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“Beautiful and scenic”
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
San Jose, California, United States
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Beautiful and scenic”
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed for couple of days at the Arenal Lodge. The lodge is located on top of the mountain and it was scenic and beautiful. The rooms (I think we were in the Junior suite) were nice, with microwave, coffee machine. They had a good breakfast. The lunch and dinner menu could have been better, especially for vegetarians. Water pressure in the shower was not great, but I guess thats true for most places in CR>Best of all, the room came along with complimentary hike with a guide and a horse riding trip which the kids enjoyed very much. Will deftly stay in this place again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Madhu K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Westchester New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Here is the bullet point summary

• I never mentioned to my travel agent that I liked camping or that I was on a limited budget. Why this was a choice only my travel agent can answer. He clearly was not looking out for what the customer wanted. This was the most basic of conditions aside from camping (with the only exception being that it had a nice garden- But we don’t sleep in the garden!). So to put me in a place with virtually no comfort, nothing to do during times when not eating and not on an excursion and being far away from everything, made no sense and like I mentioned above, my family was not alone. The furniture was old and uncomfortable. It was damp and dingy and I was checked into a room without air conditioning when I was promised air conditioning (I can show emails exchanged). This was honestly the first time my family put clothes on to go to sleep. I will not comment on weather because the Arenal Lodge can’t control that. However, being informed that your chances of continuous rain based on this location and possibly not having a view because of the weather this mountain is likely to get, would have been nice to know. Also, they were unable to fix the bulbs in the room that were not working.

The Common Areas:
• 2 couches with cushions were the only comfortable seating in the entire place.
• They had one Board Game (combined Checker/Chess set)
• 1 old dated Pool Table
• Old musty dining room
• 2 computers with internet when it decides to work
• Very small and very cold pool.
• 2 Hot Tubs that were not hot
• The food at Arenal Lodge to be fair, was OK. However, considering most of Costa Rica has excellent food, relatively speaking it was not as good as all our other meals.
I had many conversations with locals, it rains all the time and what I mentioned above is all the Arenal Lodge has to offer in your “Down Time” when the weather is not cooperating or when it is dark (starting at about 5:45 PM (Christmas through New Years).

Location:
• If this was a full service Luxury Resort, the location would not be an issue. For example, we spent time at The Springs Hotel. At The Springs, it wouldn’t matter that you are far away because you are in a pleasant environment with many options for eating, activities and comfort. Once you turn in, it is 12-15 minutes up and down the mountain to get to the main road. People indicating less or advising 20 minutes to Fortuna did not time it. I did.
• This is the furthest hotel from all excursions. On each excursion, we were the first pickup and last dropoff. On certain excursions, add an hour each way on to the trip.
• Fortuna takes 30 minutes to get to and is a $30 taxi ride plus $5 for tip.
• Whether you know it or not, being at Arenal Lodge, you are paying extra for transportation because of the location to most excursions.

Room Tip: If you are not comfortable with camping, don't stay here. Individuals that discuss views, that...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank R J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

A great lodge in terms of view and rustic Costa Rican experience. The winding, uphill drive to the lodge isn't exactly a short drive but it is definitely unique. Our chalet had a great floor to ceiling window but there were issues with the bathroom and safety deposit box. The restaurant and the infinity pool (although small) looked right onto the volcano. We were lucky enough to have an afternoon of sunshine so we were able to take advantage of the free tours offered by the lodge, as well as the chance to see the beautiful volcano. We also got to see the infamous Costa Rican frogs with the red eyes and green skin that you see in all the postcards, as well as a variety of other animals around the lodge.

The tour guide (whose name I sadly do not remember), was the guide for both the rainforest walking tour as well as the horse riding tour. He was extremely knowledgeable about the forest, the history of the lodge, and all things Costa Rica. The horse riding tour especially was really great - definitely take advantage of it and sign up early since they only have 6 horses and it fills up fast!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ineffluence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chilliwack, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 1, 2013

We quite enjoyed our time in Arenal and La Fortuna, however it was for the peolpe and the tours, the hotel itself was the worst hotel we stayed on our trip to Costa Rica. We rented one of the chalets and were close to horrified when we opened the door. We were traveling with 3 younger kids (9, 7, and 4) and arrived to find the "chalet" was just a larger double room with 2 double beds not the 2 bedroom we were led to believe. The place is outdated by 30 years and has had very little done to it in that time, our windows all leaked and when you are in the rainforest that is not a good thing. We woke up to puddles on our floors every morning, ants contantly and the kitchenette is not at all a kitchenette. Ours consisted of a microwave, a broken fridge, a two cup coffee pot and no utensils or plates. Kinda lacking, The lady at the Jacobar tour desk was amazing and definately reccomend the La Negro refuge tour, our guide Alberto was fantastic! All in all would go back to Arenal but never Arenal Lodge!

