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“A Friendly and Gracious Place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barcelo

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Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barcelo
Ranked #7 of 14 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A Friendly and Gracious Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2007

I was a bit concerned regarding my upcoming holiday at the Grand Papagayo given the negative comments I had read online. I worried needlessly.

The hotel is beautifully sited. The staff were good natured and friendly with an amazing memory for names. The food was fresh, varied and delicious. The coffee - well the coffee served with steaming hot milk leaves Starbucks behind.

My daughter and I visited the week of November 10 and stayed in a Royal Club room. The comfortable patio offered wonderful views of sunrises and sunsets while the tastefully done room offered rest from the many activities that Costa Rica and this hotel have to offer.

The beach was uncrowded and we had no problem getting loungers. We enjoyed the snorkeling and the drinks brought to us.

The Grand Papagayo's web site really does not do it justice. It is a lovely place to stay.

Mosquitos - yes they were there - as they are in Canada in the summer.

The dog and the cats (mother, four kittens and occasionally the father) are well fed by everyone. At night the dog sleeps on the lawn just off the open air lobby. All is well in their lives.

Many times when the staff learned it was my first visit to Costa Rica they would say "welcome home".

I certainly would look forward to staying at this hotel again.

  • Liked — I liked that it was a smaller hotel with many buildings vs one building. i liked the way the many buildings where situated on the site. I liked the views from my room and the materials used for finishing the interior of the room.
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
15 Thank the_prairies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (688)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2007

Just returned from one week at the Occidental. We had paid for a Royal Club upgrade from Air Canada- totally not worth it. If you go there just book a regular room. We did not have the promised mini bar stocked every day, there was no cd/dvd player or high speed in our room, the ocean view was minimal. We did not have windows that opened or a sliding door to be able to get fresh air in our room, and the air conditioning unit was very loud. The food at the buffet is bland and not varied. There were two specialty restaurants but we had great difficulty trying to book a table so gave up. The pool area
had old wooden deck chairs, the towels are very tired looking, and there weren't enough seats for all the guests. The beach is nothing to speak of and I guarantee you will be disappointed. At night, one lobby bar and a small disco- live entertainment was a singer or a few musicians for an hour in the evening. Nothing much to do. The hotel is far from other activities and the cabs from there are very expensive. The staff are friendly and try to help, but their lack of experience is evident. One other pet peeve with Air Canada vacations is that we were picked up three hours before our flight to return to Canada and did not get lunch at the resort but were taken to a souvenir shop on the way to the airport.

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
4 Thank BlabbyCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2007

Positives:
Great staff, friendly and accommodating
Good food, many choices
Nice grounds, lush, green and well maintained
Lots of activity around pool in late afternoons
Mornings at the pool are quiet and great for relaxing or reading
Good drinks and service around pool is good.
You can drink the water so don't have to worry about the drinks with ice or the washing of the food.
Felt safe in the resort.
Pretty good fitness facility with airconditioning.

Negatives:
Nothing within walking distance
Closest town is not worth visiting
Didn't feel safe outside the resort.
Pool not very clean and too small for size of resort
Not enough lounges around the pool
Beach is VERY small - not good for walking
Jellyfish in water so not good for snorkling, swimming, etc.
Rooms badly in need of upgrading (bathroom fixtures, etc.)
Crabs and worms on floor in room if you are on ground floor

  • Liked — Food and drinks
  • Disliked — Small beach
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank PaulaVancouver_BC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2007

We spent the last week of our honeymoon at the Grand Papayago. We had a wonderful time. Our room was so cute upon arrival as the maids had "built" a heart with two swans made out of towels. There were also flowers scattered on the bed and in the bathroom. Our bracelets identified us as honeymooners so it was fun to have people congratulating us all week.

The room was great...our view was amazing. We had an ocean view and every morning we woke up (to the birds and monkeys) and the view of the ocean. So amazing and beautiful.

Each day the maids did some other cute animal made out of towels or some design with our bed covers. It was always fun to return to our room.

