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“Wonderful weather ... good resort” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Papagayo

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Occidental Grand Papagayo
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful weather ... good resort”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2011

Just returned from this resort. Weather was perfect and resort OK. I think it's the end of the busy season so the pool towels are thin and starting to wear ... and our room needed some touching up ... I'm sure it will be done during the slow season. We were not in our room much anyway!! We had no problems with the AC, we did not get water very often and the maid service was not great ... we noticed but it did not stop us from having a great time. The wildlife on the resort is amazing! The Coati and the lizards like banana's ... so grab a couple at breakfast and they will appreciate it! The staff are amazing ... they work hard and still mile and make you feel welcome and comfortable. We took a taxi into coco beach and did some shopping ... the shops at the end ( near the bank Nationale) are the cheapest. Seems the ones in the middle get the most business and like any good shop owner ... supply and demand means they can ask more for the same stuff. Still ... prices are about 1/3 the price of the hotel gift shop.

Keep your pool towels and use them to identify your chairs at the pool or beach. First come ... first serve. We were usually up by 7am and managed to get great chairs all week. Feel free to move the chairs around .... lots of shade on the hill not far from the pool. Just be carefull ... the birds in the trees above you are well fed!!

We went on the river boat tour .... It was a great 1/2 day ... but I think I saw more birds on the resort!! ... The white face monkeys and the crocodile were the main event! Up close and personal! Wow

Some others on the resort said there best trip was the sunset cruise ... only runs a couple of times a week and we missed it ... but they raved!

All in all these two sisters had a great time, Costa Rica is an amazing country and I would return in a minute! Pure Vida!

  • Stayed April 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,888 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (483)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2011

Just returned this week from a wonderful stay at the Grand Occidental. This resort has a few little quirks but the people who write negative reviews generally have themselves to blame. With a few por favors and gracias staff is happy to remedy minor problems (like when we arrived and there was no toilet paper in our room). We stayed in building 2 which has not been recently renovated and though a little worn it was comfortable and clean.

Courteous behaviour and well-earned tips will ensure spectacular service throughout the hotel. We tipped the maid on the first day and were left with bottles of water at least every other day if not more. We simply hung our towels on hangers in the closet and they were never taken away, even though fresh towels were almost always provided. Place your towels on loungers before breakfast and you’ll be fine. The pool area is nice but we preferred swimming in the warm and beautiful Pacific Ocean, where there is a bar nearby and staff comes by several times a day to take drink orders. How people are too lazy to walk three minutes to the hut bar, yet take the time and energy to write a negative review is astonishing. Especially when on the walk we saw a family of 8 monkeys, coatis, iguanas and beautiful birds. Bring an insulated large coffee mug and you will get twice as much drink in one go, plus it stays cool and sand-free.

The food at the buffet is well prepared and good, but lunch at the snack bar is better, with delicious guacamole, salads, burgers and more. Being two young ladies we definitely got some special service, and ate at the Italian and Oriental restaurants twice each, and both the food and service were excellent.

6 of us split a taxi van to Playa Del Coco, and it cost a mere $40 round trip. Coconutz has Amazing pizza if you go into town and there is a small bar with $2 cervesas and free phone calls and internet (forget the name but ask your taxi driver). We also booked the Borinquen Adventure Tour with Freddy Montero (info@costaricaprivatetours.net) and had a wonderful time and personal service for the day. If you are interested in surfing ask some of the staff for recommendations - in our case staff offered to give free lessons if we provided the rental car.

To sum up a long review: a very nice hotel in a beautiful country!!!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2011

I've traveled quite a bit. I've seen hotels from 3* to 5*. Occidental Grand Papagayo is more of a 3.5 rather than the 4.5 you see on the websites.

We arrived on March 28, 2011. My friend and I noticed immediatley noticed the view overlooking the resort from the lobby. Absolutley breathtaking.

I have read many review where the service comments are very negative. I had no problems with the service. Orion is always there in the guest services office, and he was most helpful with everything. The people at the front desk were always ready to help. Andreas the restaurant manager (there is a restaurant behind the pool and then one upstairs next to the mail lobby. The one upstairs is where you will be greeted by Andreas) was wonderful, and went above and beyond to accomidate us whenever we needed it.

