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Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort
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Savings alert! 16% below average rates

The price you found is 16% lower than this hotel's average rate of $214/night.

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Reviewed August 30, 2010

First sign of things to come- we had arranged, and the Los Lagos had confirmed, an airport transfer for us, from La Fortuna. We arrived at the landing strip... no one there to pick us up and we were on a tight schedule, since we were scheduled for a zip lining tour that afternoon. Thank goodness there was a transfer service there - cost us a bit more (not happy about that) but they were really, really nice!

We had been in Costa Rica for almost a week, and had the incredible pleasure of staying at the Casa Bella Rita in San Jose and the Bosque del Cabo, on the Osa Peninsula- and both had the nicest people with the best attitudes and were so friendly. Both the Casa Bella Rita and the Bosque del Cabo had very personal and personable service. The Los Lagos was just the opposite! We got the feeling that we (all the guests, actually) were just a bother to them. A conveyor belt of guests, nothing personal about it.

We DID make our tour (with Sky Trek- was great!!)- had to leave our bags at the reception, since our room was not ready. No big deal.

The rooms are quite a distance from the reception/restaurant/pool area, so you have to take a shuttle van to your room. The driver was very nice.. but he was (is?) the ONLY driver! Plan ahead.

Rooms were spacious and clean - and the beds were really very, very comfortable! Some of the best I have experienced in any hotel. I wanted to use the room safe, but when I called to the reception, they told me that I would have to have a credit card on file at the front.. well, not surprisingly, no one asked me for my credit card, for incidentals. Good and bad... good for the wallet, bad for convenience. Would prove to be good.

We went to the pools - these were great fun! The pool and water slides were the reason we booked there in the first place, and we were not disappointed. One ride and you can be quite sure there are no codes (or at least no code enforcement) in Costa Rica! Whoooooooo!!!!

We had dinner at the restaurant, there at the hotel. Again, we felt as if we were just a bother to the staff. It's not that is was slow... just that it was a complete bother that we were even there.
Truly amazing how pervasive this lack of service was.
Same thing the next morning, at breakfast. At least they're consistent.

Here was the kicker: I asked for a late check out, at 1pm. Granted. We headed back to the room, from the pool, at 1pm, to get our things. We were locked out! Thank goodness housekeeping was next door and let us in. Once inside our room - no water! Yup- they cut the water at 1pm, too!
We picked up the phone to call reception, to get the shuttle to the front to leave.. and the phones were cut! No phones! They cut the phones at 1pm!! Again, housekeeping to the rescue! (Note: Always leave behind a little something for housekeeping!)

So- good location, great beds, fun pool- and horrible service.

I would recommend it because of the pool - my kids LOVED it! As long as you're forewarned, you'll be forearmed.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank beebesMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2010

We stayed at Los Lagos for 2 nights on August 14-16. After doing a lot of research on trip advisor, we decided to stay here because it was within our budget (which places like the Springs or Tabacon, were not) and it seemed nice enough for two nights. In that regard, it met our expectations. We stayed in a superior room. From what I understand, the only choices are superior and standard (and no suites, though it appears they might have had them at one point). More on this below.

Booking
We booked through the hotel website and noted that they were advertising a deal that gave us 15% off the room price, and 1 free spa tratement or "adventure" (from which we could choose from horseback riding, canopy, etc). While this was advertised on the website, you had to make sure that you wanted the deal in the comments becuase it was not automatically applied. My first piece of advice would be that if you are going to book this hotel, you email them directly and ask about any special deals and make sure you write what they tell you in the comments so that you can take advantage of any offers.

Rooms
As many other reviewers have noted, the superior rooms were located literally an uphill hike away from the pools. Like other reviewers have noted, there is a shuttle which is really reliable so its not a huge issue (though it does get annoying getting into a shuttle in wet clothes but whatever).

In booking, one thing that I struggled with was determining the difference between the superior room and the standard room. After being there, I can tell you that the difference is this: The standard rooms are really really tiny. They have one bed and not a whole lot of room to walk around in. (This is just my view from walking by, so I can't speak to the bathrooms or what actually living in one of these would be like). However, they appear to all be MUCH closer to the pool area. I'm not sure if there are superior rooms also in the pool area, certainly they were all gone for us, but I would ask. As for the superior room, they are much bigger (over double the size), and have both a front and back patio. One caveat: when I say "much bigger", I am speaking of the floor size and sleeping capability -- not that they appear to include any extra amentities. There is a lot of barren space in the rooms, as flipping through the photos some of the other users have added reflect.

