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“Perfect for our honeymoon!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Giardini di Papagayo Hotel

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Giardini di Papagayo Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Panama | Gulf of Papagayo, Liberia 26-1017, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #16 of 17 Hotels in Liberia
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Perfect for our honeymoon!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2008

When we first arrived, they said they were overbooked (though we were confirmed months in advance for a suite) and they were sending us to their partner resort nearby. We had not heard of this place, so we refused to go. The manager came out to the desk and immediately offered us a superior room (with a beautiful view) until our suite was ready the next day.
That was the only snag...everything else was fantastic! It's definitely a 3 star hotel, but very clean. Grounds, staff, food, atmosphere, and tour options were very good! My husband and both had the best vacations of our lives (at 41 and 44), aside from the fact that it was our honeymoon. We did two adventure tours, one with each of the tour companies at the hotel. They were both incredible!!!!!! We did in one day...horseback riding, whitewater tubing, canopy tour with zip lines, rapelling, tarzan swings, and mud/hot springs to finish. Our tour guide was Larry Ulate, and we HIGHLY recommend him! We were told by other guides that he's the best in Costa Rica, and he definitely lived up to it!!!!! Our second adventure trip was booked with CAT tours. We went white water rafting on the Tenorio River/Pozo Azul with Rios Tropicales. They were top notch river guides...my husband was very impressed with them since he is a ACA certified whitewater kayak instructor, and I do some raft guiding. We had a GREAT time!

  • Liked — The incredibly friendly and helpful staff--all of them!!!!!
  • Disliked — Our reservation was overbooked when we first arrived.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brantford, Ontario
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2008

The hotel was not at all as shown in the brochure. There were no activities, the bar and the shuttle service closed up at 10pm, not 11pm as advertised. The water in the small pool looked cloudy. The food was luke warm, monotonous, but plentiful. Should you ask for an item not on the table, you got a positive reply, but the requested item never showed up. The staff was friendly and several spoke English. Unless you pay to use the safe in the room, you will be robbed as several guests were during the week I stayed there. It was quite taxing to walk up the steep hill to the room in the heat, due to the shuttle being out of commission most of the time. I would advise against staying at this hotel.

Stayed January 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2008

We went to Costa Rica and stayed here for 2 weeks. We had a great time! The beach was great and the snokelling was pretty good at high tide. In fact you could have a piece of beach with no one around if you really wanted to! The staff was helpful and friendly and always had time to chat and see how you were doing (unlike the Hilton where the staff was instructed not to mingle with guests!) The food was good. I didn't loose weight by any means but it was relatively healthy. It was not a huge buffet selection but there was enough to keep us satisfied. If you want a fancy hotel this is not it...but if you want a hotel that is low key and relaxing then this is for you. It's a great hub for day trips and a great place to sit and watch the world go by. I'm a former backpacker and I expected the worse but I'm happy to say this surpassed my expectations. I travelled with 5 people and they were all happy with the hotel. There are things that could be improved but in the whole grand scheme of things the're minor. Oh and the walk to the rooms is a good work out! If you miss the shuttle then you'll have to walk and let me say after a few times up and down your calves will be in good shape and on there way to becoming ripped! Oh warning though the place shuts down at 10....yes including the bar. I guess that would be my big gripe but to tell you the truth after a day of activities we were in bed around 10:30 anyway. I would stay here again and would recommend it to people who want to go hang out and enjoy a quiet holiday. happy travels!!!! :)

  • Liked — the ocean view was awesome!
  • Disliked — It's a long hike after a day of diving! :)
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2008

We spent 2 weeks from Jan 14 to Jan 28, 2008, just looking for a break, some down time, exploring, no schedules, a break from winter.

Expecting a 3 star, we were open for anything. We were pleasantly surprised, nice staff, beautiful welcome reception, pool was inviting, food was great. It took a while to get our stuff up to the room but once we settled in, we actually enjoyed the hikes up and down from the rooms on the hill to the activity area.

Our goal was to find a place to relax in the sun, have some beach access, and tour a bit. We had all of that. There were plenty of tour companies, we enjoyed all. The Swiss Travel tour company had excellent guides and reasonable packages. It took some time but I was able to get back my camera after leaving it on the bus. They had found it for me when I called over for it.

Larry at Papagayo Tours was very good, very devoted to the future of Costa Rica, politically aware, and passionate about the Eco side of Costa Rica, excellent English, and good street smarts in Costa Rica. I think he has some destiny in keeping Costa Rica "pura vida" and sustaining it's future, heart and soul.

Hang around the pool or the little bar and you are guaranteed to meet some new friends. It's just that type of place with its small (80 units) volume of guests. Some are owners as the property is owned and rented out as part of the hotel.

Please remember to tip, as the service is based on heart. Most of the people working there live on tips. If you enjoy the service, pay it forward, with gratuities. The overall cost of this hotel is not high so if you see service, it's best to reward it.

Most of the people we met were older (say late forties) some young couples. Overall, not a place with lots of activities, so those looking to hang around the pool, play cards, enjoy dinner, walk up to the room (by 10:00 if you prefer the shuttle), then that's what you get. Having said this, I would never recommend this place for teens or families looking for activities for active kids. Quiet, intimate, a bit like summer camp.

The hotel served some great food, especially when they added more fish to the menu and had nice music.

If you're looking for a hotel right on the beach, with lots of amenities, pay for the 5 star, but if you're looking for comfort, a great sunset, nice pool, good food, and access to beach, this is a good spot.

Overall, if you have a good group of travelers while you are there, you might find this a wonderful vacation spot.

Stayed January 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2008

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica. We stayed at the Giardini and it was a charming, quiet and relaxing spot. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The views of the bay and the evening sunsets are spectacular. The beach is swimmable and calm. The food was good. The swimming pool was immaculately clean. I felt very safe there and would travel there alone without any worries.

The buffet (we thought) had quite a lot of variety in terms of meats served: pork, beef, chicken, fish (although no fish for the first 3 days was a little disappointing to us, since that is the only 'meat' that we personally eat but we didn't starve..from day 4 onwards, there was fresh fish daily :)). The food was good. We enjoy the local fare wherever we travel and had no problems with the items served . For those who wanted something more North American, there were usually pancakes, french toast, etc. at breakfast. You can have your eggs made to order each breakfast...or have a custom omellete if you prefer.

We rented a suite (lower level of villa) and it was lovely - we had a walk out garden area, balcony/deck overlooking the hilltop and bay and a small plunge pool. Inside we had a living room area, kitchenette, king size bed and large walk in shower.

The condition of the villas can vary, and the size of the plunge pools was not consistent (504 had a great-looking one - like a small swimming pool!) some are privately owned and rented out...some are for sale... however we had no problems (room 404). The maid service was good and all of the staff were incredibly nice and friendly and very willing and eager to help with anything that you might want/need.

I have stayed in 4 and 5-star resorts (almost exclusively) and yes, this is a 3 star resort but don't let this dissuade you... the ambiance is charming. There are only 80 rooms so it's a very intimate type of setting and you get a chance to make friends. Meals are in an open-air restaurant and of COURSE there are insects - it's the tropics! If you use insect repellant you will be fine...

IF you are looking for a swim up bar, multiple swimming pools, disco, on-site 'animation' squad and loud goings-on, or 5 restaurants and a room-sized buffet, this is NOT the place for you.

However, if you are looking for a clean, safe place to stay with good food and good people... a place to relax and unwind, enjoy local fare (and yes you might see last night's beans mixed with rice at breakfast... do YOU throw out all of your leftovers at home?) and yes, there might be some leftover dessert (in addition to other items) at the next day's lunch (see prior comment re: leftovers) but I would hardly call that a crime. It was refreshing to see that food is not wasted.

The location is ideal for day trips. There are guided tours on buses running every day of the week with many choices of excursions. A rented 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended if you like to explore on your own. The 'main' road is fine but most of the others were a lot more rugged and 'interesting', like the Monkey Trail...

We went to Huacas and Santa Cruz (for the Festival), Arenal Volcano, The Congo Trail Canopy Tour and surfed at Playa Grande. We visited multiple beaches (Pirate's Cove, Playa Hermosa, Playa Grande, Playa Conchal) and it was amazing how different each was! Some are volcanic beaches, very rugged coastlines, while othes are golden sand and waves...We enjoyed fabulous food at Outback Jack's in Brasilito.

Overall, we both thoroughly enjoyed this spot and would go back again. It surpassed our expectations.

  • Liked — It was quiet and clean
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2008

We just returned from a week at the Giardini. The resort was much different than our typical holiday in that it was very small and intimate. We booked a suite which paid off well as we were travelling with two small children. The other rooms looked very small. I also understand that there condition can vary significantly as the units are privately owned and voluntarily entered into the rental pool of the resort.

The unfortunate part was that our children were the only ones there the week they were there, so the private plunge pool paid off. The resort is very quiet and is good for R&R. If you want anything but R&R, then this wouldn't be the resort for you. The food was good (repetitive as per usual for most all-inclusives), but all tasted good with lots of fruits and vegetables every day.

The walk up the hill to your room is a bit of a trek particularly during the heat of the day, but the shuttle van is usually available within 5 minutes. Don't forget the bug repellant as there were lots of people with bites from the noseums.

There was one day in that they were repairing the water in our building, but it didn't really pose an inconvenience to us as we had already showered. A little warning would have been nice though. The manager of the resort is awesome...he tends to every detail and lends a helping hand to staff when they are busy - I saw this a few times at the bar.

They also appear to have buses of locals brought in for the day on the weekend, which adds alot of bodies to the pool and bar area, although it didn't overly effect us as we spend the afternoons at our plunge pool. Overall a very good holiday and we got an awesome deal for what we received. If anyone is considering this resort, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • Liked — The suite was awesome.
  • Disliked — The lack of activites & other children.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2008

We just got back from a week at this hotel. I was a little leary as the reviews have all been negative. We had a great time. the view is amazing. Our hotel room was small but clean and adequate. All the rooms had been freshly painted. We found the food to be good. the staff was very nice and tried hard to please us. It is a small resort and you get to meet a lot of people and have fun with. There are mosquitos that come out at night so do take bug spray. There are no activities or water sports so be prepared to make your own fun. There are a lot of fun trips to take and every one we went on was great. I think anyone with kids would be better to go somewhere else. If you enjoy the night life then this is not for you as the place closes down at 10 pm. We would go back in a minute.

Stayed January 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Giardini di Papagayo Hotel

Address: Playa Panama | Gulf of Papagayo, Liberia 26-1017, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Liberia
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 17 Hotels in Liberia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Giardini di Papagayo Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 80
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Also Known As:
Giardini Di Papagayo Liberia
Giardini Di Papagayo Resort
Hotel Giardini Di Papagayo
Giardini Di Papagayo Costa Rica
Giardini Di Papagayo Hotel Costa Rica/Liberia

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