The rooms: We were in complex 24, it is the closest one to the beach. Keep in mind this place is about 20 years old. The shower did have a single glass door that doesn't cover the entire tub but that really wasn't a problem. The toilet is in a seperate room which at first I was not very impressed with (if you look up the pipe with the rusty mouldy wood around it was really disturbing at first).

We heard from our neighbours that they did not get any towels, however we had them coming out of our ears. The cleaners came by every day and knocked on the door to ask us if we were satifsied with the cleaning and whether we had enough towels.

The food is decent. Lunch; they have nacho's many different salads, burgers and fries, plenty of salads breads etc etc.

Entertainment. If you want a party resort this is not the place. We learned that later. Allergro is the party resort. However we spent our nights in Coco beach. There are many bars owned by Americans and are full of American's and Canadian's. We ate once at Andre's (amazing pizza) and chilled a few times at CocoNutz and then bar hopped till 2am.

Coco Beach! The taxi both ways costs 40 in total. I was talking to people in the resort who were interested in going, and we ended up goin together so that it cost us 10$/person. There was one day where I went to Coco Beach on my own. We grabbed a cab that did not belong to Occidental and it cost us 12$ back to the resort.

Two things that you may want to remember. I was a little bit annoyed that each group only got one room key. If I wanted to do my own thing (go to the beach) and my friend wanted to do something else (sit by the pool) we would have to set up a meeting time or go looking for eachtoher for the key. Water is filled in the fridges once every other day. If you leave a tip and ask for more water you will get it. The idea is to drink the tap water. The tap water is actually drinkable and won't make you sick (my stomach is very sensitive and I was fine). We actually brought our own bottles and took them up to the hotel next to the lobby and asked to have them filled. They filled them with really cold water which was extremely appreciated.

This is no Riu, but our stay was wonderful. It's a beautiful resort that I would go to again.

Oh one more thing. If mosquito's like you bring the most potent bug spray you can. I went to Rincon de la Vieje and hiked through the forest and didn't get bitten. I got eaten alive at the resort. (still itching)

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2011

Came here with a large group (30-40) of family and new friends for a wedding. We arrived to the hotel around 7:30pm and we just wanted to eat. We were greeted at the reception area and were told that there was a pipe that had burst in the complex where our room was, and so they couldn't house us for the night. We would be staying in a neighboring hotel and would be moved back over the next day. They offered us upgraded rooms, a free tour for each of the four of us, free massages for each of us, and upgraded wristbands so we could use the upstairs lounge. As there was nothing we could do, we said okay and were taken over to the other resort. After speaking with the rest of the members of our party, we learned that they were actually over-booked and had offered the same package to everyone who had arrived before us. Due to being part of a wedding group, everyone turned it down, which left us forced in to the deal. We definitely did not mind as the free perks were worth $200+ and the other hotel was actually way nicer, but I would have appreciated more honesty from the start.

Overall, the room conditions were good. Our a/c worked very well, which kept us nice and cool. We resorted to stashing towels in drawers as we would sometimes have them and sometimes not. We woke up to some crazy huge spiders and crickets in our room due to large gaps under the doors and so we blocked them nightly with towels. Otherwise there was no mold in our room and while they aren't 5-star rooms, they're still good. We didn't use our safe, as you had to have a key for it, and all of our belongings were perfectly safe the entire time.

The food was amazing at the restaurants and they had a good mix. Each night at the buffet was a different theme and breakfast and lunch provided a good mix. We went to the italian restaurant one evening and enjoyed it very much! I had the lasagna and it was a large portion but delicious.The bartenders are lovely and watch out for Marcos with his squeeze bottle of booze in the disco. And definitely be sure to try a Miami Vice!!

The hotel lobby provides a nice area to sit during the day, and is where there are live bands in the evenings. The furniture may be stained but what do you expect when you have wet, sunscreen drenched people chilling on them? The disco was never very busy when we were in there and they allow smoking. Makes for a gross mix but the DJs are super fun and take requests. If they don't have your song, they'll download it on the spot. The pool is a perfect depth but watch your drink when playing volleyball! We loved the water fitness classes at 11am and while it is sometimes hard to get a lounge chair, you can also go down by the beach, where there are unoccupied lounge chairs and a whole other bar. The beach has beautiful sand and there are some lounge chairs available. There are a few people who approach you, but usually they're just doing massages on the beach or run a tour company. Our group went on a couple of the fishing and snorkeling tours and loved them.

