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“Great Hot Springs- Overpriced, Mediocre Food” 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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GreenLeadersGold level
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Hot Springs- Overpriced, Mediocre Food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

This review is based on a day trip to the resort. To visit, you still need to pay for a day pass, which is fine because the Hot Springs really are phenomenal. We did not have any trouble finding secluded little get aways from the pool bars and other tourists. That said, the rest of the resort seemed rather disappointing and we would never stay there ourselves. We did eat a meal at the restaurant and it was probably the most boring, bland, and EXPENSIVE meal we had during our entire trip to Costa Rica. That was enough to push me away. This hotel is not for foodies or culture enthusiasts. It is for folks who want the feel of an American resort and prefer to just hang out by the pool or in the Hot Springs with an expensive drink. That said, I would recommend others go there for a day pass just to experience the Hot Springs.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
TabaconGuestService, Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
Dear Emkase,

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. In regards to cuisine we provide different options: buffet dinner, á la carte lunch and a special snack menu in our Pool Bar so you can choose between different price ranges depending on your personal desires. We understand you were not impressed with your meal at our Restaurant and it will be very much appreciated if you let us know to customerservice@tabacon.com your suggestions to improve, your feedback will be of great help.

Cordially,
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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2,291 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (349)
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

I booked Tabacon b/c Fodors gave it high remarks, and because of the hot springs, of course. I read the Trip Advisor reviews and became skeptical b/c of all the negative reviews. Boyfriend and I absolutely loved our stay. They let us check in early, greeted us with a welcome drink, lots of smiles, etc. Basically opposite from what everyone else is complaining about. Shuttle was prompt, hot springs were incredible. We didn't want to leave. I loved the room too, we had a great view and I would describe the room as "luxuriously rustic". We had dinner at Tucanes the last night and it was probably the best food we had the whole trip, albeit $$$. If you stay here, please book a massage at the spa, you will be happy you did! Best massage I've ever had. We rented a car so can't comment on the excursions offered. "extra fees on the bill" folks are complaining about... there's a $3/day charge they add that goes towards local schools. They remove it if you request, but really, I think we can all spare $3 a day to improve their school systems.

  • Stayed January 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
Dear Sarah B

Your comments are very much appreciated. Our service is aimed to always be the best, guaranteeing the highest quality to all customers, who are our reason to be. We are glad you decided to stay with us during your visit to Costa Rica. Our natural thermal springs, the open air spa surrounded by the rainforest, our culinary options and customized service are part of Tabacon experience.
As you already mentioned, guests staying at Tabacon are asked to donate voluntarily US $3 per room per night, that voluntary donation supports Tabacon's Community Fund. The fund has paid for products donated to local schools as uniforms, shoes, books, notebooks, computers and its accessories, air conditioning, paint and bicycles for children`s transportation to school. We also have supported people with special needs for example wheel chair, prosthesis, clothes, food and support to organizations and events of social development; we really appreciate your support.

We are sincerely grateful and thankful for your visit and hope you will come back soon.

Warm regards Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Washington DC
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We started off our honeymoon here, and what a start it was! The grounds are gorgeous, staff so helpful, food great, spa services amazing, and we had howler monkeys hanging out right outside our suite.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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TabaconGuestService, Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, January 31, 2013
Dear 8675309DC

We appreciate your comments! We loved the fact that you enjoyed our facilities during your honeymoon, our staff is always working to offer high quality service in order to provide memorable experiences to our valuable guests, it is really nice to know you experienced the spa, our restaurants and also that you had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature.
We wish you a wonderful life together and hope you can visit Tabacon in the near future maybe to celebrate your first anniversary!

Cordially
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Only went for the hot springs (stayed in a cheaper hotel down the road) and it was well worth it! Simply gorgeous property! We especially loved the adult only area with a nice hip outdoor seating area and funky music. Even the main pool is heated! Lots of different temps, and the only hot springs that is all natural in the area. Next time we will splurge and stay at the hotel!

