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Arenal Observatory Lodge vs The Springs Resort and Spa

Arenal Observatory Lodge vs The Springs Resort and Spa

Old Sep 9th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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Arenal Observatory Lodge vs The Springs Resort and Spa

I'm debating between these two lodges. Can anyone give me any recommendations or pros and cons between the two? Is one in a much superior location? What about the ground of the two lodges? Which one would you recommend and why? Thanks
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Very different lodges. Tabacon is a luxury resort with a spa and lavish hot springs and gardens, is very close to the road, and usually have a lot of people around. Arenal Observatory Lodge is a very remote nature lodge, with not much in the way of luxury (there is a pool and jacuzzi, but that's it) with the best view of the volcano's lava flow), spectacular wildlife and hiking. The Observatory Lodge is about 1/2 - 1/4 as expensive as Tabacon.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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www.thespringscostarica.com

is the best property nice remote Volcano but no lava view

www.arenalobservatorylodge.com

more of an ecolodge rooms basic remote but close lava view

food not great...

RAC mentions www.tabacon.com nice choice lava view rooms

great hot springs...might make a nice intermediate choice

Of the 2 you mention the Springs hands down

www.tripadvisor.com good reviews on all properties.

Have fun,
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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Oops, I saw "Springs" and got it mixed up with Tabacon.

For the record, we've stayed at the Observatory Lodge twice and if we ever go back, that's where we'd stay the third time. There are hundreds of luxury hotels in this world. You can count on one hand the number that let you see wildlife, explore the rainforest, and observe volcanic eruptions without leaving your room.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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Thanks for the input. I do love luxury hotels, but the nature part is more important, so I think we will likely choose the Arenal Observatory lodge.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Be aware that AOL is off a long, bumpy road; tours will charge you extra to pick you up there. People love it because it's right on top of the volcano though. Could not be any more different than the Springs. The Springs is an over the top property owned by the same people that own the Peace Lodge. Very posh, but not necessarily very typically Costa Rican.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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I would recommend renting a car wherever you stay in Arenal--everything is very spread out and a car will pay for itself in saved taxi fares.

The roads are in very good shape and well-lit, except for the road out to El Castillo, which unfortunately is the only way to get to the AOL.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 03:58 PM
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We like the convenience of a car as well. Wouldn't stay at AOL without it. We've stayed there once, Arenal Paraiso 3 times. We'd probably choose AOL next time, just for the lava views. Of course, that is always subject to change. They've been on that side since about Feb. of 2007.
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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If you want to combine a little luxury with great views and a nature feel, the Lost Iguana is really nice, right vg?
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Yes, owl, you know I'm their biggest fan - lol! Beautiful property that feels kind of posh but still Costa Rican and on the lava side. Their grounds are really beautiful, and they have an open air restaurant with a view of the volcano. They offer some great specials. We got 20% off on our last stay.
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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Echoing others, The Observatory Lodge is a great place to view the volcano and abundant wildlife. Well-kept grounds, hiking and strolling trails, nice pool and jaccuzi. I liked the restaurant, thought the food was tasty and well-priced, and the waiters very friendly and attentive.

I did not care for the desk manager at all, however. I would pre-arrange tours to avoid problems with the front desk.
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