved
You added Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort to your Saves list
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   |  
  |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Offers & Announcements
Package Deal
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Beautiful hot springs, ok rooms, expensive for poor quality and service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013 via mobile

The hot springs are really beautiful and a must see. The rooms in the hotel are nice with normal amenities. However breakfast is $29 per person, per day for a normal buffet, food at the bars and restaurants is really expensive since the service is poor and the servers are not friendly. The front desk and tour desk workers are nice and polite. The excursions offered through the hotel are limited and much more expensive than if you book directly with the company. Would recommend because of the hot springs and spa.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear Courtnie, Your comments are very much appreciated. Our service is aimed to always be the best, guaranteeing the highest quality to all customers, we are glad you get to experience the hot springs, in regards to cuisine we are now working in updating menus where you can select from snacks, casual or fine dining with a wide range of prices. In regards to tours, we are launching a new option, as the tours we offered were private, so the cost was higher in roder to guarantee that your transportations does not pick customers at other locations, and no lines were made at the attractions, however, our new offer will also inlcude regular tours booking, at equal price of operator companies, so that our guests are able to decide wich option fits better for them.

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.
Write a Review

1,841 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    1,036
    482
    187
    82
    54
See reviews for
362
939
30
19
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (260)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We took a day pass to the hot springs in August 2012 and had a wonderful time. Our pass included dinner and just the food cost 25 dollars per person which is high for even Costa Rican standards. Other parts of Central America tends to be more affordable than Costa Rica and in other areas of Arenal you could eat with 7 USD (drinks included), so I was surprised that when dinner time came, they were trying to charge an extra 7 bucks for drinks. At the front desk, no one told us that a drink wasn't included. We didn't make a big deal because it's not that serious...life goes on. However, the waiter we had was really nice and gave my boyfriend and I a drink each without charging us so I thought that was really sweet of him. The food was average but dessert was so delicious and we had a wide range of dinner plates and desserts to choose from. Some of the staff their were extra personable and service overall was good. The springs are beautiful and the water is very relaxing. There were about 4-6 different pools, each had different temperatures ranging from cool to warm. The springs were pretty hot and relaxing plus the view was other worldly. If there ever was a garden of Eden, I would picture it to be like this.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear Tout E,
We very much appreciate your review. Tabacon main philosophy is to offer a relaxing experience in a natural ambient to all our guests and we are glad to know you spend a wonderful time with us and that our waiter "make it up" right away, when realizing you were not well informed about pricing, however, we may add that all our drinks are fresh made from 100% natural fruits and all our prices include the 23% taxes as per Costarican law, because most menus at other restaurants does not show final prices with taxes included. Related to the hot springs, as you said, they are surrounded by the rainforest to make our resort a great place to rest and experience nature. We look forward to receive you as our guest 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.
Vero Beach, FL
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We are ending our 3 night stay at Tabacon. Having traveled many areas in the world, this has to be the most magnificent area I have ever been. While I must agree with many of the reviewers that the food experience leaves much to be desired, the property itself makes up for that shortcoming. The thermal hot springs is like none other in the world. Yes, there are people there, but go in the morning and head straight up to Shangrila - the adult section and an oasis amongst the springs. Yesterday we arrived at 11:00 and saw no one for at least an hour. We stayed Monday-Thursday and would repeat this again as I am sure the weekends are busier. The spa treatments we received we unbelievable. You must do a couples massage in the bungalows by the river. You can select any massage treatment for this experience. The rates here were no higher than any other Caribbean resort we have travelled to and lower than Tahiti. We stayed in Rainforest Suite 706 which was very comfortable. I do think it could be noisy with other guests in residence. The staff were all very pleasant and accomodating with the exception of the dining room in the main hotel. The thermal springs area owned by Tabacon is a short 5 minute walk. There is an on demand shuttle as well which we never waited more than 2 or 3 minutes for at the end of our spring visit. We will be back for sure!!!

Room Tip: 2nd floor in rainforest suite section. End room - 706.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear BthlRC Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, we are glad that you have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and stay with us. Shangri-La Gardens is a secluded area in the upper part of the property where you can live the most relaxing experience! We are really pleased that you enjoy your treatments at The Grand Spa, relaxing in a private open air bungalow in the middle of the rainforest sorrounded by natural thermal mineral springs offers a memorable experience. We would love to receive you at the hotel in the near future!

