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“Not sure I would go back” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa

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Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)   |  
Hotel amenities
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not sure I would go back”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

We went for our Honeymoon and we were thrilled to get away for 6 days. When we arrived we were not greeted well with the front desk staff. He was rude, rolled his eyes and just didn't care. He said he didn't find our reservation and said sorry. I handed him our print out and then huffed and said Oh I see it... I tried to be nice but he was just a jerk. He said he would call a shuttle to take us to the room...30 minutes later they came...and when we went to ask about the shuttle he said its coming..and then turned to his co workers and said something and laughed. Finally when we get to our bungalow, its really nice. I had asked if we could get a ocean view room and he said NO we are booked. So we were like ok no problem. When we go to the bar we meet a very nice couple and they said they were upgraded just 5 minutes ago to ocean view and their staff also said they are not booked.
The food was bland, no spices..but they are all very accomodating to vegetarians. they really did try to get us what we wanted.
We had great help with Charlotte, she spoke english, was very nice and even tried to get us another room after we had a 4 foot iguana in front of our room. I think if the staff had her hospitalitiy and helpfulness this resort would be amazing. The front office manager did call me to see how things were afterward. She was nice but not accomodating.
The bartenders were really friendly and nice. There are only 2-3 bartenders so getting a drink is hard since everyone goes to the bar...but still not that many people at the resort.
DO NOT use the hotels cab service...askt them to call a local cab. They were trying to get us to get a car service and 20 dollars per person when the cab was 15 dollars one way for both of us. Do some research on where you want to go and buy the trips ahead of time. We went with fun jet and it was much cheaper than the hotel's. Plus when we checked out they never gave us a bill and gave us hilton points so we now can't get points for the stay. Make sure you get the BILL!
Overall not a horrible experience, the front staff guy was horrible but charlotte was amazing.
not sure I would ever go back.

Room Tip: Ocean view are nice!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2,419 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
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Jarvenpaa, Finland
Level Contributor
33 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

I stayed here with my wife and 3-year old for 4 nights. In short we were pleased but it is nothing special. If I were to book another all-inclusive in this area I would select another hotel next time.

ROOM: The resort is spread out over a very large area. If you get a room at the further end, there will be a 10 minute walk to the pool/restaurant area or you have to go with the frequent shuttle. Luckily we got a room very close to the pool area. Don't get too close though as there will be a lot of noise in the evening. The room itself was pretty simple a quite worn, but well cleaned. There was a minibar with 2 beers and 4 soft drinks, this was refilled daily.

STAFF/SERVICE: All of the staff were friendly and helpful. They were very happy to help us with special requests due to our daughter. Especially Yoselin in the kids club was super. The only real negative experience was upon check-in when I asked to pay for an upgrade, (I'm a Diamond-member with Hhonors) I was told I would only get my complimentary upgrade but was denied to pay for anything better. Apart from the upgrade, there were no Diamond-benefits really.

FOOD/BEVERAGE: This was the big letdown of the resort. Food was pretty bland and disappointing, especially at the speciality restaurants. We found the main restaurant food to be the best. However we soon got tired of the same offerings, the desserts were basically all variations of the same whipped cream with chocolate, berries, etc. There were no brand name drinks and the drinks orederd were at times very badly mixed. Wine at the restaurant was always only just white or red from a container. I had expected more from a Hilton property.

POOLS: We never visited the adults-only pool but stayed at the main pool area. This is divided in 3 levels and found them to be very nice, especially with the pool bar. The kids pool however was full of dirt, glasses and drink contains on the first day we arrived. It was only when we complained about this that it was cleaned, it was then kept clean.

