We stayed at the Kokoro Hotel for 4 nights in mid-January 2013 and really enjoyed our stay. We used this as our base camp while we did day-trips in the Arenal and La Fortuna area. It is a relaxing, quiet, informal, family-run hotel with single and town-house style cabins, nice gardens and forest walks on the grounds, a pool, hot-springs pools, an outdoor lounge area, and a nice outdoor dining room. Tree-house style accommodations were under construction while we were there. Housekeeping was very good.
Our accommodation was clean, functional, roomy, and quiet (cabin #7). The use of beautiful wood everywhere makes it cozy and just makes one feel at ease. Buffet breakfasts, and sit-down dinners were quite good. Some might find the selection a bit limited, but the food was good and well prepared. We were fortunate to have Anita, one of the owners, put on a special sea food meal one night. I really enjoyed the breakfasts - a great mix of local food (ah ... the fruit!) and typically Canadian/American fare (including maple syrup). The staff even made lunch for us on a day when we had to leave early on a day trip. The staff were unwaveringly friendly, helpful, and conscientious. Many thanks to Felico, Fernando, Michael, Todd, Amanda, and to Felico's parents, and owners of Kokoro: David and Anita.
Tourists to Costa Rica obviously want to take advantage of hot springs, obviously. Visitors to Kokoro might be a bit disappointed. We enjoyed the unpretentious pools (3) which are only open in the evenings. They are filled with fresh hot spring water each evening, but the water coloured brown with sediment (not dirty, just coloured). One follows a lighted stone path to the pools which are set in a quiet garden area of the grounds. Very relaxing, but perhaps too informal for some. I personally hope they don't change these. They fit the atmosphere just nicely. So, my rating on the "spa" is a bit misleading. BTW, the Tabacon Spa and Hot Springs is a short 5 minute drive from Kokoro for those who want to splurge on that activity.
The swimming pool is quite nice, and big. The shallow end starts off very shallow (< 2'), and it deepens to about 6' or 7' at the far end near the water fall.
The staff arranged most of our day trips, including canyoning, waterfalls, spelunking, and hiking. They were very helpful with directions to attractions and restaurants, and in providing directions to our next destination. All of our trips were a great success! Thanks to the staff for recommendations. The staff are bilingual (Spanish, English), and some cases trilingual (add Mandarin)!
If you are looking for comfortable, quiet, pleasant accommodations, and a relaxing environment after a day of hiking, this is the spot. It is about a 10 minute drive north of La Fortuna, so there isn't really anything close by to which you can walk, with the exception of great views of the volcano just up the main road. We kicked back with drinks on the pool patio, and on our cabin porch in the afternoon and evening sun after our daily outings. That was just perfect!
If you're looking for pampered, formal, impersonal, luxurious 4* or 5* accommodations this is probably not the spot for you. The Kokoro is a more personal place, and more down-to-earth, which is quite appropriate for this ecologically sensitive country. We would definitely stay here again if visiting the Arenal area.
My only recommendation to the staff would be to include some Costa Rican music in the selection of mood music in the lounge area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest of the northern hills of Costa Rica, Hotel Kokoro Arenal is the perfect hideaway retreat blessed with untouched flora and fauna and a panoramic setting overlooking the majestic volcano of Arenal. At Kokoro Arenal, each of our carefully designed eco-villas offers a stay in a cozy family oriented style, with charm, and a service approach prepared in a joyful, attentive, and sustainable way. The lodging grounds also invite you to dip into the hill-top swimming pool, tropical hut with hammock, and explore our tucked away rainforest trails. With our Kokoro ‘heartfelt’ ways, we aim to revitalize your senses and share with you a vibrant experience in the Costa Rican tropics. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kokoro Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Resort Kokoro Arenal
- Hotel Kokoro Arenal Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park