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“Edenic Paradise Found”

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Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Edenic Paradise Found”
Reviewed August 12, 2005

The Four Seasons on the Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica transforms service into an art form. Staying here is like stepping into an alternative universe where every whim, each desire, and all needs are met with a kind smile and quick response.

Prior to my departure, I expected the resort to be pleasant, but after spending prior summers along the Almafi Coast and on Capri in incredible hotels, such as the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, I didn’t have high hopes that the beauty of the Costa Rican topography would match my previous summers—I was very wrong. The Four Seasons has chosen a prime spot to develop a sybarite’s resort. Everything about the resort whispers “sheer luxury.” Upon our arrival we were greeted with freshly squeezed tropical juice and cold orange-scented towels. To our delight, we learned that the orange-scented towels would be a staple of the hotel, ubiquitous at points of relaxation, from the beaches to the restaurants. Built on the tip of the Peninsula Papagayo, this haven for relaxation has two beaches with warm Pacific Ocean water, an incredible Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, three spacious free-form pools, four outstanding restaurants, 165 guest rooms, and service that is exemplary. The public areas and the guestrooms are all designed by a local architect to reflect the natural beauty of the area, which never ceases to amaze the naturalist’s curious eyes. Indeed, do not be surprised to see monkeys and lizards roaming the property.

Public Areas: Driving up to the Four Seasons property offered one of the most dramatic entrances I have ever had while arriving at a hotel. It takes fifteen minutes to get from the palm-tree studded gates of the Peninsula Papagayo to the hotel property; however, the fifteen minutes flies by as you view breathtaking views and elegantly manicured lawns. The peninsula is a privately owned oasis that is being changed into an eco-friendly vacation spot, which will have everything from villas to condos to a world-class marina. The drive to the hotel sets the mood for the sensuous impression provided by the open-air lobby. The traditional boundaries of outside and inside are erased as you slowly saunter into lobby. Nature’s beauty is found in the open-air lobby with gorgeous flower arrangements and views of the ocean. It was to my delight that I learned that most of the hotel is open to Costa Rica’s warm breezes. However, as only the Four Seasons can do, the humidity outside seems to be is rebuffed by the invisible line dividing outside from inside. Each open air space from the lobby to restaurant is cool and dry providing a comfortable environment for dining or reviewing the numerous activities offered by the Four Seasons.

There are also plenty of public restrooms, all spectacularly designed in marble and stone. The locker rooms at the spa are graciously outfitted in marble and stone with luxurious seating areas. The bathing products, available only in the spa, are worth skipping a shower in your room, especially the coffee-scented lotion that leaves your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. The gym area is one of the few areas of the hotel that is lacking in space and equipment. There are a few free weights, a mini circuit, and several pieces of cardio equipment, including treadmills and arc trainers. As in every other part of the hotel, the staff is quite attentive and armed with their orange-scented towels, which is amazing after running on the treadmill.

Guestrooms: The standard guestroom is very large with about 600 square feet. The floors in the sleeping area are a beautiful Brazilian wood. The double-sink bathrooms are marble with both a glassed in shower and a huge soaking tube. All towel and bed linens are Frette and very soft on the skin. One of the best features of the rooms are the screened-in porches that all open up to water views. Be careful here, however, standard rooms on the ground floor (what the hotel refers to as garden-view rooms) do not have unobstructed water views. The foliage is dense in Costa Rica and the higher up you go, the better your view. I would suggest going for third and fourth floor rooms in any of the three main buildings. The suites are very elaborate and large. I was shown an executive suite that had a large living room and an enormous outside area all with incredible Pacific views. The suites, however, are very far from the central lobby. This is the Four Seasons, so golf carts abound that are at the ready to whisk those with suites up the hill to their large abodes. Lastly, don’t be surprised if you have a few visitors in your room. Over a six-night stay, we were greeted twice by small lizards. However, if this is the price of admission, I’d gladly invite the lizards to join me for a cup of tea, after offering them an orange-scented towel to clean their hands, of course.

