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“Pura Vida!” 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 16 hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Flushing, New York, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Pura Vida!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

I just returned from a week long stay at the occidental grand in costa rica and it was the best trip i have ever had in my life! First it started off with the travel company telling us everything not to do other wise we would get arrested including don't feed the animals and do not talk to the vendors on the beach. OK so we arrived at the occidental grand resort and were welcomed with a welcome drink and they brought us to our room. Our room had the most amazing view and the guests who waked by our room all said that too! The room was amazing and cold all the time! Which was great because the weather is very hot in costa. The occidental is a wonderful place for honeymooners or vacationers it is very romantic and quiet. Not a big light life here, they did provide local bands and entertainment to come and play in the lobby which was enjoyable but for a couple in our late 20's we needed a little more. There was one night were the resort had karaoke and the rest of the couples from NY and us were very excited to do something, but it ended after only 1 hour and we were stuck again with nothing to do. But to each is own. We meet so many great people from back home in the NYC area and we continued to enjoy costa with them the entire time. We had already booked 2 excursions with swiss travel and they were great. We did the mega combo which included zip-lining, a 1,300 foot water slide, horseback riding, lunch and hot springs, a sauna, and a mud bath,and the aerinal volcano tour which included a 3 hour drive to lake aerinal where we enjoyed an amazing lunch, an hour and a half boat ride to aerinal volcano on lake aerinal, an hour walk through the rainforest, hot springs and a dinner at a 5 star resort at the bottom of the volcano, both were incredible and fun.
It wasn't until we met a couple who used JD Adventure for some excursions when we realized we need to go out with him so he can show us more of Costa Rica. JD was so warm and welcoming. He took us and 2 other couples to Coco Beach where we enjoyed a wonderfully delicious meal and then enjoyed a night of dancing at a local dance club. The next day he took us to several beaches including flamingo beach, shell beach and tamarindo, which we enjoyed some boogie boarding, banana boating, and another incredible dinner. He toped the day off with a Costa Rican band coming to play for us! The food at both restaurants were amazing, I enjoyed lobster and mahi mahi and this was the best food I have eaten in a long time.
Next time we go to Costa Rica and hopefully that is soon, We will be going through JD for everything and we cannot wait to see JD and Costa Rica again! Pura Vida!

Room Tip: We went through our travel agent and it seemed like we had the best room in the place with the best...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (356)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

I just can't believe some of the reviews on here.They must have stayed some place different than we did.Anyway our stay was excellent,It might be listed as 4 1/2 to 5 stars but some things were and other stuff no. Great room with a great view.The shower in our room wasnt that nice but served its purpose.Buffet food was excellent.I am somewhat a picky eater but got along just fine.We didnt do the A la cartes.I read some other reviews about how busy the buffet was.Yes we waited 10 min at the longest only ONCE but hey we are on holidays and whats 10 min.Lots of drinks were available.Bartenders exc.The breakfast buffet was excellent and yes, there were some long lineups for eggs or Omlettes but we never waited more than 5 min MAX.Pool was NEVER full with lots of room.Great service and activities.Chairs were ALWAYS available whenever we went down.Yes you may have to ask if someone was using the chairs but other guests at the resort were great to help.Nice beach and only a few min walk away.It was a bit rocky in some areas and had some smallers rocks in the water but we got along just fine.Loved it.NO IT IS NOT A NICE PURE WHITE SANDY BEACH like other areas.Yes it was breezy but no SAND STORMS.Yes there was lots of stairs and hills but shuttles was provided if you wanted them.We needed the excercise because we ate too much.Nice setting for a resort.Staff was excellent.They we NOT RUDE TO US. Much the opposite.Twice they went out of their way to help us and it wasnt their problem.Thanks again. We became great friends during our stay with them.We did have problem getting coffee but after a call,it was soon resolved.We also met some others guest who deserved poor service because they were rude for sure.They expected to be waited on hand over fist. We were never ONCE approached by a time share employee.Others said they just said no once and was left alone.This is not a party resort.Entertainment was ok at night but nothing special.Pretty quiet at nights but that was Ok by us.Some animals and monkeys at the resort was nice.Would recommend TOURS YOUR WAY for tours before you leave for your holiday.Email Mainor and you wont be sorry.Overall we were happy with this resort.Would go back for sure

Room Tip: We were in building 2.was a bit noisy to about 10 pm but didnt bother us.We were close to the pool a...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denville, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

the staff was GREAT and I was able to negotiate a better room. Location is cool and had a great time. Work with Larry (at the beach) for the off-location excursions; he's an honest and knowledgeable guy. Fishing in the gulf is fantastic (caught a 5 foot barracuda) and the zip-lining/mud baths and hot spring excursion was well worth the trip. Really a great spot; will be back if we ever go to CR again. Highly recommend this spot as an "out-of-the-box" Thanksgiving location. Could not go to Florida for what we spent to head to CR. Had a ball. Pura vida!

