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Hotel Lavas del Arenal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 January 2016

I took a tour package through Adrenaline Tours and stayed at the Hotel Llavas de Arenal. The hotel has basic facilities, nothing fancy, BUT the service is exceptional and the food is exceptional! The hotel staff treated me almost like family. They made every effort to take care of any requests I might have. The four ladies taking care of the guests: Andrea, Carolina, Maria-Jose, and ?, work so hard all day but always have a smile on their face and make every effort to make the guests comfortable. None of them speak English but that doesn’t stop them from understanding and catering to the guests needs. They somehow make it work! The Property Manager had the tour schedules of all the guests and kept all the schedules organized and reminded us every day of our next day’s schedule. One of the days she even made Pina Colada for me! 
They offer a shuttle service from the San Jose airport (2.5 hour drive). The driver Carlos is very professional and with a big smile on his face. He also doesn’t speak English, but that doesn’t stop him from making the guests feel comfortable and safe. He picks up and drops off people at any time we request. He picked me up at 5.30AM and drove me back to the airport at 2.30AM through dense foggy/cloudy roads with very low visibility!
The restaurant provides freshly cooked, healthy, delicious Costa Rican meals at very affordable rates ($10 for a lunch). One day our tour was scheduled to end late. They asked us what we wanted to eat for dinner in the morning and had the meals ready and waiting for us when we got back! I am vegetarian which seemed not such a common thing in Costa Rica. But once they knew I don’t eat meat, they got very creative with my meals to provide me with a very delicious and complete meal every time. I didn’t have to survive on salad and chips! 
The hotel is located at about a 10 min drive from the closest town. That makes it a little difficult to check out the local restaurants or stores if we don’t have a car. But you can take a taxi to town if you are willing to spend $10 every time.
There is a beautiful creek flowing through the property and a beautiful garden+pool to relax after the day’s activities.
The tour package is very well organized. Mario organizes the tours to every last detail and even lets people make last min changes to the activities. The zip-lining, rapelling, rafting, hiking etc were all very well coordinated and the tour guides were well-qualified and helpful.
Costa Rica is such a beautiful country and the Costa Ricans are such friendly people! I had a very memorable time there and I hope to be back there to explore some more of Costa Rica some day!

  • Stayed: January 2016, travelled solo
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Sonali M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
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Reviewed 5 January 2016 via mobile

We booked a groupon package called adrenaline. Everything went really smooth with no surprises or difficulties. The hotel is more like a cabin stay, don't expect a resort. The staff was friendly, accommodating and very patient with our language barrier. The room was clean, the pool was nice and the breakfast was wonderful.

If you have the chance to do the adrenaline package, do it! The ATVs, zip line and climbing Cerro Chato were challenging and incredibly rewarding. The tour guides are really good at what they do. They are incredibly skilled, knowledgable and passionate people. They really made this an exceptional vacation, so tip them well.

Mario organized the whole thing and was very quick to respond to my questions. I wouldn't have changed a thing, it was a great experience.

Stayed: March 2015, travelled with friends
1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
176
Reviewed 26 December 2015 via mobile

Booked late during the Xmas season and this was what I could find. Room was clean, staff reasonably friendly. They didn't speak much English and my Spanish is very bad. Price was not worth what I paid, but maybe you'll get a better price when the whole town isn't sold out.


Pros: Quiet, clean. Breakfast was good, cooked to order. Staff mostly friendly. Wifi. Kids liked the smallish unbeaten pool and pool tables. Towels folding into interesting shapes for you.

Cons. Hot water in the shower needed to flow slowly (still during Dec 2015). I never had to turn on the cold water in the shower because the "hot water" wasn't all that hot. It wasn't cold or uncomfortable, just never hot and if I turned up the flow rate it did get cooler. No wash cloth (still trying to figure out of this is a Costa Rica thing as some hotels have supplied wash cloths and some haven't).

The sink in the main room only had cold water. The sink in the small bathroom, though labeled as having hot water had one PVC pipe which then split to feed both faucet controls cold water.

Room lighting was stark, 2 fluorescent light bulbs (light type that you'd use in a garage) that didn't really illuminate the room. When one burned out, it was hard to see.

Sheets were clean but not great quality. The bed mattresses were not supportive and were painful to sleep in (maybe that's normal for Costa Rica).

Parking could be a bit of a pain as some folks parked in the driveway.

Hotel staff told me my ride wasn't going to get us. When I called the ride service they told me that the hotel had said they had no way of contacting me (though they obviously did to let me know my ride wasn't coming). I did get picked up, but I figured this was worth a mention.