Sleeping I will say was a downside. We didn't have a problem with bugs or leaky AC units like others, but there was not much care taken in the outfit of the beds. First the beds are all very hard (probably because the mattresses are all on boards to accomodate a rollaway mattress underneath) and the blankets are quite thin. This was a real downside as I really like goign to hotels with nice big fluffy blankets, and here everything was kind of threadbare.

One last thing on the room, there was no internet. The hotel has internet in the lobby and they have one main computer hooked up that guests are free to use, or you can bring your own computer there and use internet in the lobby.

Food and Pricing
This was something that I thought not enough people have spoken to, and so I wanted to address. The prices are quite high for costa rica. We didn't have dinner at the hotel either night and instead went into La Fortuna (which I highly recommend!). We did however have lunch both days at the wet bar. The prices for all well liquor drinks are $8 and for preimum liquor drinks they are $10. They were all also very sweet and the bartenders were reluctant to deviate from this. Coming from Manhattan, I thought this was quite expensive for CR, as these were big city prices. After a day, we switched to beer since that was only $3 a beer. It was a much better value and their local beer (imperial) is quite good.

In terms of food quality, we had the beef tacos ($4/taco w fries), the ceviche ($8), and beef sandwich ($10, comes with fries). The ceviche was good, but the others were just okay.

Foodwise MUCH better option is to go into La Fortuna. We ate twice at a place called Lava Lounge and it was fantastic!!! Its a short drive from the hotel (about 5 min) and the cocktails are about $4 and the food is much much better. Get the fish burrito. Amazing.

Activities
The main activity at Los Lagos was the pools. They have some (probably about 5-6) small thermal pools, one (very) hot main pool with the swim up bar, and 2 regular cholorine pools. As the pictures show, Los Lagos has waterslides going into both the cholorine and the hot main pool. These were really fun and definitely gave us some enjoyment during the day. One complaint about the thermal pools was that they seemed dirty. They all needed a good scrub down.

In terms of other activities, there is an on site butterfly house (which was nice), a frog house (which sucked), an ant house (also sucked), and a croc pond (meh. fine. two lazy crocs..). These things were all on the grounds, which were very expansive and really quite breaktaking.

One of the best things that we did was the horseback riding! The cost is $45 dollars/person and it was a 2.5 hour ride up as close as you can get to the volcano. As I mentioned above, we have one free tour provided through our booking, but it was well worth the money even if would have had to pay for both. The guide was really friendly and the horses were well behaved. This was definitely a trip highlight and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Conclusion
Overall, if I was coming back to La Fortuna, I'm not sure if I would stay at Los Lagos again. If my budget was tight, (as it was this trip), then yes. I think its good for the value so long as you eat in town and limit your swim up bar drinking to beers.

I definitely think that coming to see the volcano is worthwhile, but I guess I just expected something a little cleaner, cost effective, and thoughtful (I mean seriously, who needs a room that sleeps 6-8 people but doesn't have a fluffy blanket). Next time, I think I would splurge on Tabcaon or the Springs. But I guess you get what you pay for.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Jenasurp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2010

Having a car was beneficial for wondering around. Hotel is right at base of volcano. Great view! Food was good. Everything was clean. Free wifi! free safe. Zip line staff was awesome! Make sure you see Antonio!! The only down is you can hear your neighbor if they are loud, but what hotel isn't that way? Spa was great too!!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Thank go4itntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2010

Los Lagos is a destination in and of itself - and the room we stayed in was very nice and comfortable. Great pools with 3 waterslides and a bridge to jump from - one pool was cool and refreshing, the other hot and with a swim up bar. There are also very private hot pools that decorate the hill above the hill - like little grottos.

The breakfast buffet was an excellent value - but we ate little else at the hotel due to the great values down in La Fortuna.

The view of the volcano was outstanding - plenty of clear moments, with lots of clouds in between. You are able to see, hear and feel the volcano, and on one late night - we did see lave from our balcony. Be sure to ask for a room near the pool with a view.

There is also a great 'zoo' there - with gators, a frog pond, a butterfly house, turtles etc....my son really enjoyed going back down in there over and over.

