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“Fantastic Time!” 5 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   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Fantastic Time!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2007

First of all we didn't get a very good introduction to Costa Rica in that we travelled with First Choice (excellent) we landed at the given time only to take off again as there had been wide spread flooding in the area and they could not get us to our resort. We went to Riviera Maya in Mexico. Which was great as we have never been.

We arrived at the Grand two days late, in the pouring rain and dark. We had a Royal Club Junior Suite which was very nice, we changed our room the next day to one in a more quiet area, both great rooms. We had a bath, walk in shower, lounge area and bedroom with a patio, wine and fruit arrived the following day. The maid had been everyday before we got back from breakfast and did a great job of cleaning.

We had heavy rain for the first few days and quite a few external repairs were required to the roof, we had a family of racoons living in ours who were none too happy with having their entrance repaired. These guys were cute and came every night for fruit along with a skunk and coati. We saw massive Iguanas, squirrels, howler monkeys, toads and a wonderful display of parakeets every evening in their hundreds.

The wildlife on this resort was fantastic we saw 29 species of bird including a Motmot which is a lovely bird, humming birds, woodpeckers and oriel. Butterflies were everywhere.

The weather did pick up and we had some lovely sunny days, I can't comment on the pool area as there was so much to do we didn't spend anytime at the pool, there always seemed to be loads going on down there.

We couldn't fault the food and we are really fussy, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in the buffet when we were on site, we did try the Italian but the tuna starter was raw not my thing.
The pool buffet was also great loads of choice.

We spent a lot of time in the Royal Club bar with Gerardo who was fantastic and great company, food order from here was good too.

We had contacted Amy from Avispas Tours before hand and called twice when we got to our hotel but had no contact from her at all, so can't say anything good. Would have thought a return call would have been less rude than just ignoring us.

Having said that because of all the rain it was almost towards the end of the first week before we went on any tours, we used hotel beds, Carlos took us to Monteverde, which was a bit scary on the way back as it had started to rain again and the roads were being washed away. 100% commitment on concentration when driving. We went on the river tour with Sergio, this was great saw loads of wildlife including crocodiles (massive), we also went on a bird tour with Sergio which was great we would not have spotted everything we saw had it not been for him. Top tour guide.

For those who were wondering the kittens and parents are still there and doing fine being fed by everyone. The dog Ross has been adopted by the hotel security and another stray had started appearing everyday, he must have heard how good it was.

Only two negatives but they were not a problem, the turndown service was a bit hit and miss, and we had to ring twice in two weeks to get our mini bar restocked. Neither of which would spoil anyones holiday. Beware of people who moan, I don't know what they expect.

The Customer Service desk were absolutely excellent and very helpful.

Go to Costa Rica this place is one of my best holidays for relaxation and wildlife. However I came home with lots of bites which break out into an itch every now and again. I tried everything but to no avail, prepare to be eaten.

  • Liked — The Royal Club and accommodation.
  • Disliked — Loud music at the pool area
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2,127 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 (567)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bronx, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2007

Stayed here Thanksgiving week 2007. This is a nice hotel in COSTA RICA- remember, it's not in America, so you may run out of hot water or find no soap or shampoo in the room. The staff is extremely friendly. I took my two kids (11, 13) and my 70 year old parents- all had an enjoyable experience. Never-ending food and booze. A simple 1000 Colones tip (around $2) gets you noticed pretty quickly. Alamo rents cars directly out of the lobby- use it to check out the nearby volcanoes (Ricon Vieja) or surfing beaches. No street signs in CR so prepare to get lost, but have fun. Monkeys can be seen in the trees while sitting around the pool. BRING INSECT REPELLANT and afterbite!!! You will be in a jungle. This is not the Four Seasons, but definitely a great place for the price. If you are a complainer the Four Seasons may be best suited for you, but you'll pay to live "American" in CR. Happy people- don't think twice, book a room here. Nice pool and beach, plenty of activities.

  • Liked — Kids loved it.
  • Disliked — No hot water 2 out of 7 nights
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2007

My boyfriend and I are in our late 20’s and are frequent travelers. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo Nov 3-10 2007 and had an AMASING time. This was classified as their rainy season but we had beautiful hot weather with only a few showers. I would highly recommend this resort.

