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“Arenal Paraiso's Check-in Deposit Policy” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

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Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   7 kms from La Fortuna downtown, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 84-4417, Costa Rica   |  
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Ontario
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Arenal Paraiso's Check-in Deposit Policy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2009

My wife and I stayed at he Arenal Paraiso back in February of '08 for six days and most of our memories of this resort are fond ones. Our first room had a less than satisfactory view and was located right beside the resorts maintenance shed, where the workers arrived to gather their tools at 6:00AM. This is all fine and good providing you are willing to be woken up at that hour. After our first night we express our concern to the front desk and without any argument they promptly arranged to us to be moved to the other side of the compound. Oh my, what a difference the move made. Our new room not only was quiet but also must have had the best view of the Arenal volcano in all of Costa Rica. To boot, we were only about 60 feet from one of the Paraiso’s fabulous natural hot springs (one of the best kept secrets in all the area, no need to pay to go to a local hot spring when you have a choice of ten right on the property) and each morning and night my wife and I would slip into one of the hot spring pools for a refreshing and secluded dip.

Though at times there was a bit of language difficulty (one should always have at least a basic knowledge of the language of the country one is visiting, can’t blame the locals because you can’t speak enough Spanish) everyone made an attempt to please us. The spa is out of this world and something that has to be experienced to be believed and this from a guy who really isn’t the spa type. All the staff was wonderful and helpful, especially in the restaurant where we always seemed to have chatty waiters who were only too willing to give us suggestions as to places to go and sites to see.

Our only negative experience was with the Arenal Paraiso’s screwy check-in “deposit” method. Unlike the other two resorts we stayed at in Costa Rica, the Paraiso didn’t just take a imprint of our VISA card (standard procedure at hotels around the world) but they actually debited our card at the time of checking in with the promise that the amount debited would be deducted from any extra charges we incurred during our stay. This seems to make sense at the time but when we checked-out they forgot to deduct the “deposit” against the outstanding balance. What a mess. It took us from Feb. ’08 until March ’09 to get the matter resolved and the funds credited to my VISA account. Part of the problem was that the accounting staff at the Paraiso didn’t speak any English and my Spanish needs to be much improved.

This was the only glitch on our entire two weeks in Costa Rica and one that would not stop us from returning to the Arenal Paraiso.

I must say that one of the reasons our Costa Rica vacation when so well and also why I was finally able to get my “deposit” back was due to the wonderful tour company we discovered in Costa Rica. Before we left Canada we were lucky enough to discover Costa Rican Vacations in San Jose, Costa Rica and especially Stephanie Hudson our tour consultant and Jennifer Duran their assistant Operations Manager. From the moment we landed in Costa Rica until our departure Costa Rican Vacations made our holiday run like clock work. They booked all of our ground transportation between resorts and advised us as to the best tours to take based on our budget and likes/dislikes. Also and this is a HUGE also, Costa Rican Vacations stuck by us for the entire time it took for us to get the Arenal Paraiso refund. Stephanie and especially Jennifer went far above the call of duty on the matter. Jennifer interceded on our behalf with the Paraiso’s management and I can honestly say that without her dealing with the resort in Spanish I doubt that the matter would ever have been resolved. If you truly want a fabulous time in Costa Rica, Costa Rican Vacations are the people to contact. They can be reached at www.vacationscostarica.com or toll free at [--]. Ask for Stephanie Hudson and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Philadelphia, PA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2009

We really enjoyed the Paraiso while there last week. The rooms could be improved slightly, the bedding was fairly old but it was fine. Our AC didn't push very hard but at night it cools off enough that it doesn't matter.

The location was good, about 5 minutes from town. But I was stunned at how expensive taxis in CR were. We paid one guy $18 round trip (with a tip, I have no idea why we did that) to Eco Thermales, which isn't even as far as town. I pay less in Philly! Another drive charged us about 6 one way.

We loved the hot springs! I could have not gone to Eco Thermales, saved that $100 and spent the time on our property. There were enough that my husband and I usually had them to ourselves. One group had drinks in the pool, we would have if we had anything. Especially since the pool bar was expensive as well, $6 for tropical drinks.

The restaurant was delicious but a little expensive. The prices were simliar to the US. We found some cheaper things to eat and it was all tasty. Breakfast was pretty good, plentiful and decent choices. They had lots of staff but it was hard getting them to come by with coffee, I had to flag them down, but that was alright. The coffee was fabulous, in the restaurant as well as the lobby. I don't know why they said there are two restaurants, there were two sides but only one was open at a time. Maybe because we were there during Semana Santa?

The lobby has wifi which was great because we had an iTouch and I think I saw computers in a corner. They had a tour desk so we booked everything through them (their pricing was all exactly what I had found online) and then we could charge it to our room and have one bill which was nice.

