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“amazing, incredible, stunning perfection” 5 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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Westminster, CA
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
197 helpful votes 197 helpful votes
“amazing, incredible, stunning perfection”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2006

This was definately one of the most perfect spots in Costa Rica. The hot springs themseves are phenomonal and like nothing I've ever experience in the U.S., but also it's a great location and you can do so much from this hotel, you can do a zip-line tour of a cloud rainforest, you can go white water rafting, horse back riding, all that stuff, and it's close to Liberia so you can fly into there instead of San Jose and you won't have a 4-hour drive to get there. The rooms are fairly ordinary and not super impressive, but the staff is wonderful and take good care of you. It is walking distance to the hot springs technically, but you have to walk down like 200 stairs (literally!) so you can walk there if you want, but after getting all de-stressed in the hot springs you should take their shuttle back so you stay relaxed! I can't even describe the hot springs themselves, there's more than one building so I don't know if they're all the same, but the one I went to had a restaurant (great food!) and a large pool (bigger than olympic size). It had a pool bar at one end and a waterslide at the other. The hot springs were filtered into the pool from the waterslide which made them slightly cooler and for me much more tolerable. You can also go over to another area where there is the hot spring in it's natural state, and you almost kill yourself slipping on the lava rocks walking in, but it's so hot I couldn't take it and went back to the pool and had a frozen rumpunch to cool off a bit! I think the perfect vacation to Costa Rica would be 4 nights here and 3 nights at a nice beach in Guanacaste, flying in and out of Liberia and skipping San Jose.

  • Stayed May 2004, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (234)
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English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2006

My Husband and I visited the Tabacon Hot Springs resort in November as part of our Honeymoon. We drove from San Jose to La Fortuna, something I would not recommend. The roads are full of potholes and can be very dangerous to drive on. In any case, upon our arrival we knew it was worth the drive. Tabacon is a beautiful resort. Since it was our honeymoon, we were given a special honeymoon package by the resort. When we checked in the service was very good, even though at first they had us down for a 2 night stay instead of 3, they immediately corrected that information. They brought each of us a welcome drink which we thought was very nice. They then asked us to wait a minute so that we can be introduced to a manager who would go over our package with us. She quickly came out and went over what was involved. We were to stay 3 nights in a suite, breakfast was to be included daily, we were to have one buffet dinner included, one romantic dinner, a couples massage and one side trip all included in our package. At first we signed up for the horseback riding as our side trip but when we saw what else was offered we decided to change it to the river rafting tour and they did not have a problem with our last minute change. At that time we were also able to set up our schedule for all of the other events that were part of our package. After that was done we were escorted to our room. Upon arrival to our room there was a trail of rose petals from the front door to our bed. There was a basket of fruit and wine on the table in our room. There were towels on our bed in the shape of two swans forming a heart. In our bathroom there were also rose petals around our tub. They really made it so romantic. The first night of our stay we decided to go to our included buffet dinner. It was extremely crowded because it was a Saturday night. However they placed us in a quiet area and soon it just felt like the two of us. The service in the restaurant was very good and the variety of food was also very good. The next day we were scheduled to do a Zip Line tour which we highly recommend. It was so much fun! This was something that we paid extra for, but was well worth it. That afternoon we went for our couples massage. It was so peaceful and nice. We changed into robes and got escorted through the area where the thermal springs are to a private hut. The massages were very relaxing and the service was very nice. That evening we went to dinner at the non-buffet restaurant. The food and the service were both excellent. The following day we were scheduled for our river rafting tour. This is another tour that we highly recommend. It is a very slow river (I am not a big fan of the water), but the sights are beautiful. We saw lots of birds and even some monkeys. After the river tour, we were taken to a typical Costa Rican home where the owners cooked us Yucca bread (unbelievebly delicious), home made cheese, and coffee. They have a little girl who is so precious. It was a wonderful experience. After that we were taken to see the largest iguanas I have ever seen in my life. That evening was our romantic dinner. We were treated like royalty. We were taken to a private hut in the area where the hot springs are located. There we were greeted by our personal waiter and chef. The hut was full of candles, the table was covered in rose petals and everything was just put together so well. The food was wonderful and the service was excellent. The following day was our last and it was so sad to say good bye to Tabacon hot springs. We spent some time at the springs which can get a little crowded but with persistance we were able to find a more private area to just relax in the warm waters. If you are going to be in La Fortuna, then Tabacon Hot Springs is highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2005

