Let me start this review of the Tabacon off by explaining what kind of traveler I am so you know how I compare to your own standards. I am a crazy germaphobe who gets skeeved out at the tiniest bug or speck of dirt. After staying at the
I would give the Tabacon a 4 star rating. The service was great and the rooms were clean and had a rustic luxury about them. However, I would not say that this hotel is a five star resort. That said, it was beautiful and I don’t think that you’re going to find a nicer resort in the area, at least from what we saw. Arenal is not a very advanced city. The beauty of it is its rustic charm. The service though at the hotel was fabulous. All of the staff was extremely friendly. They also do lots of little touches to make your stay feel special. The night that you arrive they put fresh tropical fruit in your room and the night that you leave they leave you small homemade chocolate treats.
Rooms: We stayed in a superior room. It was between the main building and the a la carte restaurant, which we found to be a great location. It was quiet and not a far walk from either building. The beds had white linens and were very clean. Trust me I do a thorough inspection coming from NYC where bedbugs are a huge problem right now. There were a few small bugs that we had in our room but you are in a rainforest, and even me, a total crazy person, expected that. The rooms had umbrellas and nice bathrobes for guests to use. The bathroom products were Molton Brown, which I always appreciate. I actually somewhat judge a hotel based on its bath products so this was a plus. They also have a hairdryer in the room, which is nice for us women.
Activities: We booked all of our activities through the hotel and while you may pay a small premium to do so, it is totally worth it. They seemed to have chosen all the best companies and they arrange your pickup, etc. When we told our guides who we were doing the next activity with they were always like “oh, they’re the best!” Each of our guides spoke fantastic English and were extremely knowledgeable about the rainforest and the area. We did the full day hiking combo tour, which included a hike around the rainforest, a hike down to a waterfall and a hanging bridges tour. We really enjoyed this day, despite the fact that it was pouring. *Definitely bring your own poncho, they supply them but they don’t smell fresh, that’s for sure. We also did waterfall rappelling and ziplining. These were both fantastic. If you had to pick one activity we’d all recommend the waterfall rappelling, it was so unique. Just prepared to be soaked. You literally go underneath waterfalls. They provide jackets but make sure you have shoes you don’t mind getting completely submerged in water. Also make sure you bring a change of clothes with you, you can leave these on a dry truck. Then they take you for lunch after you do NOT want to be sitting in your wet clothes. Trust me. Also, you should know there is quite a hike at the end of the rappelling uphill. It’s not too long but if you have a hard time doing that you should be aware.
Dining: Let me preface this section by telling you that we are from NYC and are spoiled with the best restaurants the world has to offer so we are not easy critics. We ate breakfast every morning in the hotel and it was fabulous. It was definitely worth the higher price tag for the convenience of not having to go into town. They had an omelet bar, someone making pancakes and waffles, all the fresh tropical fruit you could ever want (mangos, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, etc.) We ate dinner at the hotel in the a la carte restaurant as well and while it was good we weren’t blown away. However, the ambiance is absolutely beautiful. It is pricy though, about the cost of a really good restaurant in NYC. The food was good, not amazing. We were slightly bothered by the fact that they used imported
Dinner at Don Rufinos: We took a cab into La Fortuna the other nights we were staying at the Tabacon. It costs only $20 round trip and then we got to get a real taste of the local culture. The front desk arranged this for us. Don Rufinos is a steak restaurant and was great. We each got filet mignon, which was delicious. They also have small plates at the bar that are wonderful, in my opinion those may have even been the best. Don’t bother with the dessert here though it was frozen and mediocre at best. Try Guaro, or as the natives call it, Quatro Plumas (Four Feathers). It’s a very popular type of alcohol.
Appetizers at Don Rufinos
Dinner at La Chosa: We got typical Costa Rican plates here. The ambiance here was casual and fun but the food was just okay. You should try Guanabana juice though blended with milk. It was delicious and it’s a native fruit you can’t get many other places.
Lunch at Benedictu’s: During the combination tour activity, they include lunch and take you to Benedictu’s. The ambiance is nothing, it resembles a hotel lobby with no frills but the food served was typical Costa Rican plates and they were fantastic. The homemade hot sauce in particular. Just wonderful. Rice and beans, chicken, fish or steak, a sunny side up egg, grilled plaintain, salad and probably even more. This meal was delicious. Probably one of our favorites.
Spa: The spa was amazing. Definitely a must if you come here. It was extremely elegant and clean. You can even do couples activities together. There is a list at the hotel of specials, which were not on the website that are a great deal. For $150 you get a 30 minute massage, a 30 minute mud facial and a 30 minute volcano wrap. This all happens in a beautiful cabana outside with your sweetie. After the treatments you rinse off in a beautiful outdoor shower and are served delicious smoothies, my friend got Strawberry Tomato, how original?!? She said it was fantastic.
