Best Hotel in Arenal

Old Oct 20th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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Best Hotel in Arenal

Hi there, Looking for the best place to stay at the volcano in Costa Rica. Family of 4 - leanig toward Tabacon - we will have a car. Would like nice, clean, views of the volcano, etc. Would love to hear everyones opinions
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Oh boy, has this one ever been hashed over many times on this forum! You might want to do a search. Our only experience has been at Arenal Paraiso and we thought it was great. More rustic, but with wonderful views of the lava--very pretty grounds. Montana de Fuego right next door is very similar. Both are about 5 minutes or so from Tabacon.

The advantage to Tabacon is the free admission to the hot springs (and they are a don't miss). There have been a wide range of opinions regarding the resort itself, both the rooms and the restaurant.

We thought Arenal Paraiso was a good value, even though we had to pay the admission to Tabacon.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 09:34 PM
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Tooooooooooooottally agree with the word [value] as the definition of "best hotel".

For [nice, clean, views of the volcano, etc.] the door is wide open. There are seven from which to choose.

Searching within Fodors should narrow the field for you.

Let us know if you have specific questions. We stayed at Tabacon in September and I posted some tips for future Tab guests. If you want more info I will help. Also, FYI, the staff there speaks English, so it's fine to contact them for specifics as well.

Best,
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Hi there, we will have a car so will be eating out for dinner so that is not a concern. My real concern is I do not mind paying for Tabacon if it is beautiful as has been said. We would probably stay all day at the pool and the hot springs so it may be more convenient - it sounds from everyones account that the rooms are basic anywhere. Thank you!
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Tabacon is not worth the money. The grounds are awesome, the access to the springs and included admission is the only reason to stay there. We payed for a junior suite and were very disappointed. Way over priced! We had to fend off bugs in our bathroom, the jacuzzi on the balcony didnt work very well. Stay somewhere else!
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Hi there,

We also stayed at the Arenal Paraiso and enjoyed it. It was very basic, very, very clean and had great views of the volcano.

If you have younger children, you might want to consider Los Lagos. They have some waterslides in their pool and other kid-friendly attractions, as well as good volcano views. It gets very high marks on this board also.

You can find more info (pictures, etc.)on www.arenal.net.

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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 05:46 PM
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We stayed at Arenal Paraiso a couple of years ago and at Tabacon last year. With 4 people, Tabacon is a better value because it includes the hot springs which, I totally agree with Shillmac, are not to be missed.

The rooms at Tabacon are fine. The problem with Tabacon is that it tries very hard to be an American chain-type hotel. While it is successful at that, it has very little character or soul. We found the rooms clean and decently furnished but very bland. The stairways and open landings were very buggy in the evenings.

Arenal Paraiso is a much more basic property but it has lots of local character (including locally made rocking chairs on porches). The cabins are a bit dark with all the wood inside but were very clean.

My husband actually liked Tabacon better than Arenal. I, on the other hand, would try some other hotel in that area before going back to either of them.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 09:23 PM
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flycatcher06 : I have photos of Tabacon, if you like. This may help in your decision making, beyond the photos from the website - which we all know are pro-level.

Not to defend the place, but let's look at it from a dollars point of view. I don't have your costs for staying there, I only have ours and what is on the web. I will apply our reasoning for staying there -- and I neither an actuary nor an employee of the travel industry.

Let's say that a family of 4 stays in a Jr. Suite at Green Season rate from the web of $189/night.

189 for junior suite Green Season
-19 AAA discount of 10% we received
-108 for 4 admissions to hot springs
-64 for 4 breakfasts at a cost of $16 each

How can anybody go wrong? Even at High Season rates, your nightly stay with included features is a steal. For a 4 star resort?

Yes, the definition of [best place to stay at Volcan Arenal] can also be defined as "that with the most authentic Costa Rican cultural exchange" - and using this definition, Tabacon is not at the top.

Please search Fodors for further details related to Tabacon, Arenal Paraiso, Los Lagos, del Fuego, etc., hotels.

Not trying to start a riot here, but we had more bugs in our hotel room elsewhere. (and have you been to hawaii?) For this, we simply closed the door on the bath mat towel to seal the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor. No problem.

Not trying to start a riot here, but when we have a mechanical or plumbing or telecom problem with our room someplace, we request a repair or transfer and have had great success.

Arenal Paraiso has great views of the volcano. If I had two children with me, I would stay again at Los Lagos or Tabacon. Tab has one slide into a moderate temperature pool that also has a swim-up bar where a person could supervise the kids. Los Lagos has more slides and more onsite animals that would appeal to the kids.

