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“We would stay here again just for the restaurant staff!”
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 6, 2012

My husband and I stayed here during our first two nights in Costa Rica, and as others stated, the rooms are a bit dated, but we would still return here again simply for the restaurant staff.
There were two main guys that always seemed to be working during our stay here; Johnathan & Caesar (Or at least those are the names they gave to us). Caesar was the older guy (Another person described him as looking like Obama), and Johnathan, a dark haired middle aged gentleman, who seemed to work around the clock. Johnathan was absolutely amazing, and I cannot say enough about his hospitality. I am surprised to read in other reviews, that not everyone got the same great service.
We visited the restaurant several times during our stay, but on our last morning there, we missed breakfast by an hour (We ended up having our watch set to Seattle time, not Costa Rica time). Johnathan was more than understanding, and even though it was our own fault, he had some breakfast made up specially for us, and didn't even charge us (And we weren't expecting anything for free). My husband and I both work in the hotel industry, and he is truly someone who we would want working for us. It isn't always the amenities a hotel offers, but the customer service that will keep people coming back.
That being said, there are other things that the hotel is lacking. They offer a computer with internet for use in their lobby, but it is so old and dated, that it doesn't even work. Don't waste your time. Also, the refrigerator in the room needed a good cleaning (We were in the family suite), and bugs seemed to attract to certain spots of the room, where they would pile up. Gross, but by the time it was a real issue, we were already checking out. Lastly, we visited their butterfly garden (If you can even call it that), and it seems the hotel has abandoned it. There were no butterflies, and I don't think an actual person had been in there in quite some time.
All in all, this hotel just needs a little TLC, and it would be wonderful. Especially great for families, as there is so much to do on property, and they have such large suites available.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lindsay H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 25, 2012

We stayed at the Arenal Lodge for 4 nights and for the most part had a great time. As stated in some of the other reviews, the place is a little dated but it did add to some of the uniqueness of the place. We traveled with another couple and I have to admit that the 3 1/2 hour trip from the airport at Liberia was a long way, after having to spend 4 1/2 hours in the plane, but our driver was very informative and it helped to pass the time. We got a free upgrade to the Honeymoon Suite due to overbooking while our friends got the volcano view room at the lodge. We had more room than they did but we were both satisfied. The rooms were neat and clean with the maid service doing a great job. The hotel sits on about 6000 acres and has a large portion of this in rain forest. You can roam about on foot on many of the cobble stone trails in the forest or you can take the guided tour provided by the hotel. The tour with their guide Miguel is a must while there. He also doubles as the the trail guide while on horse back which is another freebee while staying there. He does a wonderful job on both and I hope that the owners of Arenal Lodge realize how lucky they are to have him. Access to La Fortuna is a little bit of a problem due to having to take a taxi which cost us $30 each way but we only did this once due to the rest of the time doing tours.

The only real negative thing about Arenal Lodge was the waiters at the restaurant. The food was good but the service provided went from okay the first night to down right rude by the time we left. I have no idea what we did to run afoul of the normally great Costa Rican pleasant disposition as we tipped well and tried to be friendly up until the last day when we finally gave up. Only one of them treated us with a smile the whole time we were there. Because of this I gave it the poor rating for service.

We traveled here at our Travel Agents suggestion and I would probably suggest the place to others we know but the things that we liked about the place may be a turn off to other vacationers.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Garyheim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2012

After driving four hours to Arenal we finally got to the hotel. The road up to the hotel was always fun for us, we put on the indiana jones theme song going up or down! Every once in a while we would turn off the headlights at night going up, scary but fun.
When we got to the hotel they had us in the wrong room. We were supposed to have the family room, but she wanted to give us one suite case the family room was taken. Ummm No. The reason I booked the family room was because we each wanted our own bed. After explaining this she gave us another room. Two days later, when we moved to the family suite I wanted to go back to the other rooms.. The family suite is large, but the place smelled of urine. One of the rooms didnt have AC and it was musty. Apparently an animal came in from the rain and made himself at home. When I returned to the front desk to ask to go back to our old rooms, she almost said no, but Miguel interjected and said anything to make us happy. Good thing too, because when I went back to get my things we found out there was a leak in the roof. It was a bit of a hassle, but it wasn't that big of a deal.
Miguel is the guy who does the nature walk and the horse back ridding. You do have to sign up at the front desk for this, you cant just show up. Miguel is very knowledgeable and answered all our questions during the walk. I guess we must have been asking so many questions that he took extra time to show us things; like letting an ant bite his skin!! So cool.. I think Miguel was one of the best things about this hotel.

