Beautiful grounds but otherwise disappointing.
We stayed 3 nights June 28-July 1 and booked through Expedia. The initial impression we had was impressive (served drinks, given a personal room tour, staff appeared nice) and the view from the room was beautiful. The hot springs were nice although small. The in-room Jacuzzi was also a nice bonus.
HOWEVER, we had two incidents that made me give this place 2 stars rather than 4.
1) On 6/29, we called for room service to clean our room in the afternoon. We didn’t want to be in their way so we left for the hot springs and came back about an hour later. We saw our door was open and figured they were still cleaning so we hung out around the parking lot waiting in our bathrobes. While we were waiting, we could hear screams and loud cheering multiple times coming from our building… eventually (20 min later) we realized it had to be coming from our room because the door to the room next to ours was closed and ours was still open. We decided to go up to our room and were concerned that something was going on in our room. When we got to our room, the door was open and we found the cleaning staff (a lady and a male) cheering and sitting on our bed with the tv on watching the world cup! When we walked into the room, the lady took her broom and turned off the tv and the male walked outside to pick up the leftover room service to take out. We were not even offered an apology! I found it very unprofessional to be watching tv in our room when they were already done cleaning and to be screaming and yelling with the door open!! Especially since we were waiting around in the rain for our room to be done. I called the front desk to complain and the person said “ah. Sorry. I will let their boss know.” Whether he did or not, I have no idea.
2) We had the front desk call for a cab (the official red one) for us to go to Arenal Hanging Bridges. We were stupid to not establish a price beforehand and ended up paying $30 USD EACH WAY! I knew from reading the reviews on here that it should not cost that much and decided the next day I would have the hotel staff negotiate for me a more reasonable price. When I asked the front desk the price to go to La Fortuna waterfall, she told me $25… when I asked how much Arenal Hanging Bridges is, she told me $30 each way… This is when I realized that the hotel must have some sort of agreement with the official taxi company to charge more… I asked if there was a shuttle and she told me there was one for 3pm (it was currently 11am). After she saw that my boyfriend and I were very hesitant, she finally told us there was also a shuttle at 12pm to go to town and was $2/person. We decided to do that and then take a taxi from town to the waterfall. We found the driver asleep and taking a nap for 15 minutes until three other workers got on the shuttle (shuttle should have left at 12:00pm but didn’t leave till 12:15p). From town we ended up shopping at a store and had the owner there call for a taxi for us and asked him how much it should be. We also asked him to talk to the taxi about the price. He was able to get us a taxi for 5.50 USD (the hotel had told us if we took the shuttle and then called a taxi to the waterfall, it would have been about 10 USD). From there I ended up either having the workers at places we visited call a taxi for us and have them ask the price, or I would use a telephone and use my limited Spanish to establish a price. I was able to get a cab from La Fortuna waterfall back to the hotel for 20 USD ($5 less than what the front desk told me). I was disappointed that the hotel staff was not more honest about pricing and was clearly overcharging us! ☹
I would only recommend this place if you have your own car so you don’t get jipped on the taxi prices. As other reviews said (and I didn’t think would be a big deal but it is), the hotel is far from town and a taxi to town runs $20-25 each way, unless you can somehow negotiate the price down (with no help from the hotel staff). Dinner once at the hotel is enough and expensive (2 of the cheaper entrees, bottle of water, dessert and one appetizer cost $67), so if you are staying here without your own car and planning on spending several days here, be aware! Otherwise, ask the hotel to call the taxi company and give you the phone so you can talk to them yourself.
I do have to say the staff in the dining areas were very professional and kind.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Kioro offers a fabulous place with a natural viewpoint to the Arenal Volcano. The hotel has 27 acres of undulating land, surrounded by two streams (La Palma and Kioro) with crystalline waters that begin to flow in the Arenal Volcano National Park. It has two paths where plant species are identified. Besides, private thermal springs for our customer's delight. All our suites have:Two terraces with the best panoramic volcano and mountain view, hydro-massage, air conditioning, safe deposit box, minibar, coffee maker, hot water, direct dialing telephone, satellite television, hair dryer, key card, safety locks, internet connections. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Kioro Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park