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“Beautiful location--enjoyed our stay!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Gran Arenal

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Hotel Gran Arenal
Ames, Nebraska
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Beautiful location--enjoyed our stay!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2010

I have to admit, we were pretty nervous as our taxi pulled into this hotel. It's on a gravel road out of town, surrounded by farms! However, we were pleasantly surprised as we walked into the complex of bungalows--so serene and quiet, with an A+ volcano view!

The groundskeeper was exceptional--worked all day tending the many exotic plants and flowers, and went out of his way to show us interesting wildlife (alligators, tiny frogs, sloths, Jesus Christ lizards!).

In addition, I really appreciated the way the staff handled an issue we had. We had booked a rafting trip one day, and the company never showed up! Through many phone calls, Luis and his staff tracked down the right people and sent us on our way rafting. They really went the extra mile to make sure we got the service we had paid for (and we hadn't even booked this excursion through the hotel!).

A few items to be aware of:
First, the HSIA was not working during our 3 night stay. (the SuperMega in town has free Wifi that we utilized instead!)

Second, the rooms are very simple, with no phone or TV. This was not an issue for us (who wants to watch TV when there is a giant volcano you can watch from your bed??), but definitely something to take into consideration.

Finally, the credit card machine was down during checkout. Luckily, we had enough cash on hand to scrounge up our balance.

Bottom line: come here for the gorgeous nature and friendly staff--not for the technology!!

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Andrea E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Richmond, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2010

If you are on the search for a great hotel in La Fortuna then look no further because Hotel Gran Arenal is it! I had looked at pictures reviews and pictures online, but once I arrived I saw that it is 10 times more amazing than I thought it could be. The landscaping is beautiful, the pool is beautiful, the breakfast area, front desk, hotel rooms- all beautiful. I'll break down my likes/dislikes below:
Dis-likes:
-1.3 km outside of town. I was planning on walking to town, but it's down a gravel road surrounded by farms. I ended up taking a taxi which only cost $3 (or $1 on one occasion...cabby was driving super fast!)
-Water pressure in the shower wasn't the greatest
Likes:
-Pool, landscaping, front desk, breakfast area, hotel room- all amazingly beautiful
-Luis, the owner, is super nice and helpful. He'll go the extra step to make sure your stay is perfect.
-the price/night is a great steal for what you get
-private porch with volcano view

When I return to La Fortuna I will definitly be staying at the Hotel Gran Arenal again!

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RichmondJenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2010

I had a really hard time booking somewhere to stay in La Fortuna, as the type of accommodations offered seem to be pretty much the same everywhere... cabins with two beds... and almost everyone met my base criteria. I booked Gran Arenal, not because of the website (which is pretty terrible), but b/c of the great reviews and the price. We weren't disappointed.

There's nothing deluxe or fancy about this place, and we weren't expecting there to be, but it's definitely not tacky cheap accommodations either. The cabins are really cute and quite modern. The decor is simple but incredibly clean, tasteful, and not dated.

The beds were comfy enough and quite soft (by CR standards), although I would definitely recommend that they invest in more pillows - they were tiny, thin and not plentiful. There was enough room in one cabin for 3 adults and two small children (1 and 3) who sleep on the floor, although we weren't really inside much other than sleeping.

The kids spent a ton of time in the pool, which was clean and warm enough, although could use some shade around it. There is also enough shallow area for small children, which is not the case in most pools in CR.

Breakfast was excellent, although I imagine it would get repetitive after several days (we were there for 3 nights). We never did tire of gallo pinto after over 3 weeks in CR though so it was good for us... gallo pinto, eggs, toast, juice, coffee, fruit.

My husband needed to do some work, and while there is high speed, wireless, internet it's only available in the lobby area... which makes some sense as the property is quite large and would require substantial infrastructure otherwise.

The gardener/maintenance man showed us the most wildlife we had seen up to that point in our trip... there are two cayman living in a pond on the property, there was a mama sloth with her baby, a blue jeans frog he caught, some large lizards running around and many toucans in the trees nearby.

All in all, although La Fortuna wasn't really the highlight of our trip, the Gran Arenal was a really relaxing place to stay and we would stay there again if we were in the area.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank dewdle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
101 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2010

This place is great. By far the best bang for our buck in all of CR. We only had time to stay one night, which was not enough, I will definately be back. La Fortuna was a great little town, the volcano is amazing (note to all, we had two days of completely clear viewing and not a cloud in the sky, one in a million odds of that happening we were told, so good luck on your visit) and the people were great.

