We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nice resort, could use some minor tuning up”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 12 more sites!
Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 10, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo between May 31st and June 7th.

My initial impression of the property was not poor but I had to readjust my expectations. Prior to visiting Costa Rica my only experiences in the all-inclusive world have been visits to the Palace resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen and the OGP was far different. Not bad, just different. It took a bit to shed my expectations and develop a more realistic outlook.

Property: The property itself is quite lovely and mostly well-maintained. It is aging and has a few dents and dings but it is in no way dilapidated. Many of the buildings have been updated beautifully and a comprehensive remodel is underway.

The beach is a little walk down a well-kept concrete path. Our favorite time to enjoy the beach was at sunset as it offers a lovely vantage over the ocean. It is smallish and somewhat narrow which renders it mostly unusable during high tide, not a huge deal but it does mean the chaise lounges are in a constant state of sandiness. The water is very warm and somewhat silty as the beach is located near the mouth of a river. There are thousands of hermit crabs and it was fun watching them.

I am training for a half ironman and was looking forward to using the fitness facilities to workout but was somewhat disappointed that the treadmills were "slipping". Any runner who regularly uses a treadmill will know what I'm talking about. A little maintenance would cure the problem quickly. Otherwise it was adequate; clean, equipment in mostly good working order with towels/water offered near the door.

The pool is decent. There is no swim-up bar which was a bummer but the bar at the snack bar is a couple steps away and is open from 10AM to 5PM. I’ve never met a surface that I didn’t like to slip on or trip over, so if you are like me then take care walking around the snack bar while wet as the tile is incredibly slick.

Rooms: I realize that several reviewers have complained of dead bugs in the room but honestly? It's Costa Rica. The only thing more plentiful than birds and timeshare salesmen is insects. They WILL get into your room (the insects, not the timeshare salesmen, thankfully.) Some of them will bite you, others may die. Some of them will bite you and then die when you smack them. The insect reaper works overtime in these parts - I found it helpful to simply accept it as part of the charm and be grateful the iguanas were too big to follow me into the room unnoticed.

Our room was quite comfortable; the bed was large and the linens were clean. All our lights, the room safe, television worked. There had been a curious decision to paint the interior of the bath-shower combo a death-metal inspired flat black but I can't say I had a complaint about it outside of the fact that I felt like playing air guitar and mouthing the words to Highway to Hell every time I bathed.

Yes, there was a touch of mildew in portions of the bathroom but not a type of out-of-control mildew that suggested neglect. It was obviously kept conscientiously at bay and was probably the result of humid weather and repeated steamy showers.

We didn't have a coffee maker in our room which wasn't a big deal because one was furnished as soon as we asked. What was NOT furnished with said coffee maker was coffee. None was delivered throughout our stay either, despite daily requests for its delivery. We decided it was a housekeeping brand of Costa Rican charm.

Animals: I stayed in room 110 on the very bottom floor of building 1 which meant that the door to our room was at the bottom of a hill that played host to a variety of critters who would sometimes roll off the hill and onto the ground by our door. Some people may not particularly enjoy opening their door to find a three-foot iguana, a gaggle of very surprised land crabs or dozens of geckos but we loved it. A room on a higher floor would probably spare you the constant parade of wildlife if you’re not feeling it.

...and speaking of animals. There are a couple of resort "pets" running about the property. Picture a raccoon crossed with a sloth crossed with a lemur and grant it the ability to manipulate sliding glass doors and the desire to pilfer your bananas and indifference enough to leave an enormous mess in your room and you've got the charming Costa Rican critter known as a pizote. They are docile but not shy and will come right into your room if you don’t take care to lock your sliding glass door.

Also? There are regular raccoons, just like we have in the states but they only come out at night to raid the garbage cans and hiss at each other. A couple of flocks of resident green parrotlets roost about the property in the evenings and can be quite noisy but go silent after dark.

Food: I can't say much about the food that hasn't already been said. I'm a big fruit and vegetable freak so I was thoroughly satisfied with the very high-quality produce present at every meal.

