TLDR summary: This was the nicest place I stayed at during my travels throughout Costa Rica. $145 for a double room with buffet-style meals. The real view is from rooms 232 / 233. WATCH OUT FOR THE TOILET. Consider renting a car in La Fortuna. Campus is huuuge and you will have to walk a lot. The hot springs aren't too special, the pool is average, and the swim-up-bars are SMALL, service is hit or miss, food is standard.
IF you pick the right room, then the views are unparalleled. I noticed that several of the rooms look out onto the street or "over" the roofs of other rooms. However, if you have room 232 or room 233, all you see is volcano and greenery. No other buildings or people to blemish your postcard worthy views. The view makes the price worth it.
THE ROOM: First of all, the plumbing in our building was terrible. The toilet was temperamental; it would "bubble" when our neighbors flushed their toilet (I was told this is normal). And it actually randomly FLOODED out of the bathroom and into our room during one of our nights. I didn't get comped for this, or switched to another room because they were "fully booked" (it was Carnaval week and Dia De La Rez weekend).
Other minor downsides: Light on our patio didn't work and was never fixed, so enjoying a cold beer on a warm night outside was a bit difficult. The wifi was crazy fast, but liked turning off randomly. Pretty annoying. The bath products are low quality (high in sulfates), but hey, at least they actually offer some. And like all other accommodations in CR, you get one-ply toilet paper.
The pluses: Room was completely bug free (a rarity) and had several things you might take for granted in the US but come to appreciate after weeks of staying in typical Costa Rican accommodations. Like a fridge, a safe, AC, a tissue box, and OMG A HAIRDRYER. It was also cute that we had large succulents "growing" in the bathroom. And I repeat, the view THE VIEW!
LOCATION: It's better if you have a car because: it's about 20 minutes from La Fortuna (though they offer round trip shuttles into town for $22, but not after 10 PM); you can park your car right in front of your room / building because the set up is like a manicured, gated community; the grounds are HUGE and walking to the front office / hot springs / spa can take up to 15 minutes (there is complimentary golf cart pick up, but you have to call and then wait and it just gets tedious).
AMENITIES: You get a complimentary farm tour, but I didn't have time to go. I also didn't check out the spa. The hot springs resemble a pool area and are not "rustic" / "natural" by any means. While the typical "springs" smell is not saturating the air, you will smell it on your bathing suit the next day. The springs are very clean and clear. The pool is average, with nothing worth noting except that it closes early at 6 PM. Lame. Both areas have swim-up-bars, which sounds like a cool idea except that the bars only accomodate 8 people MAX and the service is slooooow. Though I had one great night at the hot springs bar when there were zero people, and I enjoyed watching the SF Giants in an NLCS game on ESPN while drinking Imperials and munching on spicy hot wings.
RESTAURANT: It's right by the main pool. From my room, the walk was around 5 minutes. Breakfast is included in the rate (but it starts late around 6:45 even though tour pick ups are usually at 7 AM). We also had a special package that included dinner. Usually, both of these meals are buffets. However, if you stay during a time of low occupancy they don't do the buffet and instead you order a three course meal from their daily menu instead (which was waaaay better than the buffet). Food is more Italian and American inspired than Latin or Caribbean, so sort of standard and boring. Juices were watery, coffee was terrible, and cokes are $2 each. What makes the restaurant is the ambiance. It's an open-air set up looking out over palms toward the volcano. Photo moments abound.
SERVICE: Hit or miss. Like I already mentioned, I wasn't comped or even given an apology for the toilet debacle that happened in my room. Not to mention that the whole fiasco occurred after 10 PM, when the office was already closed. Yup, NO 24 hour reception. So getting someone over to my room to take care of the problem was a chore. And in the end, it was just a security guard with a few towels. Major headache. However, after I checked out, I misplaced my cell phone during a transfer over to Monteverde. Even though they weren't responsible, Arenal Manoa staff were diligent in calling every merchant I encountered during my transfer (from shuttle to boat to horse to taxi) and after recovering it, they even coordinated with a tour provider to drop the phone off at my new hotel for no cost. Weird to get better service once you've left an establishment...
If you want a real view, try to snag room 232 or 233. Also consider renting a car because the locat...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.