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“A Wonderful, World-Class Destination Resort”

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Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Ranked #2 of 14 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
West Vancouver
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“A Wonderful, World-Class Destination Resort”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 28, 2011

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!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank BASLJM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Vancouver, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2011

My wife and I spent 10 nights at the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica on our honeymoon in February 2011. This is truly an amazing resort. It was definitely worth the money and not nearly as overpriced as we thought it would be after reading other reviews. There are lots of free activites every day and there was always availability. After each activity, the staff prepared fresh fruit for free! Ice cold bottled water was also available at no cost and complimentary smoothie tasters were served by the pools.

After reading several reviews about Tours Your Way, we arranged for Mainor to pick us up at the airport when we arrived. It was great transportation and company. We stopped at a convenience store along the way to pick up some reasonably priced beer, wine and snacks.

We went on the "Mega Combo Tour" at Buena Vista with Ray from Tours Your Way. He spoke excellent english and told us lots of interesting information about the country etc. Instead of riding on a bus with 10 other people, we got a private ride in their SUV. Ray knew all the staff at Buena Vista and set up our day to avoid all the crowds. We got to go horseback riding seperate from the rest of the large groups and pretty much got treated as VIPs.

The next day we went on the Palo Verde Riverboat Tour with Mainor. Again, these guys know everyone and we were on a boat with only a few other people while the other boats were loaded full. Mainor knew all the best spots along the river to get the closest looks at the wildlife. We got to meet white face monkeys and crocs while other guests at the hotel who went with another tour group did not.

After a few days of relaxing by the fabulous pools we decided to go on another excursion. We looked into the tours that the hotel offered, but they could not compete with those from Tours Your Way. Ray picked us up at the hotel and we set out for Arenal Volcano. We went on an amazing canopy tour and hike in the rainforest. Ray took us to a great spot for lunch that was not open to the rest of the public. On the way back to the hotel, Ray stopped and got us fresh coconut water that we drank straight from the coconut. The people on the tour buses were jealous!

This was an amazing trip. The hotel was great and the excursions with Tours Your Way were even better. These guys really know how to show you a true Costa Rican experience.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JDS1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
the woodlands, tx
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2011

Everything about this hotel and location is wonderful. As several others have written the service is beyond great and all they want to do is make sure everyone is as happy as they can be. Yes, it is expensive, but if planning a trip you want to always remember this has to be at the top of the list for a tropical location. The golf course is beautiful and tough and would recommend serious golfers to bring their own clubs and not rely on the rentals b/c with the wind you need to have an idea of where your ball is going to go. Views are amazing and wildlife everywhere. It was so beautiful that the whole family wanted to go twice. Please make sure to visit the beach club which is a 5 min from the hotel. It is fantastic and waves are much better than at the hotel.

We snorkeled quite a bit at the beach where the adult pool is and saw really cool fish and other things amongst the rocks on the left side of the beach.

After reading about Tours Your Way and Mainor on previous posts we booked them for the week for airport transport to and from, river boat tour, fishing, and snorkeling. Everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there and were fantastic. We basically did not have to think or worry about anything the entire time we were there. Freddy took us to the river and would recommend his expertise to anyone on the country, plants, and wildlife b/c besides being a wonderful guy he is also a biologist which was great for the kids and us as well. Would recommend doing another tour rather than fishing before May however.

In closing our 13 yr old daughter and 10 yr old son were never bored and we all had a great time. We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank waddy18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2011

My wife and I went to the Four Seasons in Costa Rica to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and the pending arrival of our third child. The resort is beautiful and feels very new...the rooms (each room has a great screened-in patio), pools, lobby, vistas (especially the drive in through the golf course) and restaurants are all gorgeous, but the thing that really stands out is the service. The hotel employees went out of their way to call you by your name and attend to your every need (in a non-intrusive way)...everyone was so courteous, kind and anxious to please. As an example, An employee at the concierge refused a tip for her help with retrieving our luggage from American Airlines (a completely different, and less pleasing story). If you are well-traveled in terms of beaches, the beaches are average (the views are beautiful, but the water is not especially so). I was actually pleasantly surprised because I had lower expectations based on previous trips to the Caribbean and Mexico...for a comparison, they are similar to beaches in Cabo, in my opinion.

The spa is incredible...had a deep tissue massage that was the best I'd ever had, and my wife said her pregnancy massage and facial were exceptional. The pool in the spa lounge has a great view (evening was a great time to see the sun start to set) and it was never crowded. They gym is very nice...the cardio equipment is better than the weights (virtually no free weights; just machines).

