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“Just Returned” 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 #8 of 16 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Houston, TX
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Just Returned”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

I stayed at the Grand Papagayo recently, and the staff were great except for Victor. My Dad had a couple of massages, and said they were fantastic.The rooms were hot. If we turned down the a\c as far as it would go, and put the ceiling fan on high, it was ok. They need a better a\c system because they have to be paying a ton of money with the people running their a\c 24\7 to stay cool. The room where the buffet was could have been cooler too. It was hot outside, and the room had huge bay windows, which was nice, but it tended to make the room hot. The management is not managing the wait staff well. They are working too hard in the dining room. Everybody is doing everything, and glasses are sitting on the table empty. I was there 5 days, and the food became boring. The beef had days when it was tough, and we had every sause imagineable put over chicken, pork and beef. I did like the chicken most of the time. The ginger custard was a nice surprise. I really liked it. The beach was nice, and I snorkled a little, and saw a few fish. There was a schedule of activities, and a nice deck for night time entertainment or just hanging out. The grounds were very nice. Watch out becuase they do timeshare\vacation club presentations. Victor tried to get me to sit through one since I am a travel agent, and when I told him I was on vacation, and did not want to sit through a presentation, he was not happy, and it was obvious. After we left this resort in Guanacaste, we went to Jaco, and stayed at one of the boutique hotels, and loved it. My dad was the one that wanted to stay at an all inclusive, but he ended up liking the other hotel better. Jaco, has things to do, and is closer to the national park and other things.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,757 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 (415)
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English first
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

First, the property is beautiful, the staff is friendly and Costa Rica is a beautiful country. If you don't care about the amenities, then go because it is a BEAUTIFUL country.

The bad: when you pay an all-inclusive fee and it states beverages and food are included, you expect it to be good. They also say they offer alternatives for food. Beware: the buffet is not always open. The breakfast buffet is good but the lunch and dinner is not. The other 3 restaurants are not always open and it is REQUIRED to get a reservation early. The funny thing is that the restaurants were not full and they rush you to order. Again, the food is subpar. Overall, if this resort would improve the food options, I believe most people would rate it higher. Also, the pool bar and snack bar (the good sucks there) is not open enough. You do not want to walk WAYYYYYY up the stairs to get drinks when hanging out at the pool and you want the pool to be open late. The beach at the resort is almost nonexistent. Oh, and the roads in Costa Rica are terrible. But, that is not the resorts fault. You should just be prepared if taking a tour.

The rooms are on a Motel 6 level so don't expect much. We were told we could upgrade when we got there; but really they want to sell you a separate membership to do so, which was misleading. Our fan in our room did not work but we just turned the air down more.

Also, expect to pay a $29 departure fee. I think that is crazy given that I just spent thousands of dollars in your country.

Now for the good: Swiss Tours is awesome and are located on the property. If you are an adventure seeker, please spend the $195 and go on the Aernal zip line and hot springs tour. Fun! We also went on the MonteVerde (cloud forest) and coffee tour. Coffee was awesome and the rainforest was BEAUTIFUL. Be prepared to hike a little and take a rain jacket! If you get Lawerence as your tour guide you will not be disappointed. He is so knowledgeable and smart. Also, the staff at this resort are very friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Most Costa Ricans will.

Maybe I expect too much from a resort. Don't expect to get more for your dollar. This area is for tourist and they know what we pay. I was paying the same thing for beverages and food.

Overall, I would visit Costa Rica again because of the beauty; but at a different resort (The Hot Springs Resort in Aernal perhaps or in Playa Carillo).

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

JD was a great tripping guide!!! lol We got so high on adrenaline, it was fantastic. We got to complete the mega combo for a reasonable price which included zip lining, horse back riding, tubbing, hot springs, mountain rock climbing. We also got to sailed to check the dolphins, snorkeling and much more. The Hotel Occidental Grand Papagayo was ok, however the people working there were amazing, extremely friendly and consistently helpful. The restaurant food was not that great but I guess the logistic on italian and asian restaurant need some help. Best part of it was JD and his willingness to tell us what were the best local beaches and tours. Enjoy it.

