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“Nice hotel, but expensive and lacking in charm” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa

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Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Leeds, UK
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nice hotel, but expensive and lacking in charm”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 June 2008

This hotel is luxurious, you can't deny that. We travelled there slightly off peak towards the end of May and the place was virtually empty, which gave it a quite spacious feeling but it was a bit strange being the only people in the hot springs on an evening.

The rooms are well appointed as you would expect for the price, and have stunning views of the volcano (non active side!) when the cloud cover breaks, which it does occasionally. The staff are friendly, as is nearly always the case in Costa Rica and as you would expect waste no time in getting you to sign up to the trips, which are expensive but were worth the money.

There are really only a couple of things to point out to you by way of advice if you are thinking of staying here: firstly, don't eat at the restaurant in the hotel. It's a complete rip off and you will get better food for a third of the price at Don Rufino's or elsewhere in La Fortuna town centre. Secondly, this hotel, by virtue of being close to the volcano, is quite far out (10km) from La Fortuna itself so you will need to get a taxi into town each evening, which we thoroughly recommend doing.

We would probably not stay there again as it was a one-off luxury trip but if you do fancy seeing fireworks from the volcano at night, the arenal observatory lodge is the only property on the right side of the volcano to see this.

  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank davyjcrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,127 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Sarasota, FL
Level Contributor
52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2008

Just left the hotel and felt it necessary to review it as soon as possible. To give you reference on my travel experience: My wife, brother and I have traveled the world, staying in 4- and 5-star hotels.

The hotel is cleary very nice. There's not much out toward the volcano, so if you are like me, it is a decision between Kioro and Tabacon. We briefly visited Tabacon, but I cannot offer any review about it. I can, however, give you these important points:

1. Every other hotel in Costa Rica provides some type of refreshment as a courtesy upon arriving a the hotel. It's just a wonderful bit of hospitality to greet you after traveling through the jungle. Kioro will also offer you something, but it is going on your tab. Be aware.

2. This staff (like most other CR hotels) is pleasant but definitely will push their own agenda. We wanted an outside telephone line so we could arrage a tour. The operator basically wouldn't tell me how to do it without knowing who I was calling and why. Too intrusive. Too pushy.

3. STAY AWAY FROM THEIR $45/PP NIGHT TOUR OF THE VOLCANO. A total and utter rip off. The three of us hired a guide and car for the ENTIRE DAY (including the evening viewing of the volcano) for $100. There is no reason whatsoever you should pay $45/pp for a 10 min car ride up the street. Don't let them draw you in with their video of it either (another added cost push they hit you with at check in). It seems like a time-share strategy for selling excursions.

4. The room is nice and SPACIOUS. The woman making my reservation (hotel employee) was not clear on the telephone just how much room there is. Each suite can hold 5 people easy. We ended up getting 2 rooms (a 10 person capacity) for just the three of us. I'm not sure how calculated that was on the hotel's part.

5. Kioro has the worst restaurant food of any place we've been to in Costa Rica hands down. This includes the nothing "airports" in the middle of nowhere. I had a chicken sandwich in which the sticky, disgusting cheese had somehow permanently bonded with the upper layer. Terrible. Each lunch and dinner was an atrocious experience. Burned arepas, burned sweet plaintains, burned cheese, the worst arroz con pollo we've ever had. The list goes on. Stay away.

6. Kioro does have "hot springs", but they are not true thermals. This fact is disguised. Personally I couldn't tell the difference between true thermals (we went to Eco Thermales which was awesome) and the Kioro layered jaccuzzi. You will need to decide for yourself, but you should know that their "thermals" are not true volcano thermals. Tabacon does, however, have true thermals.

7. This hotel is not on the active side of the volcano. Only the Arenal Observatory Lodge is on the active side.

8. Finally, this hotel does not know how to handle issues. We made 8 telephone calls (after finally getting the dial out code), however we were under the impression calls were free. There was no notice on the phone and the staff did not mention anything. Come bill time they hit us for $20 for literally 5 minutes of calls. We expressed to them that it is unfair to take advantage of tourists for $1/min without being clear that calls are charged. Despite the fact we plunked down $1500.00 at this place the management refused to give us any courtesy on this issue. Because of this, I told the hotel staff I was writing this review.