Otherwise the non-fruit and non-vegetable food is fine. Not great! Not terrific! But fine. The only people at the resort that I heard going on and on about how bad it was were the same people who complained that not enough of the locals spoke English. So I guess what I'm trying to say is this; if you are normal person with reasonable expectations just take a deep breath and eat. You'll live. You might even find that you enjoy a few of the offerings.

The only real complaint that I have re: food is the fish. Regardless of whether the little sign calls it tuna, swordfish or salmon? It's all tilapia (and very soggy tilapia at that.)

Stick to the beef, chicken and pork offerings and you'll probably be happier. Make sure to try the pinto gallo in the mornings when it's been freshly replenished and definitely have a couple of the banana-leaf-wrapped tamales (delicious!)

Bars: There are technically three bars on the property but the little bar nearest the beach did not open once the week we were there. As previously mentioned, the bar located in the snack bar is open between 10AM and 5PM and the bar located off the lobby opens as soon as the snack bar closes. It is a bit of a bummer to have to hike straight up a hill to get a drink but we got over it quickly and quite enjoyed having drinks on the balcony of the upstairs bar while watching iguanas eat the geckos and the lights over Papagayo Bay.

Staff: We really enjoyed the vast majority of the staff, this is a resort that really does thrive on the personalities of the people who work there. Our favorite people in the buffet were Roy and Fernanda who were incredibly sweet-natured and helpful. The upstairs bar was staffed by Carlos, Wilmer and Enrique who worked well together and were all very charming and funny. Don’t let your first day go by without visiting the bar at the snack bar and meeting Mauricio One and Mauricio Two, who were wickedly funny and made terrific drinks.

A British gal named Katrina works in the lobby and was happy to share her own experiences and help us navigate our way around the area. She is a Costa Rican resident with a passion for the country and was full of great advice on what to see and what to avoid.

Alex is a travel/trip coordinator who works in the downstairs travel office and was quick to recommend local businesses and even facilitate services. He is full of great suggestions and is constantly drinking coffee (“I am a very good Costa Rican, I drink coffee all day long,” he told us.)

The service is mostly great. That being said, it can be very inconsistent and we did have a few less-than-stellar encounters. None of these were substantial enough to inspire us to complain, but we did find ourselves wondering what was going on with hotel management at times.

On a final note, we were thoroughly annoyed that upon check-in a member of the hotel staff tried to coerce us into a timeshare presentation. So, Occidental, what you’re telling us that it is not enough that we chose to spend quite a bit of money and our vacation at your hotel? You are going to greet us and immediately demand that we invest a significant amount of our vacation hours in a sales presentation where you will try to get even more of our money? We found this in very poor taste and couldn’t figure out why the rep kept trying to sell us on the fact that we would be given a “free” breakfast when we were staying at an all-inclusive.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank stepharmstrong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (3,310)
There are newer reviews for Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

1,536 - 1,542 of 3,310 reviews

Reviewed June 4, 2013

My wife and I enjoyed our visit to Occidental Grand Xcaret last year, so we booked a vacation for the entire family to Occidental Grand Papagayo this year. We went on that trip last week.
The resort is beautiful, set in the rainforest, with exotic birds and animals, including coatis and monkeys and hermit crabs running around the beach. We were greeted by Melissa, our concierge, who made sure everything was perfect the entire week. She did a fantastic job!
We booked 2 tours; 1 through Alexander at Swiss Travel, (located in the resort), which consisted of a bus ride to Arenal Volcano, zip-lining in the rain through the rain forest, lunch at an outdoor restaurant with the freshest fruit, vegetables, and meat possible, and a visit to a spa resort, including soaking in hot pools of water heated by Arenal Volcano, a water slide, and a wonderful dinner. The second tour was a boat trip to Cocoa Beach, for a little shopping, booked through Carlos at Charlie's Adventures, also located in Occidental Resort. The captain, Jorge, was from Cocoa Beach. He walked with us, and recommended a restaurant to eat lunch, and places to shop. We had a great time.
Five of us went on a scuba dive, also booked with Carlos at Charlie's Adventures. Jorge was the captain, and Lorenzo was our dive-master. What an awesome dive! I've been on about 45 dives, and this was in the top 2. We swam with white tipped sharks, saw eels, spotted eagle rays, manta rays, parrot fish, and puffer fish. One of my daughters even got to hold an octopus!
While at the resort, we spent much of our time at the pool, playing volleyball and water polo. Water aerobics was also a daily event, led by Paola. Dennis and Jose were great at keeping the water games going, and a lot of fun to hang out with! We enjoyed evenings playing pool and chess, while drinking various beverages prepared by Stefan, (pronounced Steven), the bartender. The food was great! We particularly enjoyed the omelets, (prepared to order), each morning. The 2 specialty restaurants were awesome, and the service impeccable. Housekeeping did an excellent job of keeping our rooms clean, and our refrigerators stocked.
We enjoyed every second of our vacation, and hated to see it end.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank WendellSharp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

