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“Stay at Tabacon if you want adventure, relaxation and fun--five stay resort for an affordable price.”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 27 November 2009

My fiance and I traveled to Tabacon in November 2009 and stayed there for 3 days. The only flaw in our plan was that we didn't stay long enough! We splurged for the $140 private transporation from the airport (there is a $30 option available but it only makes two trips a day). The shuttle was great because you can stop along the way. We stopped at a gift shop and also at a grocery store (to get some snacks for the room). The driver was knowledgeable and friendly. We were greated at the resort with cool hand towels and a tasty drink and then taken to our room. We got the cheapest room available and it was fantastic (big screen tv, huge bed, beautiful view of the gardens, very spacious). The staff does a great job of cleaning the room and brings chocolates by every night and offers free turn down service.

I highly recommend taking some of the tours too. We took the volcano tour which takes you up the side of the Arenal volcano (no, you don't get to see lava but its still exciting) and the hanging bridges tour which takes you through the canopy of the rainforest (where we saw tucans and howler monkeys). The tours were only $40-$50 per person and were completely worth it. I also recommend going into La Fortuna (the neighboring town). We went one night and spent a few hours shopping at the great local stores and got a great dinner of local cuisine for only $37 including drinks. It costs $20 for a round trip cab ride. Another tip, no need to exchange money. Everyone takes dollars (although you might get Costa Rican money for change).

I also loved the pool at the hotel. It was the perfect temperature and I rarely ran into any other people down there. It was a great place to unwind at the end of the day (and its open until 10pm).

The hot springs and spa were also fantastic. I was amazed by the sheer size of the hot springs (the website does not do it justice). My fiance and I spent an entire day there soaking up the sun and relaxing in the springs. Although its beautiful at night the main pool does sort of turn into more of a nightclub but you can definitely avoid the crowds by wandering off to one of the many secluded hot springs. I did not realize that the hot spring is not attached to the hotel. You can either walk or take the complimentary shuttle.

The spa was amazing. They give you this great drink when you first step into it and its very peace. I splurged and spent about $450 there on a chocolate scrub, mud wrap, and 90 minute couples swedish massage. It all took place outdoors in a secluded little pegoda. It was great getting a massage and hearing the sounds of the rainforest all around you (tucans, the waterfall). Both of the treatments are followed up with either a dip in a private hot tub or a private hot spring (lovely). The inside of the spa itself is gorgeous and 5 star. After our treatments the staff put us in a quiet, private part of the spa and gave us juice and snacks and then we took a dip in the hot tub. The best part about getting a spa treatment is getting access to the hot tub in it. Wish I would have stayed in there longer and soaked it up.

The food was pricey. We ate dinner at the hotel one night and it came to $87 with drinks and dessert but I thought the food was good and the atmosphere was worth it. We also ate at the hot spring one night which was a bit cheaper and not as good (the also have a $30 buffet available every night).

Overall we had an amazing time. I honestly just wish we would have stayed longer. We set aside 5 days but it took us one full day just to get there and back (from the Washington DC area). I've already recommended this trip to many of my co-workers and friends.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank isaleistar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 November 2009

Just got finish spending 3 nights at the Tabacon. Great location amazing staff and the hot springs are one of a kind.

Our biggest and only complaint would have to be the overpriced crappy food. We paid 60 dollars for 2 sandwich and 2 beers subway is better!!! Save yourself money and check out the restaurant "El Novillo" which is walking distance from Tabacon(Trust us the hotel staff will make like it is 10 miles away and it is not!)

Lastly make your way into town there are a ton of great restaurants there for a great value.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank naisha77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2009

We stayed here for one night and wished we had stayed a night longer. The hotel is nice with excellent service. the highlight of the hotel experience was the gardens and hot springs - -absolutely stunning. Just keep in mind that the springs and garden are across the street from the hotel so you will have to take a five minute walk, drive, or take their shuttle. That wasn't a problem for us, but its good to know that before you go. We had dinner at the hotel's main restaurant and it was absolutely wonderful... they definitely earner their five star ratings and accolades.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank WhitNRano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2009

My friend and I stayed at Tabacon on Nov 1st and 2nd, 2009. Like many others, we were seduced by the hot springs and promises of views and luxury. I actually read about this place in the Frommer's guide book. I have since learned not to take those guides too seriously.

FACILITY
The facility is certainly beautiful - the lobby, the gardens, and the pool restaurant.

SERVICE
We actually found the staff and guests at this place equally morbid, and joked several times that the vibe was more reminiscent of a funeral than a vacation resort. The staff at breakfast looked tired and depressed. We did not receive any towels or drinks upon arrival as I have read in other reviews. We ordered room service twice. The first time we ordered 1 ham and 1 turkey sandwich and were told that this is the same sandwich. It was a good sandwich :). The second time we ordered nachos and they came with pump cheese (cheese sauce from a can) at a ridiculous price. The shuttle service to the hot springs was prompt, no complaints. The breakfast was good, and we did not eat dinner here.