At tabacon, the room numbers tell the story, also. For example, the 100 building was constructed first and has the best views of the volcano. The 600 building is their newest, with lesser views of the volcano.

Let me know if you want the pictures offered. Meanwhile, here's a few available to the public:

http://www.pbase.com/2020shootingsta...ked&page=2

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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:21 AM
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yes i wouldlove the pictures offered. My e-mail address is [email protected]. Thank you for explaingin it like that because that makes sense to me. Also we are only going to be there 2 nights so it makes more sense to be in one place and just go off for dinner! Thank you and look forward to seeing your pictures.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:27 AM
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TripleSecDelay,

"beyond the photos from the website - which we all know are pro-level."

Talk about photos that are "pro-level". Yours are just stunning! Thanks for sharing.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Thanks, lvk, for your kind words.
I'm ust an average joe with a camera.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2004, 11:42 AM
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...just an average joe who misses keys on the keyboard after working at the office all day and then, working some more while decorating a halloween haunted house...
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Old Oct 24th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Hi,
Would you mind e-mailing me your photos of Tabacon as well? I would really appreciate it since I haven't seen many besides the ones on the website. Thanks- [email protected]
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Old Oct 24th, 2004, 12:59 PM
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We stayed at the Lavas Tacotol and thought it was a good value. $80/night for a cabin with two double and one twin bed and large bathroom, including breakfast (full American or typical CR which was beans/rice/eggs/toast/juice/ coffee). Best of all was that the porch, complete with rockers, had an unobstructed view of the volcano, which erupted two out of three nights we were there. You can arrange tours at the reception desk. And they have a pool. Check arenal.net for photos, etc.

For hot springs, we tried and were happy with Bali at 1/2 the price.

Happy travels.
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Old Oct 24th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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I too, am trying to decide between hotels in Arenal. Either Tabacon, Lost Iguana (does anyone have any insider scoop on this new resort?) or Del Fuego.

TripleSecDelay -- could you send me your pix of Tabacon to [email protected].

Thanks!
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Old Oct 24th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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regarding Lost Iguana: First, I hate being negative on a place, but I probably would steer away from the Lost Iguana and have written about our experience, maybe you could retreive it by using the search.
Anyway, we found it too have too much construction, too muddy, too new, and too removed from Fortuna. Also it is on the west side of the volcano and most of the lava is flowing down the north side. The owner has the attitude that it is OK to bulldoze as much of the rainforest as she wants and we were shocked at the destruction. Conversely, I would have to say though that when the place gets finished in a year or two it will be the nicest place with the nicest and most expensive rooms in Arenal, except for Tabacon. So my suggestion is to wait until next year to stay there - and the lava might start flowing back down the west side also, where it traditionally used to flow a couple of years ago.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2004, 08:27 PM
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We stayed at Montana de Fuego and really liked it. SInce they're all separate cabins, it has a nice secluded feel. The swimming pool and outdoor bar are quiet and pretty, and have a stunning volcano view. Also good volcano view right out your front door.

We went to the Tabacon springs as part of a ddaylong rainforest tour, and really enjoyed it... BUT... it was pretty crowded and noisy and frantic around there, and I was glad to go bac to our QUIET hotel afterward.
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 05:04 AM
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Toucan --
Thanks for the Iguana heads-up. We will book elsewhere. My wife and I (early 30's) are intriqued by Tabacon, and the hot springs, but the main reason we want to visit Arenal is for the volcano and the lava. Can anyone tell me which hotel has the best view from the room or private balcony? If it happens to be Tabacon, then we will happily pay more to stay there.

Thanks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Defined as "best view from the hotel room or private balcony", I vote for 95% of Arenal Paraiso; the one-queen-sized-bed rooms ...135, 136, 137, 138... at Los Lagos; the upstairs rooms at Tabacon 109, 108, 107, 106 -- In That Specific Order. AP & LL has a glass wall shielding the balcony from the wind/rain. Nice Touch.
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Old Oct 26th, 2004, 06:20 PM
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Arenal Paraiso and Montana de Fuego have the best, head-on views of the current lava flows.

When people say the Arenal P rooms are basic, that doesn't mean they have dirt floors and tiny bathrooms. Our bungalow was very nice with tile floors and a very spacious bathroom. We thought it very pleasant and comfortable. We watched the volcano putting on its show two nights in a row from our bed.
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