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“Very hospitable bed and breakfast”
Review of Chalet Nicholas

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Chalet Nicholas
Ranked #7 of 13 Nuevo Arenal B&B and Inns
Reviewed May 2, 2010

We stayed at Chalet Nicholas for 6 nights. Catherine and John were very hospitable hosts who made you feel so at home. They had lots of helpful suggestions and were most knowleadgable with facts about the Costa Rica, especially about the surrounding area. We loved their great danes. They welcomed us every night we came home after our daily outings. It felt like we had found the garden of Eden, with the beautiful gardens of flowers and the patio where we could sit on the rocking chairs outside with a cup of coffee in hand and watch the vast variety of birds. At the back of the house there is a vast forest where you can go hiking and hear the howler monkeys. The rooms are very cozy and comfortable. They are located about a 45 minute drive from La Fortuna, but the drive is very scenic and the town of Neuvo Arenal is just a few minutes drive. The town has a wonderful restaurant called Moyas that we frequented during our stay. The breakfasts that were served each morning were exsquisite with fresh fruit and a variety of fresh fruit juices, along with a variety of bread and either their wonderful macadamia nut pancakes or an omelet or scrambled eggs, along with the typical gallo pinto which is a rice and beans dish that is typical here in Costa Rica - and of course a great cup of coffee to start the day. Our next visit to Costa Rica will most certainly include another stay with Catherine and John. It will be like coming back to visit friends.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank GrandmaG58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 - 76 of 106 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2010

We really enjoyed our stay. Cathy and John are warm, friendly, and an excellent source of information about the area. They can provide all kinds of information about local restaurants, sights to see, etc. We also enjoyed a personal tour of the beautiful hotel property. There is plenty of wildlife and interesting flora to see right on the grounds of Chalet Nicholas! We loved the view of the volcano from our room.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank ChrisDezSB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2010

The place is beautiful, nice view of the lake and owners are very friendly. The breakfast was very average. It's great to wake up to the sound of the rainforest.
Unrelated to the hotel, there is not very much to do in the town. If you're young and/or looking for nightlife or a fun vacation this is not the place to stay, it's more of a family place. It's about a half hour drive to the companies that rent kiteboard and windsurfing equipment.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank MilColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2010

You begin by driving up a steep, rainforest lined path which then opens up to an inviting, cozy chalet with beautiful views of Lake Arenal, the rainforest and on clear days, Arenal Volcano. You're greeted by three Great Danes who must have been trained by the Dog Whisperer, they're so well- behaved. Next, further greetings by your hosts, John and Catherine. They are originally from New York and traded that life for pura vida. As Catherine explains, they are surrounded with natural beauty, eat organic, delicious food (fruits are gathered from their property and served with breakfast), breathe clean air, drink pure water and enjoy the company of locals and fellow expats living a low-stress lifestyle. What's not to love! If you choose this location, you'll enjoy a great breakfast of fresh fruit juices, fruit, pancakes or omlettes and wonderful Costa Rican coffee. John is then available to take you on a guided tour of their property where we saw and heard! howler monkeys, leaf-cutter ants, morpho butterflies, many birds (blue-gray tanagers, kiskadees, hummingbirds, aracaris, Montezuma orapendolas) and more! The best way to start the day is to rise early and sip coffee on the front porch while enjoying the multiple birds feeding at the posts covered with bananas. We spent time by the lake, driving and enjoying the mountain views, dining at delicious, inexpensive local restaurants and heading over to Arenal Volcano to hike the old lava beds and enjoy the wonderful volcanic hot springs.
Now, if you are looking for an upscale resort with all the amenities, this may not be for you. However, this is a great choice if you value authenticity and an intimate, natural environment with an emphasis on sustainability as well as warm hosts (our luggage decided to arrive a few days after we did, no problem, Catherine and John provided us with clothes, swim wear, sunblock, etc.!). Chalet Nicholas and it's hosts gently reminded us to slow down and enjoy life. I may just forget and need to return!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank lifeasart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2010

This small and intimate B&B is owned and operated by John and Catherine Nicholas who built the house and landscaped their extensive acreage about 20 years ago. The lush, tropical foliage is a mecca for dozens of varieties of birds and you can sit on the long front porch in comfy rocking chairs and watch them for hours. Catherine's breakfasts are fabulous, John's hike through their bordering rainforest shouldn't be missed and the view of both the lake and volcano on clear days is amazing. The dogs are pretty wonderful, too! Drives to the volcano, the hot springs and the zip line at Arenal are easy and pretty.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank TripFran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2010

