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“A perfectly acceptable, four star all-inclusive” 4 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
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
69 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
“A perfectly acceptable, four star all-inclusive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

I booked three nights here with my wife, 5-year old son, and infant daughter - after much deliberation.

Whenever I see a big split in ratings on TripAdvisor with half saying "excellent" and a vocal minority screaming "terrible", I usually chalk it up to people's mismatched expectations - and found this to be very true with the Hilton Papagayo.

So I'll make this simple. It's a perfectly acceptable 4-star all inclusive. Not 5 stars. Not 3 stars.

If you want sparkling marble, crisp service, perfectly appointed rooms, uninterrupted power, and top shelf liquor - 4.5 or 5 stars - you'll be disappointed here. You should be staying at the JW Marriott Guanacaste, or better yet, splurging at the Four Seasons further up the coast. However, you'll be paying for this privilege with rates that are double that of the Hilton.

On the other hand, this property is clearly not as bad as some reviewers make it out to be. Compared to the Occidental Allegro, which is a true 3-star all-inclusive just down the road, the Hilton's bungalows feel like Buckingham Palace, the food looks like it has Michelin stars, and the wine tastes like Chateau Lafite. Plus you don't have to wear a cheesy wristband. Of course, the Allegro is one-third the price. You get what you pay for.

The resort is a nice size, not too big or too small for its limited number of rooms. It is, however, extremely hilly and with little kids, we made frequent use of the shuttles that ply its pathways. When we did decide to walk, we found it cooler and more direct to walk down to the beach and use that to cross the resort. The beach itself is nothing spectacular, but it is secluded and private. Most guests seemed to prefer the main pool area, which never seemed to get very crowded. We especially liked to relax under one of the many little palapas dotting the grassy hillside between the pool and beach areas.

They're older and in the process of being renovated. But they're also cool, comfortable, spotlessly clean, and nicely spaced away from each other. The minibar restocked daily with soft drinks and beer is a nice touch.

The food service was fine. You get about as much variety as you can expect in a 200-room property, with fresh ingredients and a little bit of flair, served promptly with a smile. When we asked for a special smoked salmon plate to be put together for our little boy, they were happy to oblige. The house wine was perfectly drinkable, mostly table fare from Chile and Argentina, served from the bottle. Let's put it this way - at a truly "bad" all inclusive, you get house wine poured from a gallon milk jug, and you won't find any smoked salmon at all. This was clearly not the case here.

Attentive enough, if a little casual and spotty. We had great waiters, bartenders, and housekeepers, but mediocre service at the front desk. Don't expect too much from the events staff - the kids' club was just a glorified playroom with a babysitter, and no one even bothered with many of the planned activities. Mostly, this is the sort of place where you just keep to yourself and chill with your loved ones. That was fine with us.

In summary, if you want a luxurious, over-the-top destination resort, look elsewhere and be prepared to pay for it. But if all you're looking for is a quiet place to chill with space, seclusion, attentive service, fresh food choices, decent drinks, and the convenience of an all-inclusive, this might be the place for you.

Room Tip: 100 level rooms are right by the beach, rising up to 400 up on the hill. We preferred to be closer t...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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  • 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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New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013 via mobile

My boyfriend and I had planned to stay at the Hilton for 5 nights ending out 10 night Costa Rican vacation. We chose the Hilton based on the location (we wanted to relax on the beach) and the great experience Ed we have had at Hilton's in other places.

We ended up switching our reservations after being at the hotel for 2 hours. We arrived around 2:00pm, which was early for check in but luckily our room as ready. We had to wait for a shuttle to take us to our room because the resort his HUGE and located in a mountain. We were crammed on the shuttle with about 10 other people. Once we opened the door to our room we immediately knew this place was not for us. The room was dirty, VERY small, had a terrible view (even though we paid for an ocean view room) and was not close to any of the amenities.

We returned to the lobby and asked to switch our room because we were not satisfied. The only solution they could come up with was a room that was exactly the same and two rooms away or our original one.

We tried to go to the beach to just relax and breathe for a minute, the beach was filthy with cigarette butts and was hardly a beach, mostly dirt and there were no chairs. We then tried to go to the adult pool and wouldn't even get in because the water was filled with dirt and leaves etc.

After two hours of being extremely disappointed we cancelled our reservation and switched hotels.

Do not waste your time and money at this place. Cost Rica is a beautiful country and an amazing place, don't ruin it by staying here.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

My husband and I spent the first 2 weeks of Feb 2013 at Hilton Papagayo. This was our second visit, as we loved it so much when we stayed there 2 years ago.

We would have gone back again last year but we thought we should try somewhere different, so we visited an all-inclusive in Dominican Republic. As luxurious and beautiful as the hotel in DR was, and as much as we enjoyed our time there, we couldn't stop thinking about Costa Rica. So of course, this year, we had to go back to the Hilton Papagayo.
Next year, if we go anywhere, it will be back to the HP for a third time.

While the HP Resort is perfect for us, it may not be for everyone. I think it depends upon what you are looking for in a vacation.
Our hotel in Dominican was probably more typical of what most people expect from an all-inclusive, with its perfect white sand beach, meticulously manicured grounds, marble interiors, massive pools and fountains, grand architecture and party atmosphere.

