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“These hot springs must be experienced!” 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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Bethesda, Maryland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“These hot springs must be experienced!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Our extended family of 15 adults spent two days and nights here during a period of unseasonal torrential non-stop downpours at New Years. Birdwatching and natural history hikes were cancelled because of the rains, so we spent much of the time relaxing in the hot springs. The rains made no difference once you were submerged in the steaming waters. The hot springs are just a five minute walk from the hotel, so it was easy to go back and forth. The included breakfasts were incredible - lots of choices, tropical fruits and great Costa Rican coffee. I would recommend skipping the buffet dinner at the hot springs - meager offerings of poorly presented, unappetizing items, and for $45/person, not worth it. Pleanty of decent restaurants in town...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TabaconGuestService, Gerente at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Dear Greenthumb
Thank you for your review, we are extremely happy that you spend your family vacation at Costa Rica and decided to visit Tabacon. Being at the thermal springs meanwhile is raining is the most enjoyable and relaxing experience we are glad you got to experience that. We are glad you enjoyed our buffet breakfast where lots of choices including traditional Costa Rican dishes are included. We appreciate your comment about the buffet dinner at the hot springs and we already informed our food and beverage director to improve this service.

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

Cordially,
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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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 (251)
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New York City
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This hotel is exquisite on every level. The hotel accommodation options include a Honeymoon Suite overlooking Arenal - the volcano - with gardens outside that invite local coati (racoon type creatures) to stroll in front of the rooms. There is also a Rainforest Suite with a private balcony that makes you feel like you are in the middle of the jungle - which you are! And a Tabacon Suite with the most gorgeously designed indonesian-inspired bathroom I have ever seen. I just loved my stay here (in the honeymoon suite solo which I recommend). Next time I will try the Rainforest Suite. The restaurants have delicious food including a buffet breakfast, a la carte lunch and dinner menu including the best angus steak I have ever had (and I only eat meat once a month). There is a dinner buffet option at the hot springs. Which brings me to the main point - the hot springs resort and spa is a must for any bucket list! A once-in-a-lifetime magical experience. Breathtaking. Renewing. Stunning. Beauty and mystery surround you everywhere. I luxuriated in a volcano signature massage where hot volcano mud is rubbed over your body as part of the massage in an outdoor bungalow. You rinse off in a warm lava flowing heated shower. The hot springs include 20 different pools of varying temperature water. Make sure to go all the way up to the Shangri La section (for over 18) which is more secluded. And especially to stand behind the waterfall in the first pool. Not to be missed. You can go to the resort's hot springs even if you do not stay at the hotel. But the hotel is worth it! Ready to go back asap!

Room Tip: Rainforest Suite and Honeymoon Suite are worth the splurge! Includes a jacuzzi bathtub for 2.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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TabaconGuestService, Gerente at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Dear Jodi K
Thank you for your valuable comments and for choosing Tabacon as your hotel during your visit to Arenal. It was an honor to have you as our guest and we are really glad to know you enjoyed a memorable experience. As you mentioned all our rooms are surrounded by nature, we do offer 7 guest rooms and suites categories all of them with different designs so our guests are able to decide which room they prefer depending on their preferences. Tabacon is also a culinary experience, our aim is always to provide a world class service including National and International dishes, we are glad to know you enjoyed your angus steak. At the resort the beauty of nature is part of the relaxation, we were blessed with a completely natural thermal spring river where you can find secluded areas as Shangri-La Gardens, and the great complement of a Tabacon massage with volcanic mud at The Grand Spa is part of the magical experience.

We would love to receive you at the hotel soon!