TABACON:
What you pay for at Tabacon is the service, the grounds of the resort, and the hot springs. The rooms are nothing more than Holiday Inn quality (perhaps even less). Room was adequate but bare minimum. No robe, alarm clock, mini-bar, iron, with uncomfortable bed and not even a picture hanging anywhere on a wall. By pure luck we were given room 308, which had a great view of the volcano. Service at Tabacon is prompt and courteous, and the grounds are well kept with a clean and modern lobby. The hot springs, though packed with tourists, are a must-see. We also enjoyed the dinner buffet. Massages at the spa were average and well-priced.
The hanging bridges was a good hike through the rain forest with some great views. The canyoning trip from PuerTrek was excellent and we highly recommend it. It involves repels down the faces of waterfalls, and hiking along and through streams.
Still looking for a luxury resort in the Arenal region, both Tabacon and Lost Iguana came up short. Rumor has it that the owners of Peace Lodge are building a resort in the region, and I would stay anywhere they build based on our experience at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2005

Just got back with our 2 sons, 9 and 11. We loved this hotel and its location. When I booked the hotel, I asked for a Jr. Suite which guarantee's view of the volcano and though we arrived fairly late in the p.m., our room with its view was ready. From our room we saw everything, monkey's, all sorts of birds and the volcano and heard its rumbling.
The people at the hotel were kind and helpful. We drove to the national observatory in the at 7:00 a.m. and saw all sorts of birds and wildlife. Entry for 4 was $1.50 each and at this location they feed the wildlife before 8:00 a.m. at the resteraunt. I highly recommend it. We also ate in La Fortuna. Loved the Italian food.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2005

We LOVED this place. I cannot say enough good things about this area of Costa Rica, the resort, the spa, and the restaurants. The lobby bar overlooks a landscaped area with howler monkeys. Tree frogs were chirping everywhere. The resort was lush, green, and beautifully landscaped. The rooms were spacious and really really nice...the bathroom was not only clean, but spacious with granite countertops. We had a private patio with a private yard (ask for one that does not face the street, ours did). Breakfast was included each morning, and the food was delicious. The food at the spa was good also. The spa was paradise. The hot springs, bars, flowers, vegetation - everything was perfect. The activity desk was helpful, although maybe not as forthcoming as they could be - do your own research beforehand and organize our tours yourself..for example, the "Hanging Bridges tour" was nice, but this was something that we could've done ourselves (it was easily assessible - the area has a visitor center and paved trails)...instead of paying $75 per person. But overall, this place is AMAZING and I would DEFINITELY go there again.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Boston MA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2005

Think twice before submitting your credit card info to these people. I tried to make a reservation online (which requires credit card info). They billed me $232 the next day. But they never replied to me, never confirmed a reservation, and took another 4 days to send any reply after we called and emailed incessantly! After that experience I asked them simply to refund my money. They promised to do so (in writing), but 3 weeks later, still no refund. I have had to file a complaint with Visa.

I visited this place once before. The springs are beautiful. The hotel is shabby for what you're paying. I now believe this place has no mission to serve travelers. Its only motive it to make $$$ for the owners. There are a lot of other first-rate places in the area, with management that cares about customers--sleep somewhere else and go to the hot springs by day if you like.

If you would like more corroboration of what I'm saying, read the next 10-20 reviews and I'm sure you'll find others who agree.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Sacramento, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2005

We spent our first 2 nights of 7 in costa rica here. There were 3 of us in a roomthat was not too large. we did not have a view of the volcon, but a lovely view of the jungle. the room had a very strong odor in one spot, kind of like urine?? probably just musty. the room was nice and clean with a very nice bathroom. the best part(s) of our stay were the horse ride to la fortuna falls arranged through the tour desk, and seeing the volcano at night. the clerk in the gift shop gave us a tip, go to the back side of the volcano at night for a great view. we drove towards lake arenal and saw many great vistas. the horses owned by the guide, alberto, were alot of fun. not like horseback riding in the usa! also the zip lines were amazing.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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
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
#15 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#18 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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