I would say that if the above is what you are looking for, the HP probably isn't for you. The HP is none of those things.
If you're looking for peaceful relaxation, beautiful, natural scenery, sunny skies, tons of interesting wildlife, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, the HP could be just what you're looking for.
I think it's very important to research in detail before you book so that you don't get any unwanted surprises.

Talking to other guests at the Hilton, I found that most loved the place and said they'd like to return. Only a couple of people said they were disappointed to find it so different from what they had expected.

The HP is quite rustic. While it is spread out in acreage, it is fairly small as far as the number of guests it accommodates, with only 202 guest rooms, mostly semi-detached sleep cabins (all modern, clean, air-conditioned and with balconies or porches), built into the steep slopes overlooking the sheltered bay - which, by the way, looks more like a lake than open sea.

Because the property is so spread out, it rarely seems to have a lot of people around. There are always plenty of places to sit. There are never any sun-bed wars like we saw in the Dominican resort, and no-one seems to bother getting up at dawn to reserve one.

The pools are not huge, but big enough for this hotel. There are 3 in a grouping in the main area of the resort. One has a swim-up bar, manned by some very generous and good-natured bartenders. A second pool is for kids, and the third is for games.
The pool over at the spa is lovely and often has nobody in it!

Walking from one place to another isn't easy because of the steep hills, heat, and distances between, but the shuttles run constantly and are a lot of fun to ride. During low tide, we often took a shortcut by walking along the beach between the spa area and the main area.

I think the beach is beautiful. Like many of Guanacaste's beaches, this beach is beige and grey, marbled with wavy ribbons of black volcanic sand.
Ultra-shy crabs pop up from the many holes they dig every day at low tide and scamper across the wet sand, quickly darting back down when they see you moving toward them.
In the afternoons, the blazing sun dries the black sand, turning it into a virtual bed of hot coals. You don't want to spend much time trying to walk on it without something on your feet! Make sure to pack flip-flops or water shoes!

Pelicans swoop down catching fish, frigate birds glide with the breezes like kites, hawks sail overhead searching for prey, and lazy iguanas sunbathe on the gnarled tree branches that hang over the water's edge.

Above, in the trees, you might notice a flock of noisy parakeets or other brightly coloured birds. In the early mornings and late afternoons, the birds sing their loudest. I guess they siesta in the mid-day heat.

My husband made friends with a big iguana we named Larry. Every day at 3 p.m., Larry sauntered down to the beach and waited for my husband to show up with bananas (smuggled from breakfast and saved for him). It got to be a regular thing, and Larry was always on time, just like clockwork. Other guests started going down to watch Larry eagerly chomping on his bananas. I bet he can still be found lounging on that same branch down at the spa beach every afternoon. I hope someone else is giving him his daily bananas.

The spa end of the property is perfectly peaceful. It was our favourite place to just sit and watch nature.
It has the adults-only pool, spa treatment rooms, a gym, a sauna, whirlpools, a quiet private beach with palapas for shade, as well as a restaurant/bar that features healthy, delicious foods and ice-cold drinks and smoothies made with fresh fruits. Soft music around the pool adds to the relaxed mood.

Something new for us: the outdoor spa restaurant now re-opens at night, as an Italian a-la-carte restaurant. It, along with El Bocadillo, the outdoor grill restaurant overlooking the main beach, were our two favourite places to enjoy dinner. Advance reservations (earlier in the day) were required, but we never had trouble getting a table at either one.

Another change from two years ago, was the discontinuation of the buffet dinners in the main restaurant, La Cosecha. Now your meal comes cooked to order from a menu posted on a chalkboard outside the door. They still have an unlimited salad bar, soup, and dessert table however. Each night it's a different theme.
While it was mostly enjoyable, we didn't like it as much as the other restaurants, and wish they would go back to serving buffet-style for extra variety.

The breakfast buffet served at La Cosecha was my husband's favourite meal of the day. He loved Marcia's cooked-to-order eggs and omelettes, as well as the huge variety of other breakfast foods - both North American style and Costa Rican. I preferred to try the Costa Rican dishes myself.

On the whole, the food is very good at the Hilton Papagayo. In fact they seem to have added a gourmet flair to the dishes that I don't recall so much from 2011. They put a lot of imagination and creativity into their cuisine. They make the best soups in the world. Try the cream of potato soup for lunch in the spa restaurant... to die for. We had some most days.

Of course you can always get the old stand-bys of hamburgers, pizza, wings, nachos, etc from the snack bar during the day, and from the main bar anytime. The hamburgers and the pizzas are as good as I've had anywhere.

To be honest, I think this lovely resort is starting to show its age a wee bit, but we saw lots of work being done to spruce things up.

The grounds are still very beautiful - but maybe not quite as lush as they were. This year it seems like all of northern Guanacaste is extra-dry, to the point where there were actual brush fires burning up on the hills behind us, sending smoke down over the bay, whenever it got windy. Maybe there wasn't as much rain during this past green season?