As for tours, we arranged taxis through the front desk both to Playa del Coco and Tamarindo. They arrange hotel buses to take you down there and pick you up whenever you would like. Amazing service and quite cheap. In Tamarindo, we rented surf boards through Kelly's and had very good service again. Lessons were well taught and all of the staff were very accommodating. We also did the Arenal volcano tour with the hot springs and it was very good. We caught the volcano on a clear day and really enjoyed the spa hotel that the hot springs are at. The buffet lunch you get there is the best I have ever had. So. Good.

Overall, the hotel is lovely and staff are very friendly! The majority know English and are very polite. While there are some things that we wouldn't find 4-5 star in North America, this hotel was still very clean and they were quick to make any adjustments necessary. I would definitely recommend this hotel to other people travelling here.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2011

My friend and I have experienced other Occidental Resorts....Grand Xcaret, Allegro Playacar and Allegro Nuevo Vallarta. We chose Grand Papagayo instead of the Allegro Papagayo because we knew the difference between the Allegros and the Grands and we wanted the Grand experience. Instead, what we got was a most unsatisfactory experience that made me seriously rethink ever paying another maintenance fee.
First Club privileges were hard to come by: we had to beg for bottled water, the First Club lounge was inconvenient and had limited hours with no computer, we waited in the lines that we paid to be free of, room service was spotty, maintenance was pathetic (broken faucet handles and doors that remained so the entire week) and attitude from some of the concierges.
The food at the Oriental was the better than at the Italian and definitely better than the buffet. Most of the wait staff were friendly and attentive but the host at the Italian made us wait for 10 minutes because he couldn't find our reservation yet there were 6 tables open, none of which were filled during our entire meal (once we were finally seated).
It seemed that there wasn't anyone at the helm. We never saw the manager and a straight answer was as hard to come by as a bottle of water over our daily allotment. (Daily allotment!). It was 3 days into our vacation before someone told us about the big bottles of water at various stations around the property where we could refill our bottles! WHAT?! Definitely use the services of outside tours, not the ones 'sanctioned' by the hotel. We heard horror stories everyday of people who had more challenging experiences than ours. I won't return. Too bad...it's a beautiful part of the country. Guess I'll stay elsewhere.

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  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southwest UK
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2011

This hotel is good value, beach close by and a lot of trips available. Clean and the staff are very friendly; the food is good too.
The downsides are not many - it's difficult to get a sun lounger when the hotel is busy; they do the 'hard sell' trying to get you to sign up to the Occidental group of hotels which was very annoying and the towels are changed daily (all of them) even though some were not used.
Be aware that the nearest bank is in Coca, and the return taxi there costs about $40. The other closest ATM is about an hour's walk away and only gives out Costa Rican money.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burnaby, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2011

My wife and I just got back from 8 fantastic days at the Grand Papagayo. Before we left we were a little cautious after reading a few negative reviews, but after looking at how many people have reviewed this resort and how many of those were positive we decided to go with an open mind. For anyone that has not been to a resort in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Rep...you have to realize that you cannot judge hotels or resorts in these places by North American standards. If you are going to Costa Rica then you need to realize that the rating system is in relation to other resorts and hotels in Costa Rica as a 5 Star in Costa Rica will never be a 5 Star in Canada or the US.

Now for the important part, how was our stay? We had a great time and aside from a few minor things we had no complaints. Check in was a bit of a gong show, but I think it had more to do with the number of guest showing up all at once. The resort is fairly spread out, so I would recommend getting a shuttle to your room when you first arrive. They have free shuttles leaving from the lobby that will take you and your bags to your room, or you can call for a pick up and get taken anywhere in the resort. Due to the number of people checking in we got a ride to our room first and were told our bags would be brought to our room later. We ended up in Building 3 which was fairly close to the lobby so I just walked back and picked up our bags.

