Globetrotting: Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa in Costa Rica offers an outstanding spa and thermal springs experience.
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa in Costa Rica offers an outstanding spa and thermal springs experience.

“Unique” and “extraordinary” are common and oft-misused terms when describing a spa resort, but not in the case of Costa Rica’s award-winning Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa. Located at the base of the Arenal Volcano in the midst of a tropical rainforest, this resort offers an array of unique experiences, although none more exceptional than its spa and thermal springs offerings.

Here, a day at the spa starts off with guests lounging in their bathrobes in front of a heated pool while partaking of creative hors d’oeuvres and sipping a healthy drink. After that blissful introduction to Tabacon’s spa delights, guests are whisked away to an open-air bungalow that, of course, offers views of the rainforest and where they receive their chosen treatment. That’s followed by some relaxing time in an outdoor jacuzzi where they have the option to sip some champagne.

Continuing with the idyllic tropical theme is the resort’s centerpiece amenity, its thermal mineral springs, located a short walk or a round-the-clock shuttle from the resort. Thermal heated waters, which are naturally heated by the Arenal Volcano and slowly mineralized underground, cascade over guests’ bodies as they relax among tropical foliage in the numerous springs located in Arenal’s largest private rainforest reserve. At the resort’s open-air lounge, Shangri-La Gardens, guests 18 and over can also relax in covered, uncovered or cocoon-shaped hanging lounges while ordering light snacks and cocktails. Billed as the “largest and only completely natural network of thermal mineral springs,” the hot springs experience alone is worth the trip to Costa Rica.

Complementing the relaxing nature of the thermal springs is a host of active excursions, including  horseback riding, ziplining, ATV riding, walking tours, whitewater rafting and rappelling.

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa.
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa.

When not enjoying the resort’s outdoor natural wonders, guests can indulge in one of the resort’s 103 guestrooms and suites that range from 376 sq. ft. to 2,530 sq. ft.  The rooms are well appointed and even the smallest has a dining/sitting area.
A recent renovation has converted a number of the smaller units into suites, which are quite luxurious and have every conceivable amenity.

The resort’s inviting reception area has a bar, so no surprise that a welcome drink greets your client at check-in. Front desk staff are knowledgeable and courteous and the bell staff and other service personnel exude the spirit of hospitality.

Dining venues are in keeping with the rainforest ambiance. Los Tucanes, located in the accommodations area, is an open-air venue with tropical views. Its breakfast buffet has every imaginable offering for self selection or chefs can prepare eggs and other cooked items to order. The restaurant is also open for dinner with an outstanding selection of international cuisine. Lunch and dinner are available at Ave del Paraiso in the thermal springs area; menu selection is plentiful and dining is casual.

One dining option you should definitely recommend to your clients, whether they’re  romantics or not, is the Gala Dinner. Guests are escorted to a private open-air bungalow with rainforest views, and while they sip an aperitif, a personal chef prepares a dining experience from a pre-selected menu of countless choices and then the food is presented by a personal server. Like the Gala Dinner, many of Tabacon’s facilities and offerings make it an ideal site for a wedding and/or a honeymoon. The resort has staff available to work with travel agents in planning the details. There are also inclusive honeymoon packages available.

Seeking to grow their event business, the resort recently completed a 1,216-sq.-ft. meeting room to accommodate 80 guests banquet-style and 130 theater-style. According to a resort spokesperson, the space “features impressive panoramic views of the rainforest and rushing hot springs, preserving the resort’s philosophy of weaving nature into every bit of the destination experience.”

Melania Lopez, Tabacon’s marketing director, says that 70 percent of their business is generated from the North American market, with 60 percent coming through various travel agent sources. She offers to work with the travel agent community in developing vacations and events to fit their client’s specific needs.

With Costa Rica responsible for 6 percent of the entire world’s biodiversity, Tabacon is committed to being a leader in sustainable tourism. It has a program that “encourages both guests and employees to conserve local resources and aid in protecting the country’s natural environment.”

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Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa: