My husband and I drove by this hotel while on our way to check- into Tabacon Hotel (uggh) (see review - very disappointed and overpriced Tabacon was!) We were mentioning that THIS (La Mansion) was the type of place that we wished we had booked instead. ... just by its looks alone - we gasped at its beauty while driving by. We promised ourselves that we would look into it when we got home. Well,.. we did look into it, and booked it for a 5 night stay and was not disappointed! - it was EXACTLY what we were looking for on the first visit and certainly didn't get at our other place.
It was,.... literally,... pure heaven, and everything we were hoping for - peaceful, beautiful, quiet, & tranquil!
The pool area is an infinity pool that overlooks beautiful Lake Arenal. The view will literally take your breath away! It has a long skinny pool if you like to do laps - me, Im a plunger :) -just to keep cool while sunning. The infinity pool overlooks the mountains and lake. It has overturned terracotta pots all around it with water features running thru them. There are pre-columbian influenced concrete sculptures all around the pool as well as the whole lounging area. The best is, you can not hear a pin drop, - just the birds and water features trickling thru! There is also an area next to the pool, that is a large covered spa which resembles a small size rectangle pool with banquette seating. Leo the owner will be glad to turn the jets on for you, but it is all spring water and warm/hot regardless if you dont turn on the bubbles. The regular lap pool is natural spring water as well. There are many tables and loungers available. Towels you get in the lobby area which is very close.
First, people mention the location being far - yes its a bit further from the others, however, we really didn't agree that it was all that far?? - we found that surprising. We rented a car and it was less than 15 min. to Nuevo Arenal (where there is restaraunts, shopping galleries and stores are) and approx. 35-40 min. from La Fortuna (larger shopping area). There is also so many restaurants close by to La Mansion itself - within minutes drive, so it did not pose a problem for us. Also, about three restaurants in walking distance from the hotel, - literally next door. One place was the dive-y "soda rey" restaurant which had a tico couple (husband & wife) serve us very inexpensive costa rican food over a wood burning stove! It was great. The view is crazy. Beer wasn't on the menu but we asked for Imperial beer and they gave it to us :) no problem! Loved the authentic feel. We actually loved that the hotel was further away from all the touristy area stuff- and, that it had the BEST view of Lake Arenal - bar none! you will find nothing as good as this view and from each priv. cottage as well - that is for sure! It is literally breath taking! - one you never get sick of seeing every day. We drove by several hotels, checking them out for future visits, and none had what this hotel offered as far as view. It makes up for the lack of touristy stuff and the value for what we got was just excellent.
The main hotel is located up on the mountain-side along with all the priv. cottages overlooking the lake. You drive up a hillside with horses and grazing cows. You have your own private cottage/villa (everyone does!) It is authentic Costa Rican. If you are looking for the slick modern rooms that resemble a Hyatt in Miami airport - well... then pls. stay at Tabacon. THIS, La Mansion, IS the real thing. The rooms were just charming. I didnt' really understand the past review about thin sheets(?). Ours were great. The cottages are clean, and decorated adorably. Each cottage had its own private terrace and a view to die for no matter which one you got - we had cottage 23! All of them over look Lake Arenal and the mountains so you can't go wrong.
The value was also amazing. Thank you economy! We reserved a couple months in advance and they were having a special promotion! We stayed Mar 30th until April 7th. Wow. We were told they run great promotions (especially lately with the economic issues - so, hey, can't hurt to ask) we got a two bedroom cottage (all the cottages are 2 bdrm actually) for $195 which included breakfast and dinner! We didn't have any use for the second bedroom but wished we did as they do not charge you for additional people. The unit has cute hand-painted murals of monkeys, coaties, rainforest, waterfalls, painted on the walls. The beds were very comfortable and extra pillows in the closet which I always need. Each cottage had a pretty good size refridgerator which was really nice - we kept our water, bottles of wine, some Imperial local costa rican beer and snacks in there. Rooms had hair dryer, coffee maker, 40-channel satellite tv which worked great - majority were english channels which was also nice :) Even got CNN and Fox News. All cottages had ceiling fans and air-conditioning which all worked fine. The shower had one of those big rain heads that was awesome. The tile was authentic in the bathroom and just so pretty and quaint. It was a pretty good size bathroom with double sinks too. Terracotta floors. A sitting area with a couch in the small living room area below (bedroom is up a level). We had a beautiful large bouquet of fresh local flowers on the table inside when we arrived. Also, every day we were surprised with this adorable towel-art shaped as animals that looked so real! You'd find one on top of the bed, then we'd go into the bathroom and on the sink was another!- then one on the floor to the shower stall. The maid must of spent so much time just making these and she is a true artist. The eyes and noses, and special effects were done with fresh flowers!! It was such a cute surprise every day. One of the best parts was that every cottage has a KILLER view! Did I say that enough?! :) Again, each is overlooking Lake Arenal and takes your breath away. Each cottage has its own priv. patio terrace outside with 3-4 rocking chairs, and a table with chairs for eating. Each cottage is surrounded by beautiful fauna & flora. and you can not see the neighbor or hear them which was more important to us. Lots of lush greenery and flowers/bushes separate each cottage and you really feel alone. My husband and I sat at night (no bugs to boot!) and had a glass of wine nightly and just talked - the silence is deafening. You overlook the lake and the rolling hills. Horses are grazing with their babies 100 ft. in front of you. It looks like its out of a movie.
