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“Destination Wedding/Honeymoon” 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
NYC
1 review
“Destination Wedding/Honeymoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

We chose the Occidental Grand Papagayo because very good friends of ours suggested it. We did research other venues, but we liked this one the best. We had never been to Costa Rica. Our friends gave us a caveat that they had not been there in 10 years, still it exceeded our expectations. Harold, the local wedding coordinator was amazing. He was comforting, helpful and stayed on his toes every step of the way. I was stressed about how everything would come together since we were doing a destination wedding. When we got there two days before the wedding Harold met with us and our friend who is a wedding/destination event planner, Omar Hamilton. Our friend helped us coordinate a lot of the long distance details.

Harold was also funny, which helped put us at ease. He speaks fluent English, and some other languages I think. We went in the rainy season and it did not rain at all at our wedding, or our outdoor reception, but there was a backup plan in case it did. The people who worked at the hotel treated us like royalty. And they even encouraged us to practice our broken Spanish. My father is on a walker and they were very helpful to him.

The day of the wedding was beautiful. It was on the beach, and before I (the bride) came down apparently the tide was coming in but it stopped. Talk about a God moment. The lawyer who officiated our wedding was nice and pleasant, and he did his job because we are officially man and wife. Tee-hee. Because we are Christian we had a friend who is a minister say a few words at the beginning, which they allowed. He couldn’t perform the service because it would not have been legal.

The ceremony and ensuing reception were beautiful, and the staff treated us like royalty, and continued to do so during the rest of our honeymoon stay. Oh yes and the food was delicious to me! We opted to have a friend DJ so I can’t speak to the local music. The only thing that was lost in translation was our photographer (a local one through the hotel) didn’t explain his services well. So our expectations were not fully met in that respect, but we managed to come to a compromise. Outside of that it was wonderful, and we definitely plan to return to the Occidental Grand Papagayo.

Room Tip: Our room was excellent, but not all of our guests got the royal treatment like us. If you are going...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,586 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (350)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kingston, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

when we arrived we didn't like our room and it was promptly changed to exactly what we wanted. The staff were the most courteous and accommodating people we've ever come to meet at a resort. If you don't like stairs, don't go there. We enjoyed the stairs because we ate nd drank and didn't gain a single ounze The food was great lots of selection. Book you a la cartes early as the fill up. and book you excursions through Larry rather than the Swiss travel as you will get a Costa Rican tour rather than a tour company tour. He was wonderful and you can meet up with him on the beach. Don't let someone else tell you they are Larry, he speaks English very well and will give you a real Costa Rican experience ( and you can talk him down). All and all we would recommend this place for it's hospitality, cleanliness and warmth. The wildlife we saw was unparralled to anything we could have asked for

Room Tip: We stayed in 601 and had a beautiful ocean view. 2200 block is nice as well
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 5 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.
calgary
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

The only unfortunate thing about this hotel is the reception. We had to wait 2 hours for our room to be ready and wasnt ready at the time promised to us . Then we were fed some story about being VIP....... only if we spent the first 90 minutes listening to them trying to sell us time shares. When we said no we were clearly no longer VIP and didnt receive a smile from the front staff for the rest of the trip. Actually, they sneered at us whenever they saw us. The staff in the bars, restaurants, housekeeping were wonderful. And hats off to the chefs because the food was fantastic. The drinks were delicious and well made. A personal thankyou to Edwin , Cesar, Victor, great staff members that made our vacation truly enjoyable.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Marrakech, Morocco
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

The food is OK. Some of it is great, some of it is bland. The Italian and Oriental restaurants had great food. Schedule as early in the morning as possible to reserve a seat there. The seats go fast. The alcoholic beverages are supposed to be part of the all inclusive price but they don't put enough alcohol in the drinks. The beer and wine are your best bet.

There is no nightlife other than a few singers. There was a guy there who had a great voice. The pool/dance room was virtually empty. Go on some excursions. That was the best part of the trip. We booked through Swiss for the excursions and were able to get the excursion we wanted for less than we would have with cheapcarribean.com We went hiking, horseback riding, volcano mud bath, natural cold and then hot spring and DELICIOUS lunch all for $127 each! Silvia, our guide was EXCELLENT!!!

