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“The view is incredible and the rooms are pretty good.”
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The view is incredible and the rooms are pretty good.”
Reviewed 12 March 2014

I spent two nights at the Arenal Lodge and that was the perfect amount of time. The view of the volcano is breath taking and our room had a great porch to sit and watch the volcano, clouds, monkeys and birds. For a 3 star resort in a developing country, it's about right. The sounds proofing isn't good so bring ear plugs. But it was clean and the staff was nice. The restaurant wasn't great, so stop in town and get some snacks/drinks so you don't have to be confined to their restaurant for food all the time. It is isolated and getting into La Fortuna is $30 each way via taxi. The tours they offer at the hotel are pretty pricey and very long (7 hours or more) -- so you might want to make alternate arrangements for a tour. We took a taxi and hiked around Arenal ourselves. The staff was a little reluctant to call a taxi as they would like you to use their tours. But I was firm and we had a great taxi driver ($60 round trip for a 10 minute drive each way though). I would not stay there longer than one or two nights. There is no better view of Arenal and it's a relaxing vibe at the Arenal Lodge.

Room Tip: Ask for a second floor room with a deck facing Arenal. Bring ear plugs because the sound proofing is...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rachel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Overall impression: If you are looking for a rustic and quiet place to stay with great views, then this is it. If you are looking for a luxury hotel this is not the place.

Spectacular view of Arenal Volcano. Driveway leading up to hotel was approximately 5-10 minutes from the main road, steep and windy. About a 20 minute ride to downtown La Fortuna. Restaurant menu was limited in traditional Costa Rican cuisine, but overall good quality. Hot breakfast consisted of omelettes made to order, fresh fruit, pancakes, sausage, eggs, potatoes, rice and beans, and cold juices. Bed was more of a mattress pad than an actual mattress. Overall decor and room finishings need to be updated or refreshed. Standard rooms have no view of Volcano.

Free 2 hour hike on grounds with knowledgable guide. Free butterfly garden on site. Hotel includes a free steam room, gym, pool, 2 Jacuzzis, 2 computers with internet access, and childrens play room. Wifi in lobby and restaurant only. Chess , Pool , and Foosball tables on site and a dart board.

Room Tip: Standard rooms do not have volcano view.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank GlobalNurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

The short answer is no, don’t. The long answer is below in stream of consciousness. I have a long list.

The place has a really sad vibe to it. It’s the only place we stayed where the people really seemed like they didn’t want to be there. The main room looks like a small town mall that’s fallen on hard times. There are string curtains high on the windows that are a mess, and it’s also home to a huge dead butterfly carcass. WIFI only works in the lobby (like all the other rooms, too dark). It won’t even work the few steps to the dining room, and certainly not in your room. So you’ll have to trudge down anytime you want to use it. Furniture in the lobby is old couches covered in brown slip covers and a really weird, very uncomfortable, Victorian settee. So much for the lodge look.

The “5 minute drive” is straight up on an unpaved, winding road with blind curve after blind curve, and barely room for two cars. And going ANYWHERE is a drive, so don’t come here without a car. You will want one because the food, though probably nourishing, is at best uninspired. Like the rest of the place, the dining room is sad. One morning the sun hit the baseboards, making it clear they hadn’t been cleaned in years. We only ate breakfast (okay if you like a big one. I prefer something like yogurt and/or cereal, neither of which they had), one lunch (my carnitas was chopped beef and peppers with french fries. Not bad, but it cried out for some kind of sauce or salsa), and one dinner (we couldn’t face going down and up the driveway the last night. We both had hamburgers to be safe. Costa Rica has great beef, so I’d say this was not so much beef as filler).

If you DON’T have a car, you’re stuck going on their trips, so forget tramping around by yourself. Do go on the morning hike with Miguel (but wear your bug spray!!!!), it was very interesting.
Since it’s tough to go anywhere, you may want to watch TV or read. As expected, the TV is in Spanish, but forget about reading in bed or anywhere else in the room. There’s barely enough light to see what’s in front of you.

There was, oddly, a stove, a microwave, a sink (only can vouch for the sink working), BUT NO REFRIGERATOR. The only thing we wanted. And though they gave you a stove, no pots, pans or utensils.

There was a huge patio outside the back of our room with a PERFECT view of the volcano which we never used because a) it was nearly impossible to open and close the doors, and b) there were no chairs on the patio. Just a tree stump in the middle. Weirdly, the cheaper rooms seemed to all have chairs on their balconies.