We just returned from a week in Costa Rica, and had the pleasure of starting our trip at the Chalet Nicholas. The owners, Cathy and John, could not have been more hospitable. John gave us a private tour of the property and adjoining wildlife area. They made several recommendations of attractions to visit in the area, and every one was a 100% hit. The breakfasts were so good we never needed lunch while we were there. And the Great Danes were totally lovable. Definitely a great place to stay.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank RobinMadison_WI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2010

From the moment we first drove up the beautiful drive surrounded with flowers and the smell of oranges from the fruit trees, we loved Chalet Nicholas. We immediately felt right at home with Cathy and John and even on our first trip they felt like family and made us feel that way too! During our trips to Chalet Nicholas over the years we added to our family and increased by 3. Cathy and John have always made the trips special for our children. Our children have grown very close to them and call them "Mimi and Papu", their "Costa Rican Grandparents". We have traveled all over Cost Rica and Chalet Nicholas is still the highlight of our trips. We first stayed at Chalet Nicholas in 1993 and were amazed with the friendly hospitality and service we recieved. Chalet Nicholas is beautiful and relaxing offering one of the most spectacular views of Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano you will find in the area. It backs up to a beautiful National Park where we have taken many hikes and seen numerous monkeys and a variety of amazing birds. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and very relaxing. We have had some of our best night sleep at Chalet Nicholas only to be awakened by the sounds of birds singing. We always enjoy the personal horseback tours throughout the area and rainforest where we see monkeys up close and a number of birds. We have been deep into the Amazon and saw much more during our stays at Chalet Nicholas than we ever did in the Amazon. We much prefer to stay at Chalet Nicholas and drive the short scenic drive to the Hot Springs instead of staying at a hotel near the Hot Springs. Chalet Nicholas is located in our favorite area of Costa Rica and has so much to offer. We have returned 15 times since 1993 and have taken family and friends which have all said it was their best trip ever! The beauty of Chalet Nicholas, the owner's (Cathy and John Nicholas), Lucas who has worked for Cathy and John since we first visited, the delicious and filling breakfasts Cathy makes from all fresh ingredients, the abundance of many species of flowers and wildlife, and the setting over looking Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano makes Chalet Nicholas a rare find and a memory that will last a life time. We will be returning this year and can hardly wait. We continue to recommend Chalet Nicholas as one of our favorite places in the world and we have traveled to many places and several countries. If you are looking for all these things with personalized and friendly service with owners that can educate you on the area and Costa Rica, then Chalet Nicholas is the place. It is rare to find accommodations that offer so much and it is one of a kind in Costa Rica. We know, because we have travelled all over Costa Rica. We highly recommend Chalet Nicholas as one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica! Tom, Dana, Jordan, Lauren, and Kristen (Houston, Texas)

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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Thank TomDana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chalet Nicholas

Address: Rte 142 | 2km west of Nuevo Arenal, Nuevo Arenal 50807, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nuevo Arenal
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Nuevo Arenal
Price Range: $63 - $75 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Chalet Nicholas 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chalet Nicholas, a non-smokers only establishment, is currently recommended by many guide books, including Fodor's, Frommer's Guide to Costa Rica, National Geographic and the Lonely Planet. In addition, Chalet Nicholas was given a rare ecology award for sustainable tourism by The New Key to Costa Rica, and is a member of the Costa Rican Bed and Breakfast Association. Founded 1992 at Lake Arenal with Beautiful Tropical Gardens and Spectacular birding. The chalet has a front yard view of the lake, side view of Volcano Arenal, and back yard hiking trail in the protected rain forest with visiting howler monkeys often heard from the house and seen on hiking tours. John takes guests on a Free Guided one-hour Hike right out of the back yard in an old growth rainforest down to a jungle river with the great danes - everybody appreciates this Cathy and John can recommend any extra fun activities like hot springs, horseback, wind surfing, kayaking, canopy tours, and delicious meals at local restaurants which are all nearby. Directions will be provided. As a bonus, it has comfortable beds with orthopedic mattresses, private baths, and plenty of hot water and towels. Many of the guests said this was their favorite place to stay during their trip. COME AS STRANGERS, LEAVE AS FRIENDS. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chalet Nicholas Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal

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