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“Old, run down, not a good value” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

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Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Old, run down, not a good value”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

The resort is well past its prime, with a number of rundown, outdated physical facilities. It looks poorly maintained - roofs, railings, beach area. The pool, however, is very nice. No hot tub.

The inside of the room was nice, but no bathtub. The porch was run down with aging railing and floor tiles.

The fitness club is at the far end of the large complex - very nice, but hard to get to. It is part of what looks like a very expensive spa.

The food ranged from very good to terrible - stay away from the pool side restaurant. Drinks are very small and nothing better than Johnnie Walker Red - stick with the mixed drinks, which are good. The wine is barely drinkable. Room service is $15 extra.

There are no sidewalks, so you need to take a shuttle everywhere to avoid dangerously narrow roads just wide enough for one cart. Usually a wait of a couple of minutes, but on a number of occassiona no one answered the phone when I called for a shuttle. Also, the hills are very steep and facilities strung out.

The staff is friendly, but check in was a 30 minute wait. Three couples wanted nearby rooms - a good idea since the complex is extremely spread out, and the Assistant Manager took that long to fix it. The desk clerk was tied up with another matter for quite a while - not a check-in or check-out. But very quick when he finally got to me.

Not having anyone to answer the phone for substantial periods of time is a big issue for this resort.

There was no entertainment except very weak singers at the bar.

Some rooms are right on the road with total lack of privacy for the porch.

The place is seriously overpriced for what you get and an embaraasment to the Hilton name.

Room Tip: If you want a quiet room, ask for one on the other side of the hill near the spa. Amplified music n...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,210 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (545)
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English first
Medicine Hat, AB
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Similar experience to others: - rooms are clean, but very dated - tiles falling off the roof, looks unkept. In need of maintenance. Deck was old and the railing was unstable.
Staff were okay but not very friendly.
Service at the snack bar was poor.
We stayed in a bungalow by the quiet pool to relax and there turned out to be a beach wedding and it was noisy until quite late after we were told that it would be over by 7:00.

Room Tip: We were by the quiet pool and the AC from the Spa was quite noisy but not a major nuisance once you...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

similar experience to others:
- rooms are clean, but dated
- tiles falling off the roof, looks unkept
- very limited choice of alcohol in rooms (2 beer, 2 diet coke, 2 coke, & water)
- adult pool was very quiet & relaxing (until a loud group arrived, will not state what country)
- food was excellent at all restaurants
- staff was fantastic - all very happy and could not do enough for you
- bars do not open until 11 am, so if you are the pools early & want a fruit drink, coffee etc - no luck
- bars have very limited selection (we have stayed at a 5 star - Excellence resorts, where they had all branks of drinks, including liqueurs at no charge). this resort does not offer these, and state that premium drinks are extra - very poor
- internet & wi-fi cost extra - we refused to pay, and were happy to be without

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

ID#: 150050026

We stayed at HP from Jan 6 - 12. Our room was 136 - a nice room with a good view. We were fairly close to the pool and restaurants. We had no issues with noise. Our stay was relaxing...excursions are available for those wanting more to do. It was very relaxing and we liked that everything was spread out. We walked everywhere and didn't find the hills a problem. Also walking to the spa and gym was quicker walking along the beach. The gym was nice with 3 treadmill's, 2 elliptical's, a bike, dumbbell 's up to 50 lbs and a cable machine.
The weather was awesome 95 days, 70's at night - AC worked great in the room. We made reservations for the restaurants for several nights on the first day - they have a copy of the menu's at the activity desk where you make your reservations. Unfortunately, did not know they were having surf and turf nite at La Cosecha on Friday night. We found the food at the restaurant's to be very good. Cab fare from airport was $55 for 3 people in a beat up Nissan. The front desk coordinated car service from hotel to airport - the cost was $60 and Rigo drove us in a new BMW X5. When we go back I would call for pickup from them instead of catching a cab.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albert, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

We spent 5 days at the Hilton in the middle of Jan. 2013. Our first impression was that it was gorgeous but smaller than we had expected. Each room is actually 1 side of a duplex (they call them bungalows). The property can be steep and if you stay in the rooms higher up on the hills you might want to call a shuttle. They run all the time so you don't have to wait long at all.
There is basically one big pool. There is a swim up bar that closes at 5 pm and after that there is only one other bar.
The food at this resort was about on par with the food you get at Cuban resorts. Nothing to get excited about. The buffet at breakfast had the exact same thing day in and day out. For dinner, it wasn't a true buffet. They presented you with the option of 4 or 5 different entrees and you picked from them. The a la cartes were o.k. at best except for the Italian restaurant (Grill de Fuego). It had amazing pasta. Best I've ever had. One thing I will say, is don't order a steak or you'll be very disappointed. We had beef tenderloin one night and sirloin another and they both tasted the same - bland and they were extremely chewy. We gave up after that.
The rooms were nice but they were a bit worn (not dated, just needed a little upkeep). Our balcony railing was rotting in places and our shower nozzle didn't stay up properly.
Not much going on at this resort. They had some entertainment a couple of nights but it was dead. No one participated in anything so I'm not sure why they even bother.
As is typical in tropical climates, don't expect the service to be like you get back home. It never is. But, for the most part the staff was pretty friendly, especially Diego at the pool bar. He was quick, remembered what you drink and had it there before you were finished your last drink. He was very friendly and a lot of fun. Probably saved this from being a really boring place!
I would recommend the sunset cruise. It was beautiful and we were the only ones on the ship. You can book it right at the resort. We also took a trip into Coco Beach. It's a little resort town and you can buy some souvenirs from the little shops there. The only other trip we took was the full day Palo Verde boat trip and Liberia shopping excursion. The trip on the boat was fun and interesting. You learn a lot about Costa Rica and get to see some birds and wildlife but the remainder of the trip was kind of cheesy. You get to spend an hour in the city walking around and shopping, etc. This wasn't bad but the last part seems to be set up just to hook the tourists into spending some money at the gift shop you visit. That kind of bothered me.
All in all, this was just an o.k. resort. I wouldn't go back there.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Hamden, Connecticut
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

This was our first trip to Costa Rica. It was a combination of business and pleasure. Warning lots of power outages, very beautiful scenery, lots if Iguanas and monkeys and birds. Food is very good. Watch out for the scorpions we had one in our room! Pools were awesome and the bay was also awesome. Food very good, must make reservations DO THIS EARLY like 8am. otherwise your eating at the buffet -- being waited on is much nicer.. Went to the spa an had a massage that was very nice but a little pricey. There was a pipe break near the spa restaurant while we were eating lunch and their was a gusher of raw sewage, and in some areas it smelled like poop -- so Hilton whats the scoop on the poop.. All service employees were exceptional, courteous and kind.

ps. If your going to go on a tour use Sibu Tours, the guide Diego is very knowledgeable.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, NY
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

Stayed at the all-inclusive Hilton Papagayo 12/29 through 1/5 and had the time of our lives. The resort created a great environment for the New Years Eve party, with a great live band, dancers, buffet and fireworks at midnight. The breakfast buffet was great and we ate dinner at the a la carte restaurants, lots of choices and great service. Arrangements and reservations were made prior to leaving home for the a la carte restaurants by emailing the activities director, Alejandro, who was very helpful before and during our stay. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities offered... pool aerobics, the bike trip, and beach and pool volleyball. I can't say enough about the enthusiasm of the activities directors. They really do a great job organizing these events and making them fun for all. Our room was a tropical bungalow across from the spa. It was small but adequate and quiet, a very peaceful setting. Bar service around the pool areas was excellent. My wife enjoyed her hot rock massage at the spa while my daughter and I ventured out on a combo snorkel and sunset excursion.

We booked our airport transfers and excursions with a tour company called Costa Rican Tours and Services. After reading positive reviews online about this company we contacted them by email and later on their US telephone line a few weeks before our departure and had several discussions with Meghan regarding the various tours offered. With Meghan's expert guidance we decided to book the Palo Verde Jungle Boat trip, the 4X4 off road safari excursion and The Congo Canopy Tour (zip lines), and we could not have been more pleased with these trips. Alex from the tour company was our guide for all 3 of these amazing and exciting excursions. He picked us up on time at our hotel in a nice comfortable and clean vehicle. On our way to the jungle boat he pointed out lots of sights, monkeys, iguanas and he has an incredible amount of local knowledge. He accompanied us on the boat trip where we saw hundreds of birds, howler monkeys, crocodiles and white faced monkeys, who by the way, jumped on to our boat and even stole some cookies off one of the passengers who really was surprised and will never make that mistake again). On the way back we stopped at a local friend of our guides home for an authentic Costa Rican lunch and then to another local home where hand made pottery was being made, a true local craft. The following day was the most exciting adventure we have ever experienced. This custom trip that Meghan put together was the highlight of our trip. It began with a true off-road safari. After a quick refresher on operating a 5-speed manual transmission, I settled in behind the wheel with my daughter beside me, as the co-pilot and our guide Alex, in the rear jump seat of this rugged, beefed up Suzuki 4x4. We followed an expert off-road driver, Eric, who had my wife beside him and ventured off on some really awesome and exciting trails. We climbed steep hills, drove across small rivers and stopped at a waterfall where I conquered my fear of heights and made the dive in. After 2 hours of driving on the off roads, we travelled on to The Congo Trail Canopy Tour and zip lines. As a first timer at the zip line adventure, I was a little apprehensive. The tour company did a great job with the instructions and after the first line my fears totally disappeared. We will definitely stay at the Hilton Papagayo again and look forward to seeing more of Costa Rica in the future.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Romantic Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#4 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in a bay surrounded by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Papagayo in Guanacaste, our resort is the perfect place to let your worries drift away. The magnificent view of the tranquil waters, the surrounding lush tropical gardens and abundant wildlife will make you experience the true Costa Rican feel.This magical all-inclusive resort also offers:- Convenient location, only 20 minutes from the Liberia International Airport- Large property but with an intimate atmosphere and feel- New all inclusive concept with boutique-style service without the need of bracelets or towel cards and no limit in à la carte dining. - Private beach feel with calm tides year round- Casita-style bungalows perched hillside overlooking the bay. - World-class Spa offering full range of traditional and exotic treatments in a Costa Rican – inspired natural ambiance- Unforgettable setting for Honeymoons and Weddings - Venues which add a local flair to your meetings, incentives and other social gatherings.- Just minutes away from major local attractions, National Parks and beaches ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort And Spa
Fiesta Premier Costa Rica
Hilton Gulf Of Papagayo
Gulf Of Papagayo Hilton
Fiesta Resort Costa Rica
Fiesta Premier Resort Spa Costa Rica

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