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“Definite Room for Improvement” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Costa Smeralda

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Costa Smeralda
Calle 18 Bis | Papagayo Gulf, 5000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 16 hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
A TripAdvisor Member
“Definite Room for Improvement”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2005

Let me start of by saying that I was at the resort a year ago, it is possible that improvements have been made.

I traveled to the resort with 2 other friends and when booking, we were under the impression that it was a 4 star. Honestly, it was far from it. I have stayed at a number of other resorts in many other countries and in my opinion, I couldn't honestly give this resort higher than 2 stars.

HOTEL ROOM - The majority of rooms closer to the main part of the hotel are 1 story units with about 4-5 rooms on each strip. Our room was off in a corner close to the public beach. The front wall and main entrance to the room was one big sliding glass door, very easy to break into...you see where this is going. On our 3rd night there, I went back to our room after dinner to brush my teeth. As I approached our villa, I noticed that all the outside lights were burnt out. It kinda creeped me out but I went into our room anyway. As I approached, I heard something in the bushes but assumed it was an animal. I was in the room for about 5 minutes and made sure to lock up before leaving. Later that evening, my friend returned to the room only to find the door wide open. We realized that my purse had been stolen along with some make up. Luckily we had locked up all our valuables so the theif only got away with my puffer, some eye drops and my purse. The staff were not very helpful (could have been a communication issue) and was later told by another staff member that these kind of things happen all the time at the resort. We had to argue to get moved to one of the newer rooms at the top of the resort (which were very nice). But the best they could give us was one king sized bed that the 3 of us shared.

THE STAFF - Most of the staff were very nice, always smiling etc. But I found it odd that they were premitted to solicit the women so openly. Some of the girls there were very young, 15 or 16 and these men were taking them for 'walks on the beach' at night. Some of the staff were also very pushy when it came to drugs, openly offering 'grass' and 'cocain'! Definitely wasn't expecting this.

THE BEACH - As mentioned, the beach was public and not necessarily white sand, but beautiful in its own right. I didn't venture into the water because it was very murky, but loved visiting the beach to see the monkeys! This is one of the things I loved about Costa Rica, the monkeys and wild life....absolutely beautiful!

THE FOOD - Unfortunately, the buffet left a lot to be desired. I ate a lot of rice and beans, although one night the guacamole was very good. Because the main restaurant is outdoors, the food gets soggy and warm very quickly. Birds and bugs are also on the food. The one a la carte restaurant was quite good, no complaints there. Unfortunately the majority of your meals will be at the buffet.

ENTERTAINMENT - Not really a lot of entertainment, and the bar closes at 11:00 or 12:00 so be prepared for early nights. I wouldn't recommend going into the town....we didn't feel very safe after dark when we tried it.

Overall, Costa Rica is beautiful and I recommend going in November when everything is green. We ended up having a wonderful vacation because we met some fantastic people at the resort. But I also strongly recommend staying away from this particular resort. All the friends we made agreed that they would never go back. There are many others resorts in Liberia that may cost a few hundred dollars extra, but it will be well worth it. I truely did not feel safe at this resort (not something I have experienced in my past travels) and no one wants to feel that way for a week.

Lisa (Toronto - 28 years old)

  • Stayed March 2004
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2 of 5 stars
  • Value
    1.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2005

This resort was a disappointment. It wasn't well-run and there wasn't much to do. We stayed at the Costa Smerald in December 2004. It turned out that most of the staff had decided to take their vacations that week, so only one of the four restaurants was open, there were no night-time activities and cleaning was hit and miss. The place is not four stars--maybe 2.5 at best. The food was ok but largely consisted of stale buns, unidentifiable crustaceans at dinner and sweets. And the snack bar in the middle of the property only served nachos with that horrific fake cheese. That's it!
Our room had a nice view--it was one of the villa-type rooms set in the hill--but a trail of ants marched across it and down the walls at all times. And the bathroom was in disrepair, with a leaky tap and stained enamel.
The beach was visually interesting but it was a public beach-not one exclusive to the hotel. Local Costa Ricans shared it with us, bringing their pets and family members. The sand is brown--not white like some of the brochures may advertise. If you don't mind a busy beach filled with locals, then this works for you. However, if you're looking pristine sand and privacy, forget it.
To the arachnophobes--don't go! We discovered that the multiple holes in the sand right next to our room actually belonged to tarantulas. I never saw one but it was never far from my thoughts....
If you're going to pay a lot...go somewhere else.

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thorold, Ont. Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2004

My husband and I went to Costa Rica in Dec. 2003. We stayed at the Grande Papagayo Resort. At that time it was Costa Smeralda. Since the ownership change I can't say anything about improvements as I don't know what if anything has changed. The rooms were very nice, the hotel property was beautiful and the staff very friendly. The only complaint I would have is the food. It was good but just wasn't anything special. There wasn't much in the way of any organized activity such as beach volleyball or anything like that. But we enjoyed our stay enough that we are returning in Feb. We are going to the central Pacific area this time as Costa Rica has so much diversity that I need to see more. If you don't like high humidity then you should go to the Guanacaste province as it is the driest in the country.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Costa Smeralda

Address: Calle 18 Bis | Papagayo Gulf, 5000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Costa Smeralda Hotel Province Of Guanacaste

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