The restaurant in La Mansion is a coverted Barn - its rustic and has a look of casual-comfortable. Open-air. Not formal fancy. The dinner which was included in our stay was surprisingly gourmet and delicious, but, with decent portions. You got a choice of appetizer (out of 2) , entree (out of 4) OR have Dessert (choice of 3) instead of App. The food was so good - we were thrilled as it was included. Wow. We had better meals here than when we ventured out. Had a good wine list too. The breakfast was crazy good!! It is also complementary and I honestly dont' know HOW they can offer this much and turn a profit! First, your given a silver platter of sliced tropical fruits, papaya, mango, pineapple, watermelon and cantelope. Then you get a basket of breads (warm) with butters/jams. A small cheese plate also accompanies this. Very european. Then, you get endless juice of choice and Coffee. Since I am a coffee person! I asked for a pot of coffee to leave with us at our table the first morning, rather than run the poor waitress ragged with my constant requests of refills. They happily put a thermos pot of coffee at our table every morning after, without asking. It was great. After all this food, they give you, a menu! You can order what you want. Sausage, bacon, omelettes, macadamia-banana pancakes! just too much to mention. I dont know how they do it. Everything is made to order and so fresh. A couple of mornings, I forgoed the menu breakfast as the fruit/breads/cheese were enough for me.
They have free high speed wireless internet in the back and front lobby area. There is a pool table in back . It has couches, flat screen tv, bar, and computer internet terminal available for free use if you do not have a laptop. I found it to be fast. My husband would sit in the front lobby couches which is open-air overlooking the lake & mountains while using his laptop. A little slower internet than the hard computer terminal offered, but was really pretty close fast-wise. People wrote in here that it was dial up but that is not true.
The owner Leo, from Belgium, was so accomodating. We had our own car so we didnt' need tour help, but I saw him help others cheerfully. He has lots of printed info. on Tours or you can drive into town for more tours offered. The tours will pick you up and drop you off at the Hotel if you do not have transporation. (for free) Leo went out of his way for every guest and he is truly, not only a good businessman, but a very gracious host. He made sure to follow-up on anything we asked. I see why his place has been so successful in over 21 years.
Overall, I have to say, that this place one in our top three places we've ever stayed on vacation. Period. I am in my late 40's and my husband is 52 and we thought this was just perfect atmosphere for us. I consider myself a bit of a tough critic (see my past reviews) and this place just made us feel so relaxed. It was a really nice hotel ...but also very casual, clean, comforable, - real, and what we wanted. We loved it so much, we decided to extend our stay to 7 nights (was suppose to move on after 5 nights but decided this was too good to beat and didn't want to take the chance) We also booked for next year before we left. La Mansion is for a people who likes the "real experience" - authentic costa rican and relaxing atmosphere. It is very natural atmosphere. It is higher-end, but not a flashy, fancy-scmancy and cookie-cutter hotel, so, if that is what you like, go to Tabacon. It is casual, comfortable, tranquil, quiet -but high-end in the same breath. Also make sure you hit the Eco Thermales hot springs - its so unassuming, perfect with natural hotsprings. Much quieter than Tabacon (which resembles a water park to me) at six flags. People crawling over you!
God, I can't wait to return next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This exclusive and luxurious Arenal hotel is located amidst overwhelming nature and tropical gardens on the scenic ARENAL LAKE. The inn is made up of 17 luxury boutique VILLAS of 1-3 bedrooms, all with their own private tropical gardens, terrace, AC, satellite TV, fridge and sweeping lake views. The Mansion Inn is the ideal starting point for the activities in the ARENAL and TENORIO area, like fishing, Hanging Bridges, Canopy, Selva Leona,Volcano Hike, Bird watching, Venado Caves, Rio Celeste...... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Mansion Inn Arenal Hotel Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal