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“Tabacon-a great hotel (hints)”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed June 1, 2006

Just returned from 2 week trip for our Honeymoon.

Agree with the other posts:

Bed's a little unfomfortable
Breakfast buffet quiet good
Drinks overpriced (I felt like I was back in NYC)
Great views of the volcano
etc etc

Here are some hints if you stay here:
There is a tiki bar at the Hot Springs area kind of toward the back and away from everything. They have happy hour in the evening (I think 5-9) Buy one drink and the next is only $1. They also have a BBQ Chef who will grill up very tasty kabobs for $9. Cheap and I liked this better than the fancier meal we had at the main resturant the night before.

Volcano viewing: Our room had a wonderful view of the volcano and a Sofa with a pull out bed. We set up our couch to face the volcano and slept on the pull out bed. It was a lot of fun watching the glowing rocks fall down the side of the volcano. (as someone mentioned before, the beds are not that comfortable, so we did not compromise on sleep by using the pull out sofa)

  • Stayed: May 2006
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10  Thank Angela K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 20, 2006

I wanted to thank the person who wrote the prior review that indicated that Tabacon was worth staying for 1 night. Because the price of admission to the hot springs is now 45 during mid May 2006 and the rooms at 175 - you basically get your money's worth by gaining entrance for 2 days into the springs. The springs were one of the highlights of our trip. The rooms were the nicest for La Fortuna standards and we checked in the day of (no reservations prior) at the beginning of low season into a standard room and were given one with a direct view of the volcano as well (no 328). We also recommend going to the hotsprings in the AM when its less crowded. The restaurants are expensive but we were able to have a great hit-the-spot dinner of hamburgers and club sandwiches at the pool bar (literally you are eating in the pool - each was $10) and a tip for those who want to conserve money is that happy hour does happen at the hot springs but you must trek up to the bar on the hill (not far at all) and they basically you buy one get a second drink for a dollar which you can bring back to wherever you want to sit. This makes it a v. affordable and fun option for dinner at Tabacon. I still think patrons should still venture into La Fortuna for dinner when they can but for a night of volcano watching from the pool bar (which was absolutely wonderful - clear night and moon to boot watching the lava skirt down the volcano) this was great. We also got up the next morning and had spa treatments. The staff are pretty new (amature) and the massage was not the best but the rooms (we didn't opt for VIP) were v. well appointed and looked v. professional.

Finally - everyones already said it but I'll say it again - the staff will be the least friendly in La Fortuna and have more attitude even by American standards. They didn't make our lives easier one bit and refused to make reservations for us on any tour other than their own (geez!) So buy yourself a calling card and don't get sucked into their tours as I'm proof positive they are getting a sizable kick back.

Other perks for staying is charging drinks to your room and not putting a deposit down for towels etc. They are also v. helpful at the swim up bar. A tip for those hot springing - facing the major waterfall - the far right waterfall has cool water and you can cool off there :)

Overall - please at least go to the hotsprings and do not pass this opportunity up to go to the less expensive Baldi. The rooms will be the nicest in La Fortuna so stay a few nights at cheaper accomodations (we recommend Arenal Volcano Inn or Arenal Volano Lodge) and indulge 1 night at the lovely Tabacon.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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11  Thank mmcc4137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2006

Prior to our trip, I had reviewed all the reviews posted here, and like so many others I had a few reservations. By and large, however, we encountered almost none of the problems described by others (although I can't quite give the Tabacon an all-out '5 star' rating!!) Our room was very clean, but rather dark (they use 15 w. energy efficient bulbs). Also, the bed was very uncomfortable...basically a box spring with some padding, but not a matress per se!!

The breakfast buffet was lovely, and yes, the dining is rather expensive. We had one dinner there and, while you can't really see Arenal, it was fabulous...fairly haute cuisine, modest portions but beautifully prepared and presented on the plate, with a mid-meal sorbet, etc. and a fantanstic guitarist playing wonderful music throughout. Very romantic! If you've had a very active day and could basically 'eat a horse', however, you're probably better off heading into one of the more reasonable eateries along the 10 min. drive into La Fortuna (steak, seafoods, pizza/pasta's, etc.) Many restaurants also have patio seating offering a great view of the volcano. After dark, you can really see the red-hot boulders that are continually bouncing down the mountainside!

The Hot Springs are really nice and you can usually find your own little private pool spot early or late in the day...it's otherwise pretty crowded with tour busses in the afternoon. We avoided the buffet as it was fairly crowded and noisy most of the time. Overall, it felt like any other large resort!

One really neat experience was being awoken around 5:30 in the morning by the roaring of the Howler monkeys. There were more at Tabacon than anywhere else on our trip! They're very loud and sound something like a cross between a gorilla and a lion. Evidently they are the second loudest animal on earth after whales, and we were shocked to see they're only about the size of a very large house-cat!