Resort – Small (160 rooms) with 1 pool. The entire resort was very clean and well maintained. We went in off season so never had any trouble feeling overcrowded. The entertainment staff were excellent – always had a game or activity going on. The night life is very low-key; there is 1 small disco and a lounge bar. Most nights there were musicians playing in the lobby lounge area. If you are looking for a wild party this is probably not the place to go. There is a small beach area (which varies in size depending on the tide). Snorkeling and kayaking were included for free. The beach and ocean area are nice but not crystal clear water with white sand – don’t go to Costa Rica for the beaches. Note: this resort is not for those who have trouble with stairs. It’s built on a hill and there are 76 stairs from the pool to the lobby (yes, we counted)!

Staff – All the employees were excellent. They spoke good English and always went out of their way to help you. They make approx. $1/hr so if you decide to tip, it is extremely appreciated!

Food – this resort has 1 buffet, 1 pool-side snack bar, and 2 a la carte (oriental and Italian) restaurants. The food was good but is more of what I would call traditional “Costa Rican” style. Lots of beans, rice chicken and fish - you will never go hungry though!! I would highly recommend the Italian restaurant A++

Tours –

Avispa’s Tours - we read about Amy at Avispa Tours before we left Canada and booked the Miravalles Volcano Adventure and Arenal Volcano Adventure and had a FANSATIC TIME! I would highly recommend booking with them– you won’t be disappointed!!! Her tours are smaller groups (2-4ppl) so this way you get a more laid-back adventure as it’s up to you how long you want to stay at each site. Miravalles is a must do tour which includes zip-lining, horseback riding (or tracker ride), nature hike with water falls, sulfur springs, hot springs, and mud baths. Arenal includes a nature hike, the volcano, hot springs and we added ATV’ing. We did not see the volcano the day we went it because it was cloudy – still worth the trip! This tour is a long day 13+ hours so if you want something closer to the resort go with Miravalles, its only 1 hour away. All food, snacks, beverages are included in the price (which is comparative to what the hotel is going to try and sell you). The van is safe and secure so don’t worry you wont lose your personal belongings. I recommend you bring rain gear and a change of clothing just in case. I won’t go into much more detail but if you want more info check out her website or email me! TOUR WITH AMY – AVISPA’S IS THE BEST!

Mario Tours – there are a few people on the beach operating tours. They are usually much cheaper then the ones offered through the resort. We did a 2 hour boating trip with Mario which included snorkeling (2 different sites) caves, and whale/dolphin watching for $25. It was safe, and we had a great time.

Sunset Walk – This is arranged by the entertainment staff and is worth doing!

Wildlife – My big concern before I booked this trip was scorpions. I heard stories of people finding them in their suitcases, in their rooms etc. I didn’t see one my entire trip. If you get up early (animals feed in the am) you can see all kinds of wildlife on the property. If you are not into the wildlife, don’t worry, unless you are out looking for it you probably wont come across much on the resort

Please email me if you have any further questions tracybug@hotmail.com

  • Liked — Resort was beautiful - well maintained and clean
  • Disliked — lots of stairs!
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2007

I don't generally care to stay in the same place twice, but the Grand Papagayo is an exception.

Our travel agent inadvertently reserved for us (a family of 3, which included a teen) an ocean-view "Grand Romance Room" in this all-inclusive resort. A quick call to the front desk and the problem was happily rectified when a comfortable cot was delivered to our door, along with extra pillows. The room was simply, but tastefully decorated, and we felt that we were the only people on that end of the property.

Buena Beach, located on the grounds, was very clean and discreetly patrolled by security. It featured Howler monkeys in the trees, which were fun to go down and watch in the afternoon as they took their naps.

The food and service, in both the buffet and the restaurant, were very good; I'm a bit ashamed to say that the only time we ate away from the property was when we were away on the day-tours.

I especially enjoyed the beautifully landscaped grounds, with the mango trees ripe with fruit and the vibrant petunias gracing the walkways.

The pool was wonderful, though if you didn't reserve a seat very early in the day, you'd be out of luck for finding a lounger. Towels were in abundant supply, and we spent most of our hours while at the resort lazing by the water with our books, soaking up the sun.

I'd like to return to Costa Rica one day; if I do I'll stay at the Grand Papagayo again.