I so rarely give long, biting reviews but this hotel really had it coming. Yes, it is nice. Yes, the volcano is right there. But it is too expensive and there are too many other hang ups. If we ever come back to Arenal we would stay at Tabacon.

Stayed May 2008
Helpful?
13 Thank SearchforExcellence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2008

We and another couple stayed here for 4 nights. The road from San Jose is not as bad as we thought, but make sure to start driving as early as possible, since the fog creeps in starting early afternoon on the roads. The hotel is located literally on the slopes of Arenal, a few miles up from town. The room was very large and clean, with beautiful large windows that looked out onto the hotel's garden and up to the volcano. The rooms have AC, and there is a large hot tub in the room. The whole property is pretty new and everything is maintained beautifully. The property is very quiet and relaxing, and since there are only 50 or so guestrooms, none of the facilities are ever crowded. Great breakfast spread, and free internet in the lobby. Concierge was helpful in showing what tours we could take but we opted to generally drive down into town to the Desafio office and book tours directly with them. It's very helpful to have a car while there, since the town is not within walking distance. To do musts in this area are white water rafting and the horseback ride (or zipline) to La Fortuna waterfalls. Only con was the hot springs, which seemed more like hot tubs than mineral springs. We didn't go to Tabacon so don't know what we missed out on, but overall thought the hot springs were overrated.

  • Stayed January 2008, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank istriche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2008

We (husband, wife,14year old son) just got back from our trip to Costa Rica (April 5 through April 13, 2008) and the Kioro Hotel was our first stop for two nights. I wish we would have added another day at this hotel.
We landed in Liberia airport and a private driver drove us approx. 2 hours to this hotel. The streets were good despite what I have heard from the travel agent. It's a nice drive around Lake Arenal and pretty curvy.
The hotel lies nestled in lush tropical vegetation right in front of the volcano. We were very, very lucky to have clear dry weather and the volcano was visible all the time. The people at the hotel are so friendly and outstanding!!! We were greeted with a welcome drink and did not even have to walk up the counter to check-in. They did everything while we sat in the outside lobby and enjoyed the view and the drink.
The room was SPECTACULAR! Very big! Two queensize beds with the most amazing view of the volcano and a very good twin bed (sofa) seperated behind a half wall for our son. Every room has also a hot tub and a very generous bathroom with a seperate shower. Huge! The most amazing thing was the view from the room to the volcano. You could lay in bed and just watch the volcano or the birds flying around in the beatiful garden. Lots of humming birds and other colorful birds.
We were in room 101, which is very close to the lobby & restaurant.
All rooms have the same good view. There is no bad room at this hotel!!!
We got up with the birds and sat in the hot tub starring out to the volcano.
The gardens at the hotel are also very outstanding. The most beautiful flowers are everywhere. The hotel has their own hot springs!!! This is so picturesque, you have to see it for yourself.
We sat in the hot springs and starred at the volcano, which rumbles off and on and throws out a few rocks. Very surreal!!!!
The hot springs are quite "hot" and range in temperature
from -I believe- 98F to 104F.
The swimming pool water is also warm.
The bar at the pool area makes the most delicious tropical fruit drinks / smoothies.
The restaurant is also very good and we enjoyed our food and it tasted good, but my husband did not feel well the next day and he thinks it was the food. The thing is that they don't cool everything like we do. So I suggest you better take precautions.
I ate lots of the delicious tropical fruits for breakfast and I had omelettes and for lunch salads and for dinner I had the fish with the heart of palms. Delicious. My teenage son had most of the time the typical costa rican rice & beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My husband only had that one meal (beef / steak) and he swears that made him sick to the stomach. But who knows what it really was...could have been anything.