Also, don't let whatever travel company you are booking through talk you into spending $90 a person to travel from the airport to the hotel and back. There are plenty of cab services there. We paid half the price each-just know that they may try to talk you into doing a sales presentation the next day for a free ride back and half off of excursions. We didn't do the sales presentation through the company that gave us the cheaper cab deal but after looking at the paper they handed me a few days later I saw that we would have had to put a deposit down on a time share prior to the presentation which, according to the paper you could get back after the presentation. That's not something I would have done but hey, to each their own.

Overall, I had a good time but would find a hotel on Coco Beach if I go back. That area has such a cool vibe and lots of shops.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We were at the Grand for a week in mid March for our daughter's wedding and we were not disappointed.
Some of the reviews I read prior to leaving made me wonder - but after being there I can't imagine that those people stayed at the same place.
There is lots of walking and up and down stairs - so be mindful if you have mobility issues - however the hotel has a number of golf cart type vehicles to take you wherever you want to go and they are happy to do it!
The beach is very different from usual white sand - it is striated with black sand [I imagine from volcanic residue] but this really adds to the character. Beach is clean, great swimming...pool is lovely - lots of chairs and the staff offer lots of activity - but leave you alone if you want to just veg.
Our room was lovely - though I understand a few are still being upgraded. Kept very clean - as was the entire resort.
Food - not an issue - lots of choice of good, healthy and palatable food at the buffet. The two other restaurants did not disappoint either...make sure you book them early after your arrival.
The most important thing to mention was the staff - they were amazing...friendly....helpful and very professional. Special mention to Harold and Katrina!

Room Tip: Ask for a newly renovated room or one with a view - they have larger balconies/patios.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 5 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.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We recently came to this resort and did a week long vacation with another couple. We had a blast. They were part of the occidental rewards program and highly recommended this place to us. We were hesitant about the food as the ratings online definitely had mixed reviews about the food.

Overall, the food was great. Yes, it is buffet style, but the quality is excellent. We LOVED the breakfast. Made to order eggs, fresh fruits, coffee, cereals, bagels, and other buffet breakfast items. It was excellent. The other meals at the buffet area were good. Not spectacular but the food was very good. I highly recommend the asian and Italian restaurant, but making reservations is difficult, so plan ahead. The food at these restaurants were top notch and I wished we had planned better and booked more nights there in advance.

The service was excellent. The people were very friendly and very helpful. I never felt like I was inconveniencing the staff. They were attentive with drinks, food, and everything. They are very well trained and very courteous.

The resort is beautiful and clean. There is a beach associated with the resort, but it is public so it tends to be a bit crowded. The water is nice, but very rocky. The resort has LOTS of activities that are included. We also did several excursions: volcano all day tour - AWESOME!, and we did a 2 hour waverunner tour as well. Lots of fun!

My only complaint was the guest services. They seemed to give us the run-around a bit. They first told us that our room had WiFi. When asked about it, they said only the nearby buildings to the main building had it. Then, they said you could plug in for access. We asked for a cord. Took several hours to bring it. Then there was NO place to plug it in the room. Turns out, NONE of the rooms have internet access directly into the room. Would've been nice to have been told this up front. There were several other things guest services were very flaky about. Other than that, we have no complaints.

I highly recommend this resort. Just be aware of the guest services team.

  • Stayed February 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
    • 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.
Winnipeg
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Good value for your money. Older well established hotel ---could use some upgrading, but clean and well maintained.
Beachfront is black sand, so not your usual Carabian dream beach -- but interesting. Could use some daily maintenance.
Pool is nice and water warm with adaquate loungers,etc. Reasonable good bar service.
Restaurants good food and good coffee. Italian restaurante is best choice.
Lots of hills at this resort so bring good shoes in case you have to walk from your room to pool or buffet. They do offer a shuttle service but not always available in a short amount of time.

Room Tip: Hotel lobby is at the top of the hill. There are about 6 or 7 buildings of rooms at various levels o...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
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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