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“Had a great stay!”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
harlan ia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
“Had a great stay!”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

The property was great! Well maintained, clean, and all of the staff was more than happy to help with anything. The food was average and a little expensive though. It balances out though because the rooms are reasonable. I stayed in the Casonas, if I go back I will be staying on the main property instead. The walk was nice at first, but it got old.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank mike w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Florida
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We stayed 2 nights here in 2 adjacent Smithsonian rooms (handicapped) that have stupendous views of the volcano. It is a short walk to the restaurant, lobby and reception but importantly there are no stairs to and from these rooms. This is a beautiful property and the location is fabulous. Take advantage of the daily guided nature hike. The restaurant was pretty good but a bit of a disappointment. The breakfast included is good but average. All staff I dealt with were very courteous and helpful. There is no A/C but with the ceiling fans and altitude it was fine, although humid.

Room Tip: There are several buildings spread out over the property and many require a lot of stairs to get to...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank FloridaKittygal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashua, New Hampshire, United States
Level Contributor
87 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

The hotel is like an AMC lodge that is run by Hilton. The views are fabulous as is the peaceful atmosphere. The wildlife is right off your balcony. I was mesmerized by hummingbirds, butterflies, toucans, and yellow bellied flycatchers with the most amazing songs. We loved spending peaceful mornings walking the trails to return and have a great buffet breakfast.
The restaurant has a great view and the staff are pleasant, helpful and enthusiastic. The food ..... lets just say it will not make you sick but if you can get back to La Fortuna there are much better and more affordable options. Look into booking trips yourself do not limit yourself to what the hotel offers we found them to be constantly 5-10 us dollars per person more than booking ourselves.
Do not use the hotel laundry, go into La Fortuna - 5 days worth of laundry for a family of 4 washed, dried and folded for $20 us dollars - much better than the per piece price at the hotel

Room Tip: the free hike is a very nice into to the area the breakfast is Excellent do not eat their dinner u...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sue L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davis, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2013

We stayed at Arenal Obs Lodge 20 years ago when it was much smaller, and there were 2 rivers to ford en route. Back then, the active volcano was the main attraction, but it remains a great place for watching wildlife, and is an easy drive to many other attractions (horse riding, hot springs, ziplining, canopy bridges, etc). We were worried because we were traveling in the rainy season, and reviews had mentioned terrible roads. We found the roads to be absolutely fine - didn't come close to needing the 4WD, despite getting doused with heavy rain. There are now bridges over the rivers and the road, although dirt, is fine. The lodge is very nice, with great views and lovely grounds - a beautiful location. People pay a day rate just to walk the grounds (bird and wildlife watching). We were greeted by a small group of spider monkeys, then awoken at dawn by a troop of howler monkeys. There were great curassow wandering in the garden. The pool and hot tub were a welcome surprise - both relatively large, and beautifully maintained. You can bird watch for hours from your balcony. We were also pleasantly surprised by the full, yummy buffet breakfast (included in the room price). The lunch/dinner menu is a little limited, and a little pricey, but not outrageous. The food was solid - great ceviche. Laundry was very expensive - save it for elsewhere.

Room Tip: Smithsonian rooms are worth the small premium. Get a room with a view for sure.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank vicki l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plano, Texas
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Arenal Obs Lodge was recommended to me by two visitors for the best view of the volcano. They offer a free tour of the volcano, free breakfast, and the staff is very nice. Wifi and TV is only available from the lobby until 10 PM (fyi - availability is sufficient), the rooms are basic, and the beds are uncomfortable. You can hear the beauty of nature all night long and I woke up to the pleasantry of the howling monkey. For scenery, this hotel is a 10, for accommodations, this hotel is a 6.5, but the value is excellent.

Room Tip: The Smithsonian room is a direct view of the volcano
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Dataqueen333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Our large family stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge and had a wonderful time. We booked the entire White Hawk Villa as well as one Standard Room in the lodge. All the rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious. The free breakfast at the lodge restaurant was hearty and very good. Esteban at the front desk was enormously helpful in planning our activities in the area, and Clever was a kind, thoughtful employee we couldn't have lived without!

The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and don't miss the nature walks and other hikes on the property. The hiking trails are awesome, and the pool is larger than in appears in the pictures. The views are absolutely unbelievable, and the lodge is much closer to the volcano than the other hotels in La Fortuna.

Be prepared for a bit of a drive into town from this location. Also, the White Hawk Villa is further from the lodge than 800 meters (which is what the website said.) We were prepared for a walk, but it ended up being quite the trek every day from the main lodge to the villa with two little kids. It is not lit, and we were not told to bring flashlights-- a MUST if you are staying in the villa. It would be awesome if the lodge provided a golf cart or something for going back and forth. Also, the villa is HUGE and I wish they would have allowed my entire family (10 adults and 2 small children) to stay in the villa rather than purchasing another room.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Kris6526
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spanish Fork, Utah, United States
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2013 via mobile

Arsenal is a must see in Costa Rica. This lodge sits at the base of the volcano. When the clouds part and the sun comes out the view is truely breathtaking. Definitely do the SkyTram and Zipline. It was an experience of a life time. I will definitely be visiting again.

  • Stayed May 2013
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Helpful?
Thank Julles B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 68 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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