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Reviewed July 8, 2019 via mobile

We left with divided opinions on this place. On one hand, the Arenal Observatory Lodge lives up to its official 3 star rating: with its incredible views from the balcony; miles of picturesque walking trails and relaxing albeit basic room facilities. So far so good...However the distinctly average performance by the kitchen and tired communal areas which had the air of a 90’s summer camp contributed to an uncomfortable feeling when settling what felt like an unexpectedly high bill at the end. The jury is still out on this one.

Date of stay: July 2019
Thank kaliG-M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
austina889, Public Relations Manager at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2019

Hello kaliG-M,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your recent stay at our lodge. We always appreciate hearing from our guests and rely on your feedback to improve on the services we offer. It brings us great joy to read that you enjoyed the views from the balcony and made the most of the many trails at the lodge. We are actually in the process of constructing three new trails as-well, so expect to see even more opportunities for exploration soon!

With that said, we are disappointed to read that you left with divided opinions. Our kitchen has been an area of focus for us for the past couple of years. We have brought in professional chefs for training seminars, adjusted our menu and prices, and experimented with several new recipes. Overall, we believe our restaurant has improved greatly and feedback has been encouraging. With that said, we understand that our work in improving the kitchen is never done and we must strive to continue innovating and ensure consistency.

As for your comments about the general ambiance of the communal areas, we completely understand your sentiment. Our hotel has over 30 years of history and started as a research station for Smithsonian Volcanologists. Although we are constantly working on renovations for our hotel we don't want to lose our identity and what makes us unique. We try to cater to outdoor adventurists and nature lovers, who spend most of their vacation exploring the outdoor wonders of Costa Rica and use their room and a base camp for their experiences. Our guests can rest assured that the majority of their bill will bill reinvested into creating new opportunities for rainforest adventures and help fund our many sustainability initiatives. We try to avoid investing in frivolous amenities that might not have any meaningful impact on our guests' enjoyment or comfort.

Once again, thank you for choosing to stay with us and for providing us with invaluable feedback. We wish you the very best!

Austin G.
Public Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2019

Loved the landscaping, walking paths, swimming pool and bird feeding station near the restaurant. Went on a bird watching walk at 0630 the first morning and spotted several pretty birds we never saw anywhere else. Isolated location, perfect for 2 or 3 nights.

Date of stay: February 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Hawg_driver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2019

Where do I start? Situated below Arenal volcano, our room had beds facing glass doors with a view of the volcano and a huge garden with dozens of native birds. Nice restaurant and bar, breakfast included, nice pool and jacuzzi, a dozen trails on the property. Hike to the falls and swim there, sign up for horseback riding, rafting, etc. We stayed three nights and enjoyed every minute.

Date of stay: July 2019
Thank RussCinRamona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2019

The Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa is in a great location. The area is quiet, right next to the volcano, but close enough to town to drive for excursions and restaurants. There is plenty to do in the area and the staff is incredibly helpful in arranging activities from horseback riding to canyoning to hiking and tours. The breakfast buffet is a great start to the day and the Spa is well worth a visit for an afternoon of relaxation. The hiking trails on property are beautiful and well kept, as was the room we stayed in. We would absolutely recommend the Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa to anyone traveling to the area.

Room tip: Rooms in La Casona are quiet, clean and well kept.
Date of stay: June 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank jms123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2019

Beautiful place with trails, waterfall, pool and the wonderful view and closeness of the Arenal Volcano. Our rooms faced the volcano and wonderful gardens, and were suitable for people with disabilities. They have a frog pond and in their trails you can see different birds, coatis and other wild animals. Breakfast is included in the cost of the room and is great. There is an incredible peace and many things that can be done both on the grounds of the hotel, as in La Fortuna, such as canopy, rafting and horseback riding. A recommended place. It is a quiet place that allows contact with nature.

Room tip: The Smithsonian rooms were very confortable, they open to the gardens and to a great view of the volcano.
Date of stay: June 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank OCRSanJose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
austina889, Public Relations Manager at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded July 6, 2019

Hello OCRSanJose,

Thank you so much for choosing to stay with us and for leaving us a review of your time here at the lodge. We are delighted to read that you enjoyed everything about your stay. We are honored by your recommendation to stay here and hope to see you again in the future!

Austin G.
Public Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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