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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
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Reviews (3,813)
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Reviewed August 23, 2005

I've stayed at Tabacon twice and a few other nearby hotels as well so feel I have a good basis for comparison. Tabacon is definitely a nice place. Anyone that trashed it on those grounds must have impossibly high standards. The catch is during peak season you pay through the nose for those amenities. Those that gush about this place must have booked it based on past reviews and can't be seasoned CR travelers familiar with the alternatives. Tabacon benefits primarily from its connection to the nearby hot springs. You don't have to stay there to go to the springs (though you'll save the hot springs admission cost), there are other springs to go to and you're probably not going to want to spend more than 1-2 days at the springs anyway (there are other things to do around Arenal). Because of their fame and popularity, Tabacon can keep raising their rates for both the hotel and springs to the point that if you know where else to go there are much better values. I'm giving this place 1 star just to bring it closer to where it should be - 2 stars

Bottom line here are my recommendations re Tabacon:

Peak season, unless its just for a one night treat, seriously consider staying somewhere else. They've jacked the already high rates up $30-40 or even more for holidays

If its a one night stay, visit the springs the afternoon you get there and again in the morning before you leave. If you're not a hotel guest it normally costs $28/pp each day, so assuming you'd be visiting there anyway you'd be saving close to half the cost of the room. If you're not staying at the hotel, the springs are worth a visit, but for $28 you probably wouldn't return for a 2nd day or if you would should consider checking out other nearby springs instead.

Visit the springs again in the evening after dinner, as the day crowd thins out considerably and the gardens are beautiful in the moonlight (only hotel guests are allowed after dark). If its raining don't let that stop you from enjoying the hot springs as it actually adds its own special quality (and with fewer crowds). If you visit during the green season expect rain and don't expect any clear night views of the volcano.

If you must have 4-5 star hotel amenities and don't mind paying heavily for those luxuries go ahead and stay here.

If you're visiting during the green season and/or plan to spend a few days heavily visiting Tabacon Springs, the amount you'd save on springs admission bring this place back down to a competitive range with nearby alternatives.

  • Stayed: November 2003
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15  Thank Prolijo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
england, uk
321
Reviewed August 22, 2005

Excellent service in the hotel, the rooms were fantastic. We had a howler monkey right outside our room!! The food was excellent - too much to chose from at breakfast. We had dinner one night in the restaurant which was good - breakfast was better. They made a birthday cake for our friend at no extra charge - nice touch!

The hot springs are fantastic - especially in the evening. The spa is a little expensive for any beauty treatments, but a luxury when you are on holiday.

No complaints about this hotel at all, highly recommend staying here in the junior suites.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2005

First, this is our second trip to Costa Rica. We've been to Tabacon before, but this was the first time we stayed at the resort. We stayed for two nights. The rooms smelled very badly of mildew. We stayed at the Peace Lodge the night before and it was wonderful, this place is awful. The service is slow, and they don't go out of their way to make it nice. The restaurant was expensive and the food was pretty good. Our server was wonderful to us, so we enjoyed spending the money there for dinner. Bad thing is for as many tourists that stay there and eat there, they are continuously running out of food from the menu. How can you serve american style waffles or pancakes and not have anymore syrup? So they serve honey and pass it off as syrup, you can't argue with them, they just ignore you.

I'm sorry we stayed here. There are other places that cost less but at least you get your monies worth. Here you pay a lot and get a little. The hot springs are wonderful, but let's be honest, how long can you sit in the hot hot water before you boil like a lobster or fall asleep from the steam and heat. It's wonderful for a short time, then you have to get out. Do yourself a favor, pay the $30 to come and visit for the day, then get out and go elsewhere to stay or move to the next destination.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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9  Thank tkdmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2005

What a disappointment! Our "Junior Suite" was anything but...it smelled of MOLD amongst other unnatural things. The bathroom had no glass window separating it from the outdoors! Taking a shower was like walking naked outside in Fargo, North Dakota in the winter.

When we went to lunch, there were flies and cockroaches and they refused to do anything about it! We totally lost our appetite. In addition, the waiter was quite rude. When we went to dinner, we had a better experience, as the waiter was SO friendly. Unfortunately, after we ate, we both had stomach aches and nausea. The food was mediocre. The prices were decent.

Needless to say, we cancelled the rest of our trip and came home immediately! We had been at the Four Seasons for a week before and that was heaven. Although our honeymoon was anything but ruined (thank goodness for the Four Seasons!), I would NEVER EVER recommend the Tabacon Hotel to anyone! Spare yourselves the agony and just camp in the rainforest...

  • Stayed: July 2005
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12  Thank ccohen15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2005

We stayed there 2 nights for our honeymoon. A big let down more or less. Our room was incorrect when we got there that took a long time to correct. Their computers, printers, . . . are always broken so they say. Then our hot tub didn't work. Rooms are just average, nothing special. They are also very humid and musty smelling. Reception, door, and restrauant service is very poor. Staff looks stressed out and is not welcoming or helpful. Would NOT recommend to stay here. Hot springs are great but there are many other accomidations that would be nicer.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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13  Thank newton01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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