Room Tip: i heard building 15 wasn't that great from other guest.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in late June 2013.
The hotel is clean and service is good. The grounds are large and very well maintained. You have the option of walking around or using the shuttle. We walked most of the time and even going from the beach to the buffet was only a 5 min walk.
The shuttles are prompt and very handy when your dressed up for dinner and its raining but note they stop running at about 23:15 once the bar is shut.
We had a great time the rooms are very clean and our water was always refilled. The only irritations were the Mexican dining evenings. These take over the entire buffet require booking and have a limited menu. If they continue I would suggest they are limited to one a week and the buffet is still available. A couple of other things to note. The beach is fantastic and not very busy. The private tour guides will approach you once but then they leave you alone to enjoy the wonderful calm warm sea and sandy beach.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Duncan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

There were four couples that just returned from this resort July 22, 2013, The service, food, drinks were the worst of any resort that we have ever visited. You could not eat the food, it was terrible. The drinks were so watered down and we asked to speak to management. She asked us what we would do to make things better. No one spoke English and we did not get clean towels daily. Worst of the worst.

Room Tip: The phones did not work in the rooms and the distance you had to walk to the front desk was over 240...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ItzeSocialMedia_Ctor, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Dear travel580252,

We are sorry to hear that you had a disappointing experience during your stay with us. We always aim to ensure every guest feels they are receiving the best value for experience in Costa Rical and your feedback will help us to better deliver this brand promise.

Please accept our sincere apologies for not reaching your dinning expectations; our chef is always making improvements to offer a wide variety food within the Buffet, featuring international cuisine and our a la carte restaurants. We’ve shared your review with our Executive Chef, who always appreciates guest feedback. We regret the inconvenience our service and food options caused you.

We hope you will consider staying with us again and offer you the service you deserve.

Sincerely
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ma
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

We just got back and must say we were disappointed.

First, Costa Rica is a beautiful place and the resort itself looks great! The tours we took were really well arranged and action packed. Swiss Travel does a wonderful job. We had a lot of fun at the beach and pool, although the pool had a lot of algae on it's sides.

We did have problems with the room. There was little to no water pressure in the bathroom early in the morning so no showers before the tours. A/C was iffy and the "free mini bar" was 2 waters and 2 beers. The buffet was the same most meals and the A/C was broken in the restaurant. The staff was friendly and we did get the vacation club pitch. Its an older resort which doesn't appear to have a very big budget and it shows.

Room Tip: Don't expect what you see in the pictures, those are for vacation club members.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 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
    • 2 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.
ItzeSocialMedia_Ctor, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Dear Keith J,

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments , please accept our sincerest apologies, for the inconvenience you encountered and the impression you have about our service. We made our best effort for exceed your expectations from the beginning.

We are surprised by your comments about your room as we follow strict standards to ensure all guest rooms are in perfect condition before welcoming a guest. Nonetheless, our housekeeping team is now aware of your experience and we assure you that we will look into ways to improve.

We shared your review with our Food and Beverages Manager. Our chef is always making improvements to offer a wide variety food within the Buffet and a la carte restaurants. He always appreciates guest feedback.

We apologize for the experience that did not meet your expectations, and for not being treated the way you deserve. We are committed with providing our members with unforgettable vacation experiences, and that includes the highest level of service.

Sincerely,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

I would have rated the hotel higher if it wasn't for the management. The rooms, grounds, food, pool were all above average. The people that work there are all outstanding except for one that I will mention later. The staff went out of their way to make it an enjoyable stay. Although it was an all-inclusive, including tips, we made sure our favorite staff members received something extra. The buffet was average but you can make reservations at the two other restraurants that included very good a four course meal. The beach and pool area offered activities and we took advantage of both.
Now for the bad. When we checked in a man named Victor kept hounding us to attend a session on their vacation club. We finally had to tell him to get lost. Also, the mini fridge was stocked with 2 beers and 2 waters. That was ok since we spent little time in the room and there were plenty of bars. However, after we drank the beers the only way to get them replenished was to call the front desk. How hard would it be to have the fridge checked every day and replenish when needed.
Even though for the most part it was an enjoyable trip, Victor and the management decision to cut back on service, I would have a difficult time recommending this resort.
I own a travel agency and used this trip to check out the resort. I will keep looking.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the deluxe ocean view room.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
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:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Spa 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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