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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 4, 2013

Holiday for our Son and Daughter in laws' wedding with 28 people. Some glitches with unmet
expectations and difficulties with our travel agent and Noli Tours. Booked 7 months ahead
and told a month after booking that we had to pay more to upgrade to Ocean view rooms as
there were not enough rooms. Pay it or get a refund and dont go. (This hotel is not
practical for family groups of more than 2 to a room, and has a lot of stairs to deal with daily if you have young children.)
~We arrived and had no welcome drink and found that our rooms were spread from one end of the resort to the other. We were in building 1 and on 2nd floor so no great Ocean view but was at least close to the Pool and a short walk to the Lobby and
restaurants. My 80 year old Mother in law's room was in building 14 at the far end of the resort up many winding roads. You call for transport trucks to pick you up but they stop running at 11pm. So if you intend to be up late be prepared to walk.
~FRONT DESK Staff were very good at accommodating a change of rooms for those that had issues. (My mother in law got moved to our building the next morning. )We did see a variety of rooms in different buildings because we were with a group.
~Some in 14 and 15 complained of having crabs in their room in the morning if they didnt put towels against the door base. 1 couple had no working safe all week.
Some couples had 2 double beds instead of the King size beds requested.
~Buildings 19 and 20 had good views and verandas and were closer to the Ocean .Still a 5 min walk.
~Building 1 seemed to be decent rooms and were well kept ,even though the tubs were
quite dated.
~Water and beer not restocked for 4 days. Supposed to be everyother day I heard.
With 34 degrees every day it would be nice to have this service daily.
WEDDING~ Harold Rojas was the Wedding co-ordinator and was Excellent! He paid attention to every detail and was there to make sure everything was smooth and taken care of. At 4 pm we had a lovely Garden setting outdoor wedding area overlooking the bay and Mountain hills.
Very nice Cocktail hors d'oeuvres buffet and champagne reception. Marimba band and lighting
as it gets dark at 6-6:30pm
WATER - brushed teeth with it and drank the water in the restaurants and had no problems.
BEDS - Very comfortable King size.
BUFFET FOOD ~ Buffets were well presented items with variety and changed with some themes but still became a lot of the same after a while. eg Breakfast sausages 1st 2 days , then they were weiner slices for next 4. Great Coffee and Service staff in all areas worked hard and were fantastic and positve! Some waits for tables but not long.
DRINKS ~ all inclusive and lots of tropical drinks available. Red and White house wines decent
and Imperial beer was good and cold. Spirit drinks seemed to have different flavor. Eg.
Canadian Club or Appleton Rum did not taste like the real product. Almost tasted blended with
Cacique or cheaper alcohol. (personal opinion.)
RESERVED DINNERS~ Italian ~Was told for the weekend we had to book the day of so arrived
at 7:20 to be first and second in line to book for the Italian and was told they were full! Asked how that could be, or how many tables they had. or what times were available. No response. Finally after some unhappy complaining we got a time at 8 for 4 and 8:30 for 5 Apparently someone had evaded the booking policy to accommodate some larger groups. Once we arrived the Maitre d re arranged tables to get us all closer together and quickly seated us.
Our service was spectacular and food very good.
RESERVED DINNERS~ Asian Our tentative booking for Monday was cancelled as they closed
the Asian that day for a wedding banquet gathering.
SWIMMING POOL~ Warm , Clean, Lots of activities . (approx. 75 steps down from Lobby.)Gloria and Lou were fantastic everyday at the pool to encourage activities and keep everyone having fun. Then they worked the rest of the day in other areas. Very hard working staff. (Slippery around perimeter as my wife slipped on wet concrete and broke her big toe.) Action on improving safety around pool once wet should be considered.
BEACH 5 min walk from pool. down some stairs to sand beach , a little darker colored
with some rocky area. Warm water some Monkeys in the trees.
EXCURSIONS~Met Bryan from ISSY'S TOURS on the beach and booked 9 of us for Arenal Vol ano Zip line tour , Nature walk/hike Lunch and Las Lagos water park. Full Day with about 3 hours drive both ways.Our personal van so no stopping at other resorts or waiting for people. 7:30-7:30pm Tour guides Elvis and Driver Ariial were FANTASTIC. They showed us Tree Sloths 2 & 3 toed, Pesotes, Bluejean Frogs, and many more animals birds and info. Had great day for a little less than the Hotel excursions.Lots to see and do in Costa Rica.
Stayed a second week at the Westin Playa Conchal paid more money for it but the service and food and resort were 10 times better. You couldn't go wrong there but the only thing the WEstin could improve on is the quality of evening entertainment.

