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“Free admission to the hot spring makes this a no-brainer!”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Mount Joy, PA
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Free admission to the hot spring makes this a no-brainer!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2009

You are greeted at the check-in desk with a fabulous fruit drink and warm cloth to wipe your face. We stayed in a garden view superior room which was nice...but, nothing special. We booked the room through Travelocity which was cheaper than going through the hotel's own website ($185 per night).

Spa: We got a special promotion rate which included 2 $75 certificates for spa treatments. I got a pedicure and my husband got a 1/2 hour back massage. Both treatments were fully covered by the certificates. During the treatments we got a glass of champagne and a small plate of fruit. The spa was wonderful and there were many, many treatments to choose from...all at what I felt were reasonable prices.

Water: There is a water cooler to fill up your water bottle around the corner at the front desk. This is also a good place to get hot water for tea. Your tea will have a coffee taste if you use the coffee pot in the room to make your hot water.

Internet: The Internet is very slow...you won't be able to upload or download videos...we tried to send a webcam video home...no go. Plus, it costs $5 per hour or $10 for the day. We got Internet for one day hooking up to a cable in the room. They have wireless Internet in the lobby but the charges still apply. They also have computers in the lobby you can use...but, you guessed it...the charges apply.

Extras: The room did come with some nice extras like a robe, slippers (which you can take home with you), blow dryer, and complimentary welcome fruit platter. There is also a safe in the room you can use for free.

Refrigerator: There is a refrigerator in the room but it is filled with sodas, beer, snacks, etc. all of which are outrageously expensive.

Checking Out: When checking out, they will ask you if you are sure everything is out of your room. Then, they will send in a maid to check and give the OK. I assume she is checking you didn't damage anything, steal the robes, take snacks/sodas, etc. Take note that there will be a $3 per day "Community Develop. Fund" charge on your bill. This is not a tax and you don't need to pay it...just ask them to remove it from your bill.

Souvenirs: We went to quite a few gift shops in La Fortuna and found the Tabacon Resort to have the nicest selection.

As a guest at the Tabacon Resort, your admission to the hot springs is included. Had it not been included it would have cost $45 per person for the day. There are evening only rates but I don't know what they are.


Buffet: We had the International Buffet for lunch at the restaurant at the hot springs. It cost $30 per person (tip included). The buffet included fried fish, pork chops, chicken, fresh fruit, variety of cheeses, fried bananas, soup, pasta, various desserts, etc. We found it to be a good value. Since the tip is included, the waiters will try to run up your bill. Since water was our only beverage, our server brought us a huge bottle of spring water....everyone at the tables around us got water from a pitcher for free...it never occurred to us to specify we wanted that water.

Avoiding the Crowds: Be sure to go to the hot springs during the day and at night...the experience is very different. We went on a Wednesday night and the springs were not crowded at all...we had one of the pools to ourselves for quite a while. It seems as if buses come from 5-7PM so avoid those times if you can. Friday in general also seemed a little busier than Wednesday and Thursday.

Water Shoes: If you have water shoes, bring them. The bottoms of quite a few of the pools are pretty rough on bare feet and people don't stay long is these spots because of it. We were among the vast majority that did not have water shoes but if we had some we could have had some primo spots absolutely to ourselves.

Private Lounge Chairs: Directly outside the women's locker room, there is a stone wall. Look over the wall and you will see some lounge chairs. One set of chairs has an umbrella. This set of chairs is a good place to camp out if you are staying for the day. They are generally available because it is not intuitive how to get to them. The umbrella keeps you and your stuff dry during the frequent down pours. You are close to the bathrooms and water cooler (where you get/return your towels). It is private because it is hard to get to. And, you can read even after dark because of the lights from the spa.

Bringing in Food/Drink: They don't check your bags so you can bring in drinks/food if you want although not a lot of people do (including us). We saw one person get a can of beer out of their bag. But, the best idea we saw was to bring one of the tall plastic sip cups with the long built-in capped straw. You could put whatever you wanted in it and you could take it along into the water.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank RTMus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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New York City
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2009

Tabacon is a 'must stay' in Arenal/La Fortuna, no question. It is a fantastic hotel. As has been described elsewhere, the hot springs are amazing and are one of the 'must-do' attractions in the area. The rooms are large and clean, with comfortable beds, and the staff are top notch. Currently you can stay in a "superior room" (volcano view, I think) for $135/night if you stay more than 1 night. This rate is a steal considering you get free admission to the hot springs. We paid $175 and it was certainly worth it.

We stayed only one night (spent the other 2 at El Silencio del Campo) because I was concerned that Tabacon was out of the way and we would be stuck there paying for the 'expensive extras'. We stayed the final night because I was afraid we would have missed out had we not stayed here and gone to the hot springs. Having been there I say yes, we clearly would have missed out - you abslutely must go to the springs here.

My initial concern about Tabacon being out of the way was misguided, as it is only a $10 cab ride (one way) from town (Silencio was a $5 ride), and you can easliy go into town for dinner at Don Rufino's, etc. (Breakfast will probably be included in the room rate - they have a great spread - and you will probably get lunch with whatever tour you do for the day). I suppose it's a pain that they charge for internet (I agree it should be free at a self-proclaimed 5-star resort), but I have a blackberry so I didn't really care (although it may be tough to get cell service here). In any case, this place is beautiful with a very professional staff, and the hot springs are not to be missed.

