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“Beautiful and comfortable but a bit boring” 3 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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Special Rate
$139/person ALL INCLUSIVE
Ranked #6 of 16 hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
New York City, New York
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful and comfortable but a bit boring”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

My fiancee and I met with a travel agent a few months before our wedding to book a trip for our honeymoon. We were looking for a place where we could kick back and relax for a few days and go out and adventure for a few days. She suggested that Costa Rica had the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. She was right. We didn't want to spend too much money, so we felt that the Hilton Papagayo fit well into our price range.

I'll start by saying that the resort itself was beautiful. The location provided amazing views of the Gulf of Papagayo at anytime of day. Particularly beautiful were the sunsets. Given the time of year we went, this usually happened around 6pm. The private beaches were pretty amazing, and the water was warm and mostly clear. As part of the all inclusive package, the hotel provided free use of kayaks, snorkels, paddle-boards, etc. There were plenty of fish and sea life to see while snorkeling. The surrounding area was beautiful enough that taking a kayak out without a tour guide was worth it. Jet Skiing also provided a great method for exploring the waters and the surrounding beaches which were not part of the resort itself. We loved our bungalow room. The bed was amazingly comfortable. The minifridge came stocked with some sodas, water, and a couple of beers that got replenished everyday. Turndown service was excellent Each bungalow had a little porch area where you could sit outside and enjoy the view for a bit. A favorite activity after a long day of hiking or swimming was sitting on the porch with a book and a beverage.

The pool areas were pretty mediocre. They boast that there are 3 pools, but none are very large or particularly nice. With the beautiful beach so close by, I'm not sure why anyone spent time in the pool anyway.

The Hilton Papagayo offers 4 restaurants that are all open for lunch and dinner and a bar that offers "snacks". Each restaurant requires a reservation for dinner. We went during the "off season" (U.S. Summer) and had to make a reservation at least a day and half ahead of time. I can't imagine how difficult it would be getting a reservation during their peak season. La Cosecha appeared to be the place to go if you couldn't get a reservation at any of the other restaurants. Although you needed reservations here as well, we never had a problem getting a table whenever we felt like eating.

La Cosecha (Breakfast, lunch, dinner)
All meals are mostly buffet style. The food here was fine, especially for a buffet. I actually enjoyed the breakfast options quite a bit. They had your typical omelet/waffle station as well as plenty of other options. They also offered some local Costa Rican breakfast dishes. Lunch and dinner offered a changing menu on a daily basis. Lunch, like breakfast, was buffet style. I can't remember what we had for lunch the day we went, but the food was okay not great. Dinner offered a different menu every night, e.g., Wednesday Mediterranean, Thursday Seafood, Friday U.S. for Fourth of July. Typically you get an option of 5 or 6 different main entrees and then a buffet for side dishes and salads. Some of the food was pretty good, some was pretty mediocre. Service, because it's mostly buffet style, was pretty bad. On one night in particular we never received our drinks. On another night we got drinks before our entrees ever came out.

El Dorado (Lunch-maybe, Dinner)
El Dorado was the "fancy" restaurant. I'm not sure if they had lunch, but we went one night for dinner. The atmosphere in the restaurant was very nice, typical of what you would see at any upscale restaurant. The wait-staff also took the "fancy" restaurant ambience seriously and were pretty great. Their dinner menu doesn't change so we only ate there one night. I believe it was billed as Mediterranean food. We definitely enjoyed the food here the best. My duck was tasty and tender and had a ton of flavor. My wife got a fish dish that she enjoyed, but she can't remember what it was.

El Bocadillo (Lunch/Dinner)
El Bocadillo's lunch and dinner menus were very different. Their lunch was okay. The tacos were not great. The taco shells were stale and tasted pre-packaged. The fish was dry and not very flavorful. The chipotle mayo tasted much like you would get out of a Heinz squeeze bottle. The tuna wrap was similarly dry, and the tortilla itself was pretty poor quality. Dinner was here was better. At night they turn into more of a chop house. My wife and I enjoyed our steaks. A bit salty, but not too bad. Service was great.

El Fuego (lunch/dinner)
We only ate lunch here, so I can't speak of their dinner and based on experience at the other restaurants at the resort, the difference between lunch and dinner food could be quite significant. The lunch was on par with the quality of El Bocadillo's lunch. My wife's fish was dry, and the sandwich bread was again pretty poor quality. In the evenings, the restaurant turns into an Italian restaurant. We never got around to trying the food.

Snack Bar (Open 11am until midnight)
This was some of the worst food at the resort. Portions were very small. Each item is definitely for one person, which I guess is fine since it's all inclusive. If you have a group, don't expect a few of the appetizers to feed more than 2 or 3 people. E.g., the beef empanada consisted of two small empanadas, and the quesadilla was a half order. I bring these two up, because they tasted okay. The burgers didn't look all that great, and the onion rings looked prepackaged. The nachos literally came from a plastic bag that you get at the movie theater. The pizza was near inedible. The base was a tortilla, which can often be delicious, but not in this case. The sauce tasted like ketchup, and it was topped with slices of tomato that definitely did not taste fresh. The cheese was also not of a high quality. It tasted more like the cheese product that you can get at the supermarket.

