Stayed here on our first visit to CR a while back. We loved it!
I think the most outstanding aspect of this experience was the excellent service throughout the four days my partner and I spent at the property.
The place is operated and staffed by down-to-earth Costa Ricans that know how to make you feel at home in a foreign environment. The property isn't the nicest or most developed in the area, but they more than make up for it in how they treat you.
We ordered a bottle of wine prior to going swimming at the pool. Waiter came down from the restaurant and basically prepared a setting for us at the edge of the pool while we were swimming, poured our glasses of wine, and came back every 10 or 15 minutes to check on us. Acted astonished when we offered to tip him for going well out of the way and doing something we in no way expected him to do. This same waiter, our first night, had met us while we were eating in their restaurant... was nice enough to come knock on our door later that night – out of the blue – to let us know the volcano had started spilling lava on the hotel side... just so we wouldn't miss out. Didn't speak a word of English, and we didn't speak a word of Spanish.
Went to front desk to get a cab into town one morning... desk clerk said she was going into town anyway, and gave us a lift in her own car – foreigners she didn't even know and could barely communicate with. Again, no compensation expected (though if I recall correctly we did give her like five bucks anyway).
No laundry facility on site, no laundry service. We were all out of clean clothes and leaving for San Jose the next day. The hotel's answer? Two of the maids took our clothes to their private homes and washed them that night. Returned them smelling fresh as spring the next morning before we left. Only a couple bucks side compensation expected.
Never felt more appreciated or "at home" anywhere in the world, and we travel a lot! I'm not saying you will have the exact same experience if you go there, but I AM saying that I would recommend the place even if the property were complete crap (which it certainly is NOT) just because of the service.
The villas themselves are large, spacious and comfortable. Great volcano views. Not the most luxurious accommodations in the world, but VERY nice and VERY "homey." No bad experiences whatsoever on that front.
The property itself is absolutely gorgeous. Very nicely landscaped, surrounded by rain forest with lots of opportunities to walk around explore if you are brave enough. Restaurant makes the best pizza in Costa Rica.
My only complaint is that this property is pretty far outside of La Fortuna. We knew this before we booked, but did not realize how isolated it was until we got there. We had not rented a car, so were very reliant on the underdeveloped, small-town taxi service available to us. As a result, when we go back later this year, we will probably stay primarily IN TOWN since the volcano views are just as good and better in some places. However, we will absolutely be staying at least one or two nights here just because we liked it so much.
I would recommend this place, and even PUSH it, on anyone that's going to be in the area. In fact, I have recommended this place to friends traveling to CR. I would recommend it again in a heartbeat.
Best hotel experience ever.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Volcano Inn is a 25 room hotel surrounded by exotic gardens that can be admired from the tranquility of your room or by taking a small walk on its natural trails. Every guest may enjoy the view of the Arenal Volcano from its own terrace. Come visit us and make Arenal Volcano Inn your home while vacationing in Costa Rica. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Volcano Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Hotel Arenal Volcano
- Arenal Volcano Inn Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos