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“This was a terrible place to stay”

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Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reston, VA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“This was a terrible place to stay”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2007

We stayed 2 nights at Los Lagos during a 9-day trip to Costa Rica. This was the worst hotel we stayed in. We had difficulty in getting a confirmation for our sleeping room; the food is over-priced, and the staff indifferent. I would not recommend this property to anyone. It took many attempts through emails, faxes and finally a phone call to receive a confirmation that we were booked there. They seemed truly baffled that I would request such a thing. When we checked in, we (and all other guests) were forced to wear a silly arm band to identify us as "real guests." I felt like we were in camp. The first night our toilet overflowed and it took many calls to the front desk to get someone to come to our room to fix it. One morning, we attempted to call another guest room from the front desk but the staff could not figure out how to do that! The food was terrible, service was even worse. To get a cup of coffee, you had to tackle a waiter and beg for a cup. We were there on Christmas Eve, and they had a "special" meal for $50 a person. Since we were a family of 4, there was no way I was going to spend $200 on a meal that my kids would not eat. (Only days before at another hotel, we had eaten a 4 course gourmet meal for $17 each.) We finally convinced them to let us share meals to save a few dollars. And as anticipated, the food was awful. There are many lovely places to stay around Arenal. Choose one of them. Avoid this hotel at all costs.

  • Liked — Location to Arenal
  • Disliked — Everything else.
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DogloverRestonVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,372 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (265)
Date | Rating
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English first
Saline, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2007

This hotel was recommended by a travel agent in Costa Rica after our original plans fell apart. She booked us the premium room for only $113.00 including breakfast, so we didn't expect much. The rooms are very clean but somewhat spartan. We checked in at night and the lobby reminded me of the local Y. They have replaced all their light bulbs with the energy efficient ones and they gave the lobby somewhat of an institutional look.
It looks much better in the day time. The grounds are beautiful. There was a lot of work going on when we were there. It mostly looked like they were upgrading the landscaping.
It was a steep, long walk to our room, which was about as close to the volcano as you could get, but he resort does run a shuttle, you just have to ask for one. Being there in off-season, we never had to wait long, but I imagine if the hotel was full it might be a bit of a pain to wait.
The butterfly farm was closed when we there and looked like it needed a lot of work, as did other areas of the property. They were working on the swim bar at the pool. When all of the repairs and upgrades are completed here, this will be a really nice place.
The restaurant doesn't have any character at all unless you eat on the terrace. I thought the breakfast buffet was so-so. We had dinner there our first night and lunch on the last day. We enjoyed them far more than breakfast.
The trick with transportation is to negotiate with the cab driver who picks you up to come back later. Don't pay him until he does. We had one cab driver who took us to town and then came back and took us to the volcanio observatory and then came back in the evening to take us a restaurant where we could see the lava flow. We negotiated one rate for the whole day and paid him when we finally got back to the hotel at night.

  • Liked — Ver large room
  • Disliked — Furnishings looked like an old mom and pop motel
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank harmmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
47 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 September 2007

The hotel grounds are everything you'd expect in Costa Rica, with beautiful gardens, crocodile and butterfly farms. It also has a direct view of Arenal. The thermal pool is God-sent after a long day of hiking equipped with a slide for the kids - and adults. It's got all the amenities with very affordable massage services which I admit even I indulged in. The restaurant on-site was a bit expensive for CR standards and the resort was about 2km outside of La Fortuna but taxis are easy to get. The rooms are 2 to a building and they are dotted throughout the grounds but for more privacy, you get ones up the hill, which is a small hike in its own right, just to get back to your room.

The main reason we gave it a 4 instead of a 5 because we asked the front desk regarding transportation to Arenal and back. They assured us it's not a problem. After a wonderful jaunt at Arenal, we headed back to the main gate of the park to be told that there was no direct transportation back. They didn't even have a phone to call for taxis. Our choices were the bus, whose stop was several kms down the road and comes every hour or walk all the way home - which was about 12 kms I believe. After getting back, we told the front desk about our experience, he sort of shrugged and said "oh well".

  • Stayed November 2004, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank flyboyarl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2007

First, if you are looking to stay at a hotel near Arenal Volcano with night views of lava flow, call around. The lava direction changes periodically, and the lava was not visible at night from Los Lagos when we stayed. For that, you just have to have luck with nature.

We had a standard room, which was just that. We had a colony of ants living in the soapdish in our shower. The bathroom was pretty small. There were a few cracks in the door/windows, which may have let in bugs or hot air. The AC worked great (which is quite important). The housekeeping staff gave excellent service as well, with beautiful "towel origami" everyday.

We stayed at Los Lagos with some other friends, and we noted that not all standard rooms were the same. One couple had a huge bathroom, but a 15 minute walk from the front desk. The rooms/bungalows are very spread out and you may end up walking very far to your room.