Room Tip: NOT AT THIS HOTEL! There are lots of better than average hotels in the area but I did not inquire o...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CanucksAbr0ad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
azle tx
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

I read all the reviews for this hotel and I can tell you that the poor reviews probably came from the "Travel & Leisure" crowd. If you are looking for wifi connections or trendy furniture STAY HOME! If however you want to see toucans eating pear-apples, a coati who joins you on the balcony for happy hour, a macaw that flies into the open air lobby daily- PLEASE COME. We took full advantage of all this hotel had to offer. It began with a juice cocktail greeting at check-in. Then we did the free horseback riding (in the rain-they provided ponchos for us) with the resident naturalist (gave him a big tip). The resident naturalist also gives hikes on this 200 acre resort. We hiked the mile long trail to Arenal Lodge's secret water garden (amazing)- follow signs to butterfly hut- but keep going. (Ask at desk how to get to the trail head- this hike was great!). The wait staff was great. We ate dinner one night and the fish was cooked perfectly. We hung out at the bar and in the lobby and met some fun people and then retired to our porch rocking chairs to view the volcano. We took advantage of the jacuzzi that was plenty hot and the robes they provided were a nice touch. Sure the rooms are old and the furniture dated- sure the road down to the town takes 20-30 minutes- but I came to Costa Rica to get away- not to have all the conveniences of home. I would stay there again and I hope that the people who gave it poor ratings are NOT there.

Room Tip: If there are just 2 of you ask for the lodge jr. suites to get a balcony with rocking chairs viewing...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank redAzleTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012

Stayed there with our 16 and 17 year old sons. The rooms were sterile, poor sound baffling, one of the toilets smelled bad, uncomfortable beds, dark lighting. The pool is not heated. They heat the jacuzzi when asked, saying it would only take 30 minutes. After 1 hour it still was not 100F. We waited some more, just as we were getting ready, another family went in. Since it is a small jacuzzi we didn't feel comfortable squeezing in.... And by the time they got out it was dark. We went on the hike with the very nice guide Miguel (!) and saw 2 frogs and tarantula legs in their caves. The bar man made a nice Piña Colada. People were friendly.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Swisskat2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2012

My wife and father-in-law were traveling in Costa Rica and staying at a B&B near Manuel Antonio when one of the other lodgers recommended this hotel. The woman was a corporate travel planner and had been around the world and couldn't stop raving about the place. A few hours later, we were at the doorstep of the Arenal Lodge and booked a 2 night stay, sipping the complimentary drink received upon check in that is customary in Costa Rica.

We got a deal on the room and settled in for the night. The rooms are fine. I'm not sure what other people wanted to get. This is Costa Rica, not New York, and certain expectations need to be reset. I found the wood paneling and manual key entries charming, a throwback to the rustic cabin life of not too long ago. There was a patio set on the deck overlooking (what would be) the volcano, the pool, and the restaurant deck, complete with a swinging chair. We sat out there with our drinks and books for a couple hours each night listening to the rain and the frogs. Other rooms were up on the hill with (what would be) spectacular views of the volcano and the lake.

It's hard to say, though, if we would've stayed here if it was easier to leave. The hotel is 15 minutes past the last hotel in La Fortuna and another 5-10 minutes (depending on the road condition and weather) up the stone road that winds its way around the mountain. If you aren't comfortable with your manual transmission, this isn't the place to learn. The math boils down to about 45 minutes round trip to town and back. This factored into a decision not to get dinner in town. After a day at the Baldi Hot Springs, we thought we'd go into town for dinner, but it rained so terribly that we decided to head back to the hotel instead so as not to get stuck in the downpour. If we were at a closer hotel, we would've gone out for the night.

So therein lies the tradeoff. The hotel itself is self-sufficient in every way. You don't have to leave it. Unless you want to. And then it's hard to do so. So, if you're looking for what amounts to an all-inclusive room (it's not really as everything is extra except for breakfast) this will be good for you. If you want to be closer to the action, you might want to consider something in town or at least closer to town. You may also notice throughout this review I have (what would be) in parenthesis. It rained all 3 days we were there and our only glimpse of Arenal was about 10 minutes where we could see 1/3 up the side of the mountain. Add that Arenal itself is now dormant as of 2010, and the rumbling, magma-dribbling, smoke hurling sights are no longer there. I don't think that changes the view of the hotel or even the area, but it is something to consider before heading all this way.

Room Tip: All of the rooms except the low 20's require a walk to get to the restaurant, pool, and jacuzzi...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank anita-msp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenal Lodge

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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