The restaurant has two bars. The main bar which is in a central location by all of the pools and close to the beach and the other restaurants. Everything, with the exception of El Fuego, is all in the same main area. The second bar is actually located in the pool. Each bar had only two beers, but they were each a local Costa Rican beer. They're more similar to a typical American pilsner, rather than an ale. The bars also had a slew of fruity tropical drinks. These are really a matter of preference. I enjoyed the spiced margarita, but the frozen drinks were way too sweet for me. The one constant was that very little alcohol was in any of these drinks. Occasionally if you asked for a double they would add some more rum/vodka/tequila, but that was usually followed by some more ice. I ended up drinking wine, because there really is no way to water it down. The bartenders were incredibly friendly and helpful. I never waited long for a drink and all drinks were served with a smile. Watching the World Cup sitting on a stone stool in a pool at a bar was a pretty cool experience.

The hotel made it pretty easy to book excursions out into actual Costa Rica. Swiss Travel seems to be the one that the Hilton prefers you to use, but the other tour company that operates in the resort works fine as well.

The resort offers a series of activities and tours of areas around the resort that changed everyday. Reserving a space on these tours needs to be done a few days in advance or you won't get a spot. I was not able to get a spot on the snorkeling or kayak tour, so I went out and did these on my own. We took the cycling tour which brought us through the surrounding town to a neighboring beach. There wasn't really much to do on this tour other than cycle. I expected that a "tour" might include some information about what we are seeing or perhaps the opportunity to stop at a local store or place to eat. We didn't even have an opportunity to use the beach we rode to. However, we got to ride through some pretty cool forest trails, and the view was gorgeous.

In general these daily activities seemed poorly planned and largely superficial. What I mean is that it really seemed like they threw them together so that they can say "we offer bike tours". I thought of signing up for the cooking class, but I watched one from the back and it was basically the entertainment crew showing everyone how to roll a tortilla.

There was also really zero nightlife. Given the time of year, it got dark pretty early. Once dinner was over there was nothing to do outside of your room other than drink. DJ Night consisted of a guy playing some bad music while people drank. He tried hard to get people to dance, but the music was just really terrible. Live Music Night was definitely better to listen to, but still nothing that people could get up and dance to. You could go into the pool/ocean, but after doing that all day not many people did this in the evening. Unless you plan excursions outside of the resort you very well may spend the entire trip sitting in the same bar, or sitting on the same beach for a week.

I think this will be the first/last all inclusive that I go to. After a few nights we really wished we hadn't spent the money for the all inclusive. We would have rather stayed at a nice hotel and had our choice of where and what to eat. Because it was our honeymoon, we really wanted to kick back and relax and not have to worry about food/drink/entertainment. We left feeling like we barely experienced Costa Rica. I suppose this is our fault for not venturing out of the resort much, but isn't that the point of an all inclusive?

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica.

We appreciate your feedback of your recent stay at our hotel. We apologize we were not able to provide an exceptional trip. Our goal is for every guest to leave with great memories of their stay and your feedback will help us to improve. Thank you again.
Sincerely,
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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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Port Saint Lucie, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

My daughter and now son-in-law chose this place to get married as they felt it was more representative of Costa Rica in look and feel. The resort did a wonderful job with the wedding as my daughter was more than satisfied. For a group, the Papagayo Resort works well as you feel like your're together without being on top of one another all the time. Rooms are spread out but shuttles are available. Other than around dinner time they seem to come by with little wait. While walking is quite doable, be prepared to go up and down the hills. Also, understand that ocean front rooms are not actually such that you open up your door to the beach. There are enough restaurants on the property however you do need to make reservations for dinner. Overall, our group found the food to be excellent. The staff throughout the property was friendly and accommodating. Overall, given our group room rates, Papagayo was a great value!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
Thank you for choosing Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa for your daughter’s wedding – we’re happy to hear it was a success! We look forward to welcoming again to Guanacaste. We enjoyed taking care of you.

Sincerely,
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

The Hilton Papagayo is located in a beautiful location with terraced rooms. It is not a handicapped friendly environment. My mother had some recent knee surgery and had some difficulties with the amount of hills and lack of elevators. I would recommend calling ahead to ensure that your room is near the main pool and that it is on level ground with the pool area.

The Hilton provides you with complimentary kayaks and snorkeling. Other activities are expensive through the Hilton. We used Mardigi Tours for all our airport transfers and tours. They are a first class operation with plenty of knowledge on the history, fauna and flora of Costa Rica. We used them for tours to Nicaragua, Arenal Volcano, Buena Vista (Zip Lining, Horseback Riding and Hot Springs), Palo Verde Jungle Cruise, and airport transfers.