ROOMS
We stayed in the standard room in the Irazu building. The room itself was pretty dark and dungeon-like and we had to have all the lights on at all hours of the day. The bedding seemed kind of old. Otherwise there were no problems. Our view was of some tropical plants, which was fine with me. I am glad we didn't dish out for the view of the volcano because as we found out later, all activity is on the opposite side. YOU WILL NOT SEE THE VOLCANO ERUPT FROM THIS HOTEL OR THE HOT SPRINGS AREA.

HOT SPRINGS
The hot springs were amazing as promised. I recommend going midday, because people start piling in after 5. Be prepared to shell out $13+ per drink at the bar. The hot springs are included in the hotel price. Just a tip: I found out from the locals that the Baldi hot springs at $25 vs $60 or $70 at the Tabacon ones if you don't stay at the hotel.

COMPLAINTS
The hotel charges $10 per day for internet usage, and the internet barely works. I found this extremely lame. The internet should be included in the price of the hotel like anywhere else. The hotel offers you a list of tours upon arrival. DO NOT pay these ridiculous prices. Everything is easy to find on your own. We went to the national park gate and got a private tour for $10pp. The hotel wanted $40 pp for a group tour. They also have packages up to $160 pp. You don't need them, you will find people to guide you right at the park, the bridges etc.

CONCLUSION
At another opportunity I would have stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge and used the Baldi hot springs. We went to the Lodge for dinner and it is located very close to the volcano on the active side with great views of the volcano and Lake Arenal.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled with friends
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4  Thank alex1012hearts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2009

My wife and I spent a few evenings in their honeymoon suite and were just overwhelmed by the whole experience. We arrived stressed and a bit tired from the drive from San Jose but we left relaxed and extremely happy with our decision to stay at Tabacon. The highlights were the hot springs, which are the best we’ve ever been to (we’ve visited some in the Venezuela and Europe), and the massages (definitely done by professionals). The food was also good. The chef brought out appetizers “on the house” and the attention provided by the wait staff was just right. The resort is practically under Arenal Volcano so the view is unlike any other in the world!! It is pricey but you certainly get what you pay for.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank dmarin1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2009

The hotel is wonderful physically but the real pleasure is in the hotel staff. From the moment we made our reservation to the final moment before departure they bent over backwards to ensure we had a wonderful time. We stayed in a deluxe superior room type and it was wonderfully appointed. The hot springs are amazing but the one day we didn’t feel like going we simply filled up the huge, tiled jet tub and had a soak looking out the big windows of our bathroom into the forest. We had planned on spending time in the nearest town but the resort and spa was so pleasant we never made it. We also took advantage of the spa. I had a facial which was done outside so you can hear the birds and the water from the hot springs rushing by (a first for me). The spa also offers temazcal (a type of sweat lodge which originated with pre-hispanic Indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica). I was a true cleansing of mind body and spirit and I enjoyed it so much I did it twice. We also went on a hanging bridges tour and saw a three-toed sloth, toucans, and howler monkeys. All in all a fabulous trip!

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank tyneme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 November 2009

We arrived at this hotel early 1pm and had a tour planned, so we checked our luggage and went on our short tour. We arrived back at 2:50pm (checkin was 3:00pm) and went to check in (Manfred was behind the desk) he rudely said it was only 2:50 and we had to wait 10 minutes, not looking to see if the room was ready or anything, we just had to wait. The room was very nice and the thermal pools entrance is included in the price. The room was clean and had all that we needed and more. I thought the room was reasonably priced. Our room had a slight view of the volcano, but it is on the green side. The food at this hotel is ok, but it is way too expensive. We went to both the buffet dinner and the nice dinner $$$ and I would suggest going somewhere down the road for food if you stay here. The spa was very nice, we had a couples' massage, probably not worth the $400 it cost. Very expensive spa, no complaints except for its cost. The hot springs which were free with the room were very cool. I would recommend going to their springs if nothing else. I probably wouldn't stay here again, if I did I would eat elsewhere and save some money. I would recommend the hot springs.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lazybeach21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

Address: 13 Km Northwest, 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 Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#6 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#9 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#13 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: £226 - £396 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 103
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heart of the tropical rainforest at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the northern Region of Costa Rica. This five-star carbon neutral resort offers a unique blend of nature, adventure and relaxation. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Tabacon provides luxurious accommodations, services and amenities in a picture-perfect natural setting. The resort's unique healing thermal mineral spring river emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds. Explore Shangri-La Gardens an hotel guests and adults-only hideaway, delight your senses with world- class cuisine inspired by local fares or surprise that special person with a gala dinner in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the gardens is the resort's Grand Spa, member of The Leading Spas of the World which combines a beautiful location with a singular spa experience, where treatments are rendered in open air bungalows all of them with private jacuzzi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Tabacon Grand Hotel Thermal
Tabacon Grand Resort Thermal
Tabacon Resort
Tabacon Hot Springs
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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