Restaurants and Food: While the food is not outstanding, as others have commented here, it is very good. Papagayo is good for lunch, but stick to the specials. Di Mare has reasonable Italian food, but not the best pasta. Congo is fun and the meat is delicious and served Brazilian style off of huge skewers. My favorite restaurant was Caracol, which was never full and had some of the best filet mignon I have ever eaten. Caracol also has delicious sides and a large selection of the chef’s special sauces. Try the Bernaise sauce and you will not be disappointed. Room service was also consistent. The service in all of the restaurants was outstanding. One day at lunch at Papagayo we asked for a sliced apple. What came back was a sculptural work of art. The chef had not only sliced the apple, he made a geometric pattern using his carving finesse and created a remarkably designed piece of fruit. This was so amazing that I’ve included an image of the sculptural apple for your viewing. Also, servers usually remembered us, after only a single visit, and we were often asked if we would like our favorite drink before even forming syllables to make a request. I would strongly recommend the Full American Plan. It is only $99 per day and it includes all food. This way you can eat all you want and only have to worry about paying for drinks (coffee and bottled water is included in the $99).

Service: I have stayed at several other Four Seasons properties and I am always impressed with their service, but this was something special. Everyone greets you with a smile and you will often be referred to by name. There was a constant flow of cold orange-scented towels being passed around at the beach and other venues. During both of my rounds on the golf course, a man on a golf cart carrying a silver tray filled with these delightful-wet towels greeted us with a smile. There is even someone who comes around to clean dirty sunglasses at the pool and beach areas. At the Four Seasons, the theme is proactive service. You can get what you want without even thinking about it; there is never any disappointment.

Spa: The spa is beautiful and the treatments were top notch. I strongly recommend the coconut-and-coffee pedicure with Carmen and Randall gives a perfect deep-tissue massage. Make certain you book early for these treatments, as the spa seems to be a bit understaffed. Who wouldn’t want to sit and be pampered as you look out over the Pacific Ocean?

Golf: What a golf course! Arnold Palmer did a beautiful job here and there are Pacific Ocean views on most of the holes. The course also has five sets of tees, so even those of us who are a bit golf challenged can enjoy the perfectly manicured course. The par threes are especially magical.

Excursions and side trips: I strongly recommend doing a canopy tour, which is frightening but very fun. When else will you get to glide through the air like spider man in the treetops? Witches Rock Canopy tour was excellent and it is close to the hotel. We also went on a hike in Rincon de la Vieja Park, which is about 1 1/2 hours away from the hotel. Those of you who like nature and hot springs caused by volcanoes will like this trip. I would recommend J and C Tours for these trips--jandctours. They were very professional, and you should compare their prices with those at the resort. J and C also did a great job of driving us to and from the airport.

General Tips:
1-Getting There: 40 minutes from the Liberia airport—airport code LIR with direct flights from Houston, Atlanta and other cities. The airport is expanding rapidly.
2-Weather: Hot all year with the driest months being November to March.
3-Business Center: Very easy to use with of free internet-ready computers, printers, and other office supplies. The business center has two computers and the game room has four computers. It is also possible to use you own laptop in the area by the front desk via wireless access. Internet access in the room is available but there is a daily fee. If you are simply going to check e-mail for a few minutes everyday, leave your computer at home.
4-Local Currency: Costa Rica uses the Colon (about 500 to the dollar as of August 2005), but everything in the hotel and surrounding area was priced in dollars. You do not need to convert money if you are coming with U.S. dollars.
5-Exit Tax: There is a $26 dollar exit tax when you leave Liberia airport. The hotel will get you a tax voucher for a $2 fee upon check-in ($28 total cost). Make certain you spend the $2 to do this, as the lines at the tax window at the airport looked long and arduous.
6-Dress: Casual throughout. The only dress code is on the golf course where a collared shirt is requited.
7-Toiletries:Every room has L’Occitane En Provence products, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, and after-sun body lotion. You do not have to over-stuff your luggage with excess bath products.