Room Tip: The rooms in 19 and 20 for view and building 1 to be close to all amenities.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank DandMonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,624 - 1,630 of 3,316 reviews

Reviewed February 4, 2013

We came to the Occidental with a large group for our wedding in January 2013. Harold is the coordinator at the hotel and went above and beyond for us. He truly made the experience memorable.
My wife and I had a great experience with the hotel and enjoyed most of our meals and service. Some of our group would disagree. We had our fridge stocked everyday while some in our group did not.
The food was mostly pretty good, a couple of buffet days were definitely weaker. We enjoyed the ala carte restaraunts very much but had trouble with the booking. Rules regarding booking seemed inconsistent.
Royal club was included in our wedding booking but our room seemed no different than anyone else's and the perks did not seem worth the extra cost if one were to pay.
The drinks were amazing and the weather made the trip! Eddie was awesome in servicing the pool with drinks and was very friendly.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank jsaint78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

My husband and I and 18 other family members just returned from our vacation to Costa Rica on 2 Feb 13. We had a great vacation. I read a bunch of reviews on Trip Advisor before we went, so I went in with my expectations lowered (although someone once told me the key to happiness is low expectations and I do tend to believe this). I was pleasantly pleased with the resort. I thought our room was wonderful (we were in Building 19). The shower looked brand new and was very spacious. No plumbing problems in our room. My minor criticism of the room is that there was a lack of dresser space and no hooks in the bathroom. I enjoyed our porch and the view. The refrigerator was re-stocked with water every day. I don't go on vacation to spend time in the room, so for sleeping and cleaning up it was well above average.

Although the buffet is small, I always found food I enjoyed and I was thrilled that I could maintain portion control and not overeat (I came home weighing the same as when I left . . I'm super happy about that). I particularly enjoyed the Mexican buffet food nights. The pulled pork was excellent. My husband and I ate in the Italian restaurant twice and the Asian restaurant once. I preferred the Italian restaurant to the Asian. The food at the snack bar was ok. Loved the nachos and guacamole. We went on a fishing excursion and caught an Amberjack that the chef at the snack bar prepared for us. It was excellent!!!

I had read many a review that mentioned to go find Larry at the beach for tours. On our first day I was walking the beach and came upon some other family members talking to someone. I walked over and they were talking tours. I asked the gentlemen his name, and wouldn't you know it was Larry!! We booked the fishing trip, ATV tour, River Cruise and Horseback Ride/Zip Lining/Mud Bath all with Larry. He did such a great job . . .especially with our big crazy group. I appreciated his knowledge, sense of humor, and willingness to show us things outside the tour. When we were leaving the zip lining adventure we stopped at the side of the road where a family was making products from raw sugar cane. He asked them if we could come take and look and they graciously said yes. This is the above and beyond of a tour guide that we really liked. In addition, Larry was quite open and honest with us. I asked him about certain tours and he honestly told me why I might not like it. I appreciated that he was up front with me and wouldn't just book a tour to get a tour. Larry is the man! When you book with him, it's just your group and him. No going from hotel to hotel to pick other people up. So personal!! If you go, I hope you can find him on the beach as well.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

