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“Excellent staff, good food, so-so accommodations” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Papagayo Resort & Spa

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Papagayo Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent staff, good food, so-so accommodations”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014

My husband and I just returned from a six-day stay in Costa Rica from August 19 to 26th, which we took for our two-year anniversary. First let me say that we stayed at a 5-star hotel in Cancun for our honeymoon, and, based on the reviews I read and that Costa Rica doesn't have true 5-star hotels (as far as I know), I adjusted my expectations prior to coming to the hotel. All in all I would give our stay a 3.7 out of 5. My husband would give it a solid 4.

Great things:The food/drink staff are super nice/cordial (loved David!) and the entertainment staff are exceptional. You should definitely take the kayak tour with Jafeth and the bicycle tour with Imer--both are fun and very knowledgeable about their country (Japeth likes to give quizzes so pay attention). Kevin is also awesome and we participated in his and Imer's video dance competition. Rubi is great with kids from what I saw and so sweet and professional.

We loved that the hotel was in front of a bay instead of in front of the ocean and you could walk along the rocks to more secluded parts of the bay. Saw monkeys!

Things to be improved: We didn't like staying in our room because it was smallish and very plain. They need to upgrade all the bungalows (included the oldish decks) to be considered a 4-star hotel. As some people have noted, if you will balk at seeing ants in your room, iguanas casually walking past you, and raccoons eyeing your food from time to time, you might not be happy. Considering the hotel's (super nice) location, we didn't mind the ants too much and got a kick out of the raccoons. There are also two cats on the property (one is called Huevos). No one minded as they seemed to be everyone's pets and we actually liked when Huevos came to sit near our chair by the pool.

The food at the restaurants was good but not great (the bar food is pretty bad and TexMex night at the buffet was bad too, frankly). The menu (onion rings, hamburgers, fish sticks, etc are okay for kids but not for adults paying all this money). My husband, however, thought most of the dishes at the restaurants were good and loved the steak El Dorado and Bocadillo. Breakfast was ok for a buffet.. .

Most important, maybe: It's not a super fun or romantic resort and is not within walking distance to other fun resorts. It's more so suited to families with kids under 12 (I think) and laid back couples. Not girl/guy trips or honeymoons. If you are going to have "fun," you better book at least two excursions.
--Making reservations for dinner was easy. Great shuttle service and nice drivers.

Room Tip: If you don't feel like catching a shuttle when you are feeling lazy, then ask for a room either...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 28, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
Thank you for choosing Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa for your vacations. I will let David, Jafet, Kevin, Imer and Rubi know that they helped you have a great stay with us.
We will be utilizing the review 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,413 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 (622)
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English first
Oak Hill, VA
Level Contributor
50 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014

We had a lovely 4 nights here and wish we could have had more. We were in room Ocean View Bungalow 201, which was right up the hill from all of the main areas. The hotel shuttle was wonderful and fast any time we needed a ride. The pool seemed small when we 1st got there, but never really found it over crowded. Oscar at the Pool Bar was wonderful, a highlight of our trip. And he makes a wonderful "Howler Monkey" drink that you must try. By the end, we'd tell him to surprise us and he he was spot on with us and the kids for their virgin drinks. The beach is lovely and we walked all around the rocky areas during low tide to explore. We took out the kayaks and had some fun on one of the other beaches exploring too. We did not do a tour throught the hotel but chose to do a boat trip with Jose on the beach, his boat was called "Bahamas". His son drove the boat to take us snorkeling for 3 hours. We saw sea turtles, humpback whales, and got a nice history of the area. He had drinks for us & his english was perfect. Back to the hotel-The food is good, and it's all inclusive, so if you want more, you order it! The plates are typically tiny, but you just get more. We really enjoyed breakfast at La Cosecha and we had dinner at all of the other places. El Dorado was our favorite, we went there twice. Great staff, very friendly and helpful. The evening activities were nice. The Saturday night local show was wonderful and wish there was more of those types of activities, although the dance nights were fun too. Thank you Hilton Papagayo for a wonderful stay in paradise!

Room Tip: If you want to be near the action, ask for a 100 or 200 level room. If you want a quiet vacation, as...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 28, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
Thank you for your review. We at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa are very happy to hear that you had an enjoyable stay with us.

We are all about Satisfaction Guaranteed and I will let Oscar know that he helped make your trip great! We hope to see you again soon.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stamford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

My son (8 years old) and I stayed here last week and we absolutely loved it. There were minor issues, but they were all resolved in a timely way. Note - if you are freaked out by bugs, insects, iguanas around, this might not be the place for you. I don't know if it was just our room, but pretty constant bugs in the room.
Everything else was great. The staff was amazing and I thought truly cared about the guests. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and the staff as well as the guests were very friendly. I met some lovely people every day. They had activities like water arobics, bingo, bike rides to keep everyone entertained. Also had live music at night.
The food was good, not spectacular. And yes, small portions, but I saw a lot of people ordering another portion and the staff seemed totally fine with that.
Definitely recommend the tours offered by the hotel. The guides were knowledgeable and wanted to make sure you had a good time. The mega tour has zip lining, a water slide, horse back riding and hot spring all in one day. It was totally amazing!! This is exactly why we went to Costa Rica! The guides also told us a lot about the history of this beautiful country and the biodiversity, combining education with fun for my son.
Overall, I would highly recommend this hotel if you are traveling alone with your kid(s).. Lots to do for both of you!

Room Tip: Front rooms near the main pool area are nice because you don't have to wait for the shuttle bus...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica.

Thank you for your kind review of Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay.

