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“Thoroughly Enjoyable” 4 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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Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Thoroughly Enjoyable”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

-I was reading the reviews for almost a year before we went and they are either very good or very bad so I really wasn't sure what to expect, but overall it was an amazing vacation. The resort in general was really pretty, the room my husband and I stayed in was about a 5 minute walk from the pool, and about the same to the lobby once we figured out a shortcut. The shuttle service was always around and quick to pick us up when we called. This isn't much of a party resort so if you're looking for that I'd pick a different resort or head down to coco beach which $40 round trip cab ride. Two waters bottles and two beers are stocked every second day and no more. If you keep a bottle you can get it filled at the bars or restaurants or whatever. There are water bottles at the store in the resort but they're a bit pricey. Sometimes I'd just bring back a cup or two at the end of the night and drink 'em up or put them in the fridge. The booze is watered down but I didn't care too much, straight shots if you really want to get drunk haha. There is one pool, and there was always chairs, shade, and towels. No swim up bar but the waiter was around often, and the drinks weren't too far of a walk just pick up a few extra while your there.
Food - I really enjoyed the food, the buffet is smaller than other all-inclusives I've been too but the selection did vary and there was a lot of food that was delicious. The only food I really didn't like was the hunks of meat, and that's only because it was over cooked and chewy, the fish and shredded meat was awesome though. Lots of fresh fruit at all meals, omelettes, pancakes, french toast, bacon, cheeses and meats for breakfast. Supper always changed, italian, asian, costa rican, etc. The snack bar at the beach often had fried stuff and was open noon until 6 or 7 I think. Pizza comes out at 430-5ish, and someone suggested in one of the other reviews, if you're planning on drinking, since there is no food available after 10pm I believe, bring a plate of pizza to your room and put it in the fridge for drunkin' munchies.
Room- Our room was clean and renovated. There were a few ants but nothing too crazy. There were monkeys and coatis outside our room a couple times, super neat.

Room Tip: Request renovated. Rooms by the pool and lobby are noisier. we were in building 23, super quiet, oce...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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2,042 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 (541)
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English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

I am dismayed by some people's reviews on this hotel! They should read the online or brochure information about a place before they come, as then expectations will be met. Things like expecting restaurants to be open 24 hours a day and specific drinks in your minibar to be available are not advertised as being available, so you cannot expect these services!

Also, re the beach p, it is a STUNNING NATURAL BEACH and very clean and if you wear bug repellent at all times when out and about anywhere in Costa Rica, you are quite unlikely to be bitten. Stings happen!

We have just returned from an amazing two weeks at this hotel and in Costa Rica. We organised trips with Melvin of TAM tours based in the hotel, before leaving the UK and he organised a few things for us before we arrived, which was superb and a big thanks goes to him!

We stayed in a Royal Club room where the views of the bay were to die for. Yes, the hotel is on a hill, but this is well advertised! We loved looking out of our room at the panoramic views at all points of the day and night.

If you just ask staff for assistance they are so happy to help and gave us a superb service, everywhere we went. A big thanks to Geovanni in the main restaurant and the pool bar. You are a gem! The staff in both the al a carte restaurants were excellent and attentive and made us feel special.

I don't know what people are going on about re the watered down drinks as we never experienced this once and the drinks, especially the cocktails, were really tasty. The wine is excellent as well.

This hotel is not a late night party hotel and also not advertised as such.

Costa Rica is about La Vida Pura and that is the natural environment and stunning places and wildlife on offer.

You can drink the water from the tap in Costa Rica and this means that most people will be very well throughout their holidays and this was a big bonus for us.