  • Stayed February 2004, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2007

We researched Costa Rica & the Grand so well & had such high expectations that I didn't think it would be possible for our holiday to live up to them. Well it outstripped our expectations by the bucket load!
Our first impression was WOW, & that's all we said for the first week.
The staff were fantastic, the rooms were exactly as advertised (cool, clean & calming!), food was plentiful & varied & very, very good & cocktails; they have to be sampled to believe how good they are & how strong!
Rainy season! it rained as expected but not as often as we thought it would & what else could we expect we did book to go in September!
The country is fantastic & we enjoyed many excursions, we booked mainly through our tour operator (First Choice), the trips were great if a little sanitised for tourists.. We also booked a trip with Johnny on the beach & heard horror stories galore about his excursions. Ours was fantastic, we had our own guide for the day, just the 2 of us & Giovanni who pandered to our every need. It was well worth it & probably the best trip we did!
Overall a fantastic time was had. We went with an open mind, a determination to have an excellent time & the intention to see as many of the sites as possible. If you are looking for pizza, fish & chips & English food then I suggest you book to go to Blackpool!!

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, UK
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2007

Following an amazing week touring Costa Rica we choose to relax at the Grand Papagayo.

The hotel delivered on a number of fronts but disappointed on others.

The setting is lovely with some beautiful views over the gulf. The landscaping of the resort is also very nice and well maintained. You are surrounded by nature and wildlife which is wonderful. The beach is also very pretty and sandy but not that long and we were really surprised at how warm the sea is.

The food is excellent with the main buffet restaurant being particularly good - we actually preferred it to the a la carte restaurants. The quality of the drinks varies although they are generally very generous with the alcohol in the cocktails which of course no one was complaining about!

The service was on the whole pretty good although the reception is a waste of time. They can't help you with anything and they are not particularly friendly. Our arrival at the hotel was far from welcoming as our group was told they were not ready for us and we were left waiting in the lobby. In contrast the guest services desk in the business centre was excellent and I would advise going there if you need anything.

Our room was nice although there was some mould on the walls. Rooms are cleaned and towels changed daily but it can be late afternoon before they get round to your room.

The pool looks lovely but it isn't very large and during the day it is constantly in use for volleyball games and other entertainment. There is also local music constantly blaring out along with announcements from the entertainment staff. This seemed out of place compared to the atmosphere the rest of the resort was aiming to achieve.

Opportunities for sport and activities are good although I nearly broke my leg playing tennis after the rain had soaked the court. That was my fault though I'm not blaming the rain. Acually the weather was one of our main concerns before we went as we would be there during the rainy season but on the whole it was fine and on occassions it was nice when it rained as it cooled down a bit.

As we had toured before we went to the hotel the only excursion we did was a trip to Nicaragua (highly recommended). There are lots of excursions on offer and they are well organised with very good guides. Excursions from the hotel can be quite long days due to the location of the resort but Costa Rica is beautiful so if you go make the effort to see more than the resort - you won't be disappointed.

It is a beautiful looking resort which does some things very well but needs to improve in other areas. However our recommendation is that Costa Rica is a country to be explored, there is so much to see and do. The resort is fine as long as you don't spend all your time there.

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — Reception
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterlooville, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2007

My husband and I stayed here for 2 weeks from 24 September. The setting of the hotel is stunning - we arrived just before sunset and were very impressed with the view.
Like many of the other reviewers we are very well travelled and were expecting a lot more from the hotel - it is definitely only a low end 4 star at the most. Having said that the room was fine - we were in block 1, pool was lovely, food was quite good - the reserving of sunbeds was a big issue during our first week, but for the second the hotel seemed quieter so it was not a problem. Realistically though this is not a problem exclusive to this hotel - it is a worldwide epidemic!!
The staff were all really helpful and friendly - Antonio, Ronaldo and Anna Mary (how does she remember everyone's name??)
The biggest gripe with this hotel is the serious lack of entertainment in the evening. The one airconditioned bar is too small and they turn on all the lights, take your glasses and boot you out at 11:00 - just like being back at home! If you sit outside on the terrace, again not near enough chairs and you get bitten to death! The disco bar is OK, but if you want to have a conversation whilst drinking, forget it! The hotel really needs to open up the snack bar in the evenings as either another restaurant or bar or both, so that you can vary your evenings a bit - especially after you have had a couple of nights of 'John Denver'...... dire! Having said that, the company made it for us - Gail, Paul, Wendy, Colin, Bob & Chris - you know who you are and I will not go into any further detail about the 'pointy dance' or the 'little donkey' insistent on the xylophone!!!

Tips: 2 day Arenal trip is great and the Kuna Vela sailing trip. If you love seafood, especially lobster, you have got to go to the Papagayo Seafood Restaurant right on the beach at Coco - fabulous.
Had a great holiday and Costa Rica is beautiful - for now - can see it being turned into another Cancun before too long.
Wouldn't go back - the world is too big and the bugs bite too much!!

The Claytons, Portsmouth, England

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
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
Phone Number:
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 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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