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“Volcano? What volcano?!”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Thornhill, Canada
Level Contributor
224 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Volcano? What volcano?!”
Reviewed 28 February 2012

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.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Zippy22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dpape, Gerente at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 24 July 2012
Dear Zippy22 thank you so much for your assessments. Tabacon is located in the tropical rainforest all surrounded with colorful vegetation and beautiful gardens, characterized with unpredictable weather and growing beautiful trees which naturally decorate and create the best tropical rain forest setting, moreover we are near the Arenal Volcano and it is possible to see it form certain specific areas at the hotel and resort when the sky clears up. Our natural hot spring water containing many minerals is very clean and hygienic due to the constant natural river flows. Also, we always try to accommodate people before our guaranteed check in time if it is possible, if not, meanwhile they can enjoy the hotsprings and spa and we will keep the baggage in a safe storage. Hope to welcome you back in our premises.
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River Edge, New Jersey
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2012

We just returned from a 6 night stay at Tabacon. The grounds are absolutely STUNNING!!! Despite other reviewers comments, the staff is kind, courteous and respectful. Never pushy or in your face.The hot springs are a 5 minute stroll from the rooms. The walk is nice. Dont be surprised if you spot a tayra run past you as i did.(look it up so u r not surprised as i was!!)There are no words to express the feeling you get from the springs. They are truly magical. The spa may possibly be even better!!! You get your treatments in an outdoor hut while listening to the sounds of the running springs. Ask for Mariania or Leslie for a heavanly massage. The food is good, yet expensive like others have stated. No complaints about it though. There is a ton to do in the area. Try and book thru Jakamar tours, and ask for Jose,he is a wealth of knowlledge and will fill u in on the whole history of Costa Rica. Go to Tabacon if you are looking for a temporary escape from life as you kow it!!! One more tip.....Bring dramamine if you get motion sickness. The roads are extremely windy. Enjoy!!,

Room Tip: Room 309.....AMAZING volcano view
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank gina l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

Wow, this setting really is amazing. The place was not crowded so I loved the secluded feel. I will say the service was a little cold. Hot springs are great.

Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank MichiganAnnArbor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2012

I don't know how this is a 5 star hotel. I would give it a 3 at best. I want to clarify this review is only for the hotel not the springs. (I give the springs 5 out of a 5) We stayed in a "Superior Premium Room" but it remind me of a best western/motel 6. It by far was not worth the $500 CAD a night that we paid. After Tabacon we stayed at another hotel in the La Fortuna area for half the price for twice the hotel Tabacon was. The only up side to this place is that you get free access to the hot springs (which in my books is a must see/do)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank IslandDrifter23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dpape, Gerente at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 14 March 2012
Dear IslandDrifter23,

Thank you for sharing your points of view. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is rated 5 stars, which is well deserved and proudly sustained by its excellence and endorsed by Leading Hotels of the world. All opinions from our customers are always important and valued, we hope your next time you visit us we can surpass your perceptions.
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Florence, South Carolina
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

This was a wonderful place to visit. The grounds were beautiful & the rooms spacious and comfortable. The food in the restaurant was fair, but the surrounds made up for it. They have a great fitness center.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank pocket213
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dpape, Gerente at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 14 March 2012
Dear Pocket213 We are pleased to receive such kind words about your trip to Tabacon. Indeed, we have magnificent surroundings with gorgeous views of nature and volcano, incomparable hot springs, delicious international gourmet and local food, updated rooms which provides the best comfort for your vacation. And in addition, we do care about our customer’s wellbeing and health, that is why we have a well equipped gymnasium, a spectacular Spa and the great hot springs to relax, spoil and be pampered. Looking forward to welcome you back again in Costa Rica.
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Hollywood, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 February 2012

The location, the room, the hot springs and spa treatments, and the accomodating, friendly staff were all top notch! After 2 days the clouds lifted and surprise, we had a beautiful volcano view from our room! The breakfast buffet was outstanding, especially seeing the coati's waiting to have a snack! We will definitely return.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Judy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dpape, Gerente at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 14 March 2012
Dear Judy D thank you for sharing your wonderful experience with us. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is the best spot for the best luxury vacation. We would love to welcome you back anytime you wish to return.
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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Tabacon was a very pleasant stay! They have the best Springs. If you walk up to the top of the Springs the have some private gardens for adults only and you can lay out on a day bed for free. We drove from Manuel Antonio. The navigation is spot on and it took about 5 hours. Very curvy roads.

Pros:

Internet in room
TV in room
Amazing spa and springs
Nice sized rooms
Comfortable beds
Shanghi Gardens

Cons:
Can be a bit noisy in rooms because doors open to the outside
Food is a rip off. Cost of breakfast!!!!!!!!

Suggestions:
Bring water shoes
Eat in town La Fortuna (Don Rufino's is amazing)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ucla1212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dpape, Gerente at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 14 March 2012
Dear Ucla1212 Thank you for your opinion and suggestions which are very valued. At Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort we are always aware about customers´ requirements and try to place all of them while providing the best facilities and an impeccable Customer Service. It is great to hear that you had a great vacation in Costa Rica and went to two beautiful places, Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, both with amazing natural landscapes to be admired and enjoyed. Hope you visit us on your next trip to La Fortuna.
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Additional Information about Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

Property: Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
Address: 13 Km Northwest, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Luxury Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#6 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#9 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#13 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 103
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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TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, TravelClick, Hotels.com, DerbySoft Ltd Shanghai HQ, Priceline, Travelocity.ca, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, HotelQuickly and Evoline ltd so you can book your Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

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