I just returned from a week long stay at the occidental grand in costa rica and it was the best trip i have ever had in my life! First it started off with the travel company telling us everything not to do other wise we would get arrested including don't feed the animals and do not talk to the vendors on the beach. OK so we arrived at the occidental grand resort and were welcomed with a welcome drink and they brought us to our room. Our room had the most amazing view and the guests who waked by our room all said that too! The room was amazing and cold all the time! Which was great because the weather is very hot in costa. The occidental is a wonderful place for honeymooners or vacationers it is very romantic and quiet. Not a big light life here, they did provide local bands and entertainment to come and play in the lobby which was enjoyable but for a couple in our late 20's we needed a little more. There was one night were the resort had karaoke and the rest of the couples from NY and us were very excited to do something, but it ended after only 1 hour and we were stuck again with nothing to do. But to each is own. We meet so many great people from back home in the NYC area and we continued to enjoy costa with them the entire time. We had already booked 2 excursions with swiss travel and they were great. We did the mega combo which included zip-lining, a 1,300 foot water slide, horseback riding, lunch and hot springs, a sauna, and a mud bath,and the aerinal volcano tour which included a 3 hour drive to lake aerinal where we enjoyed an amazing lunch, an hour and a half boat ride to aerinal volcano on lake aerinal, an hour walk through the rainforest, hot springs and a dinner at a 5 star resort at the bottom of the volcano, both were incredible and fun.
It wasn't until we met a couple who used JD Adventure for some excursions when we realized we need to go out with him so he can show us more of Costa Rica. JD was so warm and welcoming. He took us and 2 other couples to Coco Beach where we enjoyed a wonderfully delicious meal and then enjoyed a night of dancing at a local dance club. The next day he took us to several beaches including flamingo beach, shell beach and tamarindo, which we enjoyed some boogie boarding, banana boating, and another incredible dinner. He toped the day off with a Costa Rican band coming to play for us! The food at both restaurants were amazing, I enjoyed lobster and mahi mahi and this was the best food I have eaten in a long time.
Next time we go to Costa Rica and hopefully that is soon, We will be going through JD for everything and we cannot wait to see JD and Costa Rica again! Pura Vida!

Room Tip: We went through our travel agent and it seemed like we had the best room in the place with the best...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Caroline N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

I just can't believe some of the reviews on here.They must have stayed some place different than we did.Anyway our stay was excellent,It might be listed as 4 1/2 to 5 stars but some things were and other stuff no. Great room with a great view.The shower in our room wasnt that nice but served its purpose.Buffet food was excellent.I am somewhat a picky eater but got along just fine.We didnt do the A la cartes.I read some other reviews about how busy the buffet was.Yes we waited 10 min at the longest only ONCE but hey we are on holidays and whats 10 min.Lots of drinks were available.Bartenders exc.The breakfast buffet was excellent and yes, there were some long lineups for eggs or Omlettes but we never waited more than 5 min MAX.Pool was NEVER full with lots of room.Great service and activities.Chairs were ALWAYS available whenever we went down.Yes you may have to ask if someone was using the chairs but other guests at the resort were great to help.Nice beach and only a few min walk away.It was a bit rocky in some areas and had some smallers rocks in the water but we got along just fine.Loved it.NO IT IS NOT A NICE PURE WHITE SANDY BEACH like other areas.Yes it was breezy but no SAND STORMS.Yes there was lots of stairs and hills but shuttles was provided if you wanted them.We needed the excercise because we ate too much.Nice setting for a resort.Staff was excellent.They we NOT RUDE TO US. Much the opposite.Twice they went out of their way to help us and it wasnt their problem.Thanks again. We became great friends during our stay with them.We did have problem getting coffee but after a call,it was soon resolved.We also met some others guest who deserved poor service because they were rude for sure.They expected to be waited on hand over fist. We were never ONCE approached by a time share employee.Others said they just said no once and was left alone.This is not a party resort.Entertainment was ok at night but nothing special.Pretty quiet at nights but that was Ok by us.Some animals and monkeys at the resort was nice.Would recommend TOURS YOUR WAY for tours before you leave for your holiday.Email Mainor and you wont be sorry.Overall we were happy with this resort.Would go back for sure

Room Tip: We were in building 2.was a bit noisy to about 10 pm but didnt bother us.We were close to the pool a...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank catlady303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

the staff was GREAT and I was able to negotiate a better room. Location is cool and had a great time. Work with Larry (at the beach) for the off-location excursions; he's an honest and knowledgeable guy. Fishing in the gulf is fantastic (caught a 5 foot barracuda) and the zip-lining/mud baths and hot spring excursion was well worth the trip. Really a great spot; will be back if we ever go to CR again. Highly recommend this spot as an "out-of-the-box" Thanksgiving location. Could not go to Florida for what we spent to head to CR. Had a ball. Pura vida!

