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.

“Magical Retreat”

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 8 more sites!
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Lakewood, CA
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Magical Retreat”
Reviewed July 13, 2007

We stayed in their jr. suite the first few nights of our honeymoon. Our room was very spacious, clean and we had a beautiul patio with awesome view of the volcano. At night the volcano errupts and you can see the lava flowing!! It was fantastic. It's a little tricky to find the lodge, you'll pass up all of the other hotels and lodges in the La Fortuna area and come to a private road that takes you further up for about 1/2 hour. The road is pretty bad and not paved so a 4x4 is necessary. Once you are up there, the view is spectacular, the service is excellent and there are many trails to explore. The weather is much cooler up there too. There's an awesome trail (about 45 min) that leads you to this beautiful waterfall.. there's an endless array of different types of butterflies and birds, just magical! The sounds are amazing too. It was so relaxing we just loved this place!

  • Liked — Perfect location
  • Disliked — Unpaved private roads
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank shellies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,972 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    1,102
    653
    164
    38
    15
See reviews for
570
951
46
4
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (401)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Woodside, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2007

Great location with amazing views of the volcano. Cross your fingers that the weather will be clear enough to see it. 2 out of 4 days we couldn't see the eruptions due to fog. The free breakfasts are pretty good, and the staff was friendly. My only complaint about the place was that the guy behind the front desk spent a lot of time pushing high cost activities, and was seemingly uninterested in answering our questions about activities that didn't generate fees for the hotel. This experience struck us as more Mexico than Costa Rica. On the upside there are miles of trails that can be explored from the hotel, without getting into the car. We climbed Cerro Chato, the extinct volcano next to Arenal. It has a crater lake, which a local guide claims is good for swimming.

Stayed July 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank PatAndMax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fall River, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2007

I will start my review off by saying that the view of the volcano was unprecedented. The hotel has a fabulous deck for viewing. The night views were AMAZING....flowing lava, tumbling flaming rocks, spewing erruptions....definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had. I will agree with the other reviews that the hotel is located miles up the bumpiest road I have ever been on. Due to the terrain, travel in and out of the hotel property is difficult. I was very annoyed to find out that our first night there, we would not be able to have dinner off of the menu at their restaurant because they booked a school tour of over one hundred high school students and the restaurant was only offering a pre-planned buffet (spaghetti, salad with ranch dressing, plain grilled chicken). Given the distance of the hotel from ANYTHING else, we were unable to go to dinner elsewhere. The rooms were clean. We stayed in a Smithsonian with amazing views of the volcano at night. We got to fall asleep to the rumbling of the volcano....surprisingly soothing ;) We were very disappointed that they only offer breakfast until 8:30am and lunch is not available till 12:00. After a late night of volcano viewing and wine drinking we were in no shape to be up that early to eat...which left us very hungry. The absolute worst part of the hotel is that the pool and hot tub were closed for (inactive) repair. After a day of long hot hikes I was EXTREMELY disappointed to find an empty pool- The hotel should have made note of that on the website or notified us when we booked. The hotel was pretty pricey, comparatively, given the prices of many other hotels in the area. Pablo the bartender at the restaurant was GREAT!

  • Liked — unobstructed amzing views, nice bartender
  • Disliked — CLOSED POOL, Crappy restaurant, limited restaurant hours and no menu options one night..simple buffet due to a group of 100+ teenagers
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Erin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed June 14, 2007

We had a wonderful two days at Volcan Arenal. The weather was clear and the volcano errupted just as we arrived. The lava display at night was fantastic. The flow right now is on the side facing the lodge so this is the BEST place to stay to see the volcano. The staff was friendly and very eager to please. The room was spacious and the view from the balcony can't be beat. We made our reservation through GreenStone Adventures and were so glad we went through an in-country travel agent. We lost our credit and debit cards on the remote Osa Peninsula and would have been stranded with no cash or credit had not Jamie from GreenStone met us in San Jose, taken us to the bank, and written a check against a credit card we had used when we made our reservation. Without a local agent we would have had nowhere to turn to for assistance. GreenStone took care of all our logistics and connections; everything went off without a hitch. We highly recomment GreenStone as your agent and the Arenal Observatory Lodge as the place to stay.

  • Liked — best view in area of an errupting volcano
  • Disliked — having to leave after 2 days to continue our trip
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank jeff1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2007

Pros:
Great views of the volcano from the restaurant, and the smithsonian rooms.
Our room was clean, big and had spectacular views of the lava flow at night (i guess the lava has shifted back to this side?)
The grounds are beautiful, well kept, and there are great hikes you can do on your own or with a guide.
Beautiful pool area and hot tub.

Cons;
It is a difficult road leading up to the lodge, during our stay there were large amounts of water running across the road...but this road seemed nice after we experienced the roads in the Osa Peninsula

The front desk staff were never particularly friendly or that accomodating.
The food at the restaurant is average.
You have to be back at the hotel by 9pm or the gate is closed.

Overall though, it was a great experience for the incredible views of the volcano.

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank premstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, LA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2007

Although the rocky road up to the Observatory Lodge raised doubts about this hotel, they were quickly dispelled when I saw the amazing setting of the hotel. The views of the volcano are unparalleled, and watching the sun set over the lake was equally magnificent. The standard room was large, clean, and quiet. We could watch the lava from our balcony at night. The front desk staff was very helpful in suggesting and booking activities. The restaurant was also good.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The road to the hotel
  • Stayed May 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank iheartnola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2007

We had a wonderful stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge! The rooms were clean and the staff was exceptionally helpful and friendly. The second day we were there housekeeping even left fresh-cut flowers for us on the bedside table. We found the staff to be very GLBT friendly as well. The restaurant was basic, but the hearty breakfast buffet kept us sustained for some serious hiking. While we didn't swim there--we took a cab to Tabacon for the day--the pool was nestled by our building and crystal clear.

While we did have to be paitent to see the volcano we were treated to a beautiful view of eruptions on the second night. The Smithsonian
rooms were definitely worth the few extra dollars over a basic room a night for their huge picture windows and balconies that face the volcano.

The one warning--be sure that you arrive during the day. The front gate (which is about 1.5 miles down a dirt road from the actual hotel) closes at 11:00 pm and the front desk closes at 9:00 pm. We arrived around 7:00 and didn't have a problem, but after that and you may be locked out. Also, if you're traveling with someone with a disability, the pool area and Smithsonian rooms are accessible by some steep stairs set into the hill and a narrow hanging suspension bridge--I'd recommend booking a room in the main area.

  • Liked — The amazing views & location.
  • Disliked — The lack of clock in the room.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank clockworknate
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
2.9 mi away
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
#9 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
1,512 reviews
4.5 mi away
Volcano Lodge & Springs
Volcano Lodge & Springs
#15 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
2,888 reviews
4.8 mi away
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
#12 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
2,440 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
5.5 mi away
Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
#21 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
824 reviews
4.9 mi away
Arenal Manoa Hotel
Arenal Manoa Hotel
#13 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
1,839 reviews
3.8 mi away
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Sp...
#6 of 58 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
2,295 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, 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Hotwire, Agoda, Priceline and Cheap Tickets 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