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Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
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Reviewed March 22, 2014

We are just finishing up a family vacation here so I figured I'd submit this review while all is fresh in my memory. I'm here with my wife & 11 & 8-year old sons.

The resort is in a stunning, unique location. Water on both sides. Beautifully manicured grounds. Mostly outstanding service except as noted in the restaurants below.

We are staying on the 1st floor in a "regular" room in building 3. This building is on the bay side. The best thing about this location is its close proximity to the pool (about a 10 second walk) yet we are far enough away not to be bothered by pool noise. Also, we have a nice bay view from our screened patio & fall asleep each night to the sound of the waves. Without us asking, the resort was good enough to add a rollaway bed to our room which made things way more comfortable.

For much more money, one can stay in a villa on the ocean side. The benefits of course include a much larger room, wrap-around decks, plunge pools, privacy & gorgeous views of the sunset & mountains across the water. Aside from cost, the downside is that unless you are very ambitious & fit, you'll probably need the golf cart shuttles to get around & there is a good chance that the monkeys will be waking you up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning.

Like all of life, room choice involves trade offs. However, for those of you on a family vacation rather than a romantic getaway, I suggest being near the pool. The kids don't really care about sunsets, privacy & plunge pools. They want to be with the other kids at the pools or the kids club.

Housekeeping gets strong grades overall. One suggestion is make sure they know when you leave for breakfast & dinner each day so they come & clean at the right time in the morning & do the turndown service after you get ready for dinner. After the first day, I called housekeeping & made sure they knew our schedule.

The resort itself is super kid-friendly. There are 2 sizable pools & wonderful activities to do each day ranging from independent pool play to organized basketball & beach soccer games. The kids club has ping pong, foosball & pool tables, pop-a-shot, basketball & volleyball courts, guitar hero & Xbox. The beach activities include kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, paddle boating & standup paddle boarding. Throw in some excursions & the kids will have a blast. My family did the zip lining & morning catamaran trip. The kids loved it!

We opted out of the longer excursions like going to the rain forest, the river boat ride, Nicaragua, etc. All involve at least a 2-1/2 to 3 hour ride. My sons had no interest in long car rides nor did I (since I loathed the idea of them fighting or complaining the whole ride & I preferred relaxing here at the resort).

We also did a few extra resort offered activities. The chocolate making class was fun ($90.00 for 2 of us). The Trail of Giants tour (complementary) was a golf cart tour on the golf course. The views were stunning & we saw lots of monkeys. The Sunset Hike (complementary) was a steep climb & gave us a great view of the sunset & more monkey spotting. It was ok but not for those physically unable to handle the climb.

The pool area was so kid-friendly. We hung out nearly every day & the kids loved it. Service was generally good. Special kudos to Armondo who always had a smile on his face & took great care of us. The other guys were ok but we're not the friendliest & didn't speak the best English. The resort provided some nice complementary amenities each day at the pool like foot & shoulder massages, cleaning sunglasses, fruit drinks, fresh coconut milk in the shell, ice cream, pop corn, etc.

The fitness center is a very nice convenience but they should add a few more of the weight training machines. The spa is immaculate. I loved taking a dip in the hot tub after each workout. Just fabulous!

The unavoidable Achilles heel of the resort is the limited dining options & the service in the restaurants. The service in Ticos bar is just terrible. It took nearly an hour for my kids to get their orders which is just unacceptable. The server also forgot one of the items i ordered. The next day, a very nice supervisor named Olivier listened to our experience & was an empathetic ear but who knows what the impact will be. On another occasion, we went there again for lunch & it took 10 minutes to get menus & then after another 10 minutes of no one coming to get our order, we just got up & left. Do yourself a favor & avoid this place.

Last night, we had dinner at Congo's. The hostess seating everyone was clueless about service. She kept everyone waiting to be seated which was annoying to all. She also gave me a hard time when I told her beforehand that we were running late. She said that they were full & this would be a problem. What a joke! We arrived 15 minutes late & the place was pretty empty & I haven't seen them reseat a table there all week. Such a level of service is not Four Seasons-like.


The Rodizio itself is fun & good but you have to ask the guys bringing around the meat skewers to come back if you like something. Otherwise, they only come by with each item once which has become a running joke amongst the families we met.

A problem arose when we ordered something at Congo's other than the Rodizio. My son wanted pasta (penne in butter sauce) offered on the kids menu & a shrimp tempura roll. After 45 minutes, he did not receive any of the food. I then asked the manager about this & he brought the pasta out 5 minutes later. The sushi roll came after 1 hour & it was done wrong! We sent it back & my son's appetite was done. To his credit, the manager felt so badly & bent over backwards to brings special desserts to my sons. The incompetence in the kitchen & with the service certainly wasn't his fault.