BEACH: The beach was very nice and there were never a problem to find beach chairs.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We just returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica spending 7 of our 9 days at the Hilton Papagayo, Jan 31st-Feb 6th. I am a frequent traveler and very loyal to the hilton brand...this property did not disappoint and reminded me why I love Hilton. Right off the bat from check it we had a great experience, the staff was friendly and helpful, the reception area was beautiful with great views of the ocean and property. The resort was absolutely beautiful.....we loved how it was built into the bluffs looking down towards the beach... it offered great views. We had champagne, a fruit tray and chocolates waiting for us in celebration of our honeymoon when we arrived in our bungalow. The resort is very spread out, which we thought was a positive because it was very private and quiet, unlike many other all-inclusive type properties. We did have an ocean view bungalow that was close to the main pool and restaurants but the little shuttles were easy to come by and provided quick transportation to other parts of the resort. If you like exercise, like me, walking is fun because there is great views of the coast and beautiful plants along the nicely manicured property. I would take the shuttle to the gym facility each morning at the Spa and then walk back to our room after my workout. All of the staff on the property was friendly and helpful, we were really impressed with how people remembered our names, room number and drinks we like to order.....we loved Pablo at the pool bar..he was super friendly and always ready with another drink for you. We enjoyed the food... they are very European in portion size with elegant presentation...but you can order whatever you want so if you aren't full with the first thing you order they are happy to get you something else. I do recommend trying to plan ahead an make reservations for the restaurants as they only do a few seatings and fill up quickly...if that happens they have a "buffet" type restaurant where no reservations are needed. I say buffet type because for lunch and dinner they have salads and desserts on the "buffet" but then for your entree you pick from a menu of 4 things and if is cooked fresh and served to you at your table, they change the menu everyday so that is good if you plan to eat there most nights. The Italian restaurant was amazing...pumpkin ravioli! And we really like Bocadillo as our 2 favorites. They have a huge spread every morning for breakfast. The main pool is definitely where all the action is...but if you like things a little quieter you can go to the spa side where they have a second pool and it is adults only. We were on this side most of the time as there were a couple of groups with children where, I'm sorry...but the parents were not monitoring them and they were very annoying to other guest. That would be my only complaint about the whole property or stay and that is the guest fault, not the hotel. The property and rooms themselves were great. You can tell they are updating things in groups along the resort... out bungalow deck needed a little TLC as well as the shower, but everything else was great. You could tell that they are replacing these across the resort and just had not gotten to our side yet. You should expect a little where and tear when the rooms are pretty much occupied 24/7 - 365 days a year. I noticed some people mentioned power issues, which we did have while we were there, but the generators always came on almost immediately, and we did not experience the lengthy outages that some mentioned, I think it was 20 minutes max for us. I think the power thing is common in the area as it was not only our resort that had this problem, other in the area lost power too, I think it has something to do with the power company and the fact that all of the countries power is generated from water, steam and wind. They have Kayaks you can take out during the day and because of the area the resort is in, it is pretty smooth waters for a nice ride along the coast line. Really all in all we had a great time at the hilton and were not disappointed. We will definitely be back!

Room Tip: ask for a room closer to the main pool area.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tinton Falls, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We just returned from a week at this resort. We were a group of 10 older adults. This is a good place to go for a do-nothing but eat, drink, and loll-about vacation. The resort is set along a series of hills that slope down to 2 beaches and several swimming pools. The "bungalows", i.e. 2 adjoining motel type rooms per building, are scattered on the hillsides. There are shuttle vehicles that you call when you want to go from one location to another. The shuttles come quickly, except late at night when there may be only 1 shuttle available. The lobby is at the highest level. That is where free WIFI is available. Below that are several pools and restaurants and bars, including a swim-up bar. These pools can get raucous as the day goes on. Below these are the beach (about another flight of steps down. There is also a pool at the sauna. That pool can be entered only by ladder. The ladder rungs are rounded and slippery. (I lost my footing and had to be pulled out by a waiter!) The walking paths connecting all of these facilities are not well-lighted and not well-maintained. Beware of missing pavement and stepping stones.
Food is ample and very available. It is better than average but not so good that you eagerly await the next meal. Breakfast is delicious, with a lot of choices. The service staff is very pleasant, although not always efficient. If you call for something for your room, you will be told "right away". We needed more hangers - called 3 times - they never came. We went on one off-premise excursion purchased from Alexandro on the beach (blue shirt.) It was excellent, comfortable, informative. If you go to this resort, bring a flashlight to illuminate the menus and light your way on the paths. The rooms are a little tired looking but the beds are very comfortable and clean. Some bugs around, but it is the tropics. There is nothing to do outside oof the resort area. If you go, bring a flashlight, nightlight, bug and sun spray, and plenty of reading material.

