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“Beautiful Location” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Costa Mesa, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful Location”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2013 via mobile

When Arenal was continuously erupting, this hotel must have been absolutely amazing on a clear day. That being said, it still provides a great view of the volcano and provides quick access to various fantastic hikes. The included breakfast was a great way to start the day, but I would avoid the hotel restaurant for lunch and dinner. A 4X4 vehicle is recommended for the drive up to the lodge, especially in the rainy season.

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Gwilterink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (372)
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San Francisco
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 November 2013

We stayed just one night and were pleasantly surprised by the level of luxury and service. The (included) guided nature walk was just long enough to be satisfying. It's a bit of a drive down the mountain if you want to eat anywhere else, so it's a good thing that the food at restaurant was delicious, if not cheap. There is no TV, which is a definite plus.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Uburoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fair Haven, New Jersey
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2013

This place is amazing. High up on a flank of Arenal volcano the view is spectacular, the grounds beautiful, and wildlife is everywhere you look. It is remote and even with 4 wheel drive a challenge to get to.....but its worth it. The tours we took from the lodge were better than others based in the nearby town of La Fortuna. The staff were friendly and pleasant. We have memories that we will never forget...horseback riding with Herman between two volcanoes, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys, walking to the waterfall and taking the evening tour with Christian, or just sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds. Most of the visitors seemed to be adults. There is none of the 'typical' kiddie activities but that worked out just fine. We are a family of three with an 11 yr old boy who absolutely loved it.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mike271828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denton, Texas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights and we had different views of the volcano every 5 minutes! I enjoyed the free nature walk with a park ranger explaining their commitment to conservation as well as pointing out the flora and fauna. The free breakfast buffet was amazing and other meals were just as good (although U.S. prices). The front desk person, Leonel, was very helpful when we discovered that the transportation we arranged did not come up to Observatory. He arranged a shuttle to another hotel for pickup.

Room Tip: Do not choose the casona unless you have a car or like to hike up to the restaurant.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Merrilyh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 November 2013

Staying at the Arenal Observatory lodge, previously owned by the Smithsonian Institute to study wildlife was a great home base for the ziplining, canyoning and visits to the local waterfalls and hotsprings. Our tour guides with REI took us on a early morning walk through the trails surrounding the hotel... They are extremely extensive and you could spend hours walking around there. We saw our share of Toucans, spider monkeys and amazing birds in the trees including a beautiful little waterfall.

The rooms were suprisingly roomy with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano which could be enjoyed from the room or on the spacious balcony outside. The restaurant had ample enough of drinks and food. It was so so, but with all the busy activities I was happy not have to go out somewhere to eat.

The pool and hot tubs were beautiful quite large for big parties. All in all the grounds were beautiful, restaurant very pleasant and rooms very spacious. (but I must add that it sounded like a monkey was tapping on our window either to tease us or get in... hmm! Minor irritation in the middle of the night!... Just reminding us we were living with wildlife, which is why we came beautiful Costa Rica in the first place!)

I traveled in July for 2012, the "rainy season"... It rained only one day on us and was a pleasant break from the heat... Unfortunately Trip Advisor doesn't let me choose a date earlier than Dec 2012.

Room Tip: Find one with front door facing the pool for easy access and back of room with view of the Arenal Vo...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kwong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2013

The Observatory Lodge was amazing. The hotel and amenities were great, but what really stood out was the location. It was like walking into a real live movie set for the scenery of Jurassic Park. I cannot stress how beautiful the grounds were. I would highly recommend this.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Frank H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
51 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

My family of 4 adults stayed at the AOL for 2 nights in October 2013:

- Location, Location, Location - there is no better place to stay to get the most fabulous views of Volcano Arenal. The hotel is the only place to lodge within the park. The views, easy access to the hiking/walking trails and rustic location are the best features of the lodge. The downside is that the hotel is about 21 kms away from La Fortunate (closest town) with 11 km on an unpacked dirt road. If you plan to head to dinner at different restaurants every evening and if you have your own car, then plan for a challenging drive in the dark and potentially in the rain - 4 x 4 cars are highly recommended.
- Amenities - the rooms are large, clean but lack some modern amenities like internet and TVs - which is fine since this is a place to disconnect anyway. The Casona rooms are 500 meters away from the hotel and are secluded with amazing views. The standard rooms are in the hotel with private bathrooms and easier access to wifi and the hotel staff. There was no electricity one night when we were staying in the Casona room and there was no way to communicate with the staff. We did get upgraded to the standard room the next day - book early! This place gets crowded
- Restaurant - breakfast is included. We ate dinner one night and the food was hearty and good

Would definitely stay here again - thanks to Cesar and Leonel for making our stay memorable

Room Tip: Standard rooms with views of Arenal - rooms 4-9 were great. The Casona rooms are secluded but very p...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rumesha
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 From la Fortuna Town, Located on the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main road to Arenal National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, 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 70 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: 49
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 a 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 400 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: 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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