From the hotel we took the Volcano & Hot Springs Tour and it was fabulous. Very worth going on this tour. Wear sneakers! Shorts and T-shirt are fine. You do a light hike for approx. 2 hours to the volcano and back through the rainforest. Very cool! You see quite a few animals and you hear the volcano rumble very good. You can even see the rocks flying out and falling down along the top. At night you see the lava.


After the hike they drove us to the Tabacon Hot Springs were we enjoyed the hot springs in the dark. This is a huge place and lots of people bathing in the hot springs, but you never feel crowded. You always have areas where you are just by yourself.
Dinner was included in this tour and they served buffet style. This was just ok.

I can highly recommed the Arenal area and especially the Kioro Hotel with it's fabulous view of the hotel and it's friendly staff. It's almost a zen-like feeling at the hotel. I wish I would know how to meditate, because this would be the place to do it.

Next stop for us on this Costa Trip was the Hilton Papagayo at the Golfo de Papagayo and then the Hotel Parador in the Manuel Antonio / Quepos area. Please read those reviews too.

Two thumbs up for the Kioro Hotel !!!
I'll add some pictures later after I figured out how to do it.

  • Liked — the gorgeous view from the room and the room itself...actually we loved everything at the Kioro!
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelManiacUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2008

This is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in (move over Four Seasons, Washington, DC). The rooms are better than great---especially if you want to be separated from your teenager daughter and make your Hot Tub junkie husband happy. The twin bed is in a separate part of the room with its own desk, there is a hot tub in the room, one wall is glass with black-out drapes. And everything is new, clean, and close to perfect. The pool is great, the view is great (pastoral), the gardens are new and getting better every day. And the service is great--but it is one place in Costa Rica where you get points for speaking Spanish. And there is a new eco-thermal pool sequence of small jacuzzis down the hillside---not the traditional eco-thermal pool you would envision but fun! Oh, the food is not always for Americans---but I enjoyed the real Costa Rican food and the fruit was amazing.

  • Liked — The rooms are fabulous!
  • Disliked — The howler monkeys were only heard not seen...and the volcano didn't erupt on cue.
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank cohenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2008

We stayed at this place for three nights in February 2008. As in other posts, the rooms are spacious, the view is amazing, and the breakfast is delicious. The property has great plants and wildlife, plenty of property to walk, relaxing and private pools, and a bar. Notice I did not use a descriptive term to describe the bar . . . it was intentional... don’t bother. The bar had nothing special (except the view) and the prices were outrageous. Even when we tried to complain about the bar-tab, it fell on deaf ears.

There are two computers to use, free of charge, but one is very slow, and as more and more people become computer literate, they are frequently in use!

On out last day, at breakfast, we even met the owner. In fact, one of our travel mates met him earlier in the work out room.

Not only did the room have a view and hot-tub, the shower was LARGE!!!

The view of the volcano was clear everyday, but we told that this was not normal and we should be very thankful. We are!!

  • Stayed February 2008
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank boyd66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dallas, tx
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2008

Of the 3 hotels we stayed at in Costa Rica (including Los Suenos) the Kioro was far and away the best. The staff was great, the rooms were big, very clean and relatively modern and most importantly it was a good few miles from the hustle and bustle of the hot springs.

  • Stayed November 2006, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank hotrash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa

Property: Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa
Address: San Carlos, 10 km NE of La Fortuna, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 21007, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenal Kioro)
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#6 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#11 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#14 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Kioro offers a fabulous place with a natural viewpoint to the Arenal Volcano. The hotel has 27 acres of undulating land, surrounded by two streams (La Palma and Kioro) with crystalline waters that begin to flow in the Arenal Volcano National Park. It has two paths where plant species are identified. Besides, private thermal springs for our customer's delight. All our suites have:Two terraces with the best panoramic volcano and mountain view, hydro-massage, air conditioning, safe deposit box, minibar, coffee maker, hot water, direct dialing telephone, satellite television, hair dryer, key card, safety locks, internet connections. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Kioro Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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