The Springs Resort & Spa in Costa Rica is perched on a mountain ridge overlooking the Arenal Valley and the surrounding mountains, highlighted by the Arenal Volcano, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The property, which abounds with natural, state-of-the-art, temperature-regulated thermal pools, has been designed not just to show off the awesome landscape, but also to make guests feel a part of it. This resort offers awesome views of the surrounding landscape.
If the property looks familiar, however, it is probably because it was a host hotel for ABC’s The Bachelor, where some of the contestants went on a group date and dined at the hotel after soaking in the thermal springs. Fans of the show ask to take a tour of exactly what the reality show participants experienced.
Guests feel even a part of the landscape with the unusual natural materials used throughout the property, such as volcanic rock, lava rock, combinations of marble and granite, sea-grass furniture, banana fiber and water hyacinth chairs, and hand-cut cement and laurel wood (a local wood worked by craftsmen into doors and trim). Stained-glass murals with Costa Rica themes grace the property. The adjacent animal reserve is the home of numerous natural creatures and rescued species including monkeys and jungle cats.
The most stunning of the four restaurants is Las Ventanas, which offers creative gourmet fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner on Level 4. It features angled windows, so guests can look directly down to the Arenal River that flows a thousand feet below them. The lighting is kept dim in order to capitalize on the views, especially at sunset or at night, when the lights of the town twinkle below.
Also on Level 4, guests can enjoy the Heliconia Bar, open until 11 p.m. and decorated daily with fresh-cut flowers. The phenomenal Tres Cascades restaurant has three natural waterfalls as one of its “walls.” Its gourmet buffet menu changes daily and is open for all meals. It is billed as a “tasting” experience, and the chef prepares some of his creations right at the buffet. The dessert bar offers small bite portions so that guests will feel comfortable trying them all.
What awaits on Level 1 is what many guests have come for—the pools. There are 18 free-form, lushly landscaped hot spring pools on various levels throughout the property. Guests can step out of the main building into Las Lagunas, which is 12 pools integrated into the architectural design of the main swimming pool complex, all fed by thermal hot springs. Central is La Laguna Swim-Up Bar, open until 11 p.m. Interspersed are the Treetops Grill (where guests can nosh in a shady tree canopy setting) surrounded by five waterfall pools and open only until 7 p.m., and the Ranchito Bar, open until 11 p.m., with a heated whirlpool nearby. This bar offers a beautiful setting for parties of up to twenty-five people.
There is a bar in the middle of the free-form pools called Los Perdidos, which is surrounded by waterfalls on three sides, and lush tropical plants on the other. Nearby is a water flume called the Monkey Slide. Guests immersed in of any of the seven Perdido Spring Pools enjoy waiter service. Day passes to the hotel’s hot spring mineral pools and facilities are sold to those from area hotels. A new spa is being crafted in an outdoor area named Las Hojas. The hotel opened a second series of pools in the valley overlooking the river.
Other on-site activities abound: hiking, horseback riding, bird-watching, and inflatable kayaking and fishing in the Arenal River. The staff can arrange off-site activities, including canyon repelling, canopy tours, rafting, sky trek trams, hanging bridges, Venado caves, Lake Arenal pontoon boat fishing and sightseeing, and ATV tours. The new Club Rio offers a climbing wall, a toucan exhibit, and exploration trails by the river.
Two large gift shops are on-site, and a game room supplies more traditional diversion. A business center is equipped with Internet-ready computers and printers, but the free Wi-Fi runs property wide.
Guests cross a bridge over pools to the Vista, Alta Vista, and Family Suite Guest Rooms. All of the luxurious rooms, with granite and rock walls, embrace guests in an earthy cavelike environment with large cedar closets, dimmable lights, and sliding glass doors to balconies with hammocks and rocking chairs from which to enjoy the dynamic Arenal Volcano views.
Amenities include central air-conditioning, 37-inch flat-screen TVs, surround-sound stereo with CD/DVD players, and iPod/MP3 docking stations, phones, free Wi-Fi, wet bars, safes, and coffeemakers. Attractive rattan furnishings are topped with plush cushions. The marbled baths come with twin sinks, whirlpool jets in the tubs, and multiple-head showers.
The Vista Rooms offer king beds and the Alta Vista rooms add 18-ft vaulted ceilings, making them the most requested guest category. Family Suite Guest Rooms are split-level with two baths. The master bath has a whirlpool, and the lower level offers a king bed. Two singles or one king bed are on the mezzanine level.
Villa Triand and Palm Bungalow are the ultimate accommodations, with two oversized master suites and three full baths. These can be provided as one unit or individually, with separate entrances. The Villa has a garden bath with indoor and outdoor showers and whirlpool, a living area with two daybeds, a kitchen, a heated plunge pool with jets, two sundecks, and indoor and outdoor dining areas. The Bungalow comes with a heated cascading whirlpool, sundeck, and outdoor dining area.
Room service answers 24 hours. All rooms are smoke-free, with smoking allowed only on terraces. Four wheelchair-accessible rooms are in each guest building, and overall, there are three connecting units. Some of the villas can also connect as well.