The food at the buffet is terrible. It is recommended that you call ahead two days prior to make dinner reservations at the other dining locations. Although the food is a little bit better, I did not pick the Hilton for the cuisine. In fact, the meals on our tours were much better and more authentic than the hotel food. The drinks are also made with shelf liquor. I would recommend purchasing staple liquour for your drinks at the bar.

We enjoyed our stay at the Hilton. It is an enjoyable vacation if you can manage your expectations.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica!!

Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa.

We did take note in your observations that gives us hope and further drive in correcting our issues as we consider them improvement opportunities to seek excellence.

The next time you are in Guanacaste, we hope you will come back to see the changes we have made and tell us what you think.

We want to provide you with the best guest experience. Thank you for helping us improves!

Sincerely,
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Sugar Land, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We chose the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica over other resorts because of the all inclusive package and bungalows. The grounds were great and the staffs were extremely nice, except for some occasions at the restaurants. The resort is very close to many of the tours and excellent deep sea fishing (we caught a 7 feet sailfish).

We were out on excursions most of the time and only ate at the resort for dinner. I went to sleep hungry most of the time since the dinner portions were small and when I chose to order multiple items from the menus, I can hear the staffs making comments amongst themselves (some guests do understand Spanish and other languages too). If you are a big eater like myself, you will NOT enjoy the idea of having to book a restaurant for every dinner and having small portions.

I do admit that the food was excellent on most of the occasions. Do make the reservation for El Bocadillo since the grill menu items are good. Again, really small portions.

Thank you to John Soto of Ricozz Tours (they are on facebook). We met John on the beach on the first day there and used him for all of our excursions, including the transportation back to the airport for ONLY $60 (our party has 13 people total). He is a very good, friendly tour guide and made sure that we all enjoyed our time in Costa Rica. We were skeptical at first since everyone told us not to use anyone for the tours besides the one provided at the hotel. We went with Ricozz Tours and save a lot of money and had a personal guide.

Room Tip: If you have children, make sure to stay near the area.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
We are very surprised in received this review from you. We don’t found any report from you while stayed at the hotel. However, We do thank you for providing a detailed account of the observations We will be utilizing your comments as a valuable teaching and training tool to discuss with our staff to make the necessary changes needed to improve our service.

Thank you for helping us improves!

Sincerely,
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Houston
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Convenient location from Liberia airport with very friendly and attentive staff. Would recommend renting a car so you can explore local towns nearby as shuttle service both ways is more expensive. Rooms were nice and food was pretty good - I would eat all meals at restaurant by the adult pool/spa - lunch is four course there. The wine included was not bad - much better than what you would find at all inclusives in Mexico. Definitely take advantage of free kayak and snorkel gear rentals. Shout out to JJ who shuttled us around the whole time - he was a great help and very friendly :)

Room Tip: Definitely upgrade to a suite on oceanfront
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica!!

Thank you for your nice comments. I’m happy to hear Jairo made
your stay more comfortable. I’ll pass it on. Thanks for choosing Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa.

Sincerely,
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Sarasota, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Our stay was for 7 days and nights for our Granddaughter's wedding, which was performed on the beach, There were in the vicinity of 45 family and friends that came to the resort for the wedding from the US. I don't believe that any of them had anything bad to say about their stay. Great Stay!i

  • Stayed July 2014, 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

Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
Thank you for choosing Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa for your Granddaughter's wedding – we’re happy to hear it was a success! I
We can’t wait to see you again soon!!
Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Aransas, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I recently stayed here for a guys trip. Not the property for this kind of trip. With that being said I would come back with my wife. Lots of honeymooners at this Hilton. I read a lot of reviews on this place, you know the negatives, too much walking. I tried to get one of the rooms close to the pool to no availability. Day one frustrated me to no end until I met Julio. Julio was one of the shuttle drivers. He was energetic friendly and turned my frown upside down. Everybody knows Julio....
I thought the rooms were nice. Not the best I have stayed at but comfortable. Great beds and pillows. I had a late night experience with a huge spider in the bathroom, scared the s@@t out of me. Sorry but I killed it swiftly.

The liqueur choices were not the best. They had some premiums for extra cost that I would have been happy to indulge but you had to buy the whole bottle. I think they are loosing a lot of money right there. They would not let you eat at the pool bar??? There portions were a little small but you gust order two or try something else. No problem there.

We did go fishing a couple days. This was great, loaded on the boat right from the beach. Marlin, Mahi, Yellow Fin, Giant Snapper, Rooster, Bonita And more.... The hotel was happy to cook our catch and did a great job at it too. We were able to share with other couples.

Overall the rooms were nice, food was good, drinks were drinkable and I never waited too long for a shuttle. Great staff too. Did I mention Julio!

Room Tip: Relax while you are in Costa Rica. They move at a different pace. Pura Vida!!!
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 3 days ago
Greetings from Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica

Thanks for staying with us at the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa . I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay and that Julio was helpful! I’ll be sure to share your comments with hil.

See you soon,

Sincerely,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
#4 Romantic Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#4 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa 4*
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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