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“Needs some work. Room will make or break your experience.”
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
49 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Needs some work. Room will make or break your experience.”
Reviewed 20 March 2014

Good:
- The Chalet Rooms. These rooms are at the top of the hill with the big picture windows. We switched from the honeymoon suite to a top floor Chalet room for our 3rd & 4th nights here. Great view and a newer room. Lots of outlets, clean, fewer bugs. We would stay at Arenal Lodge again if we could get a top floor Chalet room.
- The grounds are beautiful. The view of the volcano is amazing. The property offers a hiking trail with wonderful scenery.
- The free morning hike with Miguel is well worth it. He is a fun tour guide and takes his time to explain things. You will learn a lot. Wear lots of bug spray!
- The bar. They don't skimp on the alcohol. The mixed drinks are tasty and pretty.
- The breakfast. It is included with the stay and is a self-serve buffet. I can't operate without breakfast and I love big, hot breakfasts. Gallo Pinto, bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes (didn't eat since I have celiac disease), omelettes to order, fruit, juice, coffee and tea. We sat in front of the window in the dining room and watched the birds feed.
- Staff is very helpful when I approached with questions and our room change request.

Not So Good:
- Arenal Lodge is about a 20 minutes drive from La Fortuna and 2 kilometers up a hill from the main road. The 2 kilometer climb is a small, winding, brick road. We had activities planned, but did not have a car (rentals were sold out in town). We had no choice but to get a cab each day and pay a $30 surcharge, because the lodge is hard to get to. Good thing we liked our cab driver!
- The facilities are dated. It is a humid environment, but everything looks a little tired.
- We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite for our first 2 nights. It is the most expensive room on the grounds, but I don't understand why. It has a lot of space, but it's unnecessary. The couches were old and moist to sit on, there were bugs (dead and alive), the area rugs needed to be vacuumed desperately. If my feet get dirty walking around barefoot inside, I take issue with that! The bed was comfortable. There is a porch, but nowhere to sit outside. My husband tried using the whirlpool bath, but the jets shot out dirt and leaves! When booking the most expensive room on the property, my husband assumed it would be the Chalet Rooms. We were able to switch and those were much improved (see my "good" comments above).
- We ate dinner our first night there. The waiter said we could only order wine by the bottle, so we did. Luckily, we could have it in our room later. The next evening I saw couples ordering by the glass. Makes me feel like I've been hard. They marked the price up quite a bit! We both had steak. Don't bother, it was bad. Stick with the traditional chicken and rice type dishes.
- The swimming pool was freezing and only one of the two Jacuzzi's worked. It's awkward to share a small Jacuzzi with other guests (luckily my husband and I got there first one afternoon), so fixing the second Jacuzzi would be helpful.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Laurel7682
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robert L, Manager at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
The jacuzzi you mentioned has been repaired three weeks ago as well as other repairs.
Be assured that we appreciate your comments and will respond with actions to constantly improve performance and installations.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Herriman, Utah
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2014

We absolutely loved our stay at the Arenal Lodge! It has some amazing views and you basically feel like you're at the top of the mountain! It was fairly easy to find and all the staff were very helpful and friendly! We spent 3 nights there and loved it! It's not the "Ritz" by any means, but it's a wonderful place to stay and you get a seriously amazing view of Costa Rica and the Arenal Volcano!

They also have a great adventure company right there in the lobby that you can book your tours/activities through! They were super helpful and positive and the experience was amazing with them as well!

The breakfast every morning was really good, but the restaurant for dinner wasn't our favorite, but we still ate there twice for dinner anyway.

All in all, this was an amazing place to stay!

Room Tip: We had room 30, which was a "Garden View" room and it was perfect! Right by the lobby/rest...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ldowse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria F, Propietario at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, 22 March 2014
Thanks for your comments. The refurbishing of our installations are in full swing.
On your next visit we will welcome you in rooms that will offer more perfect comfort and the new menu in our main restaurant will be effective.
Thanks for staying with us.
Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corpus Christi, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 March 2014

The lodge is nestled on a mountain side with breathtaking views of the flora and fauna that the country is so rich of. We woke-up in the clouds with the warm sun burning off which allowed our eyes to feast upon a sleeping volcano.
The staff beyond helpful and so courteous I wouldn't say one negative thing. They assisted us with our car rental, tours and anything else we needed. The pool and jacuzzi were a nice perk from a day of trekking in the jungle.
If there is anything they can improve on it would be the update of their rooms. Although we didn't spend much time in our rooms we would have appreciated a comfortable bed and amenities like shampoo, a safe (some did some didn't) a microwave and less cobwebs. The rooms provide a hair dryer, tv, refrigerator but ours didn't work or needed to be replaced. Since the hotel does state these items as amenities they should work. Hot water was another issue that seemed inconsistent. There were 4 rooms just outside of the lobby that battled with a tripped breaker and obviously too small of a water heater.
Wifi was another issue another amenity stated however you had to go to the lobby to use it. An inconvenience if you are a business traveler or work from your computer.
None of these snags effected our trip and I'm sure guests would all agree on the service. It's little things that would make this hotel/lodge perfect!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank motsconica1228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rachel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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
    • Rooms
    • 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
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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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