Cordially Maricela Durán Customer Service Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We just returned from our trip to Costa Rica. First and foremost, the whole trip is very casual. You don't need anything fancy. Maybe a bit nicer clothing for dinner.
We decided to start out in San Jose airport and stay the first night with our friend who lives there. Uh- San Jose is not very nice. No need to tour around. Our friend drove us around in a convertible, in areas where I normally would have locked my car doors.
We woke the next day at 5am and started the journey to Tabacon, which took about 2 1/2 hours. The GPS we had in the rental car served us very well. It will prob. take longer for most people, because we drove on the faster side. The drive was a great introduction to Costa Rica- the countryside is quite gorgeous and we stopped a few times to take photos of the coffee farm vistas, cattle, and at a bakery in one of the towns. I wish I could remember the bakery name for you. We had the best dulce de leche donuts- ever. AND coffee. The coffee is awesome in Costa Rica.
Eventually, the landscape transforms to a more jungle-like experience, the closer you get to the Arenal volcano. It also gets a bit cloudier, some days, so take a sweatshirt if you get cold easily, like me. We stopped at La Fortuna waterfall, on the way. You pay at the desk and then start the hike. We changed to bathing suits in the restroom there, so we could swim in the falls. Sneakers were fine for us. It is about a 20 minute hike, most of it easy for regular folks. There is one area which is steep, but not a big deal. My seven year old was totally fine. I saw people hiking with babies in their arm, but I would't try it!! Too dangerous. Why risk it with a baby?
It was totally worth the hike- a really beautiful site! Huge waterfall and another rock formation with water cascading down. You can swim in the river- a bit cold, but no one complained.
Back to the car- on to Tabacon! We stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant- on the left, modern building. VERY good. Just past the run- down places.
HOTEL: I guess I expected something a bit more grand, perhaps larger, but this was my first time in a jungle hotel, so it's pretty nice for a humble country. Lobby is open-air and there is a small bar/cafe there for food and drink. Unfortunately, I discovered the great food and coffee here, on the last day. Eat here! Get coffee before your activities- it's great. I am a tea drinker but I switched to coffee in Costa!! Check in is late- be prepared. We changed into bathing suits again, and got on the shuttle to the hot springs, which is separate from the main hotel. About 3 minutes by shuttle.
It's high season at the springs, folks! VERY crowded springs. The secret is... the springs are open to hotel guests only, early in the morning. Go then, to avoid the tourist bus invasion! We did, before we left- it was awesome. They will tell you it's not open until 10 am, but it's open to YOU if you're staying at the hotel, before that. You cant get towels until 10, so bring them with you from the main hotel. If you have any hope in hell of getting a chair (I counted 21 lounge chairs, total) then go in the am. Also, try the spa- it looks really relaxing. I would have, if I had more time.
The springs are most enjoyable when there aren't 50 people running around you. They are stunning! Just layers of falls, pretty warm- almost too hot at first, like getting into a bathtub. There is an adult area. You actually don't really need sunscreen here- it's all shaded, except at the pool- you prob won't get a chair, though.
We ate at Los Tucanes for dinner- it was okay. Not impressed. They tried to be fancy, but it was just above average. To be fair, it was a set menu for the New Year's dinner, so? I always hate New Years menus anyhow.
The next day we traveled to an animal rescue to do our thing. It was great. Proyecto Asis, I think. On the way home we ate lunch in La Fortuna. It was a touristy town with restaurants and shops. We ate at Lava Rocks. I happen to like the typical food in Costa Rica, so I really liked it. Coconut rice, plantains, grilled fish or meat...
Then, we came back and went to the main pool. Uh- maybe there were 8 lounge chairs, total? No place to sit. The chairs are slippery, curvy and do not recline. Same at the springs. Too bad.
We showered and ate at the restaurant by the springs. UGH! It was flooded with tour bus people and the buffet line was ridiculous. I hated that. The food was decent, not wonderful. Obviously, you are not traveling to Costa for the food. It's about the activities, the great people, and seeing this absolutely beautiful country.
ROOMS: The beds have good linens, our room was a bit dark. We had a view of the volcano, which was awesome! Comfy enough. One of the bed frames was very creaky, which was annoying. Honestly, don't expect a luxurious hotel. It takes quite a bit of upkeep to have a hotel in the jungle, it is a bit in need of some TLC but I found it to be adequate. It was perfectly fine and comfy for us. We stayed only 3 nights here. It bothered me that there were three coconuts with drinking straws sticking out of them, outside our patio door the entire time. Someone on the walking path must have left them there and they were overlooked by the housekeeping. They were there upon check in. They may still be there today...
SERVICE: My main travel rule is- be nice to people and they will most likely be nice, in return. Don't travel to warm climates and expect New York City service. It won't happen, and if you've traveled enough, then you already know this. Be patient.
BREAKFAST BUFFET: You will be able to find something to your liking. It's not the luxurious Four Seasons buffet, but you will be fine. AND (for a supposedly third world country) Costa Rica has the freshest, ripest fruit I have tasted. Just think... those humble people living in the roadside shacks are eating better fruit than the richest person in the USA!
Last day: we did the am springs, and the cafe guy (who was awesome) made us packed lunches (try the beef taco thing) so we could start the 4 hour drive to Tamarindo area. (JW Marriott).
All in all, it was a really great spot to try jungle activities, see the springs, and do your thing. Don't expect a place where you can lay at the pool and relax- it's not good for that. Too shady and not enough comfy chairs. BUT... don't come all this way and not try activities. That's what it's about here.
If you are driving on: make sure you have gas in the car- not many gas stations on the way. The drive around the lake is really crazy- lots of twists and turns, for about an hour. Beautiful scenery. The roads are not as bad as people say- but they are still challenging.

