Tabacon was very accommodating as they allowed us to check in early prior to departing on an all day tour and returning in the evening. Typical check in time is 4pm, but they went ahead and checked us in at 8am. Their staff was also very helpful in fixing a few things that went wrong with our room. When we first got to the room, the front door came off of a hinge. Repairmen were there in 5 minutes and fixed the door. The staff also brought chocolates by as a way of saying “Sorry for the inconvenience.” Another time our smoke detector decided to go on the fritz. We called the front desk, and again 5 minutes later repairmen were there to fix the issue. The Tabacon staff did a very good job ensuring our satisfaction. The bathroom is large with a step up tub. Our room also had a sliding glass door with a great view of Arenal Volcano. The A/C controls are a bit weird and takes some tinkering to get it set to the right temperature. Each room also comes with slippers and robe for your use during your stay.
The thermal springs are located 300m away from the hotel that you can walk, but we decided to take the shuttle each time. You can call the front desk and have the shuttle pick you up from your room or you can walk down to the front desk to catch it. The shuttles run every few minutes from the resort back to the hotel and if one doesn’t show up, just talk with the staff at the front desk of the resort and they’ll make sure a shuttle arrives shortly. The pool bar at the resort features a waterslide. Be aware that the pool bar doesn’t have a gradual decline to change depths in the pool, but steps. A little weird and if you’re not paying attention, you could stub your toe or the sudden drop while drinking in the pool can surprise you. However, the pool bar has an amazing view of the volcano. The biggest feature of the resort is the thermal river that runs through the property. It is one of only two resorts that relies solely on the natural flow of the river for its hot springs whereas other resorts have to pump the water up to a different location. Make sure to wander the property during the day and take advantage of the several pools and waterfalls throughout the property. You’re likely to see some wildlife as well as you wander the property since the resort is integrated very well with the surrounding rainforest. At the upper part of the resort property is Shangri-La, which is an adult only area. They have beds, hammocks, couches, a grassy knoll, and a bar. It’s a nice escape from the main area of the resort to get some peace and quiet and there are several thermal pools located there. If you’re a guest of the hotel, you get a free locker and towel. The lockers are a bit small as is the changing room, but there are several showers available and a bathing suit water extractor. This was the only facility that had a water extractor and is great if you don’t want to pack a wet suit in your bag. The bathrooms for the changing room are located past the showers.
The spa is very nice. They offer a free smoothie with every treatment. The spa features only one small thermal pool in the main spa area. I thought they would have a cool water pool as well like other spas, but they only had one that would really only fit two people comfortably. The treatment rooms are open-air “rooms” that are isolated and integrated with the surrounding jungle. When my therapist came to get me and escort me to the treatment room, we seemed to walk further and further into the jungle before we stopped. I didn’t realize the property went so far into the jungle. The therapist would check occasionally if the pressure she was applying during the massage was good or not. Best massage ever! Each treatment room also has its own Jacuzzi tub. After your treatment, you can spend as much time in the main spa area to relax as you wish.
Los Tucanes, found on the hotel part of the property, serves breakfast lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet is a bit steep, so we ordered the “Typical Costa Rican Breakfast.” I would have thought an establishment like Tabacon would use more imagination in naming their breakfast dishes. I really think they should rename their breakfast choices to “Traditional Costa Rican Breakfast” and Traditional American Breakfast.” The food was delicious nonetheless. Dinner was also amazing. They offered an amuse-bouche, palate cleanser, and light dessert as compliments of the kitchen. The food was absolutely delicious. The Goat Cheese mousse and King Crab Cake appetizers were to die for. We decided to stick with a seafood theme and ordered the prawns, scallops, and mahi mahi—AMAZING! Each dish comes with a starch side and a sauce. We tried the fried yucca, truffle fries, and organic green beans with chorizo—I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the choices. Get the servers recommendation on sauces, as we had no clue which sauce would pair best with our dishes. We eyed the dessert menu, but were too full to order anything. That’s when the kitchen sent out a light dessert for each of us, which was just what we were looking for.
We also participated in the private bungalow Gala Dinner. This is a four course gourmet dinner with a private chef and server. Absolutely amazing! The bungalow is set in the jungle where you can see and hear the local wildlife. Lightning bugs were dancing around us during our dinner, which made the experience fantastic. They place rose petals on and around the table for a very intimate setting.
Fantastic resort and experience!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the heart of the tropical rainforest at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the northern Region of Costa Rica. This five-star carbon neutral resort offers a unique blend of nature, adventure and relaxation. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Tabacon provides luxurious accommodations, services and amenities in a picture-perfect natural setting. The resort's unique healing thermal mineral spring river emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds. Explore Shangri-La Gardens an hotel guests and adults-only hideaway, delight your senses with world- class cuisine inspired by local fares or surprise that special person with a gala dinner in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the gardens is the resort's Grand Spa, member of The Leading Spas of the World which combines a beautiful location with a singular spa experience, where treatments are rendered in open air bungalows all of them with private jacuzzi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Tabacon Grand Hotel Thermal
- Tabacon Grand Resort Thermal
- Tabacon Resort
- Tabacon Hot Springs
- Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park