We had a fantastic time at the Occidental for our wedding as well as the week before and after that we stayed. We got married on March 12th 2011, and were at the Occidental from March 8th- March 22nd. The weather was HOT and beautiful everyday.
I have to admit I was a little apprehensive coming up to our arrival date that things would all fall apart, but the minute we arrived at the hotel my anxiety lifted. Harold Rojas, the wedding coordinator, is absolutely amazing. He greeted us immediately upon arrival. We had a short meeting with him to finalize all the details. I originally thought that the flowers and decorations were to be a generic white, but he asked what colors and flowers we were interested in and had a beautiful bouquet and arch made for us. After the ceremony the arch was taken apart and made into decorations for the reception dinner. I had also brought some decorations and favors for the reception dinner, which the staff promptly took with my layout sketch and had everything set up for our dinner. We had 36 guest, so they closed down the pool side bar/restaurant to accommodate our group with a private reception.
We went for the basic wedding package. The only real difference between the two was spa service for the bride and groom, which I wasn't interested in getting. Harold also compted us a few extra items(bottles of champagne, cake charge...) for the extra people we had, so the price I found to be most reasonable for the Basic Package.
We chose the garden area to have our ceremony. I wanted to wear heals so the beach was out, plus the steps down to the beach are not heal friendly, haha. My only wedding day complaint was that the generator went down when we were getting ready, so our room was quite hot. But that was not the hotels fault, and they had it fixed ASAP.
For the dinner we did a buffet. Harold pre-sent out a menu list with pricing for us to choose from. I attached it on to this email for you to check out. We went with the Costa Rican Buffet, I figured when in Rome... haha, though all 3 buffets sounded extremely appetizing. The cake we got to choose between vanilla and chocolate, as well as the color of drizzle they put on it.
I had pre made a couple play lists on my Ipod, and my brother in law was awesome enough to press stop and play for us. At the ceremony they set up a little cd player, so the guests could listen to what I picked out, and we could walk down the aisle to set songs. At the dinner reception they hooked up my ipod to the bar sound system, then when it was time to dance, they just switched the play list over for us. We had the pool bar/restaurant until 10pm, and then they shut it down and most of us went up to the disco. The DJ's at the disco were awesome and played any song we asked for that we didn't have time to listen/dance to at the reception.
I would have to say my favorite part about the entire resort was the staff. The Costa Ricans are beautiful, friendly, hard working, proud people. The staff made all of us feel very welcome and appreciated. We were served by the same people for the whole two weeks, and most of the staff remembered our names, drink orders, and the amount of people we usually had sitting together.
The rooms are simple, but nice and clean. I didn't go there to spend time in our room really, so I was happy with clean sheets and towels. A few of our guests complained that they did not have towels in their rooms, though a quick phone call the the front desk fixed that.
I read some complaints on Tripadvisor about the food at the resort, but I am not sure why. The buffets were always stocked with a copious amount of choices. Each night was a theme night which rotated throughout the week, so we never got bored. And the food was very flavorful!
I also noticed on trip advisor that people complained about the hotel not being a 5star resort, but then read one review that explained the hotel perfectly. The other people were comparing it to Cancun 5stars which you can't do because Costa Rica's all inclusive resorts have not been set up for as long as the ones in Mexico. In my mind everything was clean and beautiful and the service was prompt and friendly which made it worth the money for us.
That being said, my only real complaint was the other guests complaining about miniscule problems(i.e. Having to wait in line to sit for lunch at the lunch rush, and that they didn’t carry Canadian rye in the lounge bar). In my opinion there was nothing to complain about,. The drinks were cold and delicious, the resort was clean, and the staff was extremely friendly.
One thing that did happen was on the day we arrived the hotel had accidentally overbooked themselves for the first night, so a few of the guests were asked to spend the night at one of the other nearby hotels(my cousin’s family included). At first I thought that was kind of unprofessional, but the guests who went for that one night still had full access to the Occidental, a free shuttle ride between the hotels, were upgraded to Royal Club service, ocean view rooms, received a free tour of their choice, and a free massage. So in the end it wasn't a bad deal at all. Plus they were in their Occidental rooms by 3pm the next day.
We are definitely planning on going back to Costa Rica in a few years to travel around, and if I get a chance I will to go back to the Occidental one day for another all inclusive trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica,The Adults Only Occidental Papagayo is only at 25 minutes from the Liberia International Airport. This Resort surrounded by nature, boast lush tropical landscape with scenic views of Bahia Culebra in Papagayo Golf.Ideal for couples, honeymooners and adult guest seeking a relaxing getaway. The Occidental Papagayo offers a highly personalized five star all- inclusive experience delivered by an attentive and dedicated staff. ... 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