Room Tip: Choose a room near the sauna. There is a nice gym, pool, hot tub, beach, and restaurant.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

A quiet location and the drive was not too far from the airport.
Overall a great stay.
Good service. Staff was professional and friendly, yet somewhat reserved.

We are not super picky people but like good value for our dollar-and this was just that and more. The only time that we ran into a snag was when we booked a taxi through the service desk at the pool and it didn't show up on time. This because it was waiting at the airport for delayed flights from the States. Not the hotel's fault. When the staff was told that our taxi didn't show up they were on it IMMEDIATELY to see that a found us a replacement which arrive at the agreed upon time this time.

The water in front of this hotel is calm for the most part.

This resort has many hills that need to be climbed/walked in order to get to most rooms. Our GPS figured that the highest rooms from the water were 250ft above the water. Quite a hike if you wanted to walk up the hill, but if you don't want to walk there are shuttles that are readily available and never required much of a wait to catch. A quick call and the shuttle would be there in minutes if not seconds.

If you are a person with disabilities or a family with kids and lots of gear in tow, request a room nearest the MAIN pool area so you don't need to take the shuttle. Getting on and off of the shuttle could also be difficult for a short person. It's a big step up for a person with short legs.

We enjoyed it when the shuttle went to different areas of the resort, as the views and sights are different depending on what area of the resort you are in.

We stayed in a bungalow a couple of rows back from the spa. We found this a really nice area. Our room had a partial view of the bay and we really liked the garden setting. Had monkeys playing and eating in the trees above our room one evening on our walk back to the room.
The highest rooms/area in the resort didn't have as much character as the bungalows, but apparantly they had and awesome view.

The quality of the food was excellent. Most of the food is freshly made to order. The only true buffet is breakfast, but even there the grilled items were freshly prepped. Even the "buffet" at lunch and dinner was, order your main course, and then "buffet it" for your soup, salad and dessert. Because the food is being freshly prepped-that means waiting. Count on spending at least an hour for lunch and dinner. Even ordering items from the "snack bar" meant waiting for half an hour for the food to be prepped. Snack bar food was not prepped at the snack bar, but made across the pool area in one of the restaurants and walked over by staff. Odd.

If you can't stand the wait for quality food, then this is not the resort for you.

If you are not a fish eater, then this place may not be for you. The majority of the items on the menu were fish based. There was always a single choice of beef, chicken or port on each menu. Even as someone that doesn't like fish, I tryed the raw tuna salad and it was DELICIOUS. That was the only item that I went back for a second time all week.
My husband is a fish eater and he said that some of this fish is the best that he's ever had.
Was disappointed with the pork here-was tough, and often fatty. I think that they tried to do a "quick cook" on cuts that are supposed to be cooked a long time-resulting in the toughness.
Was most dissappointed with the "El Dorado" as this was supposed to be the most upscale of the restaurants but we found the food just as comparable with all the other food, and the service the same as the rest of the resort too. Not good for the "upscale" restaurant-but speaks about the excellent quality of the rest of the food on the resort. Salads and fruit were good.

We thought it odd that we needed to give our hotel room when requesting things, even though it's all-inclusive.

Nice not having to wear armbands all week.

The spa area is VERY quiet and it felt like being in a library. Not for us, but would be good for someone looking for peace and quiet. Only one small restaurant is next to the spa, with limited hours-so you need to walk to the main area if you want more choice.

The snorkelling was our biggest disappointment. The water was often cloudy and there weren't too many interesting fish to see. Biggest problem were jelly fish in the water for a day and a half. Beach staff didn't warn people heading into the water of their presence even after knowing from guest that they were there. We even paid the big bucks for a half-day trip through the resort and were disappointed even more. Snorkelling at that beach area was even worse than at the resort. The best part was the boat ride to the location and seeing dolphins(so very briefly) on the way back.

