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“Frustrating Stay”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Frustrating Stay”
Reviewed July 5, 2006

I've reviewed the last few posts and it seems much has been covered, as a travel agent I feel compelled to warn others about the basic surcharge you are paying when staying at this hotel (unless you are driving yourself).

As you are a decent cab ride from La Fortuna you are basically limited to the hotel area and the Spa area, because you are unable to easily get into town everything is overpriced. Pricing is high by American standards which means they are outrageously high by Costa Rican standards. $26 for a terrible buffet dinner at the Spa; $8 for a small bag of Doritos, $16 for a small can of Off bug spray; $15 drinks, etc. Truly some of the most ridiculous prices I've ever come across.

I agree with the tips recently given; the happy hour and kabobs is the only way to avoid being completely taken advantage of when staying at this resort.

The Spa is quite nice, the hotel pool was unclean. I had no major issues with service, everything worked and we were not overcharged, the rooms were fairly nice in comparison. For this reason and the excellent volcano view I've rated two stars instead of one. If you don't mind being ripped off a bit it's a great place to stay, personally I'd opt for a hotel in La Fortuna.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Keith B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Florida
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2006

Tabacon Hotel claims to be a 4 star resort. On our recent stay, we booked 2 nights in a "superior" jr. suite 6 months in advance to have a direct volcano view. However, as I told the front desk, I would have to be a monkey and up in the trees to see the volcano. Still, they would not refund us the money for the difference in rates for volcano view and they could not move us they said because they were full. Sooo, at 7 p.m., after traveling all day, we decide we'll turn down the air and enjoy the suite without the view. However, the ac doesn't work; 2 hours later after 2 men work on it we could enjoy the suite. Then, the next day, we try to call to book a volcano hike and the phone doesn't work so again workmen in the room. Did the hotel apologize? No. My daughter stayed in a separate room with a friend where everything worked, but her sterling silver shell necklace was taken by the housekeeping service. When you check in, they have you sign that they will not be held liable for theft from a room. Not 4 stars in our book. The springs are wonderful, but I'd enjoy them from another hotel if I went back.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank lovetravelFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake CIty UT
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Angela K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank mmcc4137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitby, ON Canada
Level 5 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank atyourfingertips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank jenp47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NicoleSacramento_CA
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, 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 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Green 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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