The property was amazing. There was a beautiful view of the volcano from almost any angle. The crocodile farm was very good. The butterfly house was mediocre at best. The frog house was not available when we went, and it was explained as a mishap of escaped frogs or something to that effect. There was a great display of leaf cutter ants as well.

The pools were wonderful. The warm pool was like swimming in the perfect bathtub water. It also had a small waterslide.

The cooler pools were also very nice. There was a large waterslide which is really for the brave. Our party noted that, especially if you are not petite in size, you pick up speed at a frightening pace. Fun, but beware.

The bar and food were also pretty good. I'd definitely recommend going somewhere in town for meals though.

The buffet breakfast (free) was great. Good variety in foods, and an omelet station.

  • Liked — Pools, Grounds and View
  • Disliked — Bland Room
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank T-Ruyff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
atlanta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2007

We stayed at Los Lagos in 2001, and returned because it was such a beautiful resort and the people were so friendly. A lot has changed over the years. It has doubled to tripled in size. The rooms were nice and the ammenities were great. However, the front desk staff all had terrible attitudes and were not friendly and helpful. The ambience and feeling of the resort has definitely changed, but not for the better. The rooms were nice. The views were great. The food was edible, but very overpriced. It's a great resort for larger groups. They definitely have the more corporate feel.

  • Liked — The views of the volcano and the private road up to an observatory.
  • Disliked — The attitudes of the employees.
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank singpraises
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2007

My friend and I stayed here for two nights in early July and had an awesome time. The tour coordinator set us up with on site zip lines which we had a great time on and which were much better than the zip lines we did near Jaco. As everyone else said, there are two pools and one is heated from the hot springs of the volcano. We got a deluxe room which had views of the volcano from one side and views of the valley below from the other. Although you can not see the lava because it was flowing on the other side of the volcano, you could see where it was flowing at one time by the depletion of vegetation. I will post those pics. The town of La Fortuna is 5 minutes away via taxi. The room that we stayed in was quite large. It was a trek down to the pools but they had a shuttle that helped us out with that. The breakfast every morning was very good. I would come back to Los Lagos without a doubt.

  • Liked — You are on a volcano!
  • Disliked — Not enough lounge chairs by the pool
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank pmulliki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london, uk
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2007

We actually didn't expect much from Los Lagos, but their recent re-vamp must have done wonders - or maybe other reviewers are not quite realistic of the price level involved here.

We loved it! The kids thoroughly enjoyed the pools - though they would have preferred the normal pools heated better, and the hot spring a bit cooler (the latter more difficult to arrange...). Beware of the totally fun, but rather dangerous slides - not for frail adults!

The gardens were full of lovely plants and animals to explore - and people wizzing above you; our daughter loved it.

The breakfast buffet was brilliant, with fresh pancakes and omeletes made to order. Lunch and dinner were fine as well, and all served on the terrace overlooking the gardens, with a good view of the hummingbirds enjoying the fruits and feeders put out for them.

Avoid rooms 101 and 102, between entrance and car park, and I would recommed either Superior rooms by the side of the pool area (easy access, ok volcano view), or Superior Deluxe rooms right at the top - quite a treck back and forth, both totally isolated and beutiful views of the volcano, halfway up to the observation point. Take the transport up and down, or walk, feel virtuous and watch the sloth in the trees on the way! Only differnce in the room is that Deluxes have coffee makers!

Do go and see the Fortuna waterfall - just take a taxi there, it's very cheap, and there's no need for a tour guide. It's a strenuous, but easy walk down, and easily the most impressive waterfall I've seen - it thunders so hard, you can feel the vibration! Stop the taxi on the way for a refreshing drink of cold, young coconut from the little stall, run by some local children - the driver will happily wait.

We went on the Cano Negro nature watching trip, organised online from home, but could also be done via reception, and it was extremely good and well organised. It's on the border to Nigaragua, and one of the few things not possible to do on your own. We saw loads of fearsome iguanas (vegetarians!), monkeys, bats and of course masses of birds incl some very rare species.

  • Liked — Fun, up-beat unpretentious hotel, close to nature, great hot spring with wet bar
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank billeharding
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort

Property: Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort
Address: 6 km from Fortuna de San Carlos, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 506, Costa Rica
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 Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#18 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#25 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 98
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Volcano Resort with 1050 acres of tropical forest and wide landscapes, clear, safe and spectacular view to Arenal Volcano, wide tropical gardens with butterflies, frogs, crocodiles and leave cutter ants. An exclusive resort with its own 13 platform Canopy Tours, Horseback Riding Tours, and spectacular observation point at the property, other facilities is an exclusive Spa facing a primary forest and surroundings of water and their signature Arenal Volcano Clay Wrap. At Los Lagos Resort we offer 7 different pools, 4 with natural hot springs and 3 regular water pools available. We offer 98 rooms, International restaurant, souvenir shop, tours, web bar and free internet. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Los Lagos Hotel Spa And Resort
Los Lagos Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Hotel Los Lagos
Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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