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“Beautiful resort with Accommodating Staff” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

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Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Fort Collins, Colorado
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort with Accommodating Staff”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

There was a mix-up in transportation when we arrived at the Liberia airport very late at night and we had to pay for a cab to the resort instead of using Joke Transportation, but after that, our trip turned out to be wonderful and we had a lot of fun. There is a lot to do in Costa Rica and the people are very friendly.

We switched from a room with 2 double beds to one with a King bed without any problem at all. We were very pleased with the view, the size of the room, the room service, and the walking distance to the beach and the restaurants. We never had a problem with security and felt safe at all times. One day, we accidentally left our safe open and returned to our room to find everything was still there!

I highly recommend taking the River Boat cruise down the Palo Verde River. We used Hotel Extras.com and our tour guide was Arturo. He was very knowledgeable and a good guide. Just don't bring bananas to feed the monkeys! And, bring lots of Deet bug repellent. There are no-see-ums that will bite you.

Be sure to reserve your dinner reservations ahead of time or you will have a hard time getting a reservation. We liked JJ too! He remembered our names and always had a smile on his face.

There was a group that reserved the bar area for the football play-off games on Sunday. This didn't seem fair to kick out other paying guests from the large screen TV, but the hotel did the best they could to bring in extra chairs and try to make sure we all could see the TVs. Shame on the company for doing that! (American Standard?)

Another great tour to do is the Miravalles Volcano area. There are hanging bridges, gorgeous waterfalls, and you can walk inside a real crater. You can get a mud bath if you want and soak in hot springs.

Room Tip: We had room 308 - it had a nice view of the bay and was walking distance to the beach and the bar...
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  • Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2,266 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 (566)
Date | Rating
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English first
Fruit Heights, Utah
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

My girlfriend and I stayed here recently and really enjoyed the resort. The grounds are very pretty and the bungalows were very clean and well maintained. One review in here says transportation for a 5 minute ride is 80 bucks which is false. From the Liberia airport to the resort was 60. The restaurants were really bad. The breakfast was ok but dinner was an embarrassment. Almost every review on here says the same thing. Hilton....time to listen. I'm an HHonors member and wouldn't return based on the food alone. Shuttle service was very good, we called a shuttle and it was usually out front to pick us up before we even got out the door. Jairo (JJ) was incredible! Great employee that remembered our room and treated us wonderfully. Give that guy a promotion! For dinner, stick with El Bocadillo. The food was good and the steaks were great. Trattoria was horrible, dry chicken and frozen pasta...stay away! Remember Pura Vida if you stay here. Sometimes, you need to not sweat the small stuff and don't be too picky or else you'll hate it. I'm a neat freak and am BIG on prompt service so I had to relax a bit here. Once I did, I loved it. I can really only complain about food. Rent a car and go to town for some dinners or stick with El Bocadillo in the resort! Hilton Papagayo, no more cut and paste responses, make some serious changes to your restaurants and I'd return and I would bring family!

  • Stayed January 2015
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

We had the best time at the resort. The staff was friendly and the food was so good!! I like that it was a smaller more private resort. Snorkeling right off the beach was great. The best part is if you got and want to take an excursion- look up Herson Segura! No regrets! Best day -best tour- so reasonable- his knowledge of his country is amazing! Best choice we made!! You would be crazy to pick anyone else!

