We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Fabulous setting, service poor”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 9 more sites!
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
UK
Level Contributor
22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Fabulous setting, service poor”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2014 via mobile

We enjoyed 3 nights at this stunning lodge as part of a family trip. We booked a La Casona room which was beautiful with views over the lake. Note this does have a shared bathroom and is 500m from the main building.

The setting was truly stunning; views of Lake Arenal, Arenal Volcano, trails through the rainforest, a hanging bridge to the swimming pool and jacuzzi and decks perfect for those who wanted to watch the wildlife.

I would recommend this hotel for the setting, but the service could be much better.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
Thank debandjimUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,887 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    1,038
    634
    162
    38
    15
See reviews for
534
916
43
4
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (382)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2014

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park – 5 out of 5
Met by white-nosed Coatimundis which was a thrill. Although the volcano wore veils of cloud while we were there the shared anticipation on the restaurant terrace when the top nearly cleared was rather fun. And you can always watch the amazing birds on the feeding table or relax in the open air heated jacuzzi. We’d splashed out on a Smithsonian room – v. exciting to have an active volcano just outside the window. And a very comfortable place. Excellent free guided tour with a local volcanologist who told us great stories about the living mountain as well as finding us a tamandua (climbing anteater) and a very well camouflaged eyelash palm pit viper – always stick to the paths! Only wish we could have turned down the volume button on some of the North American guests…

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Dee365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2014 via mobile

We decided to book our first three nights here whilst visiting Costa Rica. I can truly say our stay here was fantastic. The hotel is a bit off the beaten track, which attracted us in the first place. The hotel really is secluded in the jungle. The jungle trails and grounds here are beautiful. The staff were super friendly and helpful. The guide Christian was most knowledgeable and took us on some great hiking tours. Plenty of wildlife to see here! The casona's were very cosy and a great price. I could not fault the food or drink either. Very reasonably priced. I would definately come back here.

  • Stayed May 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Crossfire04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walkerton, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2014

We stayed here for 3 nights in April. The road in to the hotel was as we expected, but definitely worth the slow, bumpy drive! We ate at the restaurant each night we stayed as it was a bit far to drive in to La Fortuna, but we were never disappointed. The food was very reasonably priced and delicious. There was a good selection of Chilean wines as well. The views were fabulous.

The hiking trails were definitely the highlight of the trip. Each morning we woke up and went hiking, either to the waterfall or to watch the monkeys swing from tree to tree. It was pretty much a guarantee to see a troop of monkeys on La Formiga trail. Absolutely incredible watching them in the wild. The landscaping was well done throughout the property, gorgeous flowers everywhere.

The staff were all very friendly and accommodating. As well, the pool and jacuzzi were well kept, and most times we were the only guests using the facilities.

The lodge was a great combination of rest and relaxation in the middle of the rainforest, yet also included lots of options for activity. Definitely something for everyone here.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Shelby C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2014

Stayed here our first 3 nights in Costa Rica. Wow! If you want to have the best view of Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano, stay here! You are surrounded by the rainforest and the property has about 10 miles of hiking/walking trails..including an entrance to hike Cerra Chato for free.

The breakfast is free and the lunch and dinner prices are very reasonable. There is a bar and lounge area next to the restaurant section, which was so nice to sit on the couches, have a glass of wine and watch the sunset over Lake Arenal!

There was really no reason for us to leave the property. We only left once to go to Baldi Hot Springs. Pool and hottub is great and very relaxing after a day of hiking!

It seemed like a lot of the other hotels in the area are right off the main road and you would have to drive to a lot of the attractions. Whcih wasn't really appealing to us!

Yes, there is an unpaved road that you have to drive on to get to the lodge, but if you drive slow it isn't that bad. We were in a Nissan Versa and had no problems. It took us about 15 minutes to drive up to the lodge on the unpaved road. If you have an SUV, you will be able to drive a lot quicker on the road. If you are planning on doing a lot of activities outside of the grounds, you might want to have an SUV just to make it easier to drive in and out quickly.

The rooms are basic, but comfortable.

Room Tip: We stayed in a standard room with a balcony facing Arenal Volcano.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lindsay V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Glarus, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2014

We loved this place! I knew it was going to be beautiful from the pictures, but it has to be one of the most amazing places on this planet. The lovely sounds of the birds and howler monkeys and frogs fills up your head at all times of the day, in a most lovely rainforesty way. When it rains (which it likes to to do, being a rainforest and all), the sound is incredible. It rains so hard! I am amazed at the way this place is designed, you never feel that the rain is a threat. They have thought it all through.

Every pool (four in all) we have visited in Costa Rica was cold. This was no exception. It is spring fed, which is nice for the skin, but too cold for me and my mom. However, my four year old daughter and my husband had no trouble with it at all. I spent most of my time in the hot tub watching them. My only complaint about the hot tub is the wall that blocks the view of the pool quite a bit. This made it a challenge to keep an eye on my daughter while she was in the pool. She can swim, but I still want to see her the whole time. Some windows in that wall would be very helpful. But otherwise an amazing pool in the middle of the forest, staring at the volcano.

I have one bit of advice to give, because it never occurred to me and never came up in all of my research of Costa Rica. I was stung by a scorpion. Boo. A pillow was on the floor next to the bed, and apparently it was hiding underneath and I surprised it. I guess this is extremely rare (lucky me) but just be aware, look in your shoes, and don't leave stuff on the floor.

Aside from the amazing beauty of this property, the people here are so amazingly nice. And funny. And the food was really good. Get some snacks in La Fortuna (that don't need refrigeration), and plan on eating your free breakfast and one other meal, and you will do well. They sell bottled water, power aid, soda, and snacks in the gift shop, and you can buy bottles of wine from the restaurant to take to your room.

We didn't need to venture from this area because the hiking and staring is so amazing. Do yourself a favor and stay here for at least 3 nights, it is worth it to see the top of the volcano at least once.

They have tons of tours directly from the hotel for reasonable prices, so if you need to get your kicks they can hook you up.

Very highly recommended.

Room Tip: Call if you have specific needs or desires from your room. This property has rooms all over the plac...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mushfac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rocky Point, New York
Level Contributor
123 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2014

We stayed 2 nights in March. Yes, there's apx. 2-3 miles of bad road getting to the hotel entrance. Consider it a Costa Rican massage. Once you get there there's nothing but an outstanding property. It's the only hotel located on the nat'l park property making it a great place to wake up to and save travel time. Great hiking trails for all levels. If you go to Cerro Chato, make sure you're in good shape. It's not for everyone. Our room was one of the "casonas". It's all they had left. Its' the cheapest they have yet we had the best view available at any price of the rooms. We had volcano and lake views while laying in bed!!! Nobobody else had that. The man above was looking out for us :)

Room Tip: The Casonas are just down the road from main lodge. Very quiet and one of them (#2?) has the best v...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gjb-6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these La Fortuna de San Carlos hotels
4.5 mi away
Volcano Lodge & Springs
Volcano Lodge & Springs
#14 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,751 reviews
4.9 mi away
Arenal Manoa Hotel
Arenal Manoa Hotel
#12 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 1,768 reviews
3.8 mi away
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
#5 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 1,802 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.8 mi away
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
#11 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,308 reviews
2.9 mi away
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
#9 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 1,412 reviews
3.8 mi away
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Sp...
#7 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,180 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, 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 72 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 a 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 400 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: 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Orbitz, Hotwire, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Priceline, TripOnline SA, Cheap Tickets, Agoda and HotelQuickly so you can book your Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing