AOL in Arenal


Apr 1st, 2009, 08:47 AM
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AOL in Arenal

Can anyone tell me why in the world 2 different travel agencies would say NOT to stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge? They refused to book it, saying it was not in good condition? We were trying to see if they had access to any better prices than we could find on our own. From everything we have read here, trip advisor, and the myriad of travel books we have gotten from the libraries it's a great choice.!
CRnewbies is offline  
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Apr 1st, 2009, 10:09 AM
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We stayed at AOL and thought is was great. Not luxurious or upscale in any way, but fine. I would stay there again. Location is great and the grounds beautiful. Where do your agents suggest? Some place with a bigger commission?

MichelleY is online now  
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Apr 1st, 2009, 10:19 AM
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CR, I think that's odd. Lots of people on the board stay there and love being so close to the volcano. It's not fancy, but I haven't heard anything but good things, other than that it has a long, bumpy road to get there. I think something else may be going on. If the latest tripadvisor reviews are good, then I think you're safe.
volcanogirl is online now  
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Apr 1st, 2009, 11:02 AM
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I haven't personally stayed at AOL, but it gets so many great reviews on this board (as well as tripadvisor and others...) that I think it would be a safe pick. As VG says, it's not fancy, but it has an unparalleled view of the volcano.

I hear the restaurant is only so-so, but that seems to be true of many of the hotel restaurants (many people prefer to eat off-site).

Enough people stay there that you can probably dig up some recent trip reports that mention it, if you poke around a bit.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 12:09 PM
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We just stayed there, and I was surprised at how new the room looked. It was also very clean. Nothing about any of the buildings on the property looked run down. The road to get there is very bumpy - probably hard on rental cars. The restaurant is not too tasty, but certainly edible if you can't get into town. The view is fantastic, and the grounds are lovely and peaceful.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 04:56 PM
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For what it is worth,many people who have traveled to Costa Rica for years (I'm talking professional photographers and authors) ALWAYS choose AOL. How odd.

I'll bet they are trying to sell the pricier places. Quien sabe. . .
shillmac is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:02 PM
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We were just there last week and all 6 of us loved it and were sorry to leave after only 2 nights. It reminded us of being in Yosemite National Park, not necessarily in a literal sense, but because of its spaciousness, the lodge-like dining room with breathtaking view of the volcano, the comfortable and attractive but not lavish cabins with lake view, the peaceful and well-landscaped grounds, interesting hiking trails, informative little museum, DVDs we watched in the lobby about the volcano and indigenous birds. We were lucky with the weather and it was incredible being that close to the volcano.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 08:08 PM
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I would ask them when was the last time that they stayed there. Then ask them how much more the place they're trying to sell you on is.
tully is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 10:23 PM
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We just returned from Costa Rica last week and stayed one of our nights at AOL. We had a Smithsonian room with a great view, it was clean and in good repair. No complaints at all about the room, although the monkeys screaming (not howling) in the middle of the night jolted me out of sleep. The restaurant food was bland. The grounds were nice and enjoyed the hike to the waterfall.
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Apr 4th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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I wouldn't recommend staying in Arenal UNLESS you could stay at the AOL. Just an amazing location.
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Apr 4th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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That's very strange. I mean some travel agencies won't book places requested if it's not a hotel "on their list", but it seems unethical for them to say it's not in good condition.

There are actually quite a few good places to stay in Arenal, but AOL seems to be the one most desired for lava view, remoteness and trails.
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