Room Tip: negotiate an upgrade when you get there. make sure you head out for some fishing...caught a 5 foot b...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Larder Lake
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We travelled with Air Canada Vacations, mid January 2013 to Occidental Grand Papagayo. I will first start with, as soon as we walked in, no welcome drink, no big deal to me, but we were immediately approached by a salesman, inviting us to a timeshare presentation. We were approached 3 times during the week for timeshare, some people might consider it, if they put some effort into pleasing their guests.
Buffet food is buffet food, but the breakfast is a jackpot....it is poorly designed, where to get eggs made to order, is right in the middle of the buffet, so if you don't want eggs to order, and trying to get other items, feels like you are being rude and cutting in line....
Good luck getting into a la cartes, we did get into Italien, only because it was my husbands b-day, but it was nothing to brang home about, service is poor, food was just ok... i actually preferred buffet food.
Room was average, we did get our fridge stocked every two days, except on the day before leaving, i guess they wanted to save it, but i made 4 calls to reception and they did fill it.
The beach is ok, there isn't much snorkelling going on there, it's a rock , there is no coral reef, (at least in the front, where i saw the resort do snorkelling tours) when the tide is up, not many fish, visibly is bad...so if you have snorkelled elsewhere, don't bother taking your snorkel gear, you are wasting weight and room in your suitcase.
Pool: I could not believe how small the pool was for the amount of rooms in this resort....it can be very crowded in the pool and around. I normally don't do the pool thing, when there is a beach, but when tide is high, there is no beach left, and the wind was so bad, it was a sand storm at times on the beach.
The resort is very secluded, no where to walk too.... it is too bad they don't have bicyles, and taxis are 40 bucks to town, no matter what, i tried finding a deal, i did get a bit of one, asking locals on the beach to phone me a cab, and i paid 30 return.
Drinks are fabulous on this resort, not watered down, they have pretty well anything that i could think of, and the staff in bars and restaurants are wonderful.
One BIG problem, is the size of the buffet, there are not many seats, maybe 60-70, only guessing, and the resort holds over 300 people, so when you want to eat, you may not be able too, line ups for buffet, breakfast and dinner, so you line up to give your room number, then asked to wait in the lobby til they call you, we waited up to 45 minutes on evening, and the resort wasn't at capacity. I could not imagine being there peak season, the host at the buffet had given her notice that week, as she could no longer handle all the guests yelling at her, because they had to wait to get a seat in buffet.
The wildlife around resort is great, i got up early every morning to see the monkeys down on the beach, and one morning they were right by the snack bar, and one day i saw a coati go into someone's bag at the pool and steal someone, so if people are missing items, there are no people thieves, just the animals...haha
Last but not least.....Tours: We booked all our tours from JD aventures on the beach, better prices and not with a big crowd, you don't have to stop at the other resort to pick up others....we booked one, and had the most wonderful tour guide, Mike, so once we had Mike, we booked 2 other tours with him....and lucky for us, we were suppose to have 4 others on the tour, but they no-showed so we had private tours with Mike all week, and well worth every penny.

I would return to Costa Rica, but one thing that really bothers me and still does, is the street dogs, i know they are everywhere, but in a country where they preach, save the rainforest and have national parks and protect this and that and the other, but no one cares about the street dogs, to the point where i saw a local in Liberia, kick one, i wanted to kick him....and then i saw another lady feed him, so i know there are some good souls in Costa Rica, I just wish they could focus just a little on the animals that are so dependant on us, it is not there fault they are on the street.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Goddard
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Hotel and staff were very nice. We were in an older room which needed a bathroom remodel; however, I am not traveling to stay in my room and it was better than some we have visited. The property is beautiful and well maintained. The pool was always clean and refreshing. We were with a group for a wedding planned by Harold and the whole experience was AMAZING. Thanks to everyone who made our trip special!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westbrook, Connecticut
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We booked the Grand Romance Deluxe room. Reviews online looked good and our travel agent had always had good results with this resort.
We arrived nothing in the room package was what we paid for. We did not receive a welcome drink. We did not receive a warm welcome either.
Our room did not come with any of the amenities stated. It was barely clean. The shower clogged as soon as you started running the water, the bathtub was dirty and the fridge was not stocked with alcohol and water as it was supposed to be. The sliding glass door to the balcony was broken and once we got it open it wouldn't shut.
We asked for these issues to be fixed and never heard back. We then went and asked to have our rooms switched. The manager of guest services was condescending and rude. He said they maybe had one room available that was clean. He had us walk all the way back up to it. It was further away from the resort and smelled moldy. But he assured us that the shower and patio door worked. Those were our main concerns. So we switched all of our things to that room.
We were supposed to receive chocolate covered strawberries and champagne on our arrival, the room was supposed to be done up nicely and there was supposed to be other romantic amenities included.We consistently asked for these things. We first received a plate of fruit and a seriously warm bottle of red wine after asking management 3 times. The fruit was on a dish wrapped in plastic wrap and it was fruit you could purchase in Stop and Shop in America. Also we need utensils to cut the kiwi, etc to eat it. We didn't receive any.
The next day we insisted again that we should receive the amenities we paid for. The rude guest services manager said that we received the fruit and wine and we said yes but explained that that's not what we had paid for and also it wasn't very good. He said well you ate the fruit so you are all set. I was not happy with this answer. I brought up all the other amenities we had paid for and the special romantic surprise we were supposed to receive. He looked at me and said well it's supposed to be a surprise isn't it. I did not find this amusing.
The second room had the same issues as the first, except we were actually able to get the patio door to open and close, but with much effort and actually got ourselves locked out one night because it was impossible to open from the outside once it was closed. We had to use sticks to pry it open. Absolutely ridiculous. And the shower was dirty and clogged in the second room as well.
Finally the nice rep from Swiss Travel spoke to management for us and requested all these issues to be resolved. He had to speak to them twice. They finally fixed the shower. That's it. Nothing else.
Aside from the issues with the room most of the service staff was extremely rude. Not all, but the majority.
At this resort the guests were treated as a nuisance. And even though gratuities are supposed to be included the ONLY way one could get any service or attention was if you tipped nicely. I'm not opposed to tipping and do so anyway but you should not be required to at a resort where you pay a hefty amount of money to cover all these costs.
My fiancee and I are not rude or pampered. We work very hard for our money and when you go to a resort you expect to be treated with decency at least and to receive what you are told you will and what you pay for.
Take my advice GO ELSEWHERE