Stay at least 2 nights. You may not see the volcano (it was clouded over all 3 nights we stayed in the area) but you will have a great time anyway!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NYC_TA_Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2009

Stayed here towards the end of our honeymoon as it had been recommended & have to say it was the worst hotel we stayed in in Costa Rica. The staff were extremely unhelpful, the rooms were unattractive and old fashioned and everything cost about twice what it should cost.
The springs were good, but again the staff weren't great and the food here was crazy expensive and pretty awful ($45 for 2 unappetising sandwiches and beer). Find it really hard to understand how people can rave about this place so much, maybe we were just really lucky with the other 4 hotels (some dearer - some cheaper) we stayed in?! Also find it really hard to believe that this is in the top hotels in the world (as they proclaim on every towel and box of matches), feel like i must be really missing something! Would not recommend this place, felt ripped off.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank suescn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2009

This hotel had wonderful facilities and services. Everything was beautiful and luxurious in an unpretentious way.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank melomar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
745 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 289 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2009

This place was awesome. The rooms were wonderful. The pictures of the rooms on the website do no this place any justice. The rooms were very spacious, clean and really nice. From our room we had a perfect view of the volcano from the back door. Unfortunately, the views were limited as it rained most of the time we were there. The hot springs were just great. They were great to go relax after a long day of hiking or zip lining. We got a great deal since we went in the off season Which made this place really affordable.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank RahulMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level Contributor
40 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2009

My fiance and I traveled to Tabacon in November 2009 and stayed there for 3 days. The only flaw in our plan was that we didn't stay long enough! We splurged for the $140 private transporation from the airport (there is a $30 option available but it only makes two trips a day). The shuttle was great because you can stop along the way. We stopped at a gift shop and also at a grocery store (to get some snacks for the room). The driver was knowledgeable and friendly. We were greated at the resort with cool hand towels and a tasty drink and then taken to our room. We got the cheapest room available and it was fantastic (big screen tv, huge bed, beautiful view of the gardens, very spacious). The staff does a great job of cleaning the room and brings chocolates by every night and offers free turn down service.

I highly recommend taking some of the tours too. We took the volcano tour which takes you up the side of the Arenal volcano (no, you don't get to see lava but its still exciting) and the hanging bridges tour which takes you through the canopy of the rainforest (where we saw tucans and howler monkeys). The tours were only $40-$50 per person and were completely worth it. I also recommend going into La Fortuna (the neighboring town). We went one night and spent a few hours shopping at the great local stores and got a great dinner of local cuisine for only $37 including drinks. It costs $20 for a round trip cab ride. Another tip, no need to exchange money. Everyone takes dollars (although you might get Costa Rican money for change).

I also loved the pool at the hotel. It was the perfect temperature and I rarely ran into any other people down there. It was a great place to unwind at the end of the day (and its open until 10pm).

The hot springs and spa were also fantastic. I was amazed by the sheer size of the hot springs (the website does not do it justice). My fiance and I spent an entire day there soaking up the sun and relaxing in the springs. Although its beautiful at night the main pool does sort of turn into more of a nightclub but you can definitely avoid the crowds by wandering off to one of the many secluded hot springs. I did not realize that the hot spring is not attached to the hotel. You can either walk or take the complimentary shuttle.

The spa was amazing. They give you this great drink when you first step into it and its very peace. I splurged and spent about $450 there on a chocolate scrub, mud wrap, and 90 minute couples swedish massage. It all took place outdoors in a secluded little pegoda. It was great getting a massage and hearing the sounds of the rainforest all around you (tucans, the waterfall). Both of the treatments are followed up with either a dip in a private hot tub or a private hot spring (lovely). The inside of the spa itself is gorgeous and 5 star. After our treatments the staff put us in a quiet, private part of the spa and gave us juice and snacks and then we took a dip in the hot tub. The best part about getting a spa treatment is getting access to the hot tub in it. Wish I would have stayed in there longer and soaked it up.

The food was pricey. We ate dinner at the hotel one night and it came to $87 with drinks and dessert but I thought the food was good and the atmosphere was worth it. We also ate at the hot spring one night which was a bit cheaper and not as good (the also have a $30 buffet available every night).

Overall we had an amazing time. I honestly just wish we would have stayed longer. We set aside 5 days but it took us one full day just to get there and back (from the Washington DC area). I've already recommended this trip to many of my co-workers and friends.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank isaleistar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2009

Just got finish spending 3 nights at the Tabacon. Great location amazing staff and the hot springs are one of a kind.

Our biggest and only complaint would have to be the overpriced crappy food. We paid 60 dollars for 2 sandwich and 2 beers subway is better!!! Save yourself money and check out the restaurant "El Novillo" which is walking distance from Tabacon(Trust us the hotel staff will make like it is 10 miles away and it is not!)

Lastly make your way into town there are a ton of great restaurants there for a great value.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank naisha77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

Property: Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Address: 13 Km Northwest, 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 Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#6 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#9 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#13 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 103
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

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