All in all, a very nice resort, but I think next time we'll be checking out other hotels in the area with better views of Arenal!

  • Stayed: May 2006
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8  Thank atyourfingertips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2006

After reading some of the mediocre reviews on this site, I was a little nervous abotu staying at Tabacon. But we had the most pleasant 3 nights there that i just had to include a few words.
First of all, the rooms are huge. That's coming from a new yorker but i thought that the room for $175 (we had a standard) was quite a good deal. The maid service was wonderful and the room was always clean. It did have a slight musky smell but that could just have been a result of the humidity. We stayed 3 nights and took advantage of the hot springs everyday. You can walk there in 5 minutes. That is definitely the main attraction to staying there but having that included in the room price makes is worth it!!

Yes, the food was mediocre and we only had one really good meal in town but that didn't detract from out experience. We knew we'd be eating well on the beach the rest of our trip!
Though javier at the front desk could have been a tad nicer upon checking in, i thougt the rest of the staff was SUPER nice and helpful. They arranged our SkyTrek Canopy tour which i thought was wonderful.
The breakfast buffett was great - yes there are some bugs on things on occasion. You know what? IT'S OUTSIDE. Of course there's going to be bugs in things. Get over it.
I would absolutely recommend this hotel to other people. it was beautiful, clean and worth the price.
Since we went in swing season, the crowds were down and we had the springs all to ourselves at times! I great time of year to go!

  • Stayed: April 2006
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8  Thank jenp47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2006

We stayed for 2 nights with a volcano view and it was splendid. We realized that our sliding glass door did not lock as we were heading to dinner. Called the front desk....they sent someone right up....he had trouble fixing it which made us late for dinner....at that moment the volcano loudly erupted with volcano spewing down the mountain. We were grateful we were late to dinner and got to see such beauty. The staff was fabulous (I believe the attitude you give is the attitude you receive). This hotel was lovely and an oasis. The only negative was the very pricey restaurant. I hope to return to this hotel someday.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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3  Thank NicoleSacramento_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2006

This was better than we expected. We started our trip here for 2nites. First fly into Liberia, it was only a 2.5 hour drive compared to 3.0-3.5 hours from San JOse.

We booked a standard room which had no promise of views, but our room had a direct view of the volcano. (room 308) It is hard to see the lava at nite, and for 2 nites it was not visable except when I happen to wake up at 3am and see the lava. It was worth the stay.

The hot springs are worth visiting. Go in the morning, it opens early for hotel guests and there is no one there. We found it VERY crowded at nite and it is very dark and hard to see things and your way around.

We did the hanging bridges tour. We booked through the hotel and we had a guide which made it a lot more interesting.

I can see why people who book packages feel it was too expensive b/c they are overpriced. We paid 203 a nite and included breakfast and hot springs admission for 2 which was so worth it b/c the admission cost is $40 per person. We found it to be very reasonable hotel and much better than we expected. (we tend to have vey high expectations of hotels)

If I was to go back to arenal this is the only hotel that i would stay in.

PS: dont waste your time in the town of La Fortuna, its not worth it although the hotel does have free shuttle service

  • Stayed: May 2006
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6  Thank richardfW8528DQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2006

We stayed at the Tabacon for a couple of nights in March 2006. The hotel rooms are uninspiring...its your standard US-style Holiday Inn experience. Rooms are clean, nothing special. Service gets the job done, but nothing special. So on, so on. However, if you are traveling to La Fortuna for a 5-star room, you are looking in the wrong town. The key is to find a "relatively nice" room that serves as a very convenient access point to all of the awesome activities in the surrounding area. In this regard, Tabacon remains the best in my opinion. In particular, the corresponding hot springs are truly unbelievable and only a short walk from the hotel itself. As a hotel guest, you get unlimited access to this spectacle. There are views of the volcano from many of the rooms (make sure to request a volcano view room) and the staff is helpful in arranging various tours - canopy, volcano, jungle walks, rafting....you name it...it is there! Also, while we didn't make good use of it, the hotel itself has suprisingly nice pool. Oh yeah, my girlfriend and I didn't find the food to be all that bad (eat at the hotel restaurant in lieu of the hot springs restaurant). Don't expect top-notch, but it tasted perfectly fine to us. In summary, my 4 star ranking is a reflection of the experience as a whole (3.0 for the room and 5.0 for the fun). I don't think that there is much to offer in terms of rooms in La Fortuna, but I can't imagine someone not having a wonderful time given all of the nearby activities and sites.

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
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8  Thank morevacation
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

Address: 13 Km Northwest, 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 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: $317 - $551 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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