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“Spectacular Views”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 2 December 2013

We stayed at the White Hawk Villa, this is a very large two story home at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The home is away from all of the visitors. It sits up on a hill all by its lonesome. It is has its own private road and is electronically gated. You are given a gate opener. If you like being away from the crowds this is perfect. It is a beautiful setting, the home is very spacious. Home has nice furniture and is perfect for a large group. We had four couples. Could hold a lot of people but there are only two bedrooms. There are two bedrooms and a full kitchen, open dining room living room combination, carport and sufficient parking. Each bedroom has a king sized bed and two twin beds with a full bath. We took the mattresses off of the twin beds to make two larger beds and placed the mattresses in the huge living room on the floor. This worked out perfect. The bedrooms are on the lower floor facing the volcano. In the night it rained so hard, it was awesome. Beautiful flowers around the villa with hummingbirds flying, Howler monkeys in the trees in the distance. Spectacular view to the lake and volcano from inside the home. The Arenal Observatory Lodge is the best place to be for volcano viewing. The breakfast was included, a typical Costa Rican breakfast buffet; enough to keep you satisfied for the morning. You can also order off a menu. We had lunch and dinner there. Food was ok; food was our least favorite of our 10 day trip to Costa Rica, but don't let that keep you from coming. Hiking, kayaking, canyoning and other activities are bountiful in the area. A must see, Tabacon Hot Springs - go there in the evening (best at night) for the hot springs. Wish we could have stayed longer at the Arenal Observatory Lodge there is a lot to see at Arenal Observatory Lodge. We also did a hike from the Lodge down to the river. There are a lot of white faced Coati's hanging around the lodge.

I understand that the volcano can be obscured by clouds most of the time. We were lucky, the day we arrived we saw the volcano in full, then as the days passed we could not see due to cloud cover. If you do see it in full, get your camera out, you may not have another opportunity.

Room Tip: We had the White Hawk Villa, perfect for a large group. But only two bedrooms. Take the mattresses...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lori6600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 November 2013

This lodge has so much going for it. As mentioned before the views are stunning in good weather, which luckily we had. Waking at night and seeing the clear outline of the volcano with fireflies dancing in the trees in front of the room was something never to be forgotten. The opportunities for bird and wildlife viewing are excellent and Christian was a very knowledgeable guide. However our experience was that the staff, with the exception of Jonathan in the dining room, were miserable to the point of downright rudeness. They did their job, just, with no hint of friendliness. The included breakfast buffet was not good; coming back from an early birdwatching walk what little food left was lukewarm and unappetising. Unlike a previous reviewer our experience at reception was rushed and impatient. Lunch and dinner were acceptable. The Smithsonian rooms are very nice but a good walk from the main building up and down steps - lovely in good weather but no umbrellas or boots are provided in the rooms for wet weather. It was also difficult getting our luggage brought to and from our rooms. This is a good place to stay but with better service and food it would be amazing.

Room Tip: Smithsonian rooms comfortable but good distance from main buildings with steps and a hanging bridge...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank marywant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2013

Amy and Estaban at the reception were very helful, and full of smiles!! We had a Junior suite for 4 people, spacious king beds and a coffee maker (for those who want some before 7am). The view is exceptionnal. Breakfast was plentiful, buffet with eggs, potatoes, fruits, toast, juices, coffee, etc. Lunch and dinner have US/comparable rates, with average food. Worth not doing the drive to and from La Fortuna in the dark.
The morning bird walk was very interesting seeing as this was our first stop, besides our arrival in San Jose. The trails to walk are great, we saw different birds, snakes, monkeys and wild flowers. The pool and jacuzzi were clean and very appreciated.
Amy helped us with an excursion to Baldi Springs and Esteban with the zipline with SkyTrek. Both were very patient at check out, making sure the bill is well understood, first day with different currency....takes practice. Would definately recommend to friends and go back myself.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank tryin2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

We stayed here at the end of our honeymoon. It was about a 20 minute drive to the main town of Fortuna; about a 15 minute drive to Tabacon (on the way to the town/hotel so very convenient). The breakfast, included in cost, was a typical buffet and nothing nothing to write home about but filled you up for a long day. Do the free nature walk in the AM as its included in the cost. Although you are literally the closest hotel to/on the volcano we could not see the top b/c it was low season and cloudy. There was however a fantastic view of the lake. The rooms were not glamorous and definitely a 'camper' or 'traveler' type of feel with bed spreads that looked like they were mine from high school. I would book this hotel again just for the expereince and views/location, however just know it is not a 5 star.

Room Tip: Tabacon is on the way to the hotel. This was our last stop on our 10 day trip and needed good old A...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
1  Thank Gwilterink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Uburoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank Mike271828
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

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 76 Speciality Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: £92 - £139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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