“Beautiful, remote resort... good deal w/Groupon”
We stayed at the resort because we bought a Groupon deal for four nights, which we redeemed right at the end of the promotional value period (the rainy season in early November). The Groupon deal included breakfast. If we had to pay more for our stay, I would rate this property "average" instead of "very good". There weren't a lot of guests staying at the same time we were.
The room we stayed in was spacious, clean, with some luxurious details. The lighting was not good. The hallway into the room had one small wall sconce and lacked lighting, so it was difficult to see what we had in the closets and the six-drawer dresser located in the hall. The bed felt old and worn out, and the linens were thin and itchy (complete w/ piling polyester comforter), like what I imagine prison linens to be like. The bed did not match the rest of the room. There was a light above the bed, but it was tied to three other overhead lights by the mini-bar area of the room. The other furniture, including a small two-person couch and two outdoor wooden rocking chairs, were nice. The best part of the room was the outdoor, private balcony/deck that gave us a clear view of Arenal Volcano. The doors are also all glass, so you can see the view from almost anywhere in the room. The outdoor whirlpool tub was a nice touch, complete with bath salts and tea light candle. This was great for a soak after hiking Cerra Chato. There is a creative and well-done outdoor shower, with dual shower heads, tropical plants and an open ceiling (covered w/ screen to keep bugs and jungle debris out of the room). It would have been nice to have lighting for the shower area though. During the day, it was fine, but a night shower was only illuminated by whatever ambient light spilled in from the main bathroom area. The bathroom was otherwise outdated, with a single sink and a tile countertop with very old grout.
Of note, the pricing for certain services or amenities are not displayed or explained. We disputed some charges since we could find nothing in writing explaining them. The front desk staff gave us the Heisman a few times, and it was only after three attempts to resolve the matter that we actually got a response of, “we’ll let you know…” which they never did until we checked out, and of course, I had to ask about it again. Service from the staff was spotty at best. I realized I left a book in the room immediately after I checked out and asked if I could go back into the room and the response was "no, you can’t do that". Um… okay… after two more tries, I was able to get back into the room, probably only because the maid was already cleaning up the room.
The resort is fairly isolated, and there is nothing other than the hanging bridges or somewhat sketchy roadside kayak rentals within a 15 minute drive. To get to La Fortuna, you have to drive 30 minutes back towards the volcano. To get to Nuevo Arenal, it's about 45 minutes the other way around the lake. Because the resort is tucked away, we ate at the restaurant on site on the first day. The food was average and overpriced. Service depended on who your server was - there was one server in particular who came off as condescending throughout our visit. After the first day, we ended up eating in La Fortuna after our morning/afternoon activities, and would bring back take out to eat for dinner to avoid the restaurant and having to drive back out. The breakfast is good, fresh fruit, pastries and toast, and a menu from which you can order Western and typical CR food.
The grounds of the resort had plenty of flora and fauna. All the roads were constructed with pavers, not poured cement, and there is lighting (some of it works, some of it doesn’t) throughout the road and small trail network from the rooms to the pool and restaurant. We did not hike any of the trails that are on the property. The roads and walking trails (from rooms to the pool or restaurant) can be very steep and slippery when they are wet (which is all the time), and they are mostly lightly covered with moss. All the steep climbing was a bit hard on my knees at times, though I probably could've been lazy and phoned for a golf cart to truck me around the place. Every day we saw and heard workers trimming and maintaining the grounds. The plants seem to threaten to overtake the roads and resort at any moment. Because it was offseason, there was also ongoing construction throughout much of the daylight hours, in the building directly next to ours. We understand that this is what the resort does to maintain the property in the offseason, but given the number of rooms at the resort, I was somewhat surprised the very few folks who were staying there weren't placed in a building farther away from the roofing project right next door.
Overall, a good deal with the Groupon that we used. Maybe the service and the atmosphere is better during not a Groupon deal/rainy season, when there are more guests at the resort.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 20, 2012
I am sorry you were not as pleased with your stay as our other guests. I read all the comment cards from the last two months and saw only great ratings. I give all guests my direct email and it is very helpful if you contact me and let me know what room you were in so we can correct any problems. Regarding the bedding, the mattress are fairly new and are the best quality we can buy in Costa Rica. The sheets are brought in from the US and are 350 count cotton. The bedspreads are hand painted batik on cotton and quilted. There is no polyester except for the batting. It takes artists 2 weeks to make each bedspread. We just received a shipment of new spreads and matching robes, as we do every two years. The bathroom counter tiles are all being replaced with marble and granite vessel sinks. Regarding the outdoor showers, we have candles and matches in each shower for romantic candlelit showering in the evening. We give excellent prices during low season while we do our upgrades. We try our very best to make each guest happy and I am sorry you were not more pleased. Sincerely, Elaine
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.