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“Fabulous facility, marginal restaurant”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Huddleston, Virginia
Level Contributor
177 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Fabulous facility, marginal restaurant”
Reviewed 4 September 2013

The grounds of Arenal Volcano Lodge are really spectacular. It is clear that they've spent decades landscaping and caring for the place. There are many short walks and beautiful vistas that really add to the experience. We stayed in the Jr. Suites which were actually TOO large! The patios and views were great, but the rooms were really enormous. Wifi is only available in the lobby and the restaurant. There is no AC, but it is not needed. The guides are very professional and well-informed. Even though it's a long way from a good restaurant, this is where we'll stay next time we're in the area.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank SMLBill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Akron, Ohio
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2013

This lodge is deeply within a rainforest and while we were there, it lived up to being a rainforest, but that did not deter our exploration of the area. From the deck of our cabin the Arenal Volcano felt like you could reach out and touch it. The cabin room was spacious, the wildlife prolific and the food amazing.

Room Tip: Wear good hiking shoes - a lot of walking.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank traveler10453
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2013

We stayed in a Smithsonian room. Very spacious, and the best idea in hotel beds I've ever seen - a queen and a king, and the king has a headboard that allows for the separation of the bed into two twins - a fantastic options for families. All hotels should have this! These rooms are a bit of walk to the restaurant and front desk area, and the bugs are HORRIBLE at dusk - do NOT go out without bugspray! The property is absolutely beautiful, gardens are lovely, views are great, pool is nice but freezing cold (hot tub is hot enough). Ping pong table is nice for evening. It is a long walk over to the front desk from a Smithsonian room to get a pool towel, walk back to the pool, and then walk back to the desk to return the towel. A lot of ants in the bathroom, which did not seem to be addressed when we mentioned it to the front desk. Front desk staff were helpful but not particularly polite - rather brusque. Breakfast is standard fare - plenty of choices, but nothing special. This place is remote, so if you don't have a car there is nothing else around. The room includes breakfast, Strongly recommend stopping in La Fortuna at the grocery store before arriving here, especially if you don't want to pay high price for dinner or snacks. We ate sandwiches in the room (no refrigerator though). We stayed here two nights and could have stayed a third (arrived too late in the day the first day to do anything). Pre-booked an excursion to Sky Tram/Sky Trek. Three hour hike in the jungle with an excellent guide (Nestor). Lots of wildlife and beautiful waterfalls, sunshine so good photos. Lots of hanging bridges. After the Trek we took the tram up and the zip lines down. Terrifying experience, but I'm glad I did it and I think a "not to be missed". I never felt unsafe, but it is really scary to be going so fast hanging from a wire. Guys working the zip lines were great, fun. If we had stayed an extra day we would have done hiking on the property. The fact that the volcano isn't erupting anymore doesn't detract from the great outdoor options around the volcano. This is definitely a worthwhile destination. Several clean, inexpensive places in La Fortuna to drop off laundry - everything came back smelling like dryer sheets, which helped with the rest of our clothes that hadn't been washed!

Room Tip: Smithsonian Rooms have a beautiful view of the gardens, view of the volcano if not covered with clou...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kenwoodtennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
81 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 2013

The lodge is a great place to stay if you plan to spend most of the time at the volcano area. I didn't have a car so I spent 2 whole days around the area. I had to get a taxi when I wanted to go to hot springs so I had to pay $30 one way. The location can't be beat since you get the full view of the volcano. Staff is very friendly and there's plenty of hiking trails.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cookiebeast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2013

Arena Observatory Lodge is in the perfect position to enjoy views of the volcano, walks in the forest and gardens and to explore the area. The room was clean and spacious and the restaurant staff were lovely. The food was good. There was lots to do incase of rain, chess, books to read, etc Also the pool and hot tub were beautiful. If you don't have transport, the cost to go into town or on any trips is $30.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Juthy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 August 2013 via mobile

Beautiful location with great rooms, views, meals, service! It's like an all inclusive resort even though not everything is included. Saw tons of animals right on nearby trails. Great pool too. The prices were reasonable and the views were amazing of both Arenal lake and volcano.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Neotrips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2013

Overall, this facility was a delight. The rooms were spacious and clean. The view was to die for. The food at the restaurant was excellent. The big problem was the front desk. I had a bill for a bottle of wine from the restaurant. They couldn't run a credit card so they asked me to clear it with the front desk the next day. I went by at about noon. and waited for the man behind the desk to get off the phone or even acknowledge me. That didn't happen. Frustrated I left to go to lunch with my group. When I came back to leave with my group waiting, it took almost 30 minutes to pay a simple credit card bill. The staff was rude and I got the feeling that they wanted me to complain because they kept saying how understaffed they were. I was the only one at the desk and there were 2 of them. After 15 minutes I asked for a manager and was told none were available. This was at 1 in the afternoon. Ridiculous! This encounter effectively ruined what was other wise a spectacular stay and a place I would have given 5 stars to and highly recommended. Everything else was great.

Room Tip: Avoid credit card use as the front desk can't handle it.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Michael H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Property: Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Address: 23 Km West of La Fortuna City Center, Located at the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main Road to Arenal National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 68 Speciality Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. Located within the Arenal Conservation Area and surrounded by rainforests and nature, AOL sits on an 870 acres property, which consists of 400 acres of reforestation, 270 acres of natural forest and 200 acres of cultivated land. The hotel offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall or to explore Cerro Chato (an extinct volcano with a small lake in the crater), horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA. The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as the Cano Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. It also serves as a very interesting stop before heading on to Monteverde Cloud Forest or to the beaches of the Pacific coast. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service, and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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