The food was quite good. The Oriental restaurant is excellent. THe Italian is ok but not as good. The first night we ate there and weren't impressed so we tried again later in the week and had a better experience but still not great. The buffet is quite good and almost hit or miss. The breakfast was great every day and you always have the option of an omelette. Lunch was also fine although we missed it most days due to day long tours. Dinner was great on a few occasions and mediocre on some days. Sunday night was the worst...I think the resort had cleared out for the most part so it seemed they were serving the leftovers from earlier in the week. I wised at some points that there was a place to buy a meal just to avoid the buffet. The best part of the buffet was the girl who took your name down to get in...she was so friendly and happy.

The snack bar by the pool was great. The bartenders were so friendly and knew what drinks we would order by the second day we were there. The food was also kept warm and quite fresh there.

The beach was nice and quick walk from the pool.

The entire staff was incredibly accomodating and helpful. One day our tour was late and the front desk called to make sure we hadn't been forgotten.

Both bars (Lobby and Disco) was great and we had a lot of fun playing pool in the Disco.

Swiss Travel was great for all our tours. We did the canopy which was a blast and a few tours of rain forest hiking. The white water rafting was the best though. If you're up for it, I definitely suggest it. THe rapids are class 3 and 4 and one of the rapids is a 12 foot drop but it's totally worth it. Especially if you get the cd of pictures...such a blast to relive it.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country. We were surpised at how undisturbed everything is even though they have so many tourists. Many of the tours didn't even appear to be a "tourist" area like we think of in the US. Even white water rafting...you got dropped off to a 4 wheel drive vehicle where you drove 4 miles up and around into the middle of the forest and then hiked down the river.

It was also great to be able to use American money as they take it everywhere. We didn't have any language barriers either as everyone in Costa Rica speaks English.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank danzr13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nutley,NJ
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2007

I just got back from a 4 night stay (Nov 23-27th) at the Occidental Grand ... The hotel was very clean and pretty, and the staff were very helpful and accomodating. I read a few negative reviews on here prior to my trip in regards to the staff, food, and stairs....basically here is what I have to say...For myself as a health-conscious person and my boyfriend who is a big eater..we both thought the food was great...there was always a variety to choose from, and for an all inclusive the alcholic drinks were tasty and had plenty of alcohol in them. As far as the amount of stairs at the resort...i didnt mind it at all....but again I'm a very active person and I'm not suffering from any medical conditions..if you are someone who has difficulty climbing stairs and hills, than I suggest you consider other options. The beaches are decent. much more rustic than what some may be used to, but again, Costa Rica is not known for their beaches; its a destination in which is very unique and adventurous.

As far as acitivites..the pool area was always active during the morning and afternoon..unfortunately we never had time to lounge by the pool due to the tours we signed up for. We booked through Swiss Travels, which has an office at the hotel...We did the Arenal Volcano/Cotere Rainforest/Hotsprings tour...it was well worth the $110 a person....but be advised its a long day 730 am -10pm.... We also did horseback riding with Charlies Tours, and the half-day canopy tour....all activities were excellent!!!!

Costa Rica is home to plenty of wildlife which was great to see. Monkeys were easy to spot high up in trees, there were plenty of colorful birds and butterflies around, and lizards too. There are a lot of stray animals in CR and some cats and a dog on the hotel property. Do not be alarmed though...the stray dog is very cute and friendly, but if your an animal lover (like myself) you'll feel bad for her *yes its a girl*!

Other info: Taxi's are everywhere outside of the airport and at the hotel...so we didnt feel the need to rent a car...bring conditioner in 3oz containers when you pack, because the hotel does not give you conditioner in the room, and at the gift shop they only sell the 2 in 1 packets.

My boyfriend and I agreed that this resort was very nice...the only gripe we really had was that after 10:30 pm, there was no chance of getting anything to eat anywhere...and after we spent 13 hours on a tour, and ate at 5pm we were a little hungry...so my advice would be to pack some snacks just in case of situations like that. Oh and yes the mosquito's are awful..but thats how it is in the caribbean too!

  • Liked — service & privacy
  • Disliked — wish they had 24 hr room service
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Kris524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwickshire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2007

First of all we didn't get a very good introduction to Costa Rica in that we travelled with First Choice (excellent) we landed at the given time only to take off again as there had been wide spread flooding in the area and they could not get us to our resort. We went to Riviera Maya in Mexico. Which was great as we have never been.