I would definitely recommend this hotel. I just think that you should know that it is not quite like the Four Seasons. That being said it is beautiful and the
Check out this awesome list of last minute presents if you've been procrastinating!
Jay Godfrey Bow Dress Originally $495 now $95!
The New York-based designer Jay Godfrey features collections of sleek, sexy and sophisticated designs that will be discounted up to 80% off. Perpetually inspired by the chic New York woman, Godfrey’s goal as a designer is to meld the classic tailoring techniques of Savile Row with modern silhouettes and luxurious fabrics. The result is his distinctive contemporary collection of dresses and separates that accentuate the female figure.
225 5th Avenue (between 26th/27th streets, closest subways are R, N and 6 to 28th Street)
NYC, NY 10001
December 27th – December 31st
Monday – Friday: 9am-7pm
Rashida Jones rocked these pumps at the launch of the DEVON flagship store in Beverly Hills on December 8. These black bow pumps add a feminine touch to her casual outfit and can be paired with anything!
LANVIN for H&M Bow Heels
Retail price: $99
Get your party-ready hairstyles for every occasion. Whether you’re attending a holiday cocktail party or grabbing a cocktail to escape holiday parties, perfectly styled hair is a must. Expert stylist Edward Tricomi of the Warren-Tricomi Salon explains what looks work for the season and how to achieve them:
THE LOOK: Festive French Twist
Instantly create this look for any holiday party. Start by using an extra-strength hairspray all over your hair. Next tease around the crown of the head with a fine toothed comb. Next, pull the sides back and smooth back with a soft-bristled brush, then twist hair while rolling under to create a French twist. Re-tease the top hair that was left out of the style and create a bouffant on the top of the head and secure the hair at the further crown of the head with hair pins and create the ultimate holiday look.
THE LOOK: Romantic Long Waves
“This glammed-up, romantic evening look is easier than most women think,” assures Tricomi. “All you’re doing is taking hair and making it wavy—no updo or pins needed. To get this look, spray hair with hairspray to protect hair from heat and sculpt waves. Then set hair in large Velcro rollers or hot rollers to create an accentuated wave and remove after 10 minutes. Finish by rubbing some gel or pomade on flyaways to keep hair sculpted and matte, but still soft and manageable.”
THE LOOK: The Undone Up-do
Holiday hair doesn’t have to be sleek and smooth—break the rules with this tousled look. Start by spraying a volumizing spray on damp hair at the roots and hairline before blow drying. Next, use a barrel curling iron to create loose waves, shaking them out to create texture. Twist small sections of the hair in the front and pull them back, securing with hairpins. Do the same with pieces in the back, without making it too symmetrical or perfect. Lastly, finish with a flexible hold hairspray to hold this holiday style all night.
This is the 3rd year Macy’s is launching this holiday effort and I thought you might be interested.
Once again Macy’s invites believers of all ages to drop off letters to Santa at their local Macy’s. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million. However, building off the great spirit of Believe, Macy’s is also giving Facebook fans the chance to earn an additional $250K for the Make-A-Wish Foundation! Based on the Yes, Virginia Christmas special, fans who play and win the Believe Challenge game on Facebook will earn another $1 donation.
That’s just the beginning of this great holiday program. You can find some familiar favorites and new additions this year – including the re-airing of the animated special “Yes, Virginia”, the National Santa Tour and the Believe Sitelet complete with letter making tools and activity kits.
We are hosting a giveaway for one lucky reader!! We are giving away a Yes, Virginia Book, DVD and Believe Teddy Bear! Leave a comment below, telling me who you'd want to give this to for Christmas and why. Then Like Smartypanties on Facebook or Follow MsSmartypanties on Twitter and tweet: "@MsSmartypanties, Thanks for the Christmas Cheer, Macy's Believe campaign is awesome.
One winner will be chosen AT RANDOM Today, December 20 at 4pm EST. Giveaway is open to US residents only.
Polarn O. Pyret, Sweden’s leading children’s wear brand, made its much-anticipated arrival to America almost two years ago and last month was featured by InStyle Magazine.
Enjoy prices up to 75 percent off retail at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sample sales. Styles will be available in all sizes from newborn to 12 years, including all seasons, as well as selected styles from our Maternity Collection.
Tuesday, Dec. 7
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Culture Center,
410 Columbus Avenue (between 79th & 80th St),
New York, NY 10024.
Saturday and Sunday Dec. 11 and 12
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Textile Arts Center
505 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, Park Slope 11215
*Cash and Credit Cards Only