Cordially
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013 via mobile

In Feb 2013 we stayed at a suite at the Tabacon spa in Costa Rica. Our room was spectacular suite overlooking the jungle and with an enormous bath tub. The resort is clean and very well located. Limited areas for dinner and bit expensive. If you want to go to town (la fortuna) is a $10 taxi ride.
The hot springs are just amazing and a must do in Costa Rica.
Service in the hotel is not up to par with the $600 per night rate. We got misinformed on several aspects and the check in was very cumbersome. There are several other good hotels in the area but nothing as close to the springs.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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TabaconGuestService, Gerente at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Dear Gemsinvestments
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, we are glad that you had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and stayed with us. Our aim is to offer a memorable experience. We were blessed with a completely natural setting and the natural hot spring river makes Tabacon really unique. We are glad you enjoyed your suite and the rainforest view. Our aim is to improve every day and we would appreciate if you contact us directly at customerservice@tabacon.com to provide more details about your check in experience.

Cordially
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Toronto
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

This was truly a magical day for my boyfriend and I - we opted for a full day pass, including lunch and dinner, and were certainly able to fill our time from 11am to 9pm. The review below is therefore based on being a day pass guest and not staying at the hotel.

My biggest tip would be to bring water shoes with you! Several of the pools have quite rocky bottoms that may cause your feet to be sore, or make you explore them very tentatively. I wish someone had told me to bring mine! You've been warned!

Highlights:

1. It was a bit rainy earlier in the day, so the hot springs were quite empty. it was perfect to have several of the pools empty to ourselves. i recommend spending as much time in the pools around meal times, while other visitors are at the restaurant.

2. Definitely find your way to the adults only area towards the back of the property. The "shangri la gardens". There are plenty of towels that are easily available (a nice change from the strict towel rules they communicate at the entrance), a bar, lovely 'sultan like' tents, and modern lighting that changes colors at night. It was magical, and perfect for a mid afternoon nap.

3. The drinks at the pool bar are quite expensive relative to other hotels/options. $10-12 each for daiquiris, mojitios etc, $7-8 for beer. Since there is no mention of outside food or drink policies in the rules posted at the resort, I'm sure that if you were discrete about bringing in snacks and even your own beer you could.

4. The spa looked AMAZING! There are private treatment rooms/cabanas in one area, and although I didn't have a treatment, peaking into the rooms was impressive. I would however note though that prices reflect the surrounding. Costs were at least 20-30% higher than the other spa resort I stayed at. 1 hour massage would be cheaper at 5 star hotel in Toronto or New York instead of Tabacon.

5. The meals were GREAT! Lunch in the full day package is plated - options from quite a few local as well as "north american" options. The risotto looked amazing, I had the crusted Tuna and was blown away. Dinner is a buffet style, which I believe changes themes daily - we had Moroccan, which was fairly good - but not as impressive as lunch. Free freshly squeezed fruit juice/smoothie of your choice is included at both meals - a nice touch. Wine menu is pricey, but there are some affordable options instead of $11 - $12/glass, try $22/bottle rose, or $39/bottle options.

While we had a great time, and have TONS of lovely photos, a few considerations for them to improve upon:

- Hotel guests come to the hot springs with their robes. I wish they would offer this for day guests.
- There is only 1 central bathroom location (main change rooms), so you have to walk a long way around winding paths to reach them. I'd think more easily accessible bathrooms would prevent people from being lazy and possibly using the hot springs as a bathroom (I got the feeling some people stayed in the pools way too long to not have to pee).
- change rooms are nicely appointed but can really get packed when large tour groups come and go. you then feel incredibly cramped.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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, July 1, 2013
Dear vacation_girl_canada

Thank you so much for your appraisal, it is very rewarding to be informed about the pleasant experience you and your boyfriend enjoyed during your stay with us. We are glad you had the opportunity to relax in our natural thermal mineral springs and also take a nap at Shangri-La Gardens. Our thermal springs are in a completely natural setting that's why wearing water shoes is strongly recommended. Every single night we have a different theme buffet at Ave del Paraiso Restaurant with traditional and international dishes. The Grand Spa is one of the top eco-spas in Latin America and we offer a completely different experience from regular spas, all treatments are rendered in open air bungalows surrounded by nature all of them with private Jacuzzi, there is also a relaxation area where a thermal Jacuzzi and special amenities as our special fruit therapies smoothies are included during your visit. We would love to receive you as our guest in the near future!