Costa Rica is a wonderful country. Occidental Grand Papagayo was a great place to stay. The staff is very attentive and professional, and the grounds are beautiful. The food is a recommend, especially if you like sea bass. Treat yourself to a day trip to Nicaragua -- another very scenic country.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Ray S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

We (a group of four) stayed at this resort for three nights and it was terrible. We just left arenal, which was beautiful, and the second we arrived at papagayo it was awful. Both of our rooms were not clean (mind you, it was close to 9:00 pm). The beds in my room were not clean, there was a huge pile of cleaning supplies in our closet, and our sink leaked! The other room had dirty beds as well, and chairs on top of both beds. We had to call the front desk twice before someone came to change the linen and to remove the cleaning supplies.

The food was terrible and some of the staff were not very friendly. The linen on the tables and the cloth napkins were dirty and stained every single time we sat down to eat. After dinner, we needed ice in our room and for the second night in a row there was no ice in the ice machine. I called again to ask if someone could bring me some ice since the machine was empty again. The woman at the front desk then rudely told me that no, someone will not bring me ice but they would get someone to fill it up. An hour and a half later, still no ice! I called again and finally they called for someone to fill up the machine.

The only redeeming qualities were the pools and the fact that we were able to see monkeys close up. Other than that, I WOULD NOT recommend this place to anyone wanting to visit Costa Rica!

  • Stayed: May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Ro99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Papagayo - Adults only, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear Ro99,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback regarding your stay. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to express my sincere apologies that your stay was not to our expected level of service. We have reviewed your comments with our Director of Housekeeping and Director of Food and Beverages for resolution with the issues you raise. Our Director of Maintenance is taking this opportunity to discuss your remarks regarding the Ice Machine problem with the team and we are currently verifying they are all working properly. We are also sorry for the lack of service offered by our front desk agent, we have taken the proper measures for this to not happen again.
Customer service is something for which we strive to be known and would like to assure you that your experience is not the norm. Once again, we apologize that we fell short of this expectation during your recent stay.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Our first impressions of the hotel were positive. We were greeted with a cocktail upon our arrival from the airport and the staff were courteous and helpful. However, our room was very disappointing - dated and rundown. It was clear that the accommodation has been neglected from any improvements. In addition, the allowance of only two beers and two bottles of water every second day seems petty given it is an all inclusive resort. On a couple of occasions we retuned to our room to find the fridge empty. On a positive note, a call to housekeeping resulted in the drinks being delivered to the room without hesitation.

The buffet restaurant was fine and offered a wide range of food. However, despite serving dinner until 9.30 every night many dishes ran out by 8 pm and were not replaced. Thus the choice was limited and the food after this time tended to be dried up. However, the staff were wonderful - always friendly and gracious and some appeared to go beyond their basic duties to provide an excellent service. The a la carte restaurants provided a very enjoyable experience with food of a much higher standard but guests were restricted to only two visits per stay.

The lack of nightly entertainment was also a surprise and disappointment compared to resorts of a similar, or inferior, rating. In addition, the arrival of a large group from Washington impacted on the already barely adequate facilities. For example, food in the buffet and snack restaurants were depleted early into service, waiting times for a table were extended and there was a considerable shortage of chairs in the lobby area and around the pool. It would also seem that a lack of staff exacerbated these difficulties i.e. one member of staff serving at the bar in the snack restaurant at lunchtime. Further, the construction of a stage across the pool restricted the pool area and there were no fun club activities on some days although these were scheduled.