Bottom line, this was a poor value for me. I paid way too much for the quality of the hotel. Might be worth it if you get a good rate and speak Spanish.

Stayed: December 2015, travelled with family
2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 December 2015

This room was booked for us via Mario as part of an adrenalineincostarica.com groupon. We paid around $1100 for the Arenal adventure and Jaco beach package and we got way more than what we bargained for. Carlos and Mario responded to us very quickly via WhatsApp. Carlos was our private driver most of the time and he was very friendly to us and that guy has a great fashion sense. He took us to see the Poas Volcano's and the La Paz waterfall on the way to our hotel at Lavas de Arenal and took us to see the Alligators on our way to Jaco as he excitingly drove us.

When we arrived at our hotel at Lavas De Arenal the receptionist with the tongue piercing was very friendly and the entire staff treated us like family. For example, they would leave us written messages from Mario about the next days activities, would wait for us at night to make sure we arrived safely, questioned us when we got breakfast somewhere else one morning, and would turn off our air conditioning when we went on our amazing daily adventures. The room was very clean with hot water, the facility was beautiful with a creek outside the kitchen.

All in all Mario and the staff at Adrenaline in Costa Rica made this a trip of a lifetime and we are very grateful.. Pura Vida!!!

Room Tip: Let Mario arrange the cab into town. It is only $8 each way.
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  • Stayed: December 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Tonal C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2015

The staff were all incredible.
They spoke very little, if any, English, but they were beyond friendly and patient with us as we used broken Spanish to communicate. They fed us most of our meals during our 5 day stay and all of it was prepared in the typical CR style - rice, beans, some type of animal protein, and either bread or plantains. It was all freshly made and delicious. The papaya juice was to die for.
I can say as a vegan traveling to CR for the first time it was somewhat difficult, but they were as accommodating as can be, providing me with more gallo pinto (breakfast rice and beans) and plantains whenever I asked.
Be sure to try their Lizano Salsa (spicy orange-ish sauce they keep up near the counter) as it was delicious!!
The ladies at the eatery even prepared us a late dinner one night when we returned many hours after expected, saving us from walking in the pouring rain down to the small convenience store for overpriced snacks.

You get adorable towel creations on your bed each morning :)
The hot water and water pressure in the shower is good, the entire place kept up very well and very clean.
The pool is a perfect size to dip into or hang out at during the day.
Be prepared to cab into Fortuna (about $5 each way) as walking into town is not possible.

A tip for non-Spanish speakers: Bring a tablet, phone, or laptop so that you can utilize a translation app as there is free wi-fi on-site. This will be very helpful to make you feel less like an ignorant English-speaker!

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to the office for easy access to transportation, quieter atmosphere and no stai...
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  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Feminist514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2015

Pros.
Nice and quiet setting.
Very friendly staff.
Great meals from the kitchen.
Tours and trip from the airport were well co-ordinated.
Decent wifi.
Fridge and microwave were available

Cons
Communication with the staff was hindered because nobody spoke english and we speak minimal spanish, we used the iTranslate app to enhance communication.
The water from the shower was lukewarm, it didn't get very hot.

My husband and I enjoyed our stay and would return for another visit. There's a shop across the street from the hotel, where you can buy basic things like water, snacks, beer, soda etc

  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Mukami N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2015 via mobile

Allow me to start by saying that I do not consider myself to be a travel snob. So the fact that this place is not exactly a fancy resort does not bother me. The people are friendly and the hotel is in a peaceful location away from town. This is a positive and negative. If you get a cab driver that isn't trying to take advantage of you, it costs about $10 one way between the hotel and town. Also, the hotel closes the gate at night, making it fairly hard to stay out late.

We bought the "deluxe" room as part of our package. At the time of booking, it was published that the room had a coffee maker, hot water, and access to laundry facilities. These are generally considered essentials for me when traveling, and our room did not have any of these things. The coffee maker wasn't too big of a deal as they serve coffee downstairs (and it's really good). There were instructions in the hotel information that said you can get hotter water with the smaller amount of water you have flowing through the shower head. After about half an hour trying this, my wife and I realized we would be taking cold showers throughout our vacation. I'm not trying to be a spoiled American, but it would be nice if the hotel room came with what was advertised. As for the laundry facilities, we did not have access to them but I was told by Mario that we could ask one of the staff members if they could wash our clothes for a fee. When I did this, the girl told me they couldn't because no one would be at the hotel after 4pm ( I asked at around 3:30pm).