We went to dinner at the restaurant and the waiter we had (the one that looks like obama) was kinda rude and unpleasant. We wish we had the other one who seemed really nice and upbeat. The free breakfast was nice, especially the buffet.

Overall I would stay here again, maybe not so many days. Just enough to do a nature walk and horseback ride with Miguel.

Room Tip: Dont get the family room.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Csustudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2012

Just checked out of Arenal Lodge after a 2 day stay.
The property is extensive so take advantage of the guided hike. My husband took the complimentary horse back ride and said it was very good and he enjoyed seeing the entire property. We did not have a drop of rain but also did not see much wildlife other then the beautiful birds they feed on the back deck.
The negative was the hotel itself. It was a bit run down and no wifi in rooms. The lighting in the rooms is very dim.
After saying that , I must mention the restaurant is very good and comp breakfast is good.

Room Tip: The junior suites are comfortable.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Tess1m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2012

We booked a family suite for the 3 of us. The first suite we were given was already occupied, and so we went back to the desk for a new room. The next suite was not very clean, spider webs in the second bedroom, 2 cups and 2 glasses for the entire suite, air conditioner didn't work, a large brown stain in the 2nd bathroom tub/shower. There was no refrigerator or microwave in the suite, although the room description says that they are included. We eventually got the air conditioner fixed and they brought us more glasses and cups, however the refrigerator or microwave never showed up. The room service meal ( burgers and frys) was marginal, but the server was very promt and pleasant. My wife asked for an adjustment on the bill when we checked out because of the problems and missing items, but they said they would give us a 30% discount on the room service bill, about $9US dollars. The breakfast buffet was pretty good and the staff was friendly and helpful. I think that this was once a great hotel, but is now being neglected and not well maintained. The front desk was not very helpful and indifferent to our concerns and issues. We would never stay here again, nor recommend it to anyone.

Room Tip: Don't book a room here.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank skip f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2012

We visited Arenal Volcano Lodge and were very impressed with the gardens, the hotel was very quiet as we were there in low season but the gardens had so much wild life.
We were traveling with a baby and the staff at the hotel really did make sure that we were confortable and the quick service in the restaurant made the evening a lot easier.
The hotel is beatiful and the view from the pool is excellent.
La Fortuna has a lot of tourism and this hotel is nice that it is away from all of that..

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Justjana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2012

We spent 4 days at Arenal Lodge earlier this week. The grounds are beautiful. There are flowers and exotic birds everywhere. The hotel is set on 2,000 acres. If you enjoy the outdoors, this is the place. There are hiking trails into the rain forest (done in paving bricks, no less...) There was a free guided nature tour into the forest which ended at the hotel's own enclosed butterfly garden. The free horseback riding was also guided with spectacular view of the volcano and lake below. The food in the restaurant was delicious. We ate there several times and there was nothing we had which we would not have ordered again. The morning buffet was extensive including made to order omlettes if you like. Our room was a bit careworn. WIFI is only available in the lobby and the hotel is a tad isolated, but that should not be an issue unless you intend to go back and forth into town frequently. We did not really find it an issue. However, the staff was great and we still had a great experience. Would go back again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Brian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenal Lodge

Address: 200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 1250, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: $80 - $174 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Lodge provides guests with the excitement of staying in an authentic rainforest lodge with breathtaking panoramic views of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Guests will enjoy a casual and relaxed rustic lodge setting with the added value of a complimentary breakfast daily. Located on 2000-acres of beautiful tropical rainforest, the lodge is situated near Arenal Volcano National Park. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest - housing hundreds of exotic birds, small animals and the beautiful tropical flowers and trees of Costa Rica. and is its own local tourist attraction due to its exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. The lodge features a full service restaurant with local and international cuisine, gift shop, three heated outdoor Jacuzzis, an infinite edge swimming pool, walking trails, a butterfly garden, horseback riding, a game room and outdoor playground for children, fitness room, sauna, and free wireless high speed internet access. Guest rooms and suites feature cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, clock radio, and all have private baths. Complimentary crib and wheel chair are available on request. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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