Room Tip: negotiate an upgrade when you get there. make sure you head out for some fishing...caught a 5 foot b...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank thom b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

We travelled with Air Canada Vacations, mid January 2013 to Occidental Grand Papagayo. I will first start with, as soon as we walked in, no welcome drink, no big deal to me, but we were immediately approached by a salesman, inviting us to a timeshare presentation. We were approached 3 times during the week for timeshare, some people might consider it, if they put some effort into pleasing their guests.
Buffet food is buffet food, but the breakfast is a jackpot....it is poorly designed, where to get eggs made to order, is right in the middle of the buffet, so if you don't want eggs to order, and trying to get other items, feels like you are being rude and cutting in line....
Good luck getting into a la cartes, we did get into Italien, only because it was my husbands b-day, but it was nothing to brang home about, service is poor, food was just ok... i actually preferred buffet food.
Room was average, we did get our fridge stocked every two days, except on the day before leaving, i guess they wanted to save it, but i made 4 calls to reception and they did fill it.
The beach is ok, there isn't much snorkelling going on there, it's a rock , there is no coral reef, (at least in the front, where i saw the resort do snorkelling tours) when the tide is up, not many fish, visibly is bad...so if you have snorkelled elsewhere, don't bother taking your snorkel gear, you are wasting weight and room in your suitcase.
Pool: I could not believe how small the pool was for the amount of rooms in this resort....it can be very crowded in the pool and around. I normally don't do the pool thing, when there is a beach, but when tide is high, there is no beach left, and the wind was so bad, it was a sand storm at times on the beach.
The resort is very secluded, no where to walk too.... it is too bad they don't have bicyles, and taxis are 40 bucks to town, no matter what, i tried finding a deal, i did get a bit of one, asking locals on the beach to phone me a cab, and i paid 30 return.
Drinks are fabulous on this resort, not watered down, they have pretty well anything that i could think of, and the staff in bars and restaurants are wonderful.
One BIG problem, is the size of the buffet, there are not many seats, maybe 60-70, only guessing, and the resort holds over 300 people, so when you want to eat, you may not be able too, line ups for buffet, breakfast and dinner, so you line up to give your room number, then asked to wait in the lobby til they call you, we waited up to 45 minutes on evening, and the resort wasn't at capacity. I could not imagine being there peak season, the host at the buffet had given her notice that week, as she could no longer handle all the guests yelling at her, because they had to wait to get a seat in buffet.
The wildlife around resort is great, i got up early every morning to see the monkeys down on the beach, and one morning they were right by the snack bar, and one day i saw a coati go into someone's bag at the pool and steal someone, so if people are missing items, there are no people thieves, just the animals...haha
Last but not least.....Tours: We booked all our tours from JD aventures on the beach, better prices and not with a big crowd, you don't have to stop at the other resort to pick up others....we booked one, and had the most wonderful tour guide, Mike, so once we had Mike, we booked 2 other tours with him....and lucky for us, we were suppose to have 4 others on the tour, but they no-showed so we had private tours with Mike all week, and well worth every penny.

I would return to Costa Rica, but one thing that really bothers me and still does, is the street dogs, i know they are everywhere, but in a country where they preach, save the rainforest and have national parks and protect this and that and the other, but no one cares about the street dogs, to the point where i saw a local in Liberia, kick one, i wanted to kick him....and then i saw another lady feed him, so i know there are some good souls in Costa Rica, I just wish they could focus just a little on the animals that are so dependant on us, it is not there fault they are on the street.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank KittyB7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Papagayo - Adults only

Address: Playa Hermosa, 485000, Costa Rica (Formerly Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barceló)
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 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
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range: $175 - $345 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Papagayo - Adults only 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 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

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