My wife and I stayed at Tabacon for 3 nights, part of a month-long trip to Peru, Panama and Costa Rica. Tabacon was one of the 12 hotels we booked. It was the most unsatisfactory of all.
Tabacon has some 114 rooms, 6 of which are Rainforest rooms in a separate, two-storey block, some walking distance from the main building. The rate was $621.50 per night, including free access to the hot springs, (which are on a separate site, 1,000 feet from the hotel), but excluding meals.
Perhaps I did not read Tabacon's web site carefully enough, but I should have been alerted by its19th place in Tripadvisor reviews. I had expected a view of the volcano, but the volcano is nowhere to be seen from any part of the hotel, as far as we can tell.
I have to say that the interior of the ground floor Rainforest room looked fine. It is huge, with every amenity, even a notebook computer for guest use. Its Jaccuzi is massive. There is a generous outdoor terrace, the view from which ends about 10 feet beyond in a wall of 12 feet high foliage. I.e, there really is no view. This tends to give the room a somewhat "basement-like" feeling, enhanced by being cold and damp. A couple of dead cockroaches remained on the floor throughout our stay. Perhaps the upper rooms are better? Furthermore, the Rainforest rooms are adjacent to the highway, so motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks can be heard - and smelled - roaring by; and during our stay, the block of rooms behind reception was undergoing total and noisy renovation, including re-roofing. Some rainforest experience!
We arrived at reception just after 3 PM, (following a 6 hours drive from Montezuma), to be told that our room would be ready at 4 PM. We were emphatically told that 4 PM is the earliest check in time allowed. At least five other couples joined us over the following half hour and we all hung out in reception awaiting permission to go to our rooms. Of course we were asked to put on our wristbands, which look like those worn by hospital patients. I declined and told the receptionist that I would carry it in my pocket until it was required for ID. She was not pleased. In fact, we found the attitude of the two receptionists with whom we dealt to be aloof, unhelpful and uncaring. They did not seem to enjoy their jobs and everything they said was done in monotone, preprogrammed fashion. Just before 4 PM, all the other couples had left for their rooms. At 4:10, I had to approach reception to find why we had been first to arrive and yet were last left standing. No response, except to say that our room was ready and, after all, the time was just 4 PM. It is incredible that rooms cannot be made ready within the 4 hours following noon check outs, especially at the price we were paying.
As for the nearby hot springs, they are evidently enjoyed by many, including the bussed in tourists; however the adults-only Shangri-La area was closed for a day and a half to accommodate a private function. For us, the hot springs are reminiscent of overcrowded municipal swimming pools, albeit in a beautiful floral setting. We decided that our personal hygiene merited better, and did not use the facility.
The $28 per head breakfast price, together with Tripadvisor reviews of Tabacon's cuisine, compelled us to eat out. We ate no meals at Tabacon, so cannot comment on quality and value. There are several good alternatives in La Fortuna,11 Kms. away, with reasonable prices.
We visited a few other hotels and we suggest visitors should consider the Springs, (but only if you have wheels - an SUV at that) or Hotel Nayara. We dined at Nayara and left with good vibes of the hotel and it's genuinely friendly staff.
If Four Seasons and Orient Express hotels are 5 star, Tabecon merits no more than 2.5.
- 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
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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
- Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos