It truly hurts my heart to read some of the negative reviews about Tabacon because I had a WONDERFUL time! I knew going in that the room would be expensive, especially considering I traveled to Costa Rica alone and didn't have someone with whom I could split the bill. I booked a Standard room and chose to upgrade for only $25 more to the Standard Superior. It was the best decision I made. The room was not only spacious, there was a mosaic-tiled Jacuzzi and a small outdoor patio with two chairs and little table. Let me give this advice: opting for a Volcano View IS A WASTE OF MONEY! Keep in mind that the peak of Arenal Volcano is almost always socked in by clouds and the constant rain and humidity almost ensures you'll rarely get a chance to see it. And if I'm being honest, I never sat outside my room and could have cared less about seeing the volcano.
The king-sized bed had a featherbed on top and my sleep was very restful. The room included a flat screen TV with a DVD player. I never saw nor experienced bugs but I agree that at first I never got hot water in my shower. The person at the front desk informed me that the hot water comes from the springs and sometimes you need to let it run for about five minutes until the hot water starts flowing. Not ideal for if you're in a hurry, but I had no problems after waiting a while. Regarding Wi-Fi, I intended for this to be a vacation and never once felt the need to get online so the additional fee never affected me. I found the staff to be courteous; they allowed me to borrow one of the yoga mats from the fitness room and use it in my room to complete a fitness DVD and when I asked if I could check out at 1pm there was no problem. I had my entire trip planned down to the day three months prior, so there was no need to ask the concierge for recommendations. I try to avoid asking them for their help because most often they refer you to operators they have a relationship with - which doesn't always translate into value or being the best in the area. I would recommend you review a Frommer's guide which gives an unbiased opinion on what is in the area and how much it costs. Los Tucanes restaurant is a little overpriced and the food isn't that spectacular, but when I went into La Fortuna one night with a couple I met on the trip (to Don Rufinos), they paid $15 driving in and I paid $11 to return. I figured it wasn't worth the additional $25-30 to go out of my way.
My most memorable experience would definitely be the hot springs. I had planned all day excursions and it was wonderful for the evenings. It can get very steamy in the hot springs and it's like sitting in a wet sauna - meaning I could only take it for about 10-15 minutes. The chlorinated pool is warm and I loved the small waterslide and swim-up bar. Please make sure you budget for at least ONE spa session; it's a shame to read reviews of people who flew all the way to Costa Rica and couldn't splurge on a $135 treatment. Massages are done outdoors under cabanas and the sound of falling water is as relaxing as can be. I tried the Thai massage (loved it!) and the Volcanic Mud Wrap. That's definitely my recommendation; they use warm mud from Arenal Volcano and you rinse off in your own private pool of the hot springs. Unfortunately the water wasn't warm when I was there, but I plan to do that treatment again on my next trip. Overall, I would highly recommend!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the heart of the tropical rainforest at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the northern Region of Costa Rica. This five-star carbon neutral resort offers a unique blend of nature, adventure and relaxation. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Tabacon provides luxurious accommodations, services and amenities in a picture-perfect natural setting. The resort's unique healing thermal mineral spring river emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds. Explore Shangri-La Gardens an hotel guests and adults-only hideaway, delight your senses with world- class cuisine inspired by local fares or surprise that special person with a gala dinner in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the gardens is the resort's Grand Spa, member of The Leading Spas of the World which combines a beautiful location with a singular spa experience, where treatments are rendered in open air bungalows all of them with private jacuzzi. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Tabacon Grand Hotel Thermal
- Tabacon Grand Resort Thermal
- Tabacon Resort
- Tabacon Hot Springs