The breakfast buffet at Papagayo's was convenient & good. Lots of choices for the kids. We also enjoyed a beach barbeque one evening. It was well done & a very pleasant environment. The downside was that it was very expensive ($440.00 before additional gratuity) for dinner for 2 adults & 2 kids. Keep in mind that my wife & I had 5 drinks between us. What was surprising was that the buffet menu was just about the same one we had at Congo's the night before but at more than twice the cost.

The bottom line is that you are a captive audience so expect high prices. The service though is terrible & it must be improved.

A few other nitpicky things to address. The car service arranged through the resort upon arrival was there waiting for us but the driver barely spoke English & we had trouble getting their iPad working to check-in while enroute. We eventually got it to work & the check-in on the way there was a nice touch.

Also, the concierge gave us a confirmation for the wrong day for the Trail of Giants tour.

When we did the zip lining excursion to Witch's Rock, the a/c wasn't working in the van so it was brutally hot on the trip there.

I didn't rate this resort 5 stars due to the problems with the food service & the astronomical food prices. Notwithstanding the above shortcomings, I would return here for a family trip (but do not come here during March spring break if you are looking for a quiet romantic setting). It's a great place for a family/kids vacation. I'm sorry to be returning to NY tomorrow!

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
4  Thank GNYC1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSCOSPFGM, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2014

Dear guest, thank you for such a detailed review of your stay. We certainly appreciate your feedback for it gives us opportunity to improve our service and product. I am happy to know, that in spite of some challenges with service in particular at our restaurants, you and your family had a nice stay and enjoyed your time with us. I truly apologize for the problems with service during your stay. Your comments are already in the hands of our team at the resort, in hopes of getting everything right next time you visit us!! Pura Vida, Pascal Forotti, General Manager.

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Reviewed March 22, 2014 via mobile

The service at this hotel is unbeatable. Even thoug the hotel seemed full the service was impeccable.
The property is amazing and the food very good. Super willing to acomodate any special requests and go out of their way to make your stay extra special.
Wish we could stay for longer!!

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank Costaricavisit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSCOSPFGM, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2014

Dear Costaricavisit,
I am glad you had your best weekend ever, and I hope you can stay longer next time! Thank you for your kind comments about our service and food. Hope to see you again soon,
Best regards, Pascal Forotti, General Manager.

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Reviewed March 21, 2014

We are in the midst of a 4 nite stay here..if you a a couple seeking peace and quiet, do not come here. This is kids central and the building has no sound insulation. We could hear the people walking upstairs and their kids running around and bouncing a ball on the wood floor. They did move us after we complained. However, the family next door has a screaming kid and the parents are even louder when they reprimand him and slamming their door. We have stayed at many Fourseasons and generally have been pleased but this hotel should not even be part Fourseasons chain. There was a along line for breakfast this morning and a lot of details seem to have been overlooked. Eg. The house keeping forgot our dirty tub, and did'nt replace the wash towels.
Sve yoursellves $775/nite and go to the Bali. Fourseasons in Sayan or Jimbaram.Both had individual villas with plunge pools and service was great.

Room Tip: A villa if u can afford it
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank glo1818
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSCos, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded March 23, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on your stay. I was sorry to hear about the noise near your accommodations and the mistakes made on housekeeping. March and April are our busiest times of year for families staying at the property, but still, we try very hard at all times to provide an experience that is very positive and memorable (and peaceful) for all guests - those with children or not. I hope that the remainder of your stay was positive and that we were able to turn your trip into a fun and wonderful one. Pura vida,

Pascal Forotti
General Manager

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Reviewed March 18, 2014

Our family stayed for a week at the Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo and had a wonderful experience. A few of us have previously been to the resort and are returning for second and third times. While expensive, as all Four Seasons properties are, the service is spectacular, the rooms spacious, and the food at the various on-resort and off-resort locations were great.

Amenities: The resort has everything you can think of including spa, gym, sauna, multiple salt water pools, two beaches, complimentary non-moterized water activities, and daily excursions from the resort ranging from rainforest tours to zip-lining. Two beaches are available for guests on the property. One beach was more of a lounging beach, with the usual beach-side drink and food service, while the other beach had slightly rougher water due to exposure to the open sea but had activities like wind surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and surfing. The water is blue and was warm during our stay. They warm of jellyfish in the area, but we never saw any. Multiple salt water pools were available, including some exclusively for adults and kinds.

