Tabacon forcing dinner on us!

Old May 21st, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Tabacon forcing dinner on us!

We didn't really think we needed reservations for an evening pass at Tabacon during Green Season, but thought we'd email them anyway. To my surprise, I was told that the only we can go their Hot Springs is if we buy the dinner buffet-- which apparently is not very good. Any suggestions? I don't like paying $20 pp for bad food, but I really want to take my family to Tabacon. I realize Eco Thermales is an alternative.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 07:31 PM
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It is embarrasing for us costaricans..how some companies that own hotels in our country are "abusing" the tourist...Tabacon is not an a exemption...is a mix investment between some Colombians and some costaricans...but the way the run the place is so ARROGANT!! is like you do it our way or the highway!!

Eco Termales is in my opinion in many ways even better than TABACON!! At least you are dealing with a very nice 100% costarican family!! They have a heart...

Yes I hear that all the time about the terrible food!!

R.A Luis

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride!!
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Old May 21st, 2007, 07:38 PM
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There is a $45 daypass available. Ask for Roberto at the front desk. You do not have to pay the $60 for the lunch or dinner buffet. Be forewarned that sandwiches and drinks at the swim up bar will make up the difference! That said, it is a beautiful property. We always enjoy ourselves there. I know Eco Thermales must be very nice as well; Tabacon just seems very special. The spa is more than excellent.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 06:31 AM
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we were there in March and were forced to buy the lunch. Be advised drinks such as coke are not included at that outrageous price. Also it was not busy at all so i believe it is a scam to make more money - yes it is pretty but we will not be going back. Also everyone in the dining room had their hands out for tips also so it dost more than you think. We had a family of 4 and it is expensive.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 06:50 AM
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If I had to do it again, I would try Eco Thermales. Did not find Tabacon that great (sorry Shillmac), maybe if I had a spa treatment I would have felt different. We had bought a day pass w/dinner, arrived around 4:00, walked around and ended up sitting in the pool bar paying outrageous sums of money for cocktails. After that we had the terrible buffet, yet our waiter was very nice. The man at the front desk was very arrogant. Would not waste my money there again. Basically paid a lot of money to sit in a pool and drink.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 10:16 AM
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We went last year during green season and didn't need a reservation - just walked up to the window. We paid $35 each and were able to be there during evening hours 6-10 p.m. We had drinks and hot dogs at the swim-up bar (at our own expense).

Their website shows that they still have the evening pass available, but the price is now listed at $40 per adult and $20 per child.

My husband was shocked at the cost. The man at the ticket window had a heavy accent, and my husband thought he said $17, instead of $70. When hubby pulled out seventeen dollars, the man started laughing, and said, "That would be a great deal for you!" I'm glad we went because it was very pretty, but that being said, when we go back, we're going to give Eco Termales or Baldi a try.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 10:40 AM
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We have been to Tabacon once. That was more than enough. It was pretty but too crowded for us when we were there. We didn't feel like we could just relax. When I think of all the pretty natural things there are to see that I could spend money on it isn't worth it to me to spend it at a place that probably doesn't even appreciate your patronage. And if they are going to insist that my entrance depends on eating their food, forget it. I really like the idea that Eco Termales limits the people and that the owners are local and serve good Costa Rican food.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I tried to call Tabacon's front desk today and they said there was noone named Roberto. When I asked if someone else could sell us the evening passes without dinner, I was referred back to the Sales Dept. and told that "all of those spots are gone". How do you have enough room for eaters but not non-eaters? Maybe its the only way they can get people to eat their food! Not only are we disappointed, but it seems like really bad public relations.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 04:26 PM
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I really liked Eco Termales. The water was not as hot and it was less crowded. Moreover, the staff there were wonderful.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:12 PM
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LOL, owlwoman (love the screenname)! No apologies necessary. We are anxious to try Eco Thermales as well. Our friend, Neta Talmor, who used to post here, thought it was a really special place (back when it was simply a little place with no name owned by the Hildago family).

I'll be the first to admit that Tabacon doesn't handle their PR well and charges too much money. In fact, that needs to be addressed there at the resort and I may just do that this summer. Wonder if they ever read forums like this (as some hotels do) or just rely on those tour busses to keep rolling in?

That said, we have NEVER been there when it was crowded, but again, I think that is the advantage to going in the morning. And when it isn't crowded, it is much more enjoyable, of course.

We were told that only the $60 pass was available as well, until they found out we had spa appointments. Then, all of a sudden, the cheaper passes were offered. I didn't really understand that, because we still had to buy (as you say) those incredibly expensive drinks ($7-8 each) at the bar. Well, I guess we didn't HAVE to! LOL!

I'm going back next month, but just to the spa. It really is worth a visit if you are one who enjoys that sort of relaxation at all. Very state of the art. But I'll not pay to get in. I've made a 10:00 appointment as before, and will be able to enjoy the property for an hour or so before 10:00.

Our decision to go there last time (aside from trying the spa which I'd heard so much about and read about in Travel & Leisure) was to take friends and family who hadn't been before. I still think everyone should see Tabacon once; but still I realize that, while some think it is pretty cool, others aren't that impressed and are put off by the gouging that goes on.

I think the criticisms are certainly fair. I also think they should be directed toward the owners/managers. They need to know how they are perceived.

The food is still a puzzle to me. I've heard nothing but bad stuff for years; yet, when we were there in March, I spoke with a woman who thought she'd had some of the best food she'd ever eaten. I guess it just depends on whom you talk to! I think she ate something besides the buffet, perhaps. . .
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:47 PM
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If you do ask them I would love to hear their response. I think as popular as they are they could seriously use some PR help as I must admit they inspire not very positive feelings, in me at least. I know last year in Arenal one of our guides had very negative things to say about it, mostly how they were denied a permit to expand but eventually (so the assumption goes, money changed hands) and they were given the go-ahead. In the future I would probably lean towards Eco Thermales but would be interested in hearing anything Tabacon has to say in their defense.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:49 PM
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Just returned and took the family so they could see the place. We had spa appointments but decided to go ahead and buy the pass for dinner and hot springs. Spent afternoon and evening there. It was not at all crowded this time even thru the evening. We ate early and had the dinning room to ourselves. The food was fresh and featured all Costa Rican dishes. Our waiter was very friendly and explained each dish and its ingredients. BUT it was costly and I will look for alternative sites for myself next time.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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I was at Tabacon last year during green season...walked right up to the window and had no problems...we didn't have to eat or drink anything. If they are trying to force something on you over the phone, I would just do a 'walk-in' while you are there and see what happens.
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