Room Tip: Try to get a volcano view away from the walking path.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear Stb3,
We appreciate your comments, we are glad you discover Costa Rica's adventures and you decided to stay with us.Tabacón is in the middle of the rain forest giving our guests the perfect escape for a rainforest vacation. At Costa Rica, in every single visit you will find new surprises and new experiences even from drinking a cup of coffee, eating a juicy pinneaple or hiking to marvelous waterfall or volcanoes. As you already mentioned Caña Brava Bar is a great place located in our reception area where our guest can enjoy snacks, coffee, tropical juices or delicious desserts. We were pleased to have you as our guest and we look forward to your next visit!
Cordially
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Just came back from Costa Rica - stayed at the Tabacon for 3 days. I have to say that my initial reaction to our room was disappointment. We stayed in a garden view room. The 100 and 200 block rooms are in the single storied sections towards the front of the hotel complex - not connected to the main building. The comments by the previous reviewer rdk7471 are exactly what we experienced - musty smell that went away after the first night, poor lighting, basic furnishings, low-ish ceiling, very basic bathroom layout with only a partial barrier between the shower area and the remainder of the bathroom (most of the bathroom was wet after 2 people finished with the shower) and we couldn't see any volcano views the first day. Despite this at the end of the visit I was glad we picked Tabacon. On our second day, the fog had lifted over the volcano and we had a really nice view. We were happy with the amenities in the room, turndown service at night which included filling the ice bucket (though I have to say that this wasn't consistent), prompt shuttle service door to door to the hot springs (the shuttle arrive within 5 min of calling and always one available at the springs to bring us back). The parking for our rental car was right outside our room which made it very convenient. The hot springs were a real plus - we went every day. It was crowded the first day when we went later in the evening - but crowds were not a problem on our other two visits. The staff at the front desk and especially the concierge was very helpful. Had dinner one night at the Tocane restaurant - easily $50 per head. I found the food and service to be good. The pool is very quiet since everyone is at the springs. We ate out in La Fortuna for most of our meals - used the tripadviser reviews for the restaurant which were very helpful. The whole arenal area is beautiful and we were very happy that we had rented a 4 wheel drive.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear Kah09 Thank you for your review. We are glad you chosed Arenal Region for your vacation to Costa Rica, it was an honor to have you as our guest at Tabacón. We are glad to know you had the opportunity to explore the beautiful region, where the adventure is always present in the local attractions. We are already cosidering your comments about the room for our updating programs. We really appreciate your preference and look forward to receive you again at the Resort!

Kindest 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.
Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Bought a day pass, and although expensive, truly worth it!! It's like entering paradise, streams, waterfalls, rivers, lagoons like you would see on a man made movie set, but it's all natural and truly blissful, heavenly in fact! Naturally heated hot springs because if the proximity of the volcanos heat...service was great, locker rooms and showers were top notch and always being cleaned... The only minus is if you are hungry be prepared to spend $25 for an average lunch, doesn't include drinks. Smoothie was $7 and only 8oz!! GO TO TABACON!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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 23, 2013
Dear MelCaribeGurl
We appreciate your valuable comments. We are glad to hear you enjoy the beauty of our location and our unique and natural thermal springs. At Tabacón our guests are the most important part, our service is aimed to be of the highest quality to exceed your expectations, we look forward to receive soon!

Best 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stayed at the Tabacon for three nights in January 2013. The room initially had a musty smell that eventually went away. The lighting in the room was extremely poor and most of the lamps were of low wattage. The beds were not very comfortable in that they seem to have been old and supplemented with a pillowtop to make them better. When we went across the street to sample the thermal baths I felt I was in Grand Central Station. There were tons of people, mostly day trippers not staying at the hotel, who were obese, tatooed and not very pleasant to look at. The pool on the hotel side was quite nice without crowds of people. The buffet at the thermal baths and the hotel restaurant were OK. One does not go to Costa Rica for the food but for the beauty of the country and its people. Pura Vida!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 23, 2013
Dear Rdk7471 We are glad you experience your vacation at Tabacón, however we apologize for the crowdy time you spend at the thermal springs. We received a surprising amount of day visitors the last week of december, so our operations and sales departments already implemented a control for the peak seasons, to avoid this situation since our aim is to offer a relaxing experience. In regards to your room comments we appreciate if you send as the room number at customerservice@tabacon.com so we can follow up all this details and improve every day. We look forward to receive you in a near future. Sincerely Maricela Durán    Customer Service Director       
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 ( Wi-Fi ) 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 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#7 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#13 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#16 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with LHW, Expedia, Booking.com, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, BookIt.com, Amex, Priceline, Odigeo, Hotel.de and Tingo so you can book your Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.