Room Tip: Go after 6pm to the hot springs for the evening discount...it's only $45 as opposed to the dayti...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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 23, 2013
Dear Jennifer T,
We appreciate your review. Tabacon main philosophy is to offer a memorable experience to all our guests and we are glad to know we met your expectations, the hot springs and the rainforest make our resort a unique place to relax. In the resort as you experienced there are more than 20 different pools, ponds and cascades all of them with different temperatures and a high mineral content. We do have several options, our hotel guest have in their room rate the access to the hot springs included but we also offer Day Passes where our guest can add one or two meals. We also have the Day Spa Package Deals, so you can add an spa treatment in an open air bungalow during your visit to complement the thermal experience of an unforgettable vacation. We really look forward to receive you as our guest in the near future.

With kindest regards
Maricela Durán Customer Service Director
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at Tabacon for 2 nights last week during a 9 day trip to Costa Rica. We are normally a budget conscious pair, so Tabacon was our 'splurge' for this trip. Overally, it was a very nice resort - I will say that the grounds of the hot springs, and wandering through the maze of little pools and streams, were amazing, and incredibly relaxing. The pool bar (plus waterslide) was fun...but we couldn't help but feeling like we were bothering the staff every time we ordered a drink (this feeling would be justified later w/ by the incredibly outgoing staff at Flamingo Beach Resort).

When we made the reservation, we noted that we were celebrating an anniversary - and were surprised to find a 'welcome dessert' in our room upon check in. Also - I want to acknowledge one of the porters, who zipped us around on a golf cart, determined to show us monkeys before taking us to our room!

The room was nice but nothing special. The food was fine, but overpriced. We did thoroughly enjoy the Mexican Buffet during our first night at the restaurant down by the hot springs (we never ate at the other hotel restaurant).

The main attraction here is access to the hot springs. At $45/person, this basically covered half the cost of our room. If you truly plan to take advantage and spend time relaxing in the springs (as we did both evenings from about 5pm to close), than this hotel is definitely worth your time and money. If not, I'm sure you can find better value elsewhere.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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 BretJ
Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you for choosing us in this special celebration. Tabacón has key moments in which your experience becomes more enjoyable from a warm welcome, the direct contact with nature, relaxation in our natural hot springs and so on. It is important to mention that all our hotel guests have unlimited access to the hot springs so this is an added value, we also offer the day pass options for guest that are not able to stay overnight. Actually we also have special deals available where spa coupons and some meals are included. Since we take very seriously your comments we already inform your complain about the bartenders to our food and beverage director and we will follow up this issue internally, to provide the staff any support required to improve our service at the pool bar for your next visit!

Warm Regards
Maricela Durán
Customer Service Director
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Fair Haven, New Jersey
Level Contributor
79 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

There are at least 30 pools carved out of the woods filled with naturally hot water. The pools are fairly secluded. When you are there you just lie in the hot springs or lounge on chairs next to the pool...that's it. At first I was dubious ("hon, what are we going to do for 3 hours?" I think I said). But the time flew by. The pools are very romantic, ideal for couples.

The service was below average for Costa Rica. The people we encountered had blunted affects, like they were just punching a clock and going to work. Because the place is so beautiful their attitudes really stuck out.

Food: we had lunch and dinner included in our trip. The food is delicious, but it is served buffet style. Don't bother getting too dressed up. We brought a nice change of clothes for dinner, but it was not necessary. In fact, we were seeated close to the pool. Every 5-10 minutes we heard loud screams from inebriated adults riding the pool slide (which was about 30 feet away).

Kids: we wouldn't bring our kids here. They have an area where they can play, but it is equivalent to any resort pool.

BOTTOM LINE: we'd return for the hot springs, but with a expectation of mediocre service.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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 Central_Jersey_NJ,
Thank you for taking the time and share your feedback, we really appreciate it.
Our aim is to always be the best, guaranteeing the highest quality of service to all our guests, we totally agree with you about the importance of customer service and staff attitude. We already informed your comments to our managers since a training program is taking place right now, and your feedback will be very usefull. We are glad to know you enjoyed your visit. As you mentioned our guest are able to explore more than 20 different cascades, pools and waterfalls all of them of natural thermal water with a high mineral content immerse in a natural location, providing a romantic and relaxing moment. We are sincerely grateful and thankful for your visit and hope you will come back soon.
Warm regards Maricela Durán Customer Service Director
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
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
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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
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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 Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#13 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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