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“Nice Hotel to stay friendly staff.” 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 16 hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Brampton, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Nice Hotel to stay friendly staff.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Spent 7 days with family at this resort and had lots of fun. Great rooms however Oceanview rooms view are blocked by trees. Went in the off season at the end of August and was not crowded and had lots of towels at the pool. Can do with the availability of food after 10:30 pm. Great pool and beach is very calm. Be careful of day trips and return time as dinner will not be available on your return. Did the one day to Nicaragua and had issues on return time. Very nice staff and very helpful. Check out Carlos and Steven and the pool bar and Ho Wah at the main dining room also the manager at the a la carte restaurants.

Room Tip: Book rooms near to the pool as it is close to dining area.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
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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 (371)
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goleta
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

My husband and I traveled from our beautiful community of Santa Barbara, CA in the winter of 2013 for a 1 wk get away that would not take us too far, but far enough to relax, enjoy, and experience some warm, cozy, weather. We wanted just an R & R holiday, no excursions or too much extra activities, though plenty were available to take part in, we just wanted to hang out, read, sleep in, take naps, lounge about, enjoy room service on occasion, snorkel, eat well, (and that we did, the food was fantastic), dance at nite and enjoy the company of new aquaintences (we met people from Italy, France, Greece, Russia, New England, & lots from Canada), the entertainment in the evenings was absolutely outstanding, the room comfy, out view was gorgeous overlooking the gulf of Papagayo, we were in an upscale deluxe room. The staff absolutely delightful, helpful, gracious, a real pleasure. We did end up hiring a private taxi/van to escort us into town to experience the local communities' biannual fiestas in Liberia one nite, that was fun, and one afternoon a trip into Coco's beach, the closest beach town to withdraw some cash from the bank and do a little shopping & sight seeing, it was a fun beach town, another day we went off for the day to explore some of the beaches along the NW coast of CR, we saw Conchal, Flamingo, Tamarindo & Panama, our driver was delightful, and informative regarding the communities, vegetation, and history of the area. This part of Costa Rica is very different from most of the country, this is a very dry, arrid, cattle, ranch region, a little humid, but nothing like the rest of CR, which is very lush, tropical, green, with many colors, vegetation, scents, rivers, waterfall, rainforests and such. So if you only experience this part of CR, make sure to travel further south and see the rest of the country, it is very different and very green. We enjoyed our time away in GranPapagayo very much and highly recommend it, if you want to just have a relaxing time, party, experience excursions, have a great culinary experience, go boating, or just lay low, it is all available to you, on our last day, I enjoyed a yummy full body massage and some jewelry.

Room Tip: The Royal Deluxe is the way to go!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casper, Wyoming, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

I have always thought it to be ironic for anyone to complain about a resort, you are staying in a resort, life can't be so rough right? But that being said I learned my lesson here. To begin with I did my research in picking a hotel looking at the property and prices and location , everywhere had at least one disgruntled customer and dispute reviews this resort seemed to be the best value . I booked our trip about two months in advance, to stay at this resort the duration of our trip. About two weeks later while looking into excursions I realized that everything we were looking forward to the most was in the Arenal region (3.5 hours away) so I called occidental to adjust our stays so we could stay a few nights in that region . When I called they couldn't seem to make the change and had a long list of excuses as to why even though their info says changes can be made up to 3 days before reservation date without penalty .One of the excuses being that I didn't call them directly to book , I booked it directly on their web page. After many attempts I got a manager at customer service who made the change and removed the one night that I asked be taken off our stay. I was told a refund would take 21 days ( any other hotel in the region takes 3 business days), and received any confirmation info I would need.
Fast forward to our trip and after a wonderful stay in the Arenal region we arrived at the grand papagayo. I was happy when I walked in to this beautiful hotel ( or it seemed ) and we were brought welcome drinks . From that point it took 45 minutes to " check in " with a "personal concierge " while the explain the hotel map ,the yoga classes etc. finally get to our room and neither the fan or the air conditioning work, being on the coast in 97 degrees and being from Wyoming we weren't annoyed but decided after unpacking we would let the front desk know. Time comes to do so and the person at the desk couldn't help us , and neither could the next 4 desks , no offered to call maintenance . While we were up there we bought a pre paid phone card to call our 4 year old at home . to bad neither international phone was working at that time and the phones in the room don't let you do international calls even though the say they do. Luckily one was repaired the next day.
The next morning we went to a concierge breakfast ( was told that all visitors had to do it , of course it is a time share sales .. I suggest just not showing up ) but we were fine with listening to the presentation to get the tour of the resort. ( heads up they don't tell you it lasts two hours ) we we finished the presentation they take you to the sales office to try and sell you . The " manager " up there was the rudest person I came across in this otherwise friendly country. Refused to tell us the cost , and made us guess at the cost , by then I was annoyed and tried to walk out and he says " oh we'll I don't give a crap if you join or not , I don't need the psychology of why you won't " ( because we asked the cost, which is about. 8-10 grand up front .
Great 3 hour start to our time there. There is no wifi for guests unless you pay to be in the vacation club. The lobby claims to have it but I never got it to work there. At onetime we asked a desk lobby employee to please pull up a number that we needed for the airline before we left because of the lack of wifi and were told he doesn't get the Internet on that computer. 30 minutes later we asked a new employee ( same desk and computer) they pulled it right up ;) we made the best of our trip and did partake in the resort activities . Snorkel, pool volley etc. and as long as you do all of the activities there enough to do . The resort itself is completely unhelpful with wanting to do anything on their beach, ok beach but anything other that snorkel you will get excursions from locals and salesmen on the beach. we rented a jet ski for one hour for $170 , but heard the couple in front of us get charged $250 and another $120,so bargain. These people also tell you you have to walk up to the resort snack bar and bring them food and drinks when you are done. ( snackbar is decent ) Grab two drinks and bring them with you as there are none by the beach. In other reviews I say complaints of drinks being watered down. At home my husband can have 2 beers before he is done. We are not drinkers. Each of us had about. 12 cocktails a days without getting tipsy here, but we watched them make our drinks and even ordered a shot and they do not seem watered down , but maybe a difference of 5000 ft from home played a part , so others might consider this.
Our bathtub did not hold water , so no relaxing bath. My husband and I are very easy going and do not need pampered , but we stayed in a hotel for $50 a night in arenal that was clean and had excellent customer service ( most important to us ) our bathroom had large spider webs, drywall chunks coming out all around the door and was fairly dirty . Our room was not turned over for two days , which we are fine with but for $300 a night I guess you expect at least a clean room .
At the end of the day I will admit that resorts may not be my favorite experience when traveling abroad , we will continue in the future to spend more money seeing the country instead of playing pool volley in closed walls , but we thought just relaxing WOULD have been nice. Also after being frustrated I though I would check out the spa. Got a spa pedicure $50 + tip. Very hard metal chair to sit in , I don't need a massage while I sit but my butt shouldn't hurt. If you do paraffin your foot is put directly in the wax melter while plugged in and I blistered.
Now since we have been home I have never seen the one night refund, called customer service and there were never any notes on the account my confirmation number meant nothing to them and was told to fax bank statements etc. I called back today with my banks transaction number ( I am not sending them statements ) but low and behold that number is no longer a working number and Occidentals other number will only help you if you paid 10 grand to be a club member .
I think that it is one of the cheaper stays in the area , and a resort is a resort once you get inside. If you go and eat and sit by the pool and expect zero customer device and participate in the activities you can still make it a good trip.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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, May 14, 2013
Dear Silverlining307,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you encountered during your stay with us and with our billing system. I stand ready to personally assist you with this situation. Please feel free to contact me directly at socialmedia@mx.occidentalhotels.com. I will gladly review your statement and changes on your reservation.