As noted by others, the resort is very isolated. Obviously, it’s not a bad place to be confined to (to say the least, with the possible exception of food choices). In terms of food, you are pretty limited to the Four Seasons or two other restaurants on Peninsula Papagayo. The choices at the Four Seasons are Papagayo, Tico’s (the bar lounge) and Di Mare, which is Italian. We had breakfast at Papagayo daily, but I would skip it for dinner. At our one dinner at Papagayo, we both ordered fish and it was flavorless and overcooked…the menu looks good, but its deceiving in my opinion. Di Mare was very good, and Tico’s was good for sushi and tapas (we had a much better experience with Tico’s than with Papagayo). We also went to the other two restaurants on the peninsula, Caracol and Marea (at the Prieta Beach Club). Caracol is a steak house and it was good (but we’re Texans and have a lot of great competition). Marea was excellent, and it was nice to go over to the Beach Club…it was beautiful and had a nice atmosphere. Food and drinks are outrageously expensive, as expected at the Four Seasons, so just be prepared and don’t sweat it. We did go to the Mini Mart near the tennis courts to buy wine…they had some decent choices for less than $20 a bottle, which is about the cost of a glass of wine on the resort.

Some additional thoughts: the resort will transport you anywhere you want to go on the peninsula; the resort charge of 10% covers things like tipping the guys who transport you. The hotel can be crowded…as the weekend approached, there was a definite uptick in the number of people. The pools especially seemed to get crowded, and the chairs are placed very close together, which can be annoying. There were some families, and we’re totally sensitive to kids having traveled with our own, but it was a little obnoxious to have kids playing in the pool on this particular trip (they were like 1 and 3; the FS seems like an unusual choice for such young kids in my opinion). The servers by the pool are awesome – they get you water, clean your sunglasses, come by frequently to check on you, etc. The region where the resort is located is dry and arid, at least during the time of year we traveled. It is not what you might think of when you think of Costa Rica…we had to fly into San Jose due to American Airlines issues (avoid this if at all possible and fly into Liberia), and actually enjoyed seeing other parts of the country, which were much more like what you might envision: lush, green, misty landscapes and forests. One benefit of the dry season is that we had a fantastic ocean view from our first-floor room because there is limited foliage. We took a side trip to Palo Verde with Tours Your Way (our guide Alejandro was excellent – good English and very knowledgeable), and that also exposes you to some different terrain than what you see at the resort (sugarcane fields in front of mountains; felt very Latin American). Palo Verde wasn’t particularly beautiful, but we saw lots of wildlife (birds, crocs, monkeys) and were glad we did it. There are a lot of things to do if you are so inclined, although the activities through the resort are absurdly expensive (I looked into fishing and I recall it was over $1,000 for the cheapest half-day fishing trip). If you are inclined for quiet and relaxation, it’s also perfect for that. All in all, it’s a great hotel and a great destination, and we would love to go back!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TXattorney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 21, 2011

I have never written a Trip Advisor review but was so impressed with this hotel, and its offerings, that I am compelled to share. We spent one week at this hotel - me, my husband and two children (girl/12 and boy/8). From the minute we arrived until we left, we loved every minute. Rather than gush about everything (which I could), I will do my best to make this review helpful and explanatory.

Some things I wish I knew: Bottled water and fresh filtered water is available everywhere and is complimentary so do not feel like you must stop at a local convenience store to buy before hand. We had plenty on hand and the few times we needed a bottle (because left some back in the room) we had them in hand in a moment. There are also bottles of bug spray, sunscreen and aloe available at multiple sites throughout the resort right near the pools and beaches. We did use our own, but having the resort's supply was a nice benefit. There is a complimentary laundry facility with detergent and fabric softener so if you wanted to do laundry/pack lighter, have a spill, etc. you can use the guest laundry (there is also a laundry service for a fee). Fresh towels are available without short supply. The pool staff comes by and offers fresh ice cold water regularly. Throughout the day, other fun perks are offered: sunglass cleaning, water spray, cold lemon-scented washcloths and fruit popsicles (all complimentary). There is a complimentary fresh fruit stand set up each day on the beach to the right side of the hotel if you are facing the pools from the restaurant area. There is also a complimentary snow cone stand set up each day from 3-5pm on the upper pool deck - quite a yummy treat. There are plenty of complimentary water sports as well - kayaks, paddle boats, snorkeling equipment. I did see Jet Skis on the right side beach but we did not ever inquire about using them so I'm not sure if those are also free of charge.