We would definitely stay here again if we return to Costa Rica (which we would love to do!) All in all we really enjoyed Arenal Paraiso!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Hertfordshire
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

We had mixed feelings after our two nights here. Our cabin,while a little dark had reasonable facilities and a truly great view of the volcano from the porch. We thought the pool area was great and the hot pools were just wonderful to relax in. Reception staff were efficient and helpful but sadly the service in the restaurant was poor and the food was also disappointing (if you have transport there is a great restaurant just up the road that looks like an open sided cow shed but serves good quality great value food). Overall although we liked the facilities and the location there are loads of hotels and lodges in this area and I suspect there are some that are better than this,

  • Stayed February 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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EJSTeeter
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

On paper this place looked great. It had it all, and at a good price too. Arenal Paraiso touts its own tours, a grand breakfast, views of the volcano from every room, a spa, and hot spring pools in several different temperatures. The staff is friendly, and the price is right.

My main compliant is that our room was terrible! There was mold growing in the shower. The entire place smelled strongly of stale smoke and mildew. We asked for a non-smoking room, and the staff informed us that all the rooms were smoking rooms. Every time we walked in the place I felt like choking. The bedding was scratchy and smelled like it had been on a rafting trip and never quite dried out properly. I found it hard to sleep.

The highlights were an impressive breakfast buffet, hot spring pools included in the price, nice volcano views and a friendly staff. If it wasn't for the horrid smell of our room, I would recommend this hotel as a good value.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Covington, LA USA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2009

Overall we enjoyed our stay here, despite the rain and volcano being encased in clouds for 3 straight days. Good hotel for family or romantic couples.

The real plus with this hotel are the beautiful grounds and landscaping and the hot springs areas within the resort area. There is also a very steep hike down to the river that you can take on a path behind the hotel (need good shoes and to be in good shape). Breakfast was good and we ate at the restaurant twice -- overall good food at reasonable prices (less than $20 for mahi or sea bass dinner). We had a superior room #274 which was a nice bungalow with a perfect view toward the volcano (just couldn't see the top half of the volcano due to clouds...too bad). Our only real complaint was the mattresses were so hard that all of us had sore backs by the end of our 3 day stay (otherwise I'd rate this place a 4).

There is nothing to walk to from the resort (same situation as most resorts in this area), so if you want to go to other restaurant, shopping, etc, you will have to take a taxi to La Fortuna ($7 for about 5 miles) or get picked up by your tour operator. We did the Sky Trek ziplining, and Arenal Adventuras set up a volcano hike and dinner at Tabacon Hot Springs and a horseback ride to La Fortuna waterfall (the horses actually gallop and take off in a full run at times!). All of these activities were great fun. We also heard good reviews for the hanging bridges tour from several other travelers.

Regarding the weather - 1) bring ponchos - we had rain for 3 straight days despite it being the "dry season". 2) according to our guide, the volcano is frequently shrouded by clouds, so you should know that the volcano is only visible about 90 days/yr. Still we recommend this location.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2009

Stayed here just before Christmas 08. Had Deluxe Villa - would have had a view of the Arenal Volcano only for the trees, but probably that was just the villa we stayed in in. Very basic - but ok. Adequate for our needs, but wouldn't have like to have stayed here for a week. Pool bar was a nice - sit in warm thermal water from the volcano and sip cold beers etc. Lovely!!. Good view of the Volcano from here - although not on right side to see any activity at night. You are led to believe lava flows from the Volcano - but in fact it is only the red hot rocks tumbling down the sides, that make it look like that!! Went on a hike up there - to be quite honest, there wasn't much to see - but the nature guide we had made the trip up there and back interesting. in fact that part was better than actually seeing the volcano close up!
Wouldn't stay here again - resort was very large, with loads of people having breakfast/meals at the same time! I prefer a smaller place with more intimacy.
All in all - not a bad place to stay, if you want basic (and that's all it is). Grounds were lovely though, and very well kept.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Long Beach, California
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2009

The Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa was nice. Well manicured lawns and charming cabinas. The front desk staff was lousy and just a joke. We had better service at the self service gas stations along our trek to the amazing volcano.

The views were great off of the back patio of our cabina. The thermal pools were nice for soaking in after a hard day hiking. The place was spotless. It was just way to touristy. Pretty devoid of any real culture. Great for an average run of the mill tourist looking for a boring resort.

Really wished we had stayed at a much smaller place that was more remote and not full of tour bus crowds. We prefer to be around active adventure seekers rather than the inactive armchair , not well traveled, overtly American room service adventure seekers.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.

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Additional Information about Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

Address: 7 kms from La Fortuna downtown, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 84-4417, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy of cozy & comfortable rooms surrounded by tropical gardens, with the best view of Arenal Volcano. Discover the wellness of our hot springs and our Mayin Spa. Taste the Costa Rica flavor, international cuisine and the best steak house in the area. Feel the adrenaline on our Canopy Tour, and take the best shots of Arenal volcano on our horseback riding. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort And Spa
Arenal Paraiso Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Hotel Arenal Paraiso
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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