We arrived at the Grand two days late, in the pouring rain and dark. We had a Royal Club Junior Suite which was very nice, we changed our room the next day to one in a more quiet area, both great rooms. We had a bath, walk in shower, lounge area and bedroom with a patio, wine and fruit arrived the following day. The maid had been everyday before we got back from breakfast and did a great job of cleaning.

We had heavy rain for the first few days and quite a few external repairs were required to the roof, we had a family of racoons living in ours who were none too happy with having their entrance repaired. These guys were cute and came every night for fruit along with a skunk and coati. We saw massive Iguanas, squirrels, howler monkeys, toads and a wonderful display of parakeets every evening in their hundreds.

The wildlife on this resort was fantastic we saw 29 species of bird including a Motmot which is a lovely bird, humming birds, woodpeckers and oriel. Butterflies were everywhere.

The weather did pick up and we had some lovely sunny days, I can't comment on the pool area as there was so much to do we didn't spend anytime at the pool, there always seemed to be loads going on down there.

We couldn't fault the food and we are really fussy, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in the buffet when we were on site, we did try the Italian but the tuna starter was raw not my thing.
The pool buffet was also great loads of choice.

We spent a lot of time in the Royal Club bar with Gerardo who was fantastic and great company, food order from here was good too.

We had contacted Amy from Avispas Tours before hand and called twice when we got to our hotel but had no contact from her at all, so can't say anything good. Would have thought a return call would have been less rude than just ignoring us.

Having said that because of all the rain it was almost towards the end of the first week before we went on any tours, we used hotel beds, Carlos took us to Monteverde, which was a bit scary on the way back as it had started to rain again and the roads were being washed away. 100% commitment on concentration when driving. We went on the river tour with Sergio, this was great saw loads of wildlife including crocodiles (massive), we also went on a bird tour with Sergio which was great we would not have spotted everything we saw had it not been for him. Top tour guide.

For those who were wondering the kittens and parents are still there and doing fine being fed by everyone. The dog Ross has been adopted by the hotel security and another stray had started appearing everyday, he must have heard how good it was.

Only two negatives but they were not a problem, the turndown service was a bit hit and miss, and we had to ring twice in two weeks to get our mini bar restocked. Neither of which would spoil anyones holiday. Beware of people who moan, I don't know what they expect.

The Customer Service desk were absolutely excellent and very helpful.

Go to Costa Rica this place is one of my best holidays for relaxation and wildlife. However I came home with lots of bites which break out into an itch every now and again. I tried everything but to no avail, prepare to be eaten.

  • Liked — The Royal Club and accommodation.
  • Disliked — Loud music at the pool area
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank CoupleWarwickshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronx, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2007

Stayed here Thanksgiving week 2007. This is a nice hotel in COSTA RICA- remember, it's not in America, so you may run out of hot water or find no soap or shampoo in the room. The staff is extremely friendly. I took my two kids (11, 13) and my 70 year old parents- all had an enjoyable experience. Never-ending food and booze. A simple 1000 Colones tip (around $2) gets you noticed pretty quickly. Alamo rents cars directly out of the lobby- use it to check out the nearby volcanoes (Ricon Vieja) or surfing beaches. No street signs in CR so prepare to get lost, but have fun. Monkeys can be seen in the trees while sitting around the pool. BRING INSECT REPELLANT and afterbite!!! You will be in a jungle. This is not the Four Seasons, but definitely a great place for the price. If you are a complainer the Four Seasons may be best suited for you, but you'll pay to live "American" in CR. Happy people- don't think twice, book a room here. Nice pool and beach, plenty of activities.

  • Liked — Kids loved it.
  • Disliked — No hot water 2 out of 7 nights
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank LovetoTravel1066
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barcelo

Property: Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barcelo
Address: Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica
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 Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barcelo 4*
Number of rooms: 163
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica,The Adults Only Occidental Grand Papagayo is only at 25 minutes from the Liberia International Airport. This Resort surrounded by nature, boast lush tropical lanscape with scenic views of Bahía Culebra in Papagayo Golf.Ideal for couples, honeymooners and adult guest seeking a relaxing getaway. The Occidental Grand Papagayo offers a highly persolized 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

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