All-day restaurant with free breakfast and 24-hour room service
Full-featured spa with massage, body wraps, and beauty treatments
Sports bar with three large flat-screen TVs
Wi-Fi is fast and free throughout the property
Pool is on the small side with inadequate seating
Three-hour drive to nearest major airports
Located at the base of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa offers a healthy dose of upscale relaxation and sophistication without a lot of pretense. The pool is a bit small, and there’s nothing within walking distance, but the long list of amenities -- hot spring pools, a large, all-day restaurant with free breakfast, multiple bars, and a full-service spa -- means most guests won’t ever need to leave the property anyway. All 53 rooms feature virtually identical spacious layouts, plus free Wi-Fi, in-room hot tubs, minibars, and two balconies (one with volcano views). The nearby offers the same amenities and a more beautiful thermal pool, but it's hard to beat the quiet natural setting and the views of Arenal Volcano found here.
Casual, yet sophisticated luxury hotel in the shadow of Arenal Volcano
If views are what you're after, the Arenal Kioro is tough to top. The hotel's developers used a laser to align each room with the volcano, so there's not a bad view in the house. Even better, there's no risk of future development marring the outlook, because the hotel abuts Arenal Volcano National Park.
A long, winding road leads visitors far off Route 142 to the hotel grounds, which feel far more remote than they actually are. The proximity to not only the National Park but to Arenal Volcano itself provides a sense of being lost in the Costa Rican rain forest. The hotel makes the most of not only the views, but the entire natural setting. Part of the lobby is open-air, overlooking green hills; there's an outdoor area off of the restaurant; and every room has not one, but two terraces. On the grounds, stone paths wind through lush landscaping, and waterfalls connect seven small pools filled with natural thermal waters.
The main outdoor terrace -- including the pool, an open-air restaurant and bar, and several thermal hot spring pools -- serves as the hotel’s social hub. The vibe is buzzing day and night, however, it hardly ever feels like an all-out party. Guests come here to quietly relax amid one of the area’s best and closest views of the volcano. The overall vibe is equal parts sophisticated and casual which draws a mixed clientele. There’s enough of an upscale vibe that it feels special enough for honeymooning couples, but the lack of any snootiness means it’s appropriate for families as well.
On the edge of Arenal Volcano National Park, 15 minutes from the volcano and La Fortuna
The adjacent Route 142 is a winding, sparsely populated thoroughfare dotted with upscale hot springs hotels and tiny, open-air sodas (casual, authentic Costa Rican restaurants). While the location is the best and closest of any hotel to Arenal Volcano, it also ensures that there are no attractions within walking distance. Fifteen minutes west by car, travelers can reach the entrance to the volcano national park; 15 minutes to the east lies the tourist-friendly town of La Fortuna with numerous restaurants, bars, shops, markets, and other services.
The hotel is equidistant from Costa Rica’s two major international airports. Juan Santamaria International (SJO) Airport in San Jose and Liberia International (LIR) Airport are each three hours away by car (substantially longer during rush hour). Free airport transportation is not offered. However, shuttle service is easy to arrange to/from either airport. Rates are typically expensive over such long distances. Alternatively, several brand name car rental counters can be found at either airport. But, this is often an expensive (due to the country’s mandatory third-party renter’s insurance) and dangerous (due to Costa Rica’s notoriously chaotic drivers and poor road conditions) option.
Spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, private hot tubs, and volcano-view balconies
Every room features an almost identical decor and layout. A spacious floor plan, cathedral ceilings, and a large wall of glass leading to the main balcony create a sense that the already oversized floor plans are even larger. Wicker furnishings, teak accents, and Spanish tile flooring all provide a distinct sense of place. Bold pops of red in the upholstery, bed linens, and accent walls offer bright, tasteful touches of modernity.
Couples Suites (with one king bed) and Family Rooms (with two queen beds) all include the same long list of amenities. Upscale features like stocked minibars (fee), in-room hot tubs, and two small balconies (one with a volcano view) are provided in every room. (Views are excellent from every room, though slightly better from the second floor; there are only two floors.) Additional essentials like air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs are also standard.
Every bathroom features a curious, split design with the shower stall in one corner of the room and the sinks and toilet in a separate area. Both spaces are modestly sized but fit and finish is excellent (though not luxurious) with frosted glass doors, dual sinks, and natural stone vanities. Bath & Body Works brand shower amenities are standard.
A small pool with big volcano views, a large, all-day restaurant, and a full-service spa
Features and views are the highlight of this hotel. The large outdoor terrace combines a freeform pool, several thermal hot spring pools, and an all-day restaurant and bar -- all with panoramic views of Arenal Volcano. The pool is sparkling and well-maintained but feels undersized given the hotel’s capacity. A dozen lounge chairs and patio dining sets line one side of the space. However, the seating feels inadequate and the lack of any patio umbrellas also means the entire space is exposed to the sun throughout the day. The adjacent Orquídeas Bar offers poolside service with a full menu of finger foods, plus alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Heliconias, the main restaurant, provides all-day dining plus room service. The large, bright dining room is awash in Spanish tile flooring, wicker resin seating, and beautiful, flowering heliconias plants. Large windows on three sides flood the space with natural light and offer excellent views of the surrounding rain forest landscape. The free daily breakfast is served buffet-style with a wide selection of Western and Costa Rican fare. Lunch and dinner are both offered a la carte with a similarly broad menu. Just off the lobby, Sport Bar Carajillos serves a full cocktail menu and offers three large flat-screen TVs and volcano views from a small outdoor deck.
The small Neidin Spa features a full menu of massage treatments, plus a handful of beauty and body wrap services. While it’s adorned with the same decor found in the hotel’s other common areas, the brick walls, cavernous ceilings, and minimal decor all feel less zen luxury and more spartan.
A modest gift shop in the lobby sells some high-end items, along with typical tourist tchotchkes and knick-knacks. Free self-parking is available in several large lots. Wi-Fi is fast and free throughout the property.
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