With all my deepest apologies and warmest regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

The resort and scenery were absolutely gorgeous! I have to say probably the best part of the trip was meeting JD from JD Adventures who took care of our excursions from the hotel. My girlfriend and I met him the first day of our vacation, on the beach at the hotel. JD set up trips zip-lining, jet skiing, banana boating and took us on a tour of 6 local beaches, ending in Tamarindo for a late lunch where he set up a Mariachi Band to play for us!!!!! It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!! He also took time out of his schedule to show us around town and take us out for some night life in Coco Beach. I have to say meeting JD took my vacation from great to AMAZING. He and I have remained in connect and plan on visiting him in Costa Rica again... Make it a point to go down to the beach and meet up with him!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
NYC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

The views are great, its located at the base of a mountain. But I'm here to tell you what I wish someone told me before I booked.

1. If you stay on the ground level make sure your balcony deck door is locked. The raccoons know how to open the sliding glass door. It's cute but scary when you're in bed watching TV.

2. FOOD IS TERRIBLE. Snack bar, buffet - everything is bad. Originally when we checked in they said we had to call between the hours of 8am-3pm to book reservations for the Asian & Italian restaurant on site but you had to call the morning of the day you wanted a reservation. They would not book us in advance. Every morning we called everything was booked. Finally another couple had told us you were allowed to book in advance so WTF? We left without ever trying these two places out because we couldn't get in.

3. No garbage cans in the room or bathroom. Called and asked about it frequently but nothing

4. No shower door or curtain. Shower area is painted black and the tub is cracked.

5. We took the recommendation of a hotel employee for a restaurant in Coco Beach. Don't listen to them, avoid at all costs.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Loma Rica, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

This place is a great value with access to quite a few tours (The Sea Bird is what you want for sailing on these waters) and near to the airport in Liberia. The service was very good and the staff was very helpful (and fun). The views are excellent, especially at sunset. The walk to the beach was great, with chances to see beautiful birds, howler monkeys and an amazing group of locals. For breakfast, the buffet is very good and the selections were varied. The fruit was always great.The buffet lunch is so-so, but with a wide variety of food. Both dinner restaurants (that require reservations) have very good food, nice desserts and the service was PERFECT. Explore all parts of this place, you'll be glad you did. The live entertainment is also fun and will have you giggling.

The clientele at this resort were great to hang out with. Lots of fun.

Room Tip: The regular rooms are just fine. We saw the honeymoon sweet, and the only difference is the amount o...
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013

Originally booked at their sister resort and when we arrived we found them to be closed for renovations. Back in the car for another 40 minute trip. Lobby is gorgeous but when we were taken to our room we were utterly disappointed. Dirty smear on wall beside a very old tub with black walls, no toilet paper holder, patio door did not close entirely and a non functioning screen. We had booked 2 double beds but were given a king, there was a table but no chairs, no luggage rack and no soap in the bathroom. After we went back to the lobby, they found us a beautiful room with an ocean view, but still a king-sized bed. After my first impression, I will not go to their presentation to sell me on their time-share.

Room Tip: Make sure you book a premium room.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, May 14, 2013
Dear Julie0531,

Thank you for sending us your comments relating to your most recent stay at Occidental Grand Papagayo. Guest feedback enables us to continually review our service delivery and standards and make changes wherever possible.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the poor impression you had of your room, our housekeeping team verify that rooms are in perfect condition before welcoming a new guest, but clearly we didn’t do it this time. I have followed up with our Director of Housekeeping to address your comments.

We hope to have the opportunity to demonstrate our high standards for quality during your next visit.

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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