Warm regards
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Brooklin
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

We spent one night in the Arenal area on our vacation, and it was highly recommended that we stay here. I'm glad we did, the place was beautiful and the hot springs at Tabacon we indescribable! I would highly recommend it for at least one night.
Our room at the resort was a bit of a disappointment since this is supposed to be one of the leading hotels in the world. The bathroom was poorly cleaned and it certainly lacked luxury.
The breakfast buffet more than made up for it though.... It was amazing! The food was delicious and there was a lot of variety.
It would probably be worth paying to spend a day at the hot springs and stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 3
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, July 1, 2013
Dear Lisa3452

We very much appreciate your review! Tabacon´s main philosophy is to offer a memorable experience to all our guest in the middle of the rainforest, the natural beauty of our hot springs and the sounds of nature become part of your vacation experience. Regarding to the rooms, I understand we did not met your expectations and it will also be very helpful if you could contact me directly to customerservice@tabacon.com if you would like to share additional feedback about your experience, since we take all your comments very seriously and we include your recommendations in our renewal plans.

Best Regards
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Ontario, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Tabacon resort for one night in March. We got a deal on bookit.com for $220. Considering access to the hot springs is $65 pp and we were going to visit their hot springs regardless, it was an incredible price to stay the night with unlimited access to hot springs.

HOTEL - Room was more than expected, very clean, house coats were the best I've ever had, very spacious, huge bathroom
RESTAURANT - Open air restaurant, service and food were 5 star. I had the fish, my husband the steak. On the expensive side though (expected)
HOT SPRINGS - Absolutely gorgeous. They even had a man made warm pool with slide and swim up bar. Was easy to charge our drinks to our room bill from here. We used the springs at night (closed at 10pm) and in the morning, felt like we had the area to ourselves despite it being high season in Costa Rica. I'm sure this is different between 10am-6pm when tour buses visit.
RESORT- Nicely laid out, easy to get around, very clean. Beautifully landscaped, plenty of open sunchairs around the pool, english speaking, great customer service and feel. The staff are at your disposal. Easy to get to, no dirt roads
Didnt use the spa since we only stayed one night, walked past it, looked just like it does in the photos

  • Stayed March 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 1
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, July 1, 2013
Dear Sunchaser 1104

We deeply appreciate your review, we loved the fact that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you took advantage of the complimentary access to the hot springs that is include in all our room rates. We firmly believe that every single detail is part of Tabacon experience, our natural environment helps turn vacations into moments of perfect relaxation, where hotel, food and beverages options, the hot springs, customized service and the spa creates a perfect combination for a memorable vacation. Our country is full of surprises we are glad you get to see Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort as part of your Costa Rica Trip. We look forward to receive you again at the resort in the near future!

Cordially
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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Montreal
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

This five star spa built on the Tabacón hot springs is beautifully laid out with amazing natural & artificial pools to take in the thermal baths. The waters have no sulfuric smell which makes it very pleasant. As you go downstream, amid waterfalls and pools the temperature lowers.The gardens are superb with fountains, exotic flowers, terraces with tented lounges, swinging benches and patio chairs. The Shangrila section is reserved for adults. The pool area has several options at varying temperatures with a waterslide. There is a pool bar and terrace restaurant that offers excellent meals, including evening buffet. A small gift shop offers snacks, clothing and souvenirs. The spa is part of the hotel complex but we just went for the day. We found the setting beautiful, the ammenities first class. Recommend water shoes.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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TabaconGuestService, Manager at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
Dear MajaMontreal

Thank you for taking the time and share your review with us, we appreciate it. At our Resort our guests are able to enjoy more than 20 different natural pools, ponds and waterfalls surrounded by lush tropical gardens that makes their experience so unique. We offer different meal options at the resort including Arenal Pool Bar and our Ave del Paraíso restaurant that offers a wide range of dishes and also a theme buffet every night with the most delicious blend of traditional and international flavors. We are sincerely grateful for your visit and we hope to receive you at the resort soon.

Best regards
Yendry Espinoza
Resort Manager
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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
#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*
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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