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Los Lagos Hotel Spa & Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 October 2008

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.

Some examples:

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.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Chamonyx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,055 - 1,061 of 1,480 reviews

Reviewed 3 September 2008

I was pleasantly surprised by this place not expecting too much based on reviews. There is actually a lot to do and see here. We ended up going to Tobaccon but actually if I could do it all over I would just have spent more time here. Food was okay as were the rooms. The surroundings and hotel were just really good.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Dolphingem99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2008

My sixteen-year-old daughter and I enjoyed our stay at Los Lagos.
We thought the staff was friendly and helpful. My daughter thought the slides were faster than any water park she had experienced.
We did the zip lines and used the spa and found both of these experiences to be quite memorable.
I noticed some people complained about the "shabbiness" of the hotel. We thought the grounds were beautiful. The only thing "shabby" about our room was the toilet paper dispenser,which was not attached to wall, and occasionally the water ran a long time in the toilets, or at times, we had no water, but that was because there was construction going on nearby (I think).

Stayed: July 2008
1  Thank ftmax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2008

We were looking for a nicer place to stay our last two nights in Costa Rica, and after looking around a LOT, we ended up staying at Los Lagos.
We stayed in the Superior Rooms & they have two really nice, big beds, there is a safe in the room (u have to leave a $50deposit at the front desk to get the key), the bathroom has an oversized tub, and there is a nice balcony that has a great view of the volcano, although the balconies are NOT private, you will have to share the view with everyone else on your floor, which is usually 5 rooms.

Ok, couple good things about the hotel...they have towel service so you can exchange your towel out whenever its wet & get a new, warm, clean one...which is nice since there are lots of thermal pools to check out. There are 6 different semi-private thermal pools that are on property, which are nice because you can relax & see the volcano from there & still go get sippy drinks from the pool bar that is at the main heated pool. There are a couple water slides into the larger pools for the kiddos. There is a crocodile "farm" on property, a butterfly observatory, nice gardens all around the property and a pretty good breakfast in the mornings.

And then the 'not" so great....
1. the food at the restaraunt is HORRIBLE (other than breakfast!), don't waste your money for icky food, go into town, its cheaper & FAR better!!
2. when you reserve your room, definately try to avoid the rooms that are in the 240 block...because there is a REALLY bright, obnoxious nightlight right in front of the balconies, which makes it pretty rotten to try to quietly view the volcano at night (especially for pictures of the lava :( )

Oh, & Definately do the horseback ride up to the volcano...it can be arranged through the front desk, its not expensive ($40), and it really gets you up in the rainforest & it is beautiful! we loved it!!

And lastly, make sure if you want to get a nice room while you are in Arenal, make your reservations IN ADVANCE! We didnt have any problems just kind of freestyling our trip and finding rooms along the way....UNTIL we got to Arenal. We had to go to 4 different hotels before we found an availability.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Whoop13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2008

This is a great hotel for families. We stayed in the superior rooms. They have 2 queen bed plus two trundle beds. Very clean and spacious. The pool is amazing and felt very safe letting our kids go up and down the water slides by themselves. The bar makes wonderful margaritas and the breakfast buffet (which was included) was always tasty and kept you full throughout the day.

The rooms can be quite a distance from the restaurant/pool area so you might have to drive. Very handy to be close to town. Would recommend for families, but maybe not for a romantic interlude as it can get loud.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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Thank berniez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2008

We (myself, a friend and my two children) booked a hotel room (paying full adult price for my children ages 11 and 12) at Los Lagos and received a confirmation number and registration sheet to fax to the hotel. After driving nearly 5 hours from Tamarindo, and arriving the beautiful hotel we were greated by a delightful tico security guard. As soon as we entered the hotel lobby thing rapidly deteriorated. We stood waiting for assistance from 3 out of 4 hotel representatives that were not online, on hte phone, assisting anyone or even chating amongst themselves. We patiently waited (as we have been in CR for 4 weeks and this was not atypical for us) for nearly 15 minutes, before we were assisted. I gave the guy our confirmation number, he verified it, then began asking how many adults. I advised two and two children, he stated the reservation was for four adults. I explained that my children were 11 and 12 and required "adult" price per the website, and he stated he need to change the reservation. I agreed. Next, he tells me that children are charged at an adult rate and the reservation is now for four adults (he just changed it). In attempting to get the most seamless transaction, I deferred to him and he stated he would be required to place us in "superior" room at nearly double the cost because "now" all the "standard" ($200) rooms were not available. Apparently in the five minutes that it took him to "change" our reservation from 4 adults to 2 adults and 2 children, then back to 4 adults...the last standard room was booked, however there were 15 "superior" rooms which offered two double beds. Tired, hungry and mentally drained, I requested that he reconsider and honor our reservation, he blantantly, refused. We then departed to find lodging elsewhere.
This was a terrible experience for us!

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank Quasi-tico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2008

Los Lagos may have been someone's idea of a resort twenty or thirty years ago, but now its just a bit seedy and shabby - a shame because La Fortuna is a friendly town with lots to offer and it has some other great places.

Only worth a trip if you want to soak all day in a hot spring pool for cheap.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Pura_Vida_Nico
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

Address: 6 km from Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 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: £61 - £147 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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