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“Arenal with kids” 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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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
boston
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
179 helpful votes 179 helpful votes
“Arenal with kids”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2005

Family of 4 stayed 5 nights. The resort room was beautiful..but we specified the quietest room with volcano view. We had a porch and jacuzzi on the deck. The volcano is almost never visible from the resort (or anywhere for that matter), but the room was lovely. The resort is a walk away (thank goodness) from the springs (about 1/4 mile) They have a shuttle which runs on tico time. The best was to go early (8am-10am) when nooutside guests can use the facility and late at night. Many buses come to the springs, but they cannot use the resort. The music at the springs is unpleasant and I cannot figure out why they let people smoke there are the place seems to become a party place. We used desalfio for tours and taxi arrangements which was cheaper and the hotel provides a free shuttle to town. We did the white water rafting/ caves (which are much much nicer in Belize, but OK if it is your first cave experience) and the hiking to the volcano (well worth the guide) The SKYtrek tour is fabulous and much quieter than the ones in Monteverde. We were the only 4 on our tour and zipped along. In monteverde we were one of 30! The people are very nice and the wildlife and birding unbelievable...however you really need the guide! Also we arranged private transfers..anyone who wants to drive around Costa Rica is crazy...the driver showed us all sorts of offbeat places....and it was way safer. In the end the price was about the same as renting and much nicer for the driver. the roads are AWFUL and there seem to be about 4 totla gas stations and road signs in the area.
IF you like horses and are going to monteverde I highly recommend the
deslfio horsebackriding. The drive to monteverde is challenging and 5 hours. The boatride and horses takes the same. We are NOT experienced riders, but all of us (including 10 and 13 yearolds) rode and galloped by the lake......a real treat. There is still a carride at the end, but they stopped for lunch at a little store.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,118 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
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DE
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2005

I really enjoyed my stay...We went during the low season, so the prices were cheaper.

We were there for 2 nights, but it was not long enough. Although I went with my girlfriends, this is a great place for couples, because the ambiance is so romantic.

There are pros and cons with any place like this, because its so secluded. If rest and relaxation is what you want, this is the spot. If you're looking for shopping, restaurants, and night life, I'd recommend staying elsewhere.

The Hot springs and spa are awesome!! They can get a bit crowded on the weekends with locals and tourists in the area, but aside from that it was very nice.

  • Stayed October 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
georgia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2005

We are a family of 5 (children ages 8,7, and 2) who spent one night here. We reserved the "cheapest room" and ended up with a volcano view. I thought the room was basic but fine. The breakfast was great. Our kids really enjoyed the hotel's own pool as well as the hot springs. We lucked out with check-in and check-out because it went fairly quickly. We walked to a nearby restaraunt (?El Novilla) which was great. ONE HELPFUL HINT-the hot springs are open for hotel guests only from 8:00 am until 10:00 am (you must use a side entrance). There were less than 10 people in the entire hot springs at that hour.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
168 helpful votes 168 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2005

We stayed for three nights in May 2004. For a hotel in a location where rain is a constant factor, they have got to find a way to control the damp and mildewy smell that permeates the rooms. (We stayed in two rooms; both had this problem). The rooms are large --and ours had a jacuzzi tub -- but they are furnished very basically and are not at all upscale.

The lines to check in and out are huge -- reading other posts, this is apparently another chronic problem that the hotel has done nothing to address.

The a-la-carte restaurant was fine, but the selection would have gotten old pretty fast if we had been staying longer. The buffet was blah and overpriced.

We enjoyed the hot springs (even in pouring rain!) and the crowds were not too out of control during our visits, but it is definitely not a private experience.

Overall, not too much to add that hasn't already been said, except to agree that this hotel does not live up to its promotion and was overpriced for what it had to offer.

  • Stayed May 2004
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2005

The Tabacon Resort was our first stop on our trip in Costa Rica and overall we were dissapointed. The hotel and rooms were very clean but the service was very poor during out stay. The front bar staff was rude and we also had to wait 45 minutes in line to check in, and even longer to try and check out. The food was also horrible and the worst food that we had during our entire trip to Costa Rica. Whatever you do skip the dinner buffet!!!
The Hot Springs do look just like the pictures and were wonderfull at times. The best times to go seamed to be around mid afternoon and then around 8:30pm at night. At other times my wife and I would be relaxing in a hot spring and a few tour buses would arrive and the next thing you know there are 20 people within 2 inches of you.
The prices for food & drinks were very high..($7 for a tiny drink at the main bar).
We had a car so we drove into La Fortuna and had some great meals and drinks and we loved some of the tours around town. The hike to La Fortuna waterfall was great...and tiring. If we go back we would stay at a smaller place in La Fortuna and drive to the springs. There is a brand new hot springs across the street from the Tabacon that looked deserted and very nice. I would recommend trying it the next time.
Tabacon is the "nicest" place in Arenal but is also the most crowded and "touristy" place to be. Part of the problem we found was that a lot of the tourists that were at the hotel were rude and were annoyed when the staff didn't speak English..so the staff probably gets tired of the tourists.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2005

We thought Tabacon was fantastic. The rooms were very comfortable and clean. The staff was very friendly and service was excellent both at the front desk and restaurants. The grounds are beautiful and quiet. I've read complaints that the price is too high, but considering that the cost includes free entry to the hot springs (usually $30 per person), it's really a great deal. The hot springs are a short walk away from the hotel, and are really gorgeous. The main pool was busy during the day with tour groups, but quiet at night (except the swim up bar of course.) I recommend doing activities during the day (caving, class 4 whitewater rafting, and hiking were the best), and hitting the hot springs after dinner. The waterfalls, streams, and other pools hidden throughout the garden were usually empty after dark. The food was very good, but it's also worth taking a taxi into La Fortuna for the restaurants there. We'd definitely go back to Tabacon again.

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington - the state
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2005

We stayed here for two nights. The first night, we didn't heed the front desk clerk's suggestion that we make dinner reservations and had to wait until 9pm for dinner - so make dinner reservations right away. The entree prices were reasonable, the wine prices were not. Our room was great, you could see the volcano past the hummingbird filled garden. The maid service was excellent! In fact all of the staff was very friendly to us. The hot springs were great fun. We each had a spa treatment and they were very good. The breakfast provided had a large selection. We didn't use the shuttles, but they looked efficient. The little bar at the top of the hot springs has a 2 for 1 happy hour, but it is a hike to the nearest bathroom. All in all, the most expensive stop in our trip, but it was worth it.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#12 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#14 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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