We were met by the man in charge, Luis, and treated like amigos throughout the stay. Talk about a great view, sure this hotel is outside the opposite direction from the volcano, but what it lacks in close proximity to the volcano, it makes up for in beauty. There is a short bumpy ride down a dirt road to get there, but well worth it.

We had cabin #1 and our friends had cabin #12 (we were the only two people staying there at the time), both were identical with great views of the volcano from our front porch (see pics). The cabins have cathedral ceilings, two double beds, a closet, a sitting area, and a private bath, along with an a/c that you get a remote for. The thing that really seperates this hotel from any other I had looked at is that there are floor to ceiling windows facing the volcano, very cool. All in all nice and clean and comfortable. There is a pool, which we didnt get time to use, but it looked nice and clean. Luis also had breakfast ready for us in the morning which was great. The breakfast area has a great view, and Luis turned on the sprinklers for us to cool the roof and the area since it was a little toasty and humid that morning. The only reason I give the place a four is because I reserve my 5's for places like the Ritz, this is not a knock on Luis and his fine place, just have to be reasonable because it is impossible to match the services of 5star hotels and resorts.

Luis is a fountain of information and speaks fluent English and French, as well as his native Spanish of course. Its obvious that he likes his job, is proud of his place, and is eager to help anyone. We took his advice on restaurants and had a great dinner at an Italian place just outside of town on the way to the volcano.

DO NOT MISS : Ask Luis for the spot on the south side (opposite side from La Fortuna) of the volcano to watch the lava flowing at sunset/dusk. If you have a car there is no reason to take a $20/person tour for the exact thing you can do yourself, and Luis can guide you to the spot. Not that its hard to find, look for the other thousand people doing the same thing.

We also did the Canyoneering tour with Desafio, would highly recommend. Not sure which company Luis arranges tours through, but we picked Desafio based on the time the tour left, and that there were only going to be a total of 6 people on the tour versus 14 with the other big company. Definately awesome experience and worth every penny.

Thanks for the good times Luis ... hope to stay with you again ...

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Azgators
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, OR
Level Contributor
158 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2010

We stayed here one night after getting spoiled at Tabacon.
Yet, this place still left a great smile on our face.
It is just a minute or 2 out of town- so easy to get into town for activities or food.
You get your own very spacious cabin with vaulted ceiling. The only down side is the large windows letting in light and bird sounds in the am- so be prepared to get up early- that is when the bird action is anyway.
Very nice owner, he steered us in some good directions for activities.
Breakfast was very good- made to order eggs and Gallo Pinto with a buffet of fruit juice, fruits, toast, set in a wonderful pavilian where we watched Macaws in the trees, tons of hummingbirds, etc.
We heard that sloths frequent the property- we never got to ask anyone, but we did our own night walk around, and did not see anything, but got leafcutter ants in our pants!
The pool was a little chilly, would be great for during the day, but at the end of the day, when we had time, it did not work for us.

Overall, looking back on our 2 week Costa Rica Vacation, 2 days in La Fortuna was not enough. I really loved the area, the people. And this hotel is a great place to center yourself.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelDreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
166 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2010

We stayed here for our first 2 nights in la Fortuna. Luis, the owner/manager, was amazing. He truly cared about making sure we were enjoying our experience. It had a very personal feeling to it. The location was a little off the beaten path, but i think that added to the charm.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jjroehrich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2010

Spent 3 wonderful nights at the Gran Arenal. Luis and his staff are extremely hospitable and friendly without being at all overbearing. Location (about a mile outside of La Fortuna, is perfect--quiet, yet a short drive to many restaurants and shops. The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained. Rooms (large with big floor-to-ceiling windows viewing the volcano) are very clean. Great breakfast area with good food and coffee. Have William, the gardener, show you the cayman and the sloth--he is anxious to do so. We highly recommend this hotel--great value also.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tenpiloto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Gran Arenal

Property: Hotel Gran Arenal
Address: 1.3 Km North of National Bank, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 60 Hotels in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Number of rooms: 319
Also Known As:
Gran Arenal Hotel
Hotel Gran Arenal Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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