Activities: A daily copy of activities was delivered to the room every morning and outlined various individual and group activities such as cooking classes, chocolate making classes, mini-golf, nature hikes, sunset kayaking, group snorkeling, and introduction to surfing. While most activities were complementary, the ones involving yoga, chocolate making, and some lessons had a nominal fee. We found the activities we participated in enjoyable and learned a good bit from the native staff at the hotel.

Rooms: We stayed in the ocean view rooms and found them well appointed and spacious. The king-sized beds were very comfortable and the outside deck, where breakfast was served, was a nice place to relax while getting ready in the morning and eating breakfast. We had a few special occasions while staying and the Four Seasons made sure to take special care of anniversaries. We appreciated the small details like aloe in the rooms after some days on the beach where we got a little more burned than we had hoped to.

Excusions: The concierge was helpful in setting up recommended tours and found professional guides that spoke in both Spanish and English to our family (some of our family is fluent in Spanish but most are not). We did zip-lining at Witches' Rock and a rainforest tour with Sensoria. The zip-lining was wonderful and only 20 minutes from the hotel. The rainforest tour with Sensoria, however, was a bit of a let-down. The 2.5 hour drive there and back took up most of the time. At Sensoria, we unfortunately did not see any wildlife but did get to experience some waterfalls and a guided flora tour.

Food: The restaurants on the property are wonderful and reservations are essential at all locations. It is recommended that reservations should be make prior to arrival in Costa Rica. Di Mare is an Italian restaurant that serves classic Italian dishes with an emphasis on seafood. Marea is not on the Four Seasons property but is at a nearby beach club. We thought this food was the best, given its Asian-Costa Rican fusion menu that emphasized fresh fish. The steakhouse, Caracol, at the golf course served wonderful filet and the Costa Rican filet that is less fatty and a little more chewy than normal filet mignon. The service at all places was fantastic and the food inventive and inspired with local flavors. The prices are typical of the Four Seasons and are quoted in dollars instead of the local currency.

Overall, we had a fantastic stay at Peninsula Papagayo. The staff were willing to help correct any grievances and found a way to make every experience pleasurable. We will definitely be returning!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank Austin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSCOSPFGM, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2014

Dear Austin, thank you for your great review. I am happy to know that you had a great stay with us and that you enjoyed every moment of it. I appreciate your detailed comments and hope we can go beyond your expectations every time you stay with us. This is a very special year for us, as you may know, for we are celebrating our 10 anniversary, and will have lots of great activities to celebrate it. The Pura Vida life style of Costa Rica's Four Seasons awaits for you because you deserve it! Pascal Forotti, General Manager.

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Reviewed March 16, 2014

We visited Papagayo for the day, so our review is only based on a days visit, but wow, if we could afford it we would definately have stayed. For those of us who can't afford the £1,000 a night stay, I would recommend a day visit to anyone.

We visited as part of our honeymoon so we had a round of golf, with tuition, and then a Pacifica Couples experience. The golf is truly one of the most beautiful places I have been, I have not played golf before (I played pitch and putt as a child) and was worried I would hold people up, but not so here, they leave plenty of time between tee times, the coach was amazing, and it is honestly worth it just for the views, beautiful sandy coves, hilly terrain and birds and exotic wildlife everywhere. The golf carts come with their own fridge and every half an hour someone comes and offers to fill it up for you. I maanged to play 9 holes and by the end was even cosnidering taking it up. My husband (the real golfer) said it was one of the best days of his life.

The staff at the resort are aboslutely amazing, attentive but not intrusive, helpful without being over friendly, and everywhere we went was immaculate. The food in the restaurant was great, they have a whole separate vegetarian menu and unbelievably resonably priced. In fact, the food was cheaper (and better) than at many much cheaper places we stayed at.

The spa is also fantastic, the changing rooms have a balcony outside with a long thin plunge pool and loungers- and the changing rooms don't juyst have shampoo and conditioner, but hair brushes, full make-up sets, cleansers, hand lotion- you name it.... and good quality too. The room has it's own large bath for two, showers and large windows to look out to sea (tinted to people can't see in). The half an hour you get with it to yourself is very very romantic.

Livia at the spa helped us arrange our day and made it so special, thank you, I'd recommend this hotel to anyone, just beautiful.

Ali and Ant xx

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank happyhippy2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSCOSPFGM, General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2014

Thank you for your beautiful review and kind comments about our golf course and spa at Four Seasons Costa Rica. I was so happy to hear how much you and your husband enjoyed our golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer and also an Audubon Sanctuary; hope you do take up golf and return again soon to play our course! Thank you for your positive comments about our staff and service. Wonderful to hear that Livia, our Spa Director, was able to arrange a spa experience for you that was so enjoyable. I truly hope to have you and your husband back to our property soon. Until then, pura vida! Pascal Forotti, General Manager.

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