In hindsight, I wish I hadn't paid extra for a deluxe room, as I can't imagine what that room had that a standard room wouldn't. I should note that our room had a microwave, but I had no need for that.

I teetered in between giving this place a 3 or a 4. I have it a 4 because Mario was very helpful and responsive. He made changes to our tours and answered our questions very promptly. I don't know that I would recommend this hotel because it really depends on what is important to you, and what isn't. The staff was nice. The breakfast was good. The coordination for tours was good. Location isn't great and can make staying there even more expensive. I imagine you could pay around the same price to stay in La Fortuna, and the room would be just as nice or nicer. My advice would be to do more research on other places to stay in La Fortuna.

Stayed: October 2015, travelled as a couple
1  Thank tsearle5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mario B, Owner at Hotel Lavas del Arenal, responded to this reviewResponded 3 November 2015

Hi Tyler, thanks for your comments, we really appreciate them as those help us improve our business. I wanted to address some of those comments for future travelers.

1) There are 3 options to get to downtown. 1 is taking a taxi, which we can call for you and the price will always be $10 each way and we always give people the taxi drivers phone # so he can be called from anywhere you are at. 2 you can take the bus which costs only $1.20 US. 3 you can ask the tour drivers to drop you in La Fortuna once the tour is done, this way you save one way.

2) All of our rooms come with Microwave, 32 in Flat TV, AC, Hot water and Refrigerator. We have also coffee makers but they are given only when requested. The reason we decided to do it this way is that people would break them and not tell us. That means we had to be buying new ones all the time. Once the glass part of the coffee maker is broken in Costa RIca you pretty much need to buy a new one, which costs about $30 each. By giving them when requested we can manage them better. I am sorry we did not communicate this to you.

3) We do have hot water in all rooms. In the past (the last 3 months) we used to have a system that would heat the water at the shower head, which is known as a Thermal Head Water Heater. It is complicated when people is not used to it so we decided to replace all of them and know we use the Instant Electric Water Heaters, which makes them the exact way you use it in the US, one faucet for cold water and one for hot water. We used to have some instructions on how to use the old system, where you needed to open the faucet (only one at that time) just a little to get hot water. For some reason those instructions were not remove from your room and that created a confusion as you were following those instructions instead of just using the 2 faucets as you have always done. I am very sorry this was the case, we have fixed the problem by removing those all instructions. But I want to be clear to any body out there considering staying with us that we do offer all rooms with hot water. If you get into a room that does not offer hot water as I am explaining here, please use this review to get your money back from us. One faucet will get only hot water, and the other will get you only cold water.

4) We do have our laundry facilities in the hotel which we also use for our guests when requested. We do not advertise as having laundry facilities available for guests to use. I will check the information that we have publish to ensure that is not the case. BUT we will do laundry for our guests when requested for a minimal fee. We have always done it and charge from $5 to $10 for big bags. We do not make money on our guests for this service we just give it as an extra service we can offer. What you were told was unacceptable, at any time when we get asked by a guest for laundry services we do it. I had a meeting with the girl that told you she could not do it because she was leaving at 4 pm. It is too bad she does not understand our mission as a business, but it has been fixed and thanks to your comment we have made sure it will not happen again.

5) At night we close the gate, but it is not locked. We have a security person all night who is supposed to be there to open and close it as needed. La Fortuna is a very secure area in Costa RIca, but we use the gate as an extra security. We have also make sure that we communicate better to our guests that they can go out and someone will be there to open and close the gate.

6) I really appreciate your comments about me, I fully understand when people go on vacation and that is the reason we are 100% flexible. As you mention we were able to change/replace tours the night before, I can guaranty you that NON of the other companies selling in Groupon would take that unless there is a fee of $100. You asked us to take you to a hotel in San Jose and not to the airport on your return which we did for just an extra $10. I can also guaranty you non of the other companies would do it for less than $50 at least. The same happens with the tours we offer, many people take other packages without knowing they are getting a Ziplining that is just 6 cables. We offer 12 cables plus rappel plus horseback riding and more. Other packages offer rafting as we do, but they offer level 2/3 for beginner, we offer in our packages the real thing, level 3/4 the real adventure. And that is the case for the other tours.

I want to thank you very much for your comments as those helped us fix this little misunderstandings for future guests.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Lavas del Arenal

Address: 300 Oeste de la Escuela de EL Bosque, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#26 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: C$41 - C$193 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Lavas del Arenal 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Lavas Del Arenal Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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