The paths up to the bungalows really do need to be fixed. Some of them are dangerous. We had a steep, crumbling path, combined with a few steps here and there, up to our room. At night, there wasn't nearly enough light to see where we were going. Luckily we had a flashlight.
While we took it in our stride, I can see why some reviewers have been critical of this sort of thing.

When we arrived at the resort this time, we noticed some of the clay tiles on the roofs were broken, as also noted by past reviewers, but they replaced them all during our two weeks' stay.

They are obviously working on fixing things up, as we noticed that the old porches and railings have been replaced since our last visit.
I hope they have plans for the paths and steps too.

Despite its minor imperfections, we still love the place as much as before... maybe even more, as we have got to know the staff better.
The staff help make this hotel what it is. They are lovely, lovely people who are genuinely friendly, and not just because it's their jobs to be.
The same people stay working there for years. They always look happy, despite their long hours of very hard work. Their easy-going, friendly attitude rubs off on the guests, and you find that just about everyone talks to everyone else.

We couldn't get over the fact that a couple of the staff members remembered us from 2 years ago! How do they do that, with the thousands upon thousands of visitors that stream through that place week after week? You can't imagine how welcome that made us feel!

We became friendly with many of the hotel people this time and will miss them. There are too many names to mention, and we don't know them all anyway, but some of the stand-out stars are Adilia (our breakfast hostess and volunteer Spanish teacher), Jose, Diego, Dennis, Roberto, Cristian, Pablo, Fabio, Roy, and Marcia the excellent egg cook.
The bartenders knew our drinks and a couple of the shuttle drivers didn't need to be told our room number.
There were some wonderful ladies working at the restaurants whose names I wish I could remember too.

The Hilton Papagayo is laid-back and casual. If you don't feel like dressing up for dinner, you don't have to. I packed way too many clothes that I didn't feel like wearing once I got there. It's good to have one dressier outfit to wear to the more upscale El Dorado restaurant, but as long as a person is decently covered - men wearing Bermuda shorts and shirts with sleeves - women in sundresses or capris rather than bathing suits - casual dress at the other restaurants is common.

Having a 4 weeks' experience with the HP under our belts now, we have learned a few things that aren't obvious at first.

For instance - the red flag at the beach.

We used to think it was a just a warning about rough water, but it seemed odd because sometimes it was flying when the water was calm.
Here's something you need to know about that red flag. Every now and then, a school of tiny, transparent jellyfish will drift into the swimming area. It seems to happen on the windiest days. On those very few days, the red flag goes up.
You don't go in the ocean unless you don't mind feeling like somebody is sticking pins in you.

We didn't know this at first... and sure enough, one day, when the red flag was flying, we both got stung by these tiny little critters. You can't see these guys in the water, they are invisible. You can see them on the sand along the water's edge if you know what to look for.

Honestly, the stings were no big deal to us. We felt like pin cushions for about half an hour afterwards, but there weren't even any marks. I took Benadryl right away, to be on the safe side, because I tend to be allergic to some biting insects. My husband didn't bother and he was fine.
Another guest who swam into a bunch of them way out in deeper water, did end up with pink spots from the stings, so she must have been more sensitive to them than we were.

There were only two days out of our whole stay that these pesky little things kept us out of the ocean. The rest of the time was fine... once we knew about the flag.

I strongly suggest you take Benadryl tablets and the Benadryl sticks with you to Costa Rica, and use them immediately if anything stings or bites.

Another good thing to pack is bug spray. There were hardly any mosquitoes when we were there, but my husband was bothered by a few no-see-ums in the evenings, so he sprayed his legs before heading out to dinner.

A fly swatter is handy too, as well as a flashlight for walking at night. As a matter of fact, the power went out a few times the first week we were there, so we were glad to have the flashlight. They do have generators that kick in after a few minutes, which manage to keep things going throughout most of the property until regular power is restored. That was quite impressive, actually.

If you decide to go shopping in nearby Coco Beach one day, don't do what we did, and get talked into being driven there, by a guy on the beach selling tours. It turned out we could have ordered a taxi from the lobby for half the price and got the same service!

Apparently the tours that can be arranged with the beach sellers are worthwhile - we heard lots of good things about them. Two years ago, we took some of the day trips offered by Swiss Tours at the hotel, which were great, but we later heard they are more expensive than with the beach guys.

Because the beach at the Hilton is cut off at both ends by outcroppings of coral and rock, it's very private, although all beaches in Costa Rica are officially public property.
At this hotel, no outside beach access means no annoying bracelets necessary for guests.

There are a few beach hawkers around, who must come in by boat, selling pottery "made by their families" - coincidentally identical to pottery sold in town for less than half the price - but they are polite enough to leave you alone, after a friendly but firm refusal.

Well, I've gone on too long with this review. I could go on all day about the wonderful time we had. But all I really needed to say was that the Hilton Papagayo is a beautiful, magical place where you can go to clear your head of all your worries, and then go home feeling relaxed and refreshed. It's the perfect way to escape the worst of an Ottawa winter.

I wish we could have stayed longer, and hope we can become "regulars".

Room Tip: We stayed in the quiet 300s, on the spa side both times. This year, our room was right beside the sp...
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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
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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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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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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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
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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 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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