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Dear Bridget G,
I’m sorry that our resort did not meet your expectations and I apologize for the inconveniences you experienced. I do appreciate that you provided such a detailed review, and I will contact you today via TripAdvisor to follow up about your stay.
I’m concerned by the lack of service that you encountered during your stay and have addressed it with our manager. This is certainly unacceptable. Guest satisfaction is our main priority and it saddens me to know that our staff didn’t offer you the service that you deserve.
In regards to the Grand Romance Package, our guest services manager organize all amenities and service for guests who book this offer, upon arrival. I’ve discussed your review with the team in order to prevent this from happening again.
I apologize for your overall experience with our accommodations. Our housekeeping and maintenance teams typically ensure rooms are ready for guests upon arrival. Additionally I’ve worked with our maintenance team to ensure each room is inspected, and to avoid this from happening again.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that are undergoing a renovation of our guestrooms that will include refreshing the bathrooms, updating the décor and amenities, including the air conditioning units and furniture.
We hope to have the chance of welcome you back to experience our new look.
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Bolton
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Rooms were like a basic Motel 6, even though we had the "Royal Club DeLuxe". More on the room later. Our Royal Club "status" afforded us preferential seating in the a la carte restaurants. I guess that means by the door and the kitchen where everyone walks by you both ways. It did give us access to the Royal Club, which was quite nice, with a good view and drinks, but we did not get our fridge filled up daily with beer and water, as were supposed to,even after multiple calls and a visit to the Guest Services Concierge.When the Concierge called to get our fridge filled up, no problem...except that it DIDN'T happen. They hotel called us after the conceirge went home and told us they "ran out of beer and water and will have it done at 8am tomorrow morning". It was done around 3pm with the regular runs. We were entitled to room service, but the food was cold and not at all appetising. there were no "Plush bath robes" in the room. Bottom line is DON'T waste your money on Royal Club.
The room was almost hilarious until you remember how much this place costs. Drains do not work well, the plug for the sink was on the counter...that was as good a place as any because there is no lever to operate the plug anyways. Coffee maker didn't work, even when we had coffee for it, Very basic room, but we did have a nice view.
The food in the buffet was terrible. The buffet is set up very poorly as the hot food is not always hot, they don't refill the trays and there is only one chef outside to cook eggs at breakfast, which creates a very long queue for food. I will say that the snack bar by the pool is ok and the a la cartes have good food, but reservations are not easy to get and they ARE carved in stone once you have made them. We were delayed by one of our excursions and arrived at the restaurant at 635pm for our 630pm reservation, and asked them to not release our spot as we were just going to get changed after a long day. The "Manager" said we have 10 minutes to go to our room , change, and get back. I still can't believe that...
We travel frequently to all inclusive resorts in the carribean. I can safely say that this was one of the worst resort experiences we've ever had.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Dear Tim C,
Thank you for taking the time to share such a detailed review with the Trip Advisor community. Please accept my sincerest apologies for not meeting your expectations, and for the lack of service you encountered during your stay with us. Our goal is to provide an incredible experience to our guests and it saddens me to know that we have fallen short of this.
In respect to your room, please know that housekeeping follows strict standards that ensure guestrooms are ready to welcome new guests, these includes the assortment of drinks in the minibar, amenities such as bathrobes, toiletries, and towels, the proper functioning of equipment and services and the cleanness of the room. I have addressed your review with the Rooms Division Director in order to prevent any future occurrence. Also our hotel is undergoing a major renovation that will include the refurnishing of guestrooms and refreshing bathrooms, which will improve the comfort our accommodations and services.
In regards to your dining experience, I’ve discussed your comments with our restaurant manager in order to ensure we are continuing to improve our service. I also shared your comments with the Executive Chef, as we’re always looking to enhance the quality of our food.
Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Amenities:
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:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo 4*
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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