Location was excellent - 5-7 minutes drive from La fortuna, and only 20 min from the other side of the volcano.

Service was fine - but don't come to Los Lagos for that. Its really about having adventures/views/fun at a nice hotel. We thought it was a great value, and the kids looked forward to unwinding there every day.

I agree with the other post - it should not be ranked 33 on Trip Advisor. For families with kids that like to have fun in the pool - I can't imagine a better hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank rg_travels_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2010

I'll get right to it, since my title says in the main how I feel about this place! I want to state up front that we (my young son and husband) have been staying at Los Lagos when we go to Arenal for almost 10 years now; we have taken friends there and recommended the hotel to everyone. So I was not only disappointed by what I witnessed but that I'm losing a favorite hotel as well.

We booked a "standard" room for two nights at $120/night mid-July 2010. The hotel has definitely raised their rates in the past few years, but it seemed okay because you do get a lot for your money (the hot springs and pools, croc farm, great volcano views, excellent buffet breakfast, etc.). If you go this route, make sure you get a standard room in the new section of the hotel (i.e., not the section that used to be the old part of the hotel). The room was very small and pretty funky for $120 a night. Two of the outlets in the room didn't work, and my six-year-old shut his hand in the bathroom door at least 7 times trying to close it (the door handle is about 2 cm from the door jamb). The room itself smelled highly of chemical air "freshener," perhaps sprayed as a result of being downwind from the horse barn. The only good thing I can say about this room was that it was centrally located and an easy walk to everything, and the family of dogs that lived at the end of the street.

Ah, the dogs... There seem to be five collies that live on the property. Two older ones looked like they might be parents of the two puppies, and then there is one quite a bit older that was chained to a six-foot lead inside the horse barn the entire time we were there. This dog was very sweet, so I couldn't figure out why it was tied up, but that is against the law in Costa Rica and should not be happening. Besides which, its water was really gross. The hotel keeps a lot of horses on the property, and you can pay $45 for a two-hour ride on one of them. I wouldn't personally support this, though -- the horses seemed frightened of the cowboys that were in and around the barn. Again, why? One horse had blood dripping from his nose, but no one seemed to take any notice of this; other horses had sores and open wounds on their bodies. I am not against horseback riding, but I against animal neglect and certainly abuse (which is what I would call tying that poor dog up in a barn all day).

Then there were the two puppies, that my son fell totally in love with. Very cute little collie mixes, they seemed to live at the house at the end of the little street on which the guest rooms were located. On our third and final day there, just before leaving, two boys older than my son came by on their bicycles, at least the older one appeared to live there or was related to someone who lived there. Both boys were riding their bicycles like maniacs around the guest rooms, and my son was not the only young child there (there were babies much younger than him staying near us that weekend). For some reason, the boy got it in his head that the puppies should go home, so he kept yelling at them to go back to the house about 50 feet away. He knew their names, which is why I thought he might own the dogs or live there at the property. I don't know if he was jealous that the pups were having fun with my son or what, but when they didn't want to go with him, he decided to start THROWING ROCKS at them to make them go! Around my car, no less! I was very angry at this and told him to stop, but he didn't. Finally the puppies took off, and he went with his friend in the other direction. My son cried, and I was very upset as you might imagine. And these were not little pebbles, one rock he threw was as big as an adult's hand. If someone who owns the hotel reads this, which I sincerely hope they do, that kid needs help. If you don't want the dogs, please give them to someone who does and who will treat them kindly. I will be happy to arrange that myself, contact me through via message here on TripAdvisor! I worry that if this boy does such things IN FRONT OF GUESTS, what is he doing when no one is looking? His parents should be very, very concerned.

We all left worried about the dogs, and in fact I am still worried about them.

What is good about this hotel: Some of the workers at the hotel are truly wonderful. The young man who feeds the crocs twice a week waited for my friend's son to get my husband so he could take pictures of it, which I thought was really nice of him. He told us stories about all of the crocodiles they have there, and the boys (my son and my friend's son) were enthralled.

The buffet breakfast is very good and a little different every morning. Since it's included in the price of the hotel room, you would expect it to be so-so, but we all liked it.

Other not-so-good: If you go during high season, expect overcrowded hot springs, which made them really not very enjoyable.

Overall, I was highly disappointed and will not be returning, unless it is to pick up those dogs and rehome them with families who will take good care of them.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank EvangelinaCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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