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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
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Reviews (2,149)
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1,219
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All reviewssmithsonian roomfree morninghiking trailsobservation deckwhite hawksmall museumfree guided hikegreat trailsmorning walkhowler monkeyssuspension bridgelava flowcosta ricabumpy roadstandard roomfrog pondshared bathroom
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1,664 - 1,669 of 2,149 reviews
Reviewed 5 June 2007

Pros:
Great views of the volcano from the restaurant, and the smithsonian rooms.
Our room was clean, big and had spectacular views of the lava flow at night (i guess the lava has shifted back to this side?)
The grounds are beautiful, well kept, and there are great hikes you can do on your own or with a guide.
Beautiful pool area and hot tub.

Cons;
It is a difficult road leading up to the lodge, during our stay there were large amounts of water running across the road...but this road seemed nice after we experienced the roads in the Osa Peninsula

The front desk staff were never particularly friendly or that accomodating.
The food at the restaurant is average.
You have to be back at the hotel by 9pm or the gate is closed.

Overall though, it was a great experience for the incredible views of the volcano.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank premstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2007

Although the rocky road up to the Observatory Lodge raised doubts about this hotel, they were quickly dispelled when I saw the amazing setting of the hotel. The views of the volcano are unparalleled, and watching the sun set over the lake was equally magnificent. The standard room was large, clean, and quiet. We could watch the lava from our balcony at night. The front desk staff was very helpful in suggesting and booking activities. The restaurant was also good.

  • Stayed: May 2007
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2  Thank iheartnola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2007

We had a wonderful stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge! The rooms were clean and the staff was exceptionally helpful and friendly. The second day we were there housekeeping even left fresh-cut flowers for us on the bedside table. We found the staff to be very GLBT friendly as well. The restaurant was basic, but the hearty breakfast buffet kept us sustained for some serious hiking. While we didn't swim there--we took a cab to Tabacon for the day--the pool was nestled by our building and crystal clear.

While we did have to be paitent to see the volcano we were treated to a beautiful view of eruptions on the second night. The Smithsonian
rooms were definitely worth the few extra dollars over a basic room a night for their huge picture windows and balconies that face the volcano.

The one warning--be sure that you arrive during the day. The front gate (which is about 1.5 miles down a dirt road from the actual hotel) closes at 11:00 pm and the front desk closes at 9:00 pm. We arrived around 7:00 and didn't have a problem, but after that and you may be locked out. Also, if you're traveling with someone with a disability, the pool area and Smithsonian rooms are accessible by some steep stairs set into the hill and a narrow hanging suspension bridge--I'd recommend booking a room in the main area.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank clockworknate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2007

If you are going Arenal to see the volcano - this is the place to stay. We stayed in a room in the main building, but the not the most expensive, and it was wonderful. Walked out on balcony, turned right, and there was the volcano. They have this great deck to view the sunset over Arenal Lake and to see the lava at night.

Breakfast comes with your stay and it is fine. Dining otherwise is just ok but you don't stay here for the food. Staff is very friendly and grounds are gorgeous. We wish we could have stayed longer.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank World_Traveler_STL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2007

We stayed at this 'hotel' for 2 nights at the beginning of May. The weather was very wet but we expected this as it is the start of the green season. As a result we had to be patient for views of the volcano. However because we had booked a Smithsonian room I think it would have been easier for us than for people in other rooms. We could sit on the balcony and listen to the volcano and see it when the clouds allowed.

I would recommend this hotel simply for the location but it's essential that you have a hire car as it is very remote. I also think it's fair to say not to expect luxury as although our room was clean and tidy it was very basic (no tea/coffee/water/phone etc) and rather out-dated. The hotel offers a free guided hike each morning or you can take one of the maps and walk around the various trails. All in all a once in a lifetime experiernce if the volcano is obliging!

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank BMac3009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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