We will definitely be back sometime!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heredia, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I would really go there again. A lot options of food. The service was great and the location is wonderful. Rooms were clean and with a lot space. I was there for two nights and saw the sunset from a view point, it was the most beautiful of all. I was with my partner and we agree it's a good place to stay on vacations.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grapevine, Texas
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We got married at the Occidental Grand Papagayo in September 2012 only becuase the Riu, where we originally booked, were unwilling to work with us.
It's a great location, but not as up-to-date as I would have prefered. Harold, our wedding coordinator, was amazing. He can make anything happen. If it weren't for him, I think we would have been dissapointed.
All of the staff is very nice, but the rooms are quite a hike from the beach. Get ready for a workout. Our particular room's AC struggled to work the full 6 days we were there. It's hot, and you will sweat.
The pool looks awesome in the pictures, but there is no swim up bar...you have to walk back into the snack bar area to get a drink. Watch out, if you are wet the floors are slippery.
Make sure to get the gold wrist bands, they allow you access to the upstairs bar, where their drinks don't taste watered down like the rest of the resort.
If you want to do any of the excursions, go talk to Johnny B on the beach. You can negotiate with him and he takes you on an amazing experience!
We actually had a great time while here, mostly because we came with 40 of our closest friends and family. I reccomend tipping your cleaning lady and the bartenders so they will go out of their way for you.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is my first experience at an all inclusive resort so I don't have any other experiences to compare it to, which I think might be in my favour.
We arrived Monday evening around 7pm and were greeted with a welcome drink and got our room key. We didn't have our hotel voucher but it wasn't a problem. We stayed in building 17 which was one of the furthest from the resort. That evening we decided to take the transportation that they offer to get to one place to another since it was dark and we didn't know our way around but for the next week, we just walked. For people who have mobility problems, it may be annoying but it's nice to be able to walk from one place to another.
Once arrive in our room, I noticed right away that it wasn't the nicest....It's definitely not one that has been renovated. The tub had a ring around the drain, the crack filling job was horrible. I just felt like attention to detail could have been much better. We had a king size bed, a terrace (but I had difficulty opening and closing the door), a mini fridge, a tv, alarm and all the essentials but I feel for the price we paid, it could have been much better. The mini fridges were only stocked every two days but you could fill up your bottles by the pool.
The food was delicious. It's buffet style and I'm usually pretty picky with my food and I enjoyed it very much. The french toasts were amazing, and fresh fruits were great. Lunch was great as well and diners were good too. For diners they usually had theme nights which was good and promised something different each night. We went to the Italian à la carte which was delicious...very authentic! We also went to the Oriental but I'm not sure how it compares considering we were there with a wedding but it was pretty good. I'm used to high quality sushi and for me it was just ok. The staff was very friendly and even tried to teach me a bit of Spanish in return for some English. The bartenders were awesome and they drinks were good too :)
I tried the snack bar a couple times and it was also good...nachos, fries, salad bar, cheeseburgers and hotdogs...stuff like that.
The pool area was nice and not too crowded, although we weren't there everyday. We also went to the beach which wasn't bad either. We did get annoyed by 'massage therapists', although who knows what kind of accreditation they have! lol We saw a lot of wildlife on the resort: iguanas, lizards, bluejays and other birds and their version on raccoons.
All in all, a nice resort but I would really recommend they renovate the rooms that are older.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
Canada Bay, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

The resort is old and in very poor shape, there is no swim up bar, there is only one small pool, the 3 jet ski's out of 4 we rented on the beach broke down and they wouldn't give us our money back, there is no way of getting food besides the 3 meal times, there is no way of getting alcohol between 2am and 10am and it was a fight to get a bottle of water at any time. The food was the same for 2 weeks straight, nasty buffets and the italiano and oriental restaurants were only open 3 days a week and only seated ten people at a time so we could never get in. Two cell phones in our group went missing and the customer service was terrible with helping out with any of concerns. Costa Rica is a beautiful and fun place to vacation but do not stay at the Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, March 25, 2013
Dear senor f,

Thank you for taking the time to send your feedback about your recent stay at Occidental Grand Papagayo. Please accept my deepest apologies for falling short of your expectations; we strive to provide our guests with unforgettable vacations and it saddens me to know that we failed you.

I’m glad to inform you that our resort will be undergoing major renovations that will include the completion of the last phase of the room refurbishments and unveiling of new decor and amenities as well as the upgrade of the Lobby Deck. We hope to have the pleasure of welcome you back and enjoy our renewed facilities.

I’m sorry to hear about the inconvenience you encountered with the jet skis, this service is offered by an outside agency to the hotel. However, your comments will be shared with them in order to improve the service they offer to our guests.

In regards to our dining, we strive to offer a variety of options including: Le Buffet, the Grill and two a la carte options: The Italian and D’ Oriental; which require prior reservation. I’ve discussed your comments with our restaurant manager in order to ensure we are continuing to enhance our service. Regarding their opening, please know that at least one is open per night and reservations must be made upon arrival to ensure your dinners. I’m sorry for not making you aware of this, our front desk agents have been made aware of your experience and I assure you this will not occur again.
I’m concerned by your experience with our customer service and I will contact you today via TripAdvisor to follow up about your stay.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

My husband and I were just married at this resort last week and it was INCREDIBLE! I felt the need to write this review based on previous negative reviews I had read before leaving, which I feel had no merit after visiting this resort. We do a LOT of travelling (Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, etc.) and have never received such exceptional service as we did at the Grand Occidental Papagayo!

As a bride planning our wedding in a foreign country I spent quite a bit of time on the internet researching resorts. After reading the all the reviews I was pretty nervous to visit, I’m happy to say that we were PLEASANTLY surprised. I hope you find this review helpful as you have nothing to worry about at this resort! PURA VIDA!