Pura Vida (pure life) as they say in Costa Rica…have fun and enjoy the tranquility, purity and wonder that the Four Seasons offers in this idyllic spot.

  • Stayed August 2005
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98 Thank DNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 10, 2005

This is an "out-of-this-world" experience. The resort is set on a private peninsula that overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Papagayo. Views in any direction are amazing, and the resort is built perfectly into the Valley of the peninsula that reaches down to the beach on both the pacific and gulf sides.

The rooms are located in three buildings in the Valley and the suites are located up in the hills. There is a main building which has the spa, restaurants, lobby bar, etc...

The staff is so friendly, and really make you feel welcome. The golf course has the best views of any course I have ever played, and the Spa is great and offers a variety of treatments.

There are so many daily activities, I highly recommend the golf course tour even if you don't play golf. You get to see vulchurs, monkeys, all different types of tropical animals.

Also, recommend the catamaran sunset tour. We saw sea turtles, and dolphins.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
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14 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2005

We spent a week at the Four Seasons. We have stayed in several of the Four Seasons resorts and rate this the finest of all. The people and service are outstanding as always at Four Seasons but the never have we see so much genuine friendliness. Another thing that we liked is that so many extras are at no charge -- using paddle or sailboats, the children's program and so on.

The golf course has to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Take your camera. In addition, we took lessons from two of their pros - Dan Walden and Alex Iguchi who were outstanding.

Can't wait to go back!

Stayed July 2005
11 Thank atlantatraveler97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 14, 2005

Hello, Overall, good, but a few things to note. First, dont rent a car unless you plan to travel a good deal. We wasted at least an hour waiting for a minibus ride from the airport to the rental car agency about 15 minutes away in the wrong direction from most hotels. The resort is about 60 minutes from car rental company. Get the limo ride in short as even the cheap rental will be 250 with gas for a week.

The resort architecture was striking, but in a 70's style that wont appeal to some, a bit cold. The lobby kinda reminded us of the ubiquitous JFK, RFK high schools built 30 years ago. The rooms were nice and four seasons quality. We stayed at the Punta Mita property and found many of the room features to be the same and it felt a bit let down by the similarities. The view from the rooms on the top floor were very obstructed by the canopy and full floor to ceiling bug screen. We would have preferred a view of some kind. The resort strives to blend in with nature, but we would prefer more striking overlooks as was the case with punta mita, la palmilla etc.

The kids area was nice and activities were plentiful. The staff was great. You could tell some kids were dumped for 8 to 10 hours at a clip and seemed like zombies towards later afternoon.

Couple things about the pool, someone designer chose just the right stonework around the pool to gather as much heat as possible, you can test your pain tolerance walking around barefoot, otherwise take along your shoes. The pools depth was 3.5 feet or so, and was not comfortable for a swim. We kept comparing to Punta Mita we suppose. Dont bother with the daily ice cream, it tasted awful.

Wish the beaches were more inviting, The sand quality was pretty bad and the water was murky. This has to do with the dark and fine sand I suppose, but we had not anticipated a lake side feel on both the ocean and bay sides..

Golf course is solid, but not difficult play. The restaurant by the course is very nice.

Get up early to look for monkey families in the trees, it's entertaining.
The zip line tour and all day catamaran cruise was great.
Food was good, not great. Our suggestion, dont get the meal plan if your not a big eater.

So, good, but not great

  • Stayed April 2005
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33 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2005

My husband and I just returned from a very nice stay at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica. The staff of the Four Seasons made our stay. Anytime we had a concern about our room or needed anything, they responded within minutes with a willingness to help. The concierge was also very attentive - they bent over backwards to make sure you got the tee time you wanted and were more than willing to help with daytrips outside of the resort.

Rooms - Very nice views of the bay/ocean. The retractable screens on each balcony were a great idea. You could hear the waves from your room. I've read complaints in other reviews about the beds, but our bed was very comfortable. (We had a fourth floor room.)