Compared to all inclusive hotels in other destinations, particularly Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, the Occidental is inferior and does not live up to its claims as advertised with regard to amenities and services. Overall, it falls far short of it's four-star rating and, as a result, our expectations were not been met.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank DartmouthDamsel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Papagayo - Adults only, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

Dear DartmouthDamsel,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with the Trip Advisor community. I’m glad to read you enjoyed the service of our friendly staff. We are always concern about our guest’s satisfaction; we regret to know that we have failed your expectations.

I'm surprised by your comments about your room as we follow strict standards to ensure all guest rooms are in perfect condition before welcoming a guest. Nonetheless, our housekeeping team is now aware of your experience and I assure you that we will look into ways to improve.

I have addressed your feedback regarding the food service at the buffet with our restaurant manager in order to prevent this from happening in the future. I completely understand your discomfort we will take steps to prevent it from recurring. As for the a la carte restaurants, we guarantee 50% of dinners at the gourmet restaurant and the rest at the international buffet restaurant.

I am sorry to read about your disappointment regarding our activities, our team is now aware and actions will be taken to enhance our service.

We look forward to welcome you back and offer you the service for which we are known for,

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

We stayed a week at the Occidental Grand Papagayo, and found the grounds lovely, the front desk helpful, the food very good, and the activities appealing. We have had very good experiences in Costa Rica before, and this added to our delights with Costa Rica as a destination. Having stayed at other similar respected and quality resorts, this one was similar, so I will focus on what is possibly different. Our unit was impeccably clean, beautifully appointed, and with modern style (loved the all-glass walk in shower). The resort is relatively small, with less than 200 units to fill. This justifies providing only one breakfast and lunch option (buffet), and adds two dinner options (reservation-only restaurants available through the all-inclusive plan) to the dinner buffet. The buffet was reliably good and varied from day to day, and the reservation-only restaurants were good quality with enjoyable upscale ambiance. The smaller size to the resort made it easier to feel a sense of community, and everyone was helpful and friendly, including fellow guests. There were many options for activities on site and through tour groups; we went on two very enjoyable tours - one to a rain forest for a hike and one for a tropical riverboat ride. The beach on site is attractive and usable, and we saw wild coati mundis, monkeys, parrots, and iguanas on the resort grounds (all were non-aggressive). The grounds are set on a hilly part of the coastal area, but the staff provide fairly prompt pickups with resort shuttles at the door of the units for those who are challenged by the hilly terrain (tips are appropriate). A good time was had by all!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Rob E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

We had a great time on our recent 2 week vacation. The resort staff could not do enough for us. Special thanks to Enrique,Marlon, and Herman for making us feel special. If you want a hotel where you can kick back and relax this is the place for you. Food and drinks were good. Cocoa beach 10 minutes away for souvenir shopping. We went zip lining at Congo Trails and had a good time but for our next visit we plan on going to the Arenal volcano area they have 1 line that's a 1/2 mile long. We cannot wait to return to this destination the beautiful scenery, wild life, and the great people of Costa Rica makes the trip extra special.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Papperts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Gulf of Papagayo
3.6 mi away
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
#1 of 13 in Gulf of Papagayo
1,601 reviews
1.4 mi away
Casa Conde Beach-Front Hotel
Casa Conde Beach-Front Hotel
#1 of 3 in Playa Panama
722 reviews
1.9 mi away
Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica
Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica
#3 of 13 in Gulf of Papagayo
1,909 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
6.7 mi away
Hotel Riu Guanacaste
Hotel Riu Guanacaste
#1 of 1 in Playa Matapalo
6,418 reviews
6.8 mi away
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
24.2 mi away
Occidental Tamarindo
Occidental Tamarindo
#1 of 1 in Playa Langosta
2,416 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Occidental Papagayo - Adults only? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range: $176 - $342 (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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Orbitz, TravelUp, Booking.com, Barcelo, BookIt.com, Priceline, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Travelocity, Cancelon, Hotwire, HotelsforEveryone and getaroom.com so you can book your Occidental Papagayo - Adults only reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing