We stayed at Tabacon for four nights just two weeks ago and loved it! From the moment we walked into the lobby we were pampered. Check-in was a breeze and they gave us a nice complimentary welcome drink within minutes. We upgraded to suite #604 which was clean, spacious and modern, although a bit sparse on furnishings. We had a mini frig which came in very handy for keeping the cerveza and vino cold! The bed was rather comfortable but the bathroom was the best part of the room. Nice big shower, jetted tub, dual granite fish bowl sinks, separate toilet/bidet room, decent size closet with safe, luxurious bathrobes and a flat screen TV.
The grounds were immaculate and beautifully landscaped. We saw some rather large birds on the property and there's a couple secluded pavilions nestled within the grounds around the forest, perfect for a quiet outdoor retreat. I've read other reviews about the staff being rude or not so friendly, but we didn't experience that at all. Every staff member we encountered could not have been more friendly and accommodating. The concierge was also very helpful in booking tours.
The hot springs are magical. Incredibly romantic. True, some of the waterfalls are man made but the natural cascading river that runs through the property along with all the lush vegetation, soft lighting, etc., will make you feel as though you're in the garden of Eden. There's gently slopping cascading waterfalls everywhere and if you can access it, you can wade in it. You can actually sit behind one of the waterfalls. The waters are heated naturally from volcanic activity and vary in temps from rather cool to over 100 degrees. There are several little nooks and coves if you're looking for a little privacy in the springs. If you stay elsewhere, you can buy a day pass to visit the hot springs but the beauty of staying at Tabacon is that you get the springs to yourselves in the morning and in the evening before they open/close it to the public. There's also a section called Shangri La which is exclusive only to hotel guests. There's a small private outdoor bar, several private cabanas and nice, more secluded hot springs areas. Lockers near the main entrance to the springs make it convenient for securing your valuables. The main pool has a fun water slide for the kids and a swim up bar for the adults. :) To reach the springs, you can take the shuttle from the lobby (runs on demand) or it's a about a 5-10 minute walk down the fairly steep hill.
The spa is great. Small but very nice and tranquil. We did the idyllic couples massage which I highly recommend. It really is "all that" and more. It's rather expensive ($225 person) but totally worth the amazing hour+ full body massage in an outdoor bungalow around the springs, topped off with a volcanic mud mask and private milk bath with champagne and fruit afterwards. A must do for couples and honeymooners!
Cons: The food. We had dinner there our first night which was decent but overpriced for the quality. The continental breakfast was rather steep at $17 per person, simply for coffee, a croissant or toast. The breakfast buffet will set you back a whopping $30 per person. While it's a nice buffet with ample tasty fresh fruit, egg station, meats and cheeses, it's still way overpriced. It would also help if they opened the breakfast room at 6:00am instead of 6:30am, to give guests a little more time to eat before catching early morning tours.
Taxis into La Fortuna aren't cheap either. Plan on paying about $25 each way. There are some decent local restaurants in La Fortuna but it will cost you some coin to reach them.
If you must have in-your-face views of Arenal Volcano, consider staying elsewhere. You can see the volcano from the springs, but not at its finest. However, the gorgeous hot springs more than make up for that, and we had plenty of opportunities to see unobstructed views of Arenal while touring.
Over all, a great stay. We would definitely go back to Tabacon!
Tip: Get a room with a frig or buy a styrofoam cooler and stock up on some breakfast food/snacks/drinks at a local supermarket.
- 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