  • Stayed January 2015
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

My husband and I booked this resort at the last minute from the end of December into the New Year and found it to be quite unique. We arrived around 9pm and were warmly greeted by Mario, in charge of Hilton Honors. Got our room, but waited awhile for a shuttle to take us there. Each room was like a duplex with a shared porch. Some had views of the ocean, most did not. The rooms were adequate, however our bath was in pretty bad shape. Many deep scratches, that just isn't up to the Hilton Standard. We also noticed that the security latch was broken. Called Mario and it was fixed in a timely manner.Then our telephone didn't work. That was also resolved. There were a couple of nights we had no hot water. That eventually was resolved too. Toward the end of our stay we were able to change rooms to 391. Would highly recommend for view. But if you don't like heights and walking this may not be the room for you. However, the service and those who served us were amazing. Eli who ran the shuttles and Eduardo were awesome. Because of the hilly topography where the hotel is located, walking to and from breakfast is a chore, unless you are building up your hamstrings and calves. You just call for a shuttle and they are there in a reasonable amount of time. Eli and Eduardo made the rides enjoyable. In the morning at La Cosecha, Martha was wonderful making our Omelettes, and we had many attentive servers as well, Ingrid at La Cosecha as well as Grill Del Fuego, Jahaira at Breakfast at la Cosecha. Greivin,was very attentive and a very hard worker. Cristian served us for dinner at La Cosecha as well as Erich and Alejandro. We ate at El Dorado twice, New Years Eve was amazing and the night before we left. We also had a great meal both Lunch and dinner at El Bocadillo, Marvin was our server and did a great job. The Bar, El Ritual was fun to hang out before dinner. At the Pool bar Ritual, Olman was friendly and helpful. Hector main bartender makes amazing mojitos. One thing we didn't care for were the raccoons that would walk up while you were eating near the bar. That was a bit unsettling. We stayed mainly at the adult pool which was private and quiet. They had a nice work out room, which we did not use. The property itself is a great workout. We booked a sailing tour through the hotel which was enjoyable. We also rented jet skis from the hotel. A nice reprieve from the hot weather. All in all, a nice visit, property could definitely use updating to truly deserve the Hilton brand.

Room Tip: Room 391 is the best view of the Ocean. It's a steep hill to walk if you forget something below...
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Let me preface this review by simply saying I could make this review 100 pages if I really wanted but I’ll try to keep it as short & sweet as I can so that you can read it and obtain my honest thoughts on the Hilton Papagayo.

First and foremost the grounds are beautiful and massive and filled with wildlife – monkeys (4 types), snakes, raccoons, birds, skunks and that’s just the starting point. The hotel rooms are essentially small houses (perched on massive hills) with 2 rooms per house, if you’re a family you could get the whole house by renting both rooms – that is what we did and it worked out swimmingly. The room itself was clean beyond clean and had a million dollar view of the bay from atop a San Francisco style hill. Nothing earth shattering about the room but it was a very nice room with nice crisp white linens, marble floors and a good working AC system. Once again, million dollar view from the bed! We had some minor issues throughout our stay with things such as the AC not working and the toilet running constantly but all were taken care of within an hour. Also as a warning, ESPN2 only works for a few hours each day. After checking in and changing our room 3 times due to issues with each, our final room had a scorpion on the window which was removed about 15 minutes after our call. The hotel grounds are very hilly, be prepared to walk like a mountain goat or wait for the shuttle service which was for the most part spot on and wicked friendly. I’ve read thru other reviews and some people have taken issue with the front desk staff/and or shuttle staff, on our stay they were nothing but outgoing and friendly. (Side Note: this place from the reviews seems to be really hit or miss – no method to the madness, either amazing 5 stars or insert toilet flushing noise...) Back to the real issue in the lobby which was the transportation team (ie taxi’s, busses etc…) as they were awful to deal with and took rude to a new level. They would be talking to you not even looking at you and simply on their phone texting or whatnot, awful customer service and attitude. The last night the guy was texting and drinking an energy drink (or maybe even beer) while conversing with a member of my party who was trying to book a cab. Do you also know the Hilton sets the rates for all taxi’s going out of the resort? A simple 15 minute ride is an $80 round trip charge as the Hilton pockets $40 – we were educated on this by a cab driver who was the best person I met while in Costa Rica. I would suggest renting a car out of the resort or setting up transport outside of the Hilton as you’ll get screwed and that’s being nice. A trip 5 minutes away becomes $50-$60 all because of greed or because Paris needs to buy another 25k 5lb lap dog. Another gripe: you get Wi-Fi for free if you check in at the pool or lobby (which is a hike from any hotel room); once you check in you can go anywhere on the property; why can’t you just get free wifi 24/7 instead of walking down to the pool? Makes zero sense. You can pay for a daily rate or just constantly hike back and forth to the pool to get free wifi, yes, totally illogical, though I got in a good workout.