The rooms are lovely - we were in the Cielo room and it slept 4 very comfortably. My daughter even enjoyed sleeping on the sofa on the screened in porch one night - no bugs, etc. ever came in. Great L'Occitane products (as per all Four Seasons) available. Bug Spray in the room so if you forget yours - a bottle is offered (also complimentary).

The food was good (great in some places, ok in others). Breakfast in Papagayo's each day - very good buffet items - lots of offerings. We did not order off of the menu, although there were some good items. Fresh juice each day is offered (a different kind of local fruit blends).

Lunches on site we either ate at the pool or Congo's - really good salads, nachos, burgers, etc. Congo's at night is a Brazilian meat based restaurant - where they come around with various meats on skewers and give you all you want. Our daughter loved it - the rest of us don't eat meat but were very happy with the salad bar, hot food bar and ceviche bar so we were also pleased and had plenty to eat.

Tico's - great sushi - casual dining; sushi was expensive but good.

Caracoal - restaurant on the golf course open for dinner only - eat outside if you can - very good seafood. We did not eat at Di Mare or Marea. Papagayo was good for dinner as well. The food generally was good and very enjoyable but not out of this world amazing. Prices were a bit high for some items and reasonable for others - nothing too unexpected.

We ended up doing room service one night, because we waited too long to get a reservation at Di Mare (so make your dinner reservations early!). Ended up being so fun - great set up out on our balcony and not really much more than eating in restaurant - and very expansive choice. Kids appreicated "eating at home' and chilling that one night.

When we arrived, we were greated with enthuastic hellos. They greeted my kids by name and had all this birthday stuff for my daughter, who turned 12 during our stay. They gave her a present and bday card, as well as each kid a stuffed animal. Our room was decorated with balloons, another card and cake! They won my kids over right away (and us too)! I had sent an email in advance to the concierge advising of her birthday and my kid's names and ages.

Everyone who worked there was so nice and helfpul. We did not encounter one rude staff member and each person really seemed eager to be helpful with whatever was needed "con mucho gusto" - with much pleasure. Most spoke very good engligh and were happy to give impromptu spanish lessons if asked. My kids are taking spanish in school so they had fun with that.

There are golf carts to drive you whereever you may need, although we did not have to walk far to get anywhere (again we stayed in one of the main buildings though - not one of the "houses/villas" up on the hill).

You must do day trips while there to break it up and to get off property. We used Mainor Lara's company - Trips Your Way (for hotel/airport and for our day trips) and recommend him without any reservation - getting us at the airport; taking luggage; having fresh cold drinks of all kinds available; offering to take us to a convenience store for food, etc. The day trips were great and our tour guides (Martino and Marlon) were wonderful, caring, helpful, did lots of fun extras for us, and are very good at what they do. The hotel/airport cost through Mainor's company is less than what the Four Seasons charges and it is private - so definitely use him for that, if nothing else.

For reservations at this resort, I used whatahotel.com - great deal - automatic room upgrade, $100 spa/golf credit, early check in/late check out if needed, and a few other perks. It is the website for Lorraine Travel, based in Florida. Chanel was my contact and she was very responsive and helpful. Definitely check this option over booking direct through the website. Still able to take advantage of the 5th night free deal!

While a pricey resort, definitely worth it!!!! Loved loved loved it!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank rhyatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2011

Four seasons CR was just an amazing hotel. We have stayed in many other FS and this one is just incredible in every way. Gorgeous resort, great food with lots of choices both fancy or burgers and great pizza...we used "Tours your Way" for both airport transportation and the mega combo tour with Ray, both were terrific. Ray was incredibly nice and went out of his way to show us wildlife and make sure we had a terrific day, he also took loads of great pics of our family and just made the day totally wonderful!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank philly510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
42 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2011

I cannot say enough good things about this resort. The rooms were large and comfortable and the service was spectacular. The most surprising thing was the quality of the food--it was much better than I expected at a resort. Even the room service food was excellent. The only off resort activities we did were ziplining and golf, and both were fabulous. The weather was perfect as was the water. There were jelly fish on one beach for two of the seven days we were there, but they were not a big problem. Absolutely fabulous!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travelpsychologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Property: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Address: Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
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 Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#1 Family Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#2 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#2 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo 5*
Number of rooms: 184
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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

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