The hike up the hill is just that-a hike. The look out is 350ft above sea level, and requires a fifteen minute steep climb to get there. Don't climb this if you have a heart condition. Not a climb to be made in flip-flops either.

Took the Palo-Verde boat ride to see some interesting birds, but found that the yellow, blue and even green birds right on the beach just as good as seeing the blue herons that we see at home. The tour guide told interesting stories. The drive there and back was like taking back country, gravel roads in Canada.

Overall a good experience.

Room Tip: Some of the bunglows still have stairs and a bit of a climb even after the shuttle drops you off.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Minneapolis, MN
Level Contributor
43 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

We stayed here for a couple nights in early Feb 2012. We had an ocean front room a short walk from the pool to the southwest. During our stay, power went out at least 4 times. One outage lasted 7 hours from 9AM to 4PM. As you can imagine, a tropical hotel with no power is less than desirable... although I shouldn't say no power because there were generators for certain areas (but not many of the guest rooms). When I called the desk, they said they know power is out and there is nothing to do about it. Twice at dinner the power went out for 30 minutes to about two hours. When we prepared to leave, you guessed it, power was out once again. WE couldn't even discuss anything with a manager because "there was nothing they could do" and we were not going to wait around any longer with no power. Our room was badly in need of paint and plumbing services. The shower drain would back up causing water to run out all the way to the bed (didn't notice this when I took my first shower). A few fire ants got into our room and I sustained a number of bites one night. The food was actually decent for an all inclusive, liquor was also OK, but nothing special. The pool looked dirty, and I got a bit of an ear infection after leaving. I truly wish we would have gone elsewhere.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
132 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013 via mobile

We spent two nights here in early February. We were impressed by only the spa.

The rooms and grounds are in need of a major overhaul. There are maintenance issues everywhere. Areas in need of paint. Sidewalk issues. Housekeeping was subpar in our room with the minibar not stocked routinely and the bath not as clean as one would expect at a Hilton.

One big downer is that, short of beer, you have no other alcohol in your room unless you ride a shuttle to one of the bars. For an all inclusive, this was a letdown.

Management needs to step up customer service training......short of one shuttle driver, the others were uninspired.

Food was average. Room service was available only with a $15 delivery charge.

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in
#3 Romantic Hotel in
#7 Luxury Hotel in
#9 Top resorts Hotel in
#9 Spa Hotel in
#12 On the Beach Hotel in
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the exuberant Arenilla beach, Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica will offer adults a stunning Unlimited-Luxury(R) getaway in Costa Rica's Gulf of Papagayo. The secure community around Secrets Papagayo provides striking views of native flora and fauna and miles of unspoiled Pacific Coast beach. This all-suite resort boasts 202 spacious suites, each with a private balcony or terrace as well as a superb Unlimited-Luxury(R) experience starting with 24-hour room service, a daily refreshed mini-bar and more. The Preferred Club will provide an enhanced level of luxury with 65 ocean view suites and additional privileges including access to a private lounge, upgraded bath amenities and mini-bar, concierge service, pillow menu and much more. Guests will enjoy limitless gourmet cuisine, without reservations, at four restaurants and one café in addition to five bars that will serve unlimited top-shelf spirits. Days and nights are filled with land, beach and water activities and live entertainment. Two pools and a pristine beach await. Rejuvenation reigns supreme at the Secrets Spa by Pevonia(R), offering massage, body and facial treatments in 13 treatment rooms and a full-service beauty salon. Follow up this rejuvenation at the fully equipped fitness center or by taking part in one of many daily and nighttime activities. Just 20 minutes from the Liberia Airport and a mere 15 minutes from the touristic town of Coco Beach, Secrets Papagayo offers guests a privileged location both within the resort and throughout the area for an ideal Unlimited-Luxury(R) getaway on the Pacific Coast. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort And Spa
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
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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