Now, onto the fun stuff…

The fact that this hotel is an all-inclusive resort is a total joke. I’ve been lucky enough in 32 years to travel the world and eat at places ranging from Michelin star chef worthy to an god awful cart on the side of the road and simply put the food at the Hilton Papagayo could be among the worst I (or anyone in my family for that matter) has ever tasted. Honestly, upon thinking back I don’t think I’d even feed it to my dog. Every day you have to make reservations (can only do for 1 additional night) at any of their 4 restaurants and let me tell you, I wouldn’t go into any dinner hungry or expecting anything good. Each meal no matter where you eat is portioned for a person who weighs about 50-75lbs (maybe a clown who shoots out of a cannon?) – Not only is the portion size insane, the quality is brutal (think on par if not below a TV dinner). I constantly saw frozen bags of food being reheated and I’m not shocked as I constantly saw frozen food being unloaded from delivery trucks. It was a really poor selection as well, no pizza place, burger joint or ice cream shop let alone vegetarian options. Overall the selection was lacking and left my whole party as disappointed and running back to their room for their pre-packed snack bags.

Here’s a spot by spot breakdown:

The Italian Joint - Simply put a pasta bar reheating frozen pasta which is imported from possibly the US. The soup was red colored water. The chicken saltimbocca had bones and was served using chicken wings (which were dark meat) and was inedible. The staff was rude, unfriendly and simply put do not give a hoot about customer service (this became an ongoing trend). They don’t have drink menus and don’t even bother asking them for one because it would involve them moving.

Papagayo (The restaurant next to the Pasta Place) – Elegant setting, better service yet still god awful food. The salads were the size of a quarter and the main courses left a ton to be desired. For starters I ordered Tuna Susami who came with no crackers, wontons, no anything - just a strip of raw tuna with a minced onion. We were served uncooked fish again for dinner (this time it was supposed to be cooked) with seasoning so heavy you could blow it off and create a WWF introduction and meat that was either raw or so cooked a knife wouldn’t work. The chicken somehow came in a tube – think the look of chicken sausage with the texture of plaster you’d put on your wall if you had a hole. Inedible is being polite. The dessert consisted of stale red popcorn and freezer burnt ice cream, delightful, yes?

The restaurant on the other side of the world by the Adult Pool was decent but 3 members of my party didn’t eat anything as it was raw or just not appetizing to them. First off the menu makes 0 sense as it’s all in a different language (not Spanish!) so the staff has to explain all 20 dishes on it to everyone who eats there. I feel for them. Also it isn’t fun to have to have tons of cats jumping on you purring for food when you’re dealthy allergic – this isn’t Cats the musical. My family is a big dessert family and I could say the desserts here were the worst we’ve ever eaten. Think Agent Orange pudding which burned so bad going down you might as well call Fireman Ed. Yuck. The other desserts consisted of stale meringue with a questionable white sticky filling and weird black pudding cake creation that no lie had orzo in it. Hmm, no thanks, I don’t want a pasta filled weird black lump. The waitress however was the best we encountered and went above and beyond to explain everything to us.

The spot for lunch was actually decent, its literally 5 steps away from the kids pool – Fish Taco’s, Pizza, Cubans, Hot Dogs, Wraps which were all good however this had the worst service at any spot. They argued with us on a few occasions and they constantly screwed up our order and then made us wait another hour for food. Usually when it’s their fault they rush your order, not at this joint. The service was slower than slow and you had to hunt them down to order, they didn’t care about anything and simply put should be fired with the majority of the restaurant staff throughout the resort. I noticed people who spoke in fluent Spanish got better service than us Americans which is funny because one member of my party is fluent and looks like Shakira (also does a great imitation – this one’s for Africa). One day a member of my party was asking about ordering something without pickles and before she could even open up her mouth the rude rotund waiter said NO. Real winner there; let me tell you. In the words of Donald Trump “You’re fired!”

Bar Restaurant – Typical TGI Friday style apps however the quality and quantity are lacking, shocker, right? Overall the portions are a joke, when ordering chicken fingers you got 3 chicken fingers the size of your pinky finger, onion rings, you get 2. Don’t forget to order the calamari as it comes with 1 stale freezer burnt potato skin. I have pictures of this goodness; someday I’ll pass them on to my kids.