The bathroom was HUGE, to no effect. It was dark. They had torn out the tiles to get to plumbing and just nailed up some boards. There was a whirlpool tub (don’t know if it worked), but to use the shower the sliding doors didn’t work well. You had to pick them up and move them. After the shower, the water drained off the edges of the tub onto the floor, right where you will be getting out of the tub and in and out of the bathroom. There was a grab handle to help yourself get into the big tub, but don’t use it. It’s coming out of the tile. They apparently didn’t use toggle bolts, but just plastic anchors. The safe was in the bathroom, with at least two signs saying they weren’t responsible for anything left outside the safe. Problem was that the safe didn’t have a door. We gave the front desk our passports, where they told us, yes, none of the safes had doors because they were redoing them. I’d be willing to bet those doors stay off a long time. There was a cute towel animal on our bed every morning. Unfortunately, some of the towels are threadbare. The toilet roll was one of those annoying, huge public bathroom things where you’re forever losing the end of the toilet paper. The soap and shampoo are dispensers, which can be okay, but we ran out of soap on the last day, so I have to say they must not bother to check them.

We stayed in #27, one of the “honeymoon suites,” and I guess it’s togetherness to require three hands to unlock and open the front door. And there will be lots of togetherness because they only thought to put ONE wine glass in the room. And we could hear EVERYTHING in the honeymoon suite next door. Might cool someone's ardor to know that even normal speech is carrying next door.

There is a sitting room with lots of windows so it’s bright in the day, but the couch in there is unusable because of the musty smell.

The pool is FREEZING, and only one of the two Jacuzzis worked.

Get the idea? The view and property are incredible, but the hotel is not being maintained. It’s obvious all the owner cares about is money coming in… and whatever they’re doing with travel agents seems to be working, since it was packed.

My advice is to look elsewhere.

Room Tip: Want a good room? Go somewhere else.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Patrick T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rochester, New York
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed at Arenal Lodge for three nights and our review is mixed. The location overlooking the volcano and lake is lovely. The buildings and grounds have great character, but the rooms need some updating. We stayed in a chalet and the view was great, but the fridge was rusty and everything was very dated. With a little renovating the place could be spectacular.
The included breakfast was nice and the restaurant service was pretty good. The dinner menu and food quality was just okay, at best. The concierge who handles the tours was a pleasure and although she mostly does the tour booking, she represented the hotel extremely well and made our experience a good one.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alliwhiting1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2014

We loved everything about this place! The grounds were incredible. We hiked on one of the trails then later relaxed in the pool with a cocktail looking at the volcano!
The staff were all very friendly and the breakfast was good with an added plus of an omelet station and fresh fruit, sausages and pancakes.
It was a a 5 minute drive off of the main road but was not a problem because the town did not really offer anything that was worth investigating.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lshirley1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

We loved that this place was not in the center of all the tourist activity and was nice and quiet. It's small, not fancy but lovely. You get an amazing view of the volcano during the day (when it's not cloudy) and stars at night. The lodge is showing it's age though and there were a few things that needed a little attention. Only one of the hot tubs was hot, but it wasn't that big of deal.

The one con for us was the restaurant, it was terrible. Plan ahead and eat before returning to the lodge for the night. It's expensive and gross.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KG006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2014

As many other reviewers have indicated, the grounds and the lobby area here are very nice. The drive up the twisty,steep, cobblestone road takes at least 5-7 minutes depending on the driver!
We arrived around 4 in the afternoon and were checked in quickly to our Junior Suite, room 7.
The room was clean. I did need to ask for more towels but I went directly to the front desk to get them myself. No problem with hot water -just let it run for a couple of minutes before getting in so the water warmed up! There was a place to hang clothes but no chest of drawers to put our folded clothes in-lived out of the suitcase really. We were three in the room but our little table only had one chair. The balcony was nice also with a great view. Walls were very thin- noisy at night. Beds very creaky and noisy also so sleep quality was not good. Our booking.com reservation said there was a fridge but there was not one.
The breakfast in the morning was very good- fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, sausage, gallo pinto, pancakes, omelettes,toast, and juice.
The guided nature walk with Miguel was very good-he is very knowledgeable!
No problem with the wi-if in the lobby area at all.
Probably the biggest issue here is value-paid close to $200 per night and considering the places we have travelled and what we have been able to get for that amount of money this does not compare at all.
One more comment about the location-we knew when we booked that it was half an hour from La Fortuna. We really only needed to go to town once so it wasn't that bad. There is hiking, Arenal Hanging Bridges, and hot springs not that far away but having a car is best if staying here.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tied5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arenal Lodge

Property: Arenal Lodge
Address: 200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 1250, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Lodge provides guests with the excitement of staying in an authentic rainforest lodge with breathtaking panoramic views of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Guests will enjoy a casual and relaxed rustic lodge setting with the added value of a complimentary breakfast daily. Located on 2000-acres of beautiful tropical rainforest, the lodge is situated near Arenal Volcano National Park. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest - housing hundreds of exotic birds, small animals and the beautiful tropical flowers and trees of Costa Rica. and is its own local tourist attraction due to its exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. The lodge features a full service restaurant with local and international cuisine, gift shop, three heated outdoor Jacuzzis, an infinite edge swimming pool, walking trails, a butterfly garden, horseback riding, a game room and outdoor playground for children, fitness room, sauna, and free wireless high speed internet access. Guest rooms and suites feature cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, clock radio, and all have private baths. Complimentary crib and wheel chair are available on request. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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