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“Fabulous Lodge”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Fabulous Lodge”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I have stayed at this lodge three times while visiting Costa Rica. I have stayed in three separate types of rooms. They are all marvelous. The junior Suites have a full glass wall facing the volcano. It was amazing to wake up and watch Arenal erupt! The food is very good. The observation deck is really nice. Many hikes are offered. They are all great. We watched troops of monkeys from our balcony. Amazing place to stay!

Room Tip: All the rooms have a view of the volcano. If its erupting on the observatory side, the Junior Suites...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Beth T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kalama, WA
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

Arenal Observatory has a spectacular setting with all rooms facing the mountain; the lodge sits alone without any places nearby. The rooms are nice, grounds beautiful, and plenty of trails and adjacent farm roads provide all the bird and animal watching you might desire. The mountain itself is currently inactive . . . but still impressive.

Because the lodge is somewhat isolated you'll probably use the restaurant and that is the downside. Edible but poorly prepared (ex. cold mashed potatoes, cold cooked vegetables, tasteless food, etc) at tourist prices. A "soda" with Tico food would have been huge improvement.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Thales29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherbrooke, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

We booked two nights there because lonely planet told us there wasn't a day in the last 2 years that you could not see lava from the arenal volcano. And friends told us that seeing the lava at night was worth the price for the arenal lodge...

We were disappointed to learn that lonely planet is outdated on that one. I don't think we would have spent that much money knowing that... but this is not the problem of arenal lodge !!!

The rooms were very very clean... we are used to small hostels ! The view of the volcano (even not active) and the birds were great. The restaurant is good, the pool and jacuzzi are great, the trail going to cerro chato lagoon was amazing !

Well... nice hotel in this price range. For budget traveller thinking it is worth the price to see lava at night, get more up to date informations than us before booking ;-)

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank zosianne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

The hotel is about 30 minutes drive from La Fortuna and part of it is a dirt road. We had a good car so the drive wasn't an issue.
We stayed in the Smithsonian room. The view was spectacular as promised, the room was specious and well equipped.
The location is unbeatable. we took a few hikes right outside the lodge and saw plenty of monkeys and beautiful birds.
Breakfast was nice and included in the room cost. Dinner however was expensive and the food was average. The service was nice and the staff here was very accommodating to our special needs for our kid's meal.
The hotel has a nice pool with a great Jacuzzi. Too bad that the second building blocks some of the volcano views from the pool.
All in all, its a great place and well worth the money.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank FamilytripCostaRica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

We stayed here February 2013. It was one of my favorite places we went to. We did not have a car and planned on hiking. The grounds are fabulous. Lots of trails, waterfalls, cloudforest, wild life. We climbed Cerro Chato, the trailhead is on the grounds. Great hike up to the top, then down to the crater lake. Everyone was swimming in the lake so we joined it...Incredible! Loads of wildlife. Lots of birders were their with cameras and lots of large lenses. Our room had a Lake Arenal view, which we loved. The volcano is right behind the lodge big as life. A perfect cone shape unlike the Hawaii volcanoes we have seen. We were room 41, and it was quite a hike from the reception area to our room. We had backpacks so it was OK, but if you have luggage get a shuttle from the top. Breakfast was included, typical CR menu...fruit, eggs, toast and pinto de gallo. We are vegetarian so the menu was limited for us. The kitchen could really step it up. They have a captive audience and the food was mediocre..almost cafeteria grade. They reheated yesterdays hot dogs and put them our for breakfast. UGH! The staff and service was impecable. The pool and hot tub with volcanoe views was a added plus. Would have loved to stay longer.

Room Tip: Lakeview rooms require hike down a steep path, about 1km or .5 mile. It is a heart pounder in the m...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank mary alyce o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

This hotel is special. It is the only one to be in the national park of arenal. All the room face the volcano. If you have a clear view you will be able to see the volcano. I realy recommand to do the trail. I was able to saw the waterfalls.
If you want to see toucan, the best way is to stay on the balcony. Dont leave your door open because you will have a lot of bugs in the room.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank windfl0wer4576
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We highly recommend this hotel. Our room had a beautiful view of the volcano. Being in the park is great, however, the road coming in is unpaved so be prepared for a bumpy ride. We took the evening lava tour and the complimentary morning hike both with Christian as our guide. Christian was very knowledgeable about nature and was able to find wildlife that we would have never found on our own. The tour of the site of the 1968 eruption is fascinating and was the highlight of our visit.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank amber2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
erickht, Public Relations Manager at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, February 22, 2013
Thank you all for your candid comments. We are working hard to improve our rooms, exteriors and many others facilities.
As we are nestled in the middle of the rain forest, you will be immersed in the natural environment, away from the busy life... stay in touch with the sounds of the nature.

We will be more than happy to be your host in Arenal Volcano!!!
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Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Property: Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Address: 23 Km West of La Fortuna City Center, Located at the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main Road to Arenal National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 75 Specialty Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. Located within the Arenal Conservation Area and surrounded by rainforests and nature, AOL sits on an 870 acres property, which consists of 400 acres of reforestation, 270 acres of natural forest and 200 acres of cultivated land. The hotel offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall or to explore Cerro Chato (an extinct volcano with a small lake in the crater), horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA. The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as the Cano Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. It also serves as a very interesting stop before heading on to Monteverde Cloud Forest or to the beaches of the Pacific coast. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service, and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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