The drinks which should be a jackpot situation (as after all it’s a beach vacation!) were also a miss as they were watered down beyond belief and filled with sugary mixing solutions. You would get sick if you drank more than a handful of their colored concoctions. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they were watered down the booze at this resort before putting it out because even when I had a vodka and soda it tasted like nothing. Jon Taffer?

The hygiene at the pool bar and regular bar was awful. They reuse plastic glasses over and over and only clean them by a quick jaunt under the sink with some weird squirt of a cleaning solution, I thought the first time this occurred it was just a rare occurrence but I constantly saw it happening as did other members of my party. 100% not sanitary and totally disgusting. Anyone hear of something called disease or bacteria? The bartender at the swim up bar was amazing, gold star for her. Seriously, someone give her a massive tip, she deserves it. Throughout our stay we kept seeing what looked like a bar manager in a black shirt walking around the pool/bar area; talk about a pompas dude. I saw him reaming the only good staff members while he did nothing but sit around and text on his phone. There was a pool boy dripping in sweat sprinting around in the 110 heat picking up plates and glasses while he sat under a fan texting to then yell at him for not moving fast enough. I’m starting to feel like I should host a TV at the Hilton and it would be a smash hit. What happens next?

Who the heck is the food manager, they’re a joke and gave me a constant good laugh. I don’t know how anyone could think this food was good; it was so bad we had to leave the grounds to get a decent meal. Breakfast was breakfast, decent buffet with a nice omelet chef. Stale pastries are always a nice touch at 7am.

The pool was nice, it was a 3 tiered pool with a swim up bar. It was never too crowded and actually seemed very clean. The beach was dark blackish sand and just felt weird on your feet. The water was somewhat murky and within 30 seconds of getting in the water a member of my family was bit by a jellyfish. The free kayaks are a nice touch though they offer no back support. Jet Skis are $100 per hour. Ca-Cheng.

Overall the room and grounds are stunning, they get an 8.5/9; but due to the fact it’s an all-inclusive I’d give this a 2/3.

I know, because I’ve read the managers copy and paste responses to everyone on here, I will never return to your property and the next time I’m in the area I’ll visit the Westin which is 59 km away or the new Westin being built nearby. Heck I’d even spend thousands more and go to the 4 Seasons that is how awful the food was. This is a shame because with new management this place could be great – the bones are 100% there, sadly the food and beverage is not.

Also while we’re at it, there is 1 gift shop for this massive place! Add another surf style store. If people want I can start drawing up some diagrams for new restaurant and store locations.

Room Tip: Stay as close to the Main Pool as you can.
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  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Let me preface by saying I have been to numerous "all inclusive" 5* resorts in Mexico, so my expectations were high ( think Moon Palace -Riveria Maya). The services here did not compare -
Rooms were very clean and fabulous views - fortunately we were able to walk - with a few hills and steps to main resort area.
I thought much of the food was very good and a good variety - Reservations were tough but many people must make reservations and not show up because you could normally walk in if necessary.
Our group had pre arranged WiFi - but if I had to pay I would have been upset
Big Problem for me - I left my perscription sunglasses on a table at lunch ... never to find them . Obviously someone put them in their pocket - really unacceptable since I know exactly where and when I left them. Talked to numerous people and lost and found - some helpful - some not - but never got them back. Really unacceptable for a HIlton Resort. And knowing that whoever took them probably disposed of them because they were perscription !!!
Next big issue - they only serve one red and one white wine. The white is Sauvignon Blanc - I am not really particular about wine but could not drink this - Why not a Pinot Grigio - or Chablis
The resort is nice, views beautiful and great seating overlooking the beach - but I would recommend a Palace Resort in Mexico if you are looking for aq relaxing all inclusive vacation. Sorry, Hilton but I expect more.

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Union, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

The resort had the most accommodating staff of anywhere we've stayed. They went above and beyond to provide incredible service. Relaxing, gorgeous location, and some of the best food we've had at an all-inclusive resort!! Would return here anytime!

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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

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

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