Golf and Tennis - Outstanding golf course with a friendly staff and amazing views. My husband played golf and I just tagged along. It was well worth the views and they did not charge for me to go with him. Tennis was also very good! We seemed to have the golf and tennis to ourselves. Same at the spa, and the hotel was supposedly 70% full.

Diving - The diving at this location was not ideal because of the visibility, but the dive staff was safe, attentive and knowledgable. We saw two white tip sharks and a school of eagle rays - if only the visibility had been better, I'm sure we would have seen more. (15-20 ft. visibility)

Spa and fitness center - Superb! Excellent staff, beautiful facilities and good equipment.

Food - The buffet breakfast at Papagayo was our personal favorite! Tico's Bar is also good for snacks/dinner. Di Mare - good, but not great. Papagayo for dinner - good, but not great.

Activities close to the hotel - Definitely try the zip lines in the canopy at Witches Rock - just a 3 hour excursion and only a twenty minute drive from the resort.

Our only negative - Swiss Travel Tours - we did a day trip with this company and I imagine it was just bad luck for us or a bad day for our guide. He just wasn't a happy guy. The rainforest preserve was beautiful that we visited, however.

Overall - a great vacation and the staff of the Four Seasons made the stay a memorable one! I would highly recommend this resort if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing trip. I'd go back just for the excellent service, spa and breakfast!!

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26 Thank Tri-Travelers2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 5 Contributor
39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2005

Just back from our second 7 night stay. We stayed 7 nights at the Four Seasons Costa Rica and have to say we had another awsome experience. We have stayed at quite a few Four Seasons and this one ranks right up there with our favorite (Istanbul).
The rooms are very comfortable and have amazing views. It was great to wake up and order room service on the balcony of our room and watch the monkeys strolling through the brush and the parrots flying about.
The service is amazing and the spa was awsome (had a facial and hot stone massage.....ahhhhh).
Food I would say was mixed. Congo's was the best out of the three and Di Mare was the most disappointing. Not bad mind you but just not what we had expected.
Do the canopy tour at rincon del la vieja. Great guides and lots of nature to see.
One last thing, to parents out there....quiet pool means just that QUIET. So have the kids swim in the other pool. Not everyone finds your screaming kids cute and adorable.

Stayed May 2005
25 Thank tacjam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed June 7, 2005

I've just returned from a week at FS Costa Rica. Overall, we found the service to be excellent. The resort itself is beautiful. The main buildings of the resort are flanked by beaches on both sides. Usually you are only able to hear the sounds of the ocean, which is great. There is some construction going on. They are building additional Residence Club units and single family homes. Several times during the day you will hear heavy trucks braking a mile up the hill.

The condition and installation of the guest rooms are really below par from other experience at 5 star hotels and Four Seasons. First, I would recommend that no one upgrade the category of their room. We booked a premier view room, which put us on the top floor of the '2000' building. The first room we were given had the view blocked by trees, I mean all you saw were leaves. This is true of most of the rooms, we learned. After we had to change to a room down the floor due to mechanical issues, we got lucky with a mostly-unobstructed view of the ocean and sunsets.

For being open barely one year, the rooms are beat-up already. The beautiful hardwood floors we gouged to hell, in both rooms we had. Most of this was caused by the furniture movement. A few cases of those plastic furniture glides could have saved those floors this severe a trashing. Much of the furniture was scratched and dinged already. I observed here that many complained of beds that creek. Both rooms we had were no exception. Also, faucets in the baths were installed crooked and faucet handle in our second room was loose. The first room we had had malfunctioning AC and a closet light that would not turn off. It would not be so bad to have a broken Air Conditioner, but 4 times during the first day I had to return to the room, calling he mantainance staff back and debate with them (in Spanish) what was worng before they finally dertermined they could not fix it quickly. I have never had a room at a 4 star chain, much less a Four Seasons in such awful condition. The worrysome fact is this property just opened last year.

Overall, the service was Four Seasons, the room condition was not.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
20 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
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 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#2 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#2 On the Beach 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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