12km north of La Fortuna, Arenal, Costa Rica
From the time of its inception in 2008, the sprawling Springs Resort & Spa near Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica has been known as one of the top relaxation spa resorts in Central America.
The Springs Resort & Spa (not to be confused with nearby Nayara Springs) in in a prime location four miles north of looming Arenal Volcano, near the town of La Fortuna. It comes with enough amenities, however, to argue for not leaving the property. There are 28 hot springs and pools on the property. Each of the 75 rooms has jaw-dropping views of the spellbinding omnipresent volcano and jungle.
The Sanctuary Spa is the property's 14,000-square-foot reflexology and rejuvenation center. The menu includes a long list of wraps and massages. Each massage comes with tropical botanical oils created from local ingredients found throughout the region. Relax with a couple's massage and revitalize yourself in a volcanic mud wrap.
Culinary travelers have plenty to rave about when it comes to dining options at The Springs. To begin your day of exploration or after an arduous day of adventure, you've got more variety here than at most Costa Rican resorts.
© Springs Resort
Ginger Sushi is preferred for a small bite or as a full meal dining option for high-end Japanese fare. The freshest Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Sea Bass, and Snapper are brought in daily, as much of it as possible from Costa Rica's nearby waters.
Tres Cascadas, the main restaurant, serves buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring seafood, steaks, pasta, and local Latin cuisine. Eat like a local and try the Costa Rican breakfast consisting of a blending of scrambled eggs, fried plantains, rice, black beans, sour cream, and tortillas.
Treetops Grill is all about burgers and comfort meals at the casual, poolside dining restaurant which adheres to the mantra of an open beach dress code. Bathing attire is suggested at this lunch option as you're likely to be taking a dip in one of the adjacent five waterfall pools.
Las Ventanas is the properties haute cuisine option, a fusion of Costa Rican and international flavors, with astonishing views as windows are designed to look down at the river 1,000 feet below the restaurant. You'll see the lights of nearby La Fortuna and perhaps even some shooting stars.
There are five bars on The Springs Resort property, some surrounded by hot springs. La Laguna Bar is a swim-up bar flaunting views of the volcano. Heliconia Bar, located on the 4th floor above the reception, provides another elevated Arenal lookout. Rancho Club Rio Bar & Restaurant serves Tico (local) lunches daily.
© Springs Resort
The rustic luxe rooms at The Springs are covered floor to ceiling with teak and bamboo wood, designed to blend into the jungle setting. King-size beds face outside to a sprawling private terrace or large balcony with hammocks and rocking chairs providing close-up majestic volcano views. The rooms come with Nespresso coffee machines, TVs, surround sound and CD/DVD players, mini-bar and refrigerator, and central air conditioning.
The wow factor continues with large marble floors leading into spa-like bathrooms which include a more than ample jacuzzi tub, plus a mirror almost the size of the room itself. The Roman Bath-like luxurious bathrooms are what one might expect to find in Las Vegas or Dubai, but less likely in Costa Rica's adventure epicenter of Arenal.
There is also an impressive collection of suites and split-level bungalow casita-style houses. The latest addition to the repertoire of formal rooms and suites is The Villa Palacio, featuring nearly 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. The multi-level villa situated in a secluded setting features a private garden and pool with sweeping Arenal views—the perfect set-up for families or large groups seeking detachment and privacy.
Club Rio, located on the Arenal River, is an eco-adventure park for adults and kids alike. Buses take you to the nearby activities center, the property's outdoor eco-sanctuary, where accomplished guides greet you and get the activities going. Endeavors include horseback riding, bird watching, river tubing, hiking, fishing, and kayaking. Kids can work off some energy on the rock-climbing wall. You'll find a restaurant and bar for light fare if you need to hang out to wait for the bus to transport you back to the property.
At Club Rio, you'll also find the animal rescue center where knowledgeable zoologists guide you to a look into rescue animals. The guides explain in great detail how each animal found its way to the rehabilitation wildlife shelter. There is an impressive assortment of birds and animals including 30 indigenous cats like pumas, margays, ocelots, panthers, and jaguars. Guide provide an in-depth perspective of each animal's geographic region within the country. There's also a nighttime jungle walk where you'll encounter the sounds of the imminent harmonious frogs and toads.
The newest addition to the extended list activities to encounter at the Springs is a newly added nine-hole chip and putt golf course for guests to use free of charge. The artificial turf course comes with varied distances and degrees of difficulty.
While connoisseurs of luxe Costa Rica hot springs resorts rave about the fabulous Tabacon Grand Thermal Resort, the Springs at Arenal ups the ante on the number of rooms with volcano-gawking views and boasts more hot springs than any other resort flanking Arenal volcano. In all its splendor there is something for everyone at the exclusive Springs Resort and Spa. The awe-inspiring volcano views are just the beginning of a memorable stay. With a higher caliber of food and drinks than you normally find in Central America, with room service provided, The Springs is a good place for pampering between nature adventures.
The Springs Resort & Spa is a kid-friendly hotel where grown-ups can also relax at the state-of-the-art spa and fitness center and soak in 28 on-site pools, hot springs, and waterfalls. An exceptional venue for a destination wedding, The Springs provides a luxury stay in a striking setting for an unrivaled romantic and adventurous tropical getaway resort vacation.
Web Address: www.thespringscostarica.com
Total number of suites: 75
Published Rates: $490 to $4,200 plus taxes.
Review by Nicholas Kontis, photos by the writer except where indicated