We recently returned from a fantastic nine days at the FSH (March 11-21). This is the 12th FSH property that we have stayed at and it is by far the nicest. The property is amazing with three great beaches, several pools and extensive walking trails. The adjacent gold course looks spectacular but, being a non-golfer, I cannot comment on its playability. Be aware that the FSH is quite isolated so excursions to nature reserves involve long drives (about 1.5 - 3 hours each way). However, the hotel is so beautiful and the service is so great that this is really nothing but a minor inconvenience, especially if you use Tours Your Way (more on them below).
We stayed in a Canopy Suite, which I highly recommend if you are traveling as a family. The rooms are large and very comfortable. They have one of the best air conditioning systems I have seen, operating quietly with pinpoint accuracy. (It was in excess of 95 degrees on a couple of days so this provided welcome relief!) We had breakfast on our private balcony two mornings, which I highly recommend, even though one of those mornings a Pizote (White-nosed Coati) ran off with our toast.
Most of your meals will likely be on the hotel property due to the hotel's isolation. There is lots to choose from, although the food is only fair to good. Breakfasts at Papagayo are good. Unless you are a big eater and/or are in a hurry, the a la carte menu is good value. We enjoyed the seasonal fruit plate most mornings, which was a third the price of the hot buffet and included a large slice of banana bread and yogurt. We had lunch most days at Tico's Bar, which was also good. For lunch, the Sports Bar at the Beach Club is even better, with excellent burgers, pizza and nachos. (Sadly, it is not open for dinner.) Dinner at Di Mare and Papagayo were fair to disappointing. However, Caracol is excellent. Be warned: the portions at Caracol are quite large so plan on sharing side orders and deserts. Prices at all places are in line with other FSH's. Other people recommended the restaurant at the Marina but we did not get a chance to try it.
The hotel was full, and while the pools were busy, there was never a time that we could not locate a lounger by the pool (unlike the FSH Maui, where the privileged few hogged all the pool side loungers by sending their nannies down at 4 am to stake their claims!). The beaches are large so there was always space there. There are lots of activities at the beaches: swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and boggie boarding. There are, at times, very small white jelly fish (often you can't even see them), which can give a very minor sting (which are much less irritating than a mosquito bite). The snorkelling is decent for neophytes but experienced snorkelers will be disappointed. Kayaking outside the bay must be done as part of a tour (it's free) but be sure to sign up early as space is limited.
Like many others, we used "Tours Your Way" for transfers to and from the airport (about half the FSH rate) and took four tours during our stay: (i) Skywalk/Heliconias; (ii) The Mega Combo Tour; (iii) Snorkelling; and (iv) Arenal Volcano. Mainor and his staff (Ray and Elvis) were great hosts, providing excellent information on Costa Rican life and wildlife. They were always punctual and took great care of us. Two minor caveats. First, the rainforest walk through Heliconias is beautiful, and includes three suspension bridge crossing at canopy level, but there were very few animals. I don't know if this was because of the time of day or the season but, if it is wildlife that you want to see, then pick one of the other tours. Second, the snorkelling starts at 8:30 am. It was quite windy during our stay so by 10 am, the water was getting turbid and visibility was just ok. I recommend an earlier start (say 7:30 am) to ensure excellent viewing.
A few miscellaneous tips:
1. The Beach Club is a hidden gem. They don't seem to highlight it but make at least one visit. It is the best boggie boarding and surfing beach of the three and has two fantastic pools (one being a proper length pool). The Sports Bar serves excellent and reasonably priced American-style food, with excellent burgers, nachos and thin-crust pizza.
2. There are DIY laundry facilities near every room, with laundry soap and fabric softener supplied.
3. For non-golfers, don't miss the afternoon tour of the golf course. The property is truly spectacular and we saw lots of wildlife along the way.
4. The service is excellent. Feel free to tip but remember that you are being charged a 10% service charge on your room, which amounts to $60 - $200 per day of tips depending on your room rate.
5. The teen centre is excellent and provided a welcome break for our daughter from the "parental units". Because we were there over Spring Break, they opened up a second games room in the conference centre. This is the kind of attention to detail that you see throughout the hotel and experience throughout your stay.
6. Wi-fi access is about $15 per day per computer but is free in the lobby area. Downloading speed was mixed.
7. You can use the business centre to print up your plane tickets for free.
8. Save yourself the hassle and pay your departure tax (about $30) at the hotel before you leave for the airport.
9. US dollars are accepted everywhere so no need for local currency
10. The FSH provides lots of bottled water so you don't need to buy any.
In short, this is one of the best vacation spots we have ever visited and is worth every penny!
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- Also Known As:
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica At Peninsula Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
- 4 Seasons Resort Costa Rica At Peninsula Papagayo
- Four Seasons Costa Rica
- Four Seasons Liberia
- Peninsula Liberia
- Liberia Peninsula
- Liberia Four Seasons