Arenal Observatory Lodge - room types

Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Arenal Observatory Lodge - room types

I'm starting a new topic instead of continuing with my old thread -

So, AOL has no Smithsonian rooms for the dates we need. For those who have stayed there, would you stay if you could only get a standard room with a balcony volcano view? From the reviews I've read, it's all about the view - so is it worth it? Our other option is a Jr Suite, but not for the first night. I haven't asked about staying in a standard room the first night and then moving, but since the Jr Suite is available the 2nd and 3rd nights, I don't see why they wouldn't let us move after the first night. However, i don't know that my family would want to do that. It's a hassle. But is it worth it to make the move? Is the Jr Suite room and view that much better?

There was a suggestion for the La Casona rooms, which are in a villa type house? I don't know how we feel about the shared bathroom. Is that the situation there? There are separate rooms, but only 2 bathrooms for all of the guests? And do the rooms in there have views of the volcano or are they similar to getting a standard room?

This Arenal hotel choice is making me crazy - and I'm seeing that if I don't make a choice I'm going to end up with none of my top choices.

Thanks!
Thanks!
ShellD is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:04 PM
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We had a Smithsonian Room right near the reception. Like I posted before, it was very small and noisy. It only had a picture window, not a slider with patio. Late on our last night, we got to see hot rocks coming down the mountain. No way we stayed in bed. We took our chairs outside, with everyone else to see the show.

I would stay there again, but would want a room with the slider. It sounds like the Jr. Suite would be better. Even if you do the standard room, when the mountain starts a show, everyone heads outside to see it. The standard rooms are right by the reception also.

Plus, there are no guarantees you will even see the top of the mountain: we never did only saw hot rocks.

I would stay there again though.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:08 PM
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PS: looking at the map, the rooms we stayed in were called "Smithsonian", but they aren't even named on the map. They were probably standard and we got told differently.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:47 PM
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So Michelle, you think that it doesn't really matter if we pick the standard room, and the the location might even be better than the Smithsonian rooms anyway. I'll have to ask them which room locations they have for us, and about moving to the Jr suite before I reserve. Do you think the kids would enjoy it there? Our past two trips we had such amazing views of the volcano - no lava view, but we drove to the AOL bridge to watch the "show" each trip. It would be great to see it right from our hotel!

Thanks!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:31 PM
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No, the Smithsonian rooms are better, but you have to compare for the money. The standard rooms are right off the lobby and you have to come out of your rooms for viewing. Which we did anyway. Try to move if you can. I would check with the location and ask to be put on a cancellation list. Check back often.


I think Shillmac has stayed at AOL several times. Hopefully she will chime. Bring this to the top on Monday.

I wish I could be more help.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 04:52 AM
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Hi Shell, we stayed in a Jr Suite, huge room, even had a small sink and coffee maker , 2 king size beds, lumpy for sure, but b/c I was up all night sitting on the big private covered patio watching the lava and stars, the beds did not matter. I will email you some pics later.
The Smithsonian rooms were nice, but when we go back, it is a Jr Suite for sure.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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Last April we stayed in a standard room with balcony view of the volcano on our first night at AOL. Then we moved to a junior suite for the 2nd and 3rd nights. Although the standard room was fine and had a nice patio, it was worth the effort to move to the junior suite. The jungle started right at the edge of our patio and coatimundis wandered right up to our lounge chairs. The view of the volcano was spectacular.
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 04:01 AM
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Shell, we stayed at La Casona, and only one time. We usually stay at Arenal Paraiso. From what I hear you saying, I don't think La Casona would be the right fit for your family. The price is right, and the views were good (although it was cloudy much of the time). We were almost the only ones in the long-house style lodging, so shared BR's weren't an issue at all. That would, of course, make a difference. It sounds as if parrmt has some good advice for you with regard to the Jr. Suite and the Smithsonian. The hotel will help you move, if need be. Good luck!
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 07:28 AM
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Bookmarking.
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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We ended up doing just that...booking a standard room for us and the kids, and one for my parents for the first night and then for the next two nights, we're each moving to our own Jr Suites. Sounds perfect! We're renting a car from mapache while we stay there so we have some flexibility and we're using a driver to get there and back to our next destination.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 04:36 AM
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It does sound perfect, ShellD! While the La Casona area was excellent (except for no car) for my husband and me in green season, it might have been just the opposite for your family. What really concerns me is the large dormitory room; I can just see a pack of pre-adolescent teenage boys or girls taking over the place! Yikes!
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:38 PM
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I found this note after posting another with questions about AOL.

Could you explain the La Casona rooms? Do any of them have a private bathroom? I know that my husband would not want to share a bathroom. Also are they dormitory style or is just one a dormitory style room?
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:48 PM
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I found the answer to my questions on their website:

LA CASONA offers ideal group or family accommodations and is set 500 meters off from the main building. Its 5 comfortable, value-priced rooms with a large terrace provide an impressive view of the volcano and Arenal Lake. Four rooms are furnished each with a queen-size bed and offer a beautiful volcano room view; the fifth room has 3 bunk beds with a view of the rainforest, and all have room safes. The two large, comfortable bathrooms are shared by all La Casona guests.
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Old Feb 12th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Hi Shell,

We stayed in Smithsonian rooms I think -- private bathroom -- we were on the end of a strip of 4-5 rooms I believe. We did watch the lava from our beds as the kid and bil were half asleep - was prob past midnight. No slider out to patio from what I recall but two *huge* windows at foot of 2 queen or king size beds. I recall there was a ton of closet of space in the rooms we stayed in. Not far at all from main reception and although it felt like people could walk out in front of our windows (we were on a walking road i think) this never seemed to happen. Not fancy accommodations but we saw hot rocks spewing both nights rolling down side of volcano -- pretty cool.
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