FOOD – The a la carte restaurants were great, amazing service and presentation of food. We preferred the Oriental to the Italian. They are quite small and by reservation only, so I would suggest booking as soon as you arrive. Although, we actually preferred the food in the buffet. The buffet was incredible, such a range of food, there was a different theme every night so that you weren’t eating the same thing all week. The snack bar located next to the pool served burgers, hot dogs, pasta, salads and delicious nachos with cheese, guacamole and salsa! – perfect for an afternoon snack. The resort also offers room service which isn't mentioned on the web page! The restaurant coordinator, Roberto, was so wonderful. We travelled with a group of 20 people for the wedding and Roberto was so accommodating in helping us all enjoy the a la carte restaurants! Tip: Check the times that food is available, there are a few hours each day where they don't offer food. (I believe its something like 11AM-1PM and 4:30PM-6:30PM)

ROOMS – We stayed in a Royal Club Jr. Suite which was so beautiful! Huge shower and a Jacuzzi bath tub (which they had filled with rose petals on our wedding night – they just above and beyond for the guests). Our guests stayed in the regular deluxe rooms, a few had problems with their showers and with one phone call they switched rooms. Some of the villas are quite far from the lobby area but the golf carts are always accessible and the views are incomparable to the rest of the buildings. Our fridge was restocked daily and housekeeping did a great job. TIP - Tips go a long way! (A couple dollars is worth it)

POOL – With most resorts we’ve visited in the past it seems you have to be up at 5am to reserve the poolside lounge chairs, this is not the case here. There were always more than enough chairs to accommodate our entire group. They do play the music quite loud next to the pool but you are on VACATION! I loved the upbeat tropical music playing, if anything it enhanced our time by the pool and if you don’t like the music there were chairs far enough away from the speakers so as to not bother anyone as well as the beach which was always very quiet. There is only one poolside waiter working at a time, so he does his best. We always ordered 2 drinks at a time so that we weren’t without. The snack bar is also only a few steps away in case of a drink emergency. ;) TIP - Sit near the Activity Shack to take place in all the fun during the day OR grab chairs closer to the snack bar for more quiet time.

BEACH – The beach was not what I am used to but was still very nice. Lots of lounge chairs for use and amazing views of volcanoes! There are a couple vendors but they don’t bother you once you let them know you’re not interested. Lots of wildlife to see down by the beach: monkeys, coatis, raccoons, tons of birds and even Sally, the tiny brown and white Chihuahua with her ears pierced who suntans with the vendor nearest to the stairs. The resort offers kayaks and snorkel gear for free to take out into the water, take advantage! TIP - Be cautious of the people selling excursions on the beach, some are wonderful but others don't have insurance so it can be a gamble! And don't be afraid to barter!!!

WEDDING – If you are considering getting married or renewing your vows at this resort, DO IT!!! Harold Rojas is the BEST wedding coordinator out there. He took care of everything on our wedding day, it was absolutely PERFECT! I am a very controlling person and like to make sure things are done the right way and I had nothing to worry about with Harold at the reins. He was on top of everything from the music to walk down the aisle, flowers, arranging carts to pick up the bridal party, the calypso band, photographer, our private dinner, EVERYTHING! We opted to have a private served dinner at the snack bar by the pool. He cleared everything out, had a beautiful head table set up, a cake table, guest book table and he kept the other side clear for a dance floor where the Calypso band was playing (it created such an amazing atmosphere for our evening). I was so thankful to have Harold on our special day, it really was PERFECT! The photographer he lined up for us was just incredible as well! Prontofoto.com – Captured the special moments of wedding day and took us to an incredible waterfall for our ‘trash the dress’ pictures!

SERVICE – The service was outstanding! We found the staff really went out of their way to ensure we had a wonderful time, which we most definitely did!

EXCURSIONS - As mentioned above, be cautious when purchasing excursions from vendor's at the beach. Not all of them have insurance so it could be risky, we dealt with Larry and he was great. He gave us lots of info about Costa Rica during our zip lining tour. We also booked an excursion through the resort with Jennifer (air canada) she was great, got us a private sail boat for a group snorkel excursion. TIP - Zip lining was by far the best excursion!

All in all, this is a wonderful resort and we will never forget the amazing memories we made in Costa Rica! This resort was pretty quiet and not really a “party” resort, although you can take a $20US cab ride to Coco Beach where a strip of night clubs await you (Lizard Lounge and Z bar were fun!). The only thing that could possibly make this resort better would be more night entertainment but I think this resort is geared more towards a more mature audience.

We would HIGHLY recommend this resort to anyone including our friends and family. PURA VIDA! :)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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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:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury 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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