We hope 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.
COSTA RICA
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

Papagayo area is in Guanacaste (North) Costa Rica, in the Gulf of Papagayo, waters of Pacific Ocean. Very relaxing place, all rooms are in a bungalow style, only the hotel shuttle are authorized to drive into the place to pick you, and move you around the complex. Swimming pool, wet bar, 4 types of restaurants, tennis court, beach, water sports. When you arrive be sure to make an appointment to have dinner in "El Dorado Restaurant" its a must! If you want to make the bike tour appointment is necessary and only few bicycles, so rush. Room bar with bevarages included. If you ask for room service it will have extra cost!

Papagayo se enceuntra en la provincia de Guanacaste, en Costa Rica. En el Golfo de Papagayo cuyas aguas son del océano pacífico. Un lugar relajante, habitaciones limpias, estilo bungalow, tienen un mini bar con bebidas. Si pide comida a la habitación recuerde que eso si tiene costo adicional. Cuenta con 4 restuarentes, cancha de tenis, deportes acuáticos (snorkeling, kayak sin costo adicional). Tan pronto ingrese haga las reservaciones para las cenas. Debe comer en "Rest. El Dorado" es muy bueno. Si quiere hacer el tour de bicicletas, reserve con tiempo, son pocas.

Room Tip: Rooms near the swimming pool are noiser but walking distance to restaurant, bar and beach
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miguel_Eugene, General Manager at Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica.

Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa in the not too distant future.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

Very friendly staff, clean resort with awesome facilities. If you can score an upgrade to the suite with a pool, go for it, even if you have to pay the nominal additional fee. Looking down at the ocean with a drink in your hand in your own pool...priceless!

  • Stayed August 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
Thank you for choosing Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa for your vacations – 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.
connecticuit
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

My family have been to several all inclusive resorts over the past few years including Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and now Costa Rica. The people here are extremely nice, very happy to help in any way, They do this in the own time which is a bit slower than I would like, but acceptable. There is a feeling of safety to Costa Rica in and out of the resort. Which was also nice.
The resort upon first impressions was the most beautiful place we have visited, however upon closer inspection it is very dated and in desperate need of a remodel. There were chip and broken tiles all around the main pool, my daughter grazed her stomach on one of these getting out of the pool. There were also tiles missing from the bottom of the pool leaving sharp edges, I also noticed that on the ice machines situated across the property on the back were the cartridge filter would go it was missing. I checked two of these. At our in rest bus stop were the ice machine was, the fire extinguisher was also in the red zone on the pressure dial. SO god help you if you need it. Rooms were fine although a little smelly with the dampness of the jungle, AC was great you could keep the room like an iceberg if you wanted.
The food, all of the above I could live with after all we are in a different country and should not expect things to be the same as the USA. however the food was completely unacceptable for any rest any were, with one exception which I will get too.
When we arrived we were not told that all evening meal restaurants needed a reservation including the buffet. We did get a table at the buffet restaurant however upon a quick look at the offerings I had to tell our waiter we would need to eat somewhere else. The menu was chicken stew, which if I had to would have been the one I choose, a piece of boiled pork that just looked awful and some fish which I don't eat.
I am not a picky eater at all, I just would like some effort put into what I am being served this looked worse than any school food I ever had as a kid. In our previous trips we have know that you need a reservation for the 3 or 4 restaurants on site but not the buffet. Which in other resorts had huge selections from all around the world even ice sculptures at at least 2 resorts.
The breakfast was not much better with a very slim offering. One day was bacon the other was sausage. heaven forbid you eat both on vacation.
The one highlight was the italian restaurant near the spa, we ate hear only once as it was constantly booked. This food was excellent freshly prepared and very tasty.
Overall this is a small resort with a lot of romance, but if you don't want to go hungry try another place

Room Tip: Do not get a room in the 4** range these are high on the cliff and far away from everything, 1** and...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrington, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014

The staff / service overall was fantastic. Everyone was naturally very friendly and accommodating (and you could tell it was not just because they were looking for a tip). If there was an issue, it was always resolved quickly. We loved the "Kidz Paradise" (complimentary supervised childcare for most of the day), especially Ruby, Kimberly and Kevin. They constantly offer a wide variety of activities (games, arts and crafts, sports, etc.) and were simply fantastic, always smiling and accommodating. The 'Entertainment' team does a great job as well. There was always something going on (beach volleyball, pool volleyball, water aerobics, etc.).

The hotel is a bit dated, but it is very well integrated in its surroundings and has a rustic / natural feel to it. The grounds are very nice and well maintained. It's definitely a 'natural' setting, i.e. be ready for geckos, toads, crabs, etc. roaming the property. We enjoyed that, but the bees at the swim-up bar and the bar next to the main pool were annoying.

Most of the food was very good, especially at "El Dorado" (steakhouse; reservations needed). Breakfast buffets were decent. Again, all service staff was excellent. Very nice people. However, we did not like the Italian restaurant (and heard that from many others as well).

Excursions through Swiss Travel were all extremely professional, but we did find them a bit pricey. Also, it was complicated to arrange for diving. They say they need a minimum number of divers, but they could never seem to arrange that. I tried to dive on three separate days, but only managed to go once. That was frustrating.

However, all in all the Hilton Papagayo is great, very reasonably priced for the value, and we would definitely return.

Room Tip: If you have children, choose a room close to the main pool. (Those are the room numbers beginning wi...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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 Papagayo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2014
Greetings from Costa Rica!!
I am glad to read that you had great stay at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa and particularly we met and exceeded your expectations during your stay.
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.
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Additional Information about Papagayo Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)
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 Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Romantic Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Papagayo 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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