Our room was nice a large, with a great patio. There was a free safe and we had everything we needed in the room. As with a lot of tropical places we have stayed the shower set up is such that you will end up with a wet bathroom floor. It really isn't a big deal, but some people make it out to be. There were a few little things with the room but nothing that ruined out trip. The resort doesn't have laundry on site, so some days you would have only 1 towel and other you would have a full compliment of towels. The fridge wasn't always restocked but it is an all inclusive so getting drinks isn't a huge issue. Our TV seemed to have a mind of its own and would turn on in the middle of the night.

The resort grounds were awesome. It is not a good resort for people that have trouble getting around as it is a very hilly resort and you have to walk a lot, but for us this was perfect. It was nice to have lots of grounds to walk around and there was tons of birds and animals right on the grounds that made it special. The beach isn't your typical paradise, but what ever it lacked in beauty it made up in other ways. At high tide there wasn't much beach left, but all that meant is you had less distance to walk to jump in the water. There is no bar on the beach, but David's bar was just up the stairs. There is great snorkeling right off the beach. The water isn't as clear as some places but there are tons of fish. There is a life saving bank of shade trees lining the beach that provides shade through out the day. The best part of the beach is that due to the remoteness of the resort you aren't bombarded by vendors which we really appreciated. Howler Monkeys could be found in the trees by the beach, and iguanas were all over the place. There are limited lounge chairs at the beach so if you want one for the day it is best to get to the beach early. The reality was that if you missed out on them in the morning that by the afternoon there would be free ones.

The pool was beautiful but small. Just like the beach if you don't get there early you may not get a lounger, but we never found this to be a massive issue as we liked to get up early. We found the beach was much nicer then the pool as you usually had a nice breeze at the beach and there was more shade.

Food wise we had very little to complain about. It was fairly typical food for an all inclusive. The restaurants are all on the small size so you would sometimes have to wait to get a table, but you could put your name down and go for a drink while you waited. You have to make reservations for the 2 a la carts. We actually ate at the buffet the entire time we were there. There was good variation and it changed daily. At dinner we would recommend going to the lobby bar and getting a drink before you go for dinner as sometimes it would take a while to get a drink in the buffet.

The only knock on the bars was that the beach bar,. David's Bar, and the snack bar shut too early. Drinks tended to be on the weak side but you can have an many as you want so it isn't a big deal. We spent most of our time at David's bar. He was awesome and a ton of fun. Johnny and Marcus up at the Lobby bar were also a ton of fun. The lobby bar was a great place to hang out when you needed to cool off as it had AC.

A lot of people that go to all inclusives think that they don't need to tip. These people work very long and hard days and don't make a lot of money. A dollar here and there goes a long way. We would leave our cleaning ladies tips every other day and as a result we seemed to get better service that some of the other guests. Same thing for the wait staff and bar tenders.

We went on 3 different tours with a private tour company, Tours Your Way, see my review of them for that experience. They were amazing and really made our trip. All in all the Grand Papagayo was an amazing trip. Sure it could have been a little better here and there but if you are looking for problems or things to complain about you will have an amazing trip.

I wouldn't hesitate going back to this resort and would recommend it to all of my friends. Just remember you are in a tropical place and things are not like home so don't expect them to be that way.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Papagayo

Address: Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo 4*
Number of rooms: 169
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the unspoiled northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica(home to wild parrots and endagered sea turtles), striking volcanic cliffs dramatically descend to powdery sand beaches and crystalline coves. Elegant and respectfully situaded within this breathtaking haven in the five-star Occidental Grand papagayo. Reverently aligned with its majestic surroundings, the resort offers a new kind of luxury all inclusive vacation. It is nothing short of extraordinary.Couples, families and friends who visit experience premiun service, discover gourmand dining and select from an impressive gamut of activities and sports. The resor´s natural setting and luxury amenities also make it the ideal locale for an incomparable wedding or honeymoon. In short, the Occidental Grand Papagayo is a perfect vacation spot for anyone and any reason. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Occidental Grand Papagayo Gulf Of
Occidental Grand Papagayo Costa Rica
Grande Papagayo Costa Rica
Grand Papagayo Liberia

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