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“First time Central America visitor” 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 #9 of 16 hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
“First time Central America visitor”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

Overall, my sister and I were quite happy with our experience at this resort. The people (staff and tourists) were one of the best parts of our stay! We did not like our first room (no safe and the balcony door wouldn't lock) but staff had no problem with accommodating us and our request to be closer to the main building and all amenities. We found the food to be very good and certainly varied. We went on the two day Arenal volcano tour that included a walk through the 'jungle' including 8 suspension bridges! The road back from this trip left a lot to be desired with the ‘no visibility’ due to cloud cover from the Rain Forest! That was a harrowing experience! One of the highlites of our trip was the two hour River Rafting. I couldn’t have loved it anymore than I did! For two senior citizens, we think we held our own! We booked these two trips through Nolitours with our agent ‘Mitch’ who was so very, very helpful and never ‘pushy’. I must say, there was wonderful live entertainment in the lobby every evening of our two week stay! My only disappointment is that I ‘lost’ a sentimental ring while I was there but cannot find an email address to contact the resort to ask if it was turned in. All in all, a vacation is what you make of it not matter where you are and we made the most of ours.

Room Tip: We found a room across from the Spa suited us just fine rather than being farther away from the main...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 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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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
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
10 helpful votes 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
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 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
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 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
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
32 helpful votes 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
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 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.

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 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Top resorts 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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