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Hotel Mountain Paradise 3.5

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Rooms come with private outdoor hot tubs or swimming pools
  • Only 10 to 15 minutes from La Fortuna and 35 to 45 minutes from the national park entrance
  • Bathrooms have double showers, including one made to look like a natural waterfall
  • Breakfast included
  • Hotel has two restaurants, one serving international cuisine, the other Costa Rican dishes
  • Spa and manicure rooms are on stilted rooms open to the rainforest
  • Charmingly rustic rooms with AC, TVs, and coffeemakers

Cons

  • Wi-Fi only in the lobby, restaurant, and pool wet bar
  • Views of the volcano obscured in some rooms
  • The common way to get around the property seems to be by golf cart

Bottom Line

This conveniently located, 46-room mid-range resort offers brightly colored bungalows that wouldn't look out of place in a Smurf village. They feature showers that mimic natural waterfalls and come with private outdoor hot tubs or pools, though views of the volcanos and Wi-Fi signals are both limited. About 15 minutes from La Fortuna, Hotel Mountain Paradise shares a spur road with its nearest competitor, the luxurious Nayara Hotel; those seeking cheaper accommodations might consider Volcano Lodge & Gardens, though its rooms aren't as attractive. 

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Scene

A Smurf village of brightly colored adobe cottages catering to American and tico families and couples

The hotel consists of adobe cottages of various bright colors scattered among a series of winding, sloping paths surrounded by meticulously planted and groomed rainforest trees and greenery. Native Costa Ricans -- mostly honeymooners and families -- make up a larger proportion of the clientele here than in other nearby properties (about 30 percent), but Americans still make up nearly half of the guests -- usually folks who just arrived in the country and are looking to make the Arenal adventuring-and-rainforest area their first stop. Music-wise, the lobby plays a seemingly never-ending loop of pan-pipe covers of '80s pop songs; during our visit, Americans were at the pool wet bar sipping daiquiris to '90s and 21st-century power ballads. Whatever your music tastes, listening to any music is much better than listening to traffic on the main road, which is far away.

When you first arrive at the hotel, instead of having to go up to a front desk like you're applying for a new license at the DMV, the staff greet you at the door with a fresh towel, and let you fill out the necessary forms on a comfortable couch while sipping a free fruit cocktail.

Location

Only 10 to 15 minutes out of La Fortuna, and on the road toward Arenal National Park, the hotel is well-situated for folks who want town life close at hand without having to sleep amid the backpacker-and-tour culture.

At 10 or 15 minutes north of town, the hotel is close enough to La Fortuna that guests with cars can pop into town for a quick bite or browse adventure-tour options without having to experience it 24 hours a day. It's about 30  to 40 minutes from the Arenal National Park in the other direction. Guests without cars will find it difficult to get to either, but it's well-situated for those with transportation. The hotel itself sits on a spur off the main road shared by a ganglion of several hotel properties, and the Mountain Paradise's nearest neighbor is the posh Nayara Hotel. The hotel is surrounded by fields and the other hotel, but you can't tell because of the sloping landscaping and carefully placed greenery.

Rooms

Brightly colored adobe cottages with amazing showers and private pools or hot tubs

Rooms are in brightly painted adobe-style cottages with many of the usual comforts -- AC, TVs, coffeemaker -- but most lack mini-fridges and Wi-Fi is limited to certain public areas. Decor is simple and charmingly rustic: tile floors, wood furniture that looks like it's made out of tree branches, textured walls painted yellow or white. The ceilings are unusual and attractive, with both wood planks and narrow log beams, but the best feature is in the bathrooms, which have loads of natural light through the skylights, and double showers, including one mocked up to look like a natural waterfall. Larger suites include kitchenettes and private swimming pools, while the others usually have their own backyard hot tubs.

Features

The hotel boasts two restaurants, including one that serves local Costa Rican cuisine and has a splendid balcony view of the volcano and surrounding countryside.

There's the usual hotel breakfast buffet serving "international cuisine," but just outside the hotel gates is the hotel's bigger, splashier eatery, which serves local cuisine, has a balcony with splendid views of the volcano and countryside below, and is popular for Costa Rican weddings. The outdoor pool area has a swim-up bar, an attractive rock formation separating a shallow kiddy area, a manmade waterfall, wooden slatted loungers, and lush surrounds. The spa and manicure rooms are open to the rainforest. 

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Address

La Palma De La Fortuna , La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela 183-4400, Costa Rica

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