We spent 3-4 days here in between Playa Hermosa and Domenical (see forum for overall trip report), driven by Danny who was just superb. We went in July, and you should understand that when it rains here, it REALLY rains!
This hotel could be fantastic, but instead I am left concluding that it is just a good value place to stay, especially with kids.
First the good:
The hotel is right slap bang next to the volcano, so if there are going to be clear views of it, you will get them from here. The rooms are fine: spacious and clean. The swimming pools, water slides and hot springs are all great, free and on-site (a couple of the hot spring pools were out of action when we were there, but it did not impact us). Also on site are a zip-line tour and horse riding, both of which were good and are recommended. We did the (all day) rafting trip through the hotel, which was also great fun (and when it's the rainy season, you may as well get really wet). Finally, the hotel did not seem expensive for a resort with all these facilities and with breakfast thrown in. (Incidentally, the breakfast is just OK btw, I suspect the other reviewers that are applauding it maybe influenced by its quality relative to the other meals - see below).
Now the bad:
The hotel is horribly managed. The staff seem to be going through the motions of their roles, without really understanding the fundamental nature of hospitality or service. It reminds me of a hotel in a country in the Soviet sphere of influence during the cold war - e.g. the Cosmos in Brazzaville.
Reception: we arrived early, room not ready (although the property was only half full, but whatever). So the girl did the usual "leave your bags, go use the pool till the room's ready" thing and had us fill in all the paper work, gave us cards for towels and sent us on our way......only to see us 10 minutes later when we had to come back to change the cards for towels at the desk. Towards the end of the stay, there was a problem with the internet connection in the lobby. The guy behind the desk could clearly not have cared less - or the duty manager (?) for that matter. (The issue is not that they didn't care - it's that they weren't trained to at least hide the fact that they didn't care).
Pool bar: When it was staffed it was fine....staffing was sometimes sporadic for no apparent reason and without notice or explanation
Restaurant: Service was friendly but low competence: there was no one who could talk to/about the wine list for example. The food was dire. The menu appears to consist of 9 choices (say) but when you get down to it, it was basically a lump of beef, chicken or fish each in 3 different sauces/garnishes. It was clearly a menu designed to be prepared and delivered by staff with very rudimentary culinary expertise.
Bottom line: When you go to Arenal it is for the activities and sights of the area, with a relatively small portion of downtime. Los Lagos is in a great location with some good facilities on site and is not expensive. Enjoy what it is and be prepared for (and don't sweat) what it is not.
- 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