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“Steps!”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Steps!”
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Beautiful location, grounds gorgeous, pools clean and dining experience at the top! But, lots of hills, steps and more steps. Great shuttle service and very quick response to requests. The Grand Papagayo was definetly a place to relax, meet new friends and enjoy wonderful Costa Rica foods. Wonderful service in dining rooms and fun entertainment at night.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Kathleen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
172 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

This resort met all our (girlfriend and myself; both females in late 20's/early 30's) expectations. The grounds are well kept, beautiful, and show case the true beauty of Costa Rica. We were very happy with the majority of our vacation at Occidental Grand Papagayo.

Room- our room was located in building closest to the pool on the third floor. We always had excellent maid service. Our fridge was replenched daily with water and as well was the coffee. We never had to call the front desk because our room was always up to our standards in cleanliness and service. The location of the room in regards to the pool or main lobby also was not a issue or a noise problem.

Activities- The entertainment staff go above and beyond for the guests of the resort. We took advantage to a lot of the day activities that the fun club offered. Yosimar was our favorite because his excitement. He was always trying to make guests vacations more enjoyable. We did the kayaks and did the sunset walk. The sunset that we saw at the point with Yosimar was the most beautiful sunset I had EVER seen. We didn't do the snorkeling because the morning that we had booked to do it was a very rainy morning and the ocean was rather rough. Having spent some time near the water I was aware of the sea creatures and afraid that visual ability would be limited so I opted out of it.

Beach- I have read a lot of reviews about the lack of beach. Depending on what time of day you go down to the beach will determine the tide. At 5:30 am you will find about 10 feet or so of beach.... by noon you will find 100 feet of beach with exposed rock/lava formations. Then around 5pm a lack of beach. Therefore, its all about timing. One morning after kayaking the tide was so low we walked for 45 min (to the right) past/over all the rock formations till we got to the pure black sand beaches. The sand was extrememly soft and like silk. Another recommendation! If you are looking for white sand you will be disappointed but the black sand in this bay is beautiful and extremely soft. I have never experienced a sand or beach that beautiful. At 5:30-6 am the beach is swarming with hermit crabs and shells are everywhere. Sometimes you will even hear a holler monkey or two playing in the trees and calling out to each other.

Grounds- The resort has preserved the beauty of the country and dry rainforest. Beautiful flowers. While there we experienced holler monkeys in mango trees, Coaties (injured) on grounds, lots of those blue jay (beautiful but food thief's. One also attacked my head on our balcony), the cutiest squirrals, and lots of bugs. Don't forget the sunblock and bug spray... in fact even wear it at 5:30 am.

Food- The food is typical of any other all-inclusive. Some good, some bad! We ate at all available restaurants. I tend to think of it like this. When you visit a different country food typically is the best when it is geared toward the country you are visiting. With that being said I didn't expect the Italian or the oriental restaurants to be authentic. But they were still good. However, during the time of our stay the food manager had made a change on a few nights to turn the buffet into a al la cart Mexican... which was a poor choice in a lot of guests opinions. Service took 2 hours to receive main course (45 min for us to get our soup that was only ladled into bowls). When we received our main course they were not good nor close to Mexican cruisine. Ranchero sauce was marinara sauce.... My advice to the resort is to eliminate the Mexican restaurant and have a Costa Rican restaurant... because isn't that the real reason the guests come to your country... not to have Mexican.

Trips- We went to Palo Verde and had white faced monkeys on our boat... highlight of that day. Went to Hotel Borinquen Mountain Resort for horseback up mountain and rainforest, ziplines, mud bath and hot tub/pools... very awesome. Also did a daytrip to Arenal to zipline (believe it was mundo extreme) and Baldi hot springs. Great trip but was disappointed because I told Air France Rep (Neyz) repeatly that I only wanted the best which is SKY Tram/Trek and he didn't book us on it. We went to Costa Rica for SKY Trek lines and he failed to book us on them... biggest disappointment of entire trip.

People- everyone from workers, locals, to other guests were wonderful (with exception of Air France guy Neyz). We found that the Costa Rican people were very trustworthy!

I will definatly return in the future to costa rica but next time will explore the country and not be tied down to a resort. To much to see to not see more. But Occidental Grand Papagayo was a great gateway to see the country.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank whitejewelrdh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
78 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

My 14 year old grand daughter and I spent 2 1/2 days here as part of package. Our room was large and spotlessly clean. The cleaners didn't leave coffee and water every day, but it really didn't matter to us. I agree with the reviewer who said the people on the beach were more interested in being friendly than selling things to us. The buffet had ample very fresh fruits and vegetables which suited us nicely. They had theme dinners on the buffet with ample choices. We loved trying things we hadn't had before. In the morning the beach had lovely little tide pools where we could watch sea creatures. We took a snorkeling trip across the Gulf and loved it. She said she saw Nemo's father and it was the best day ever. We were late for the lunch that day, but the snack bar had ample salad ingredients as well as hamburgers, so no sweat. The staff were very helpful and attentive. We had a great time.

Room Tip: we were in building 1, overlooking the pool but not too close. With the sliding doors closed the noi...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank joanwd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We chose this resort through our tour operator, on the basis of some reviews we studied on Tripadvisor. After covering a week-long tour of various places in Costa Rica, we just needed a place to sit back and be hosted with good food, drink and relaxation. The Grand Papagayo was definitely the place to do it. As it was a special celebration for us, we were offered a lovely room with ocean view, and of course, a bottle of champagne which we enjoyed very much. The staff were very welcoming and nothing was too much to ask. As it was low season, we never felt being too close to noisy activities, or indeed being disturbed by other overactive guests. The only thing we pointed out to the management was the noise level generated by large A/C and extract equipment located near one of the multi-storey blocks adjacent to the pool,and suggested that some noise insulation structure should be built around it. This was more apparent during the nights, and not noticeable during the day

Room Tip: Rooms further away from restaurants and other facilities would be quieter, but may require a buggy r...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank kalsam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 16, 2013

The hotel and staff were amazing. We never felt crowded like you can feel at other resorts. The food was quite good as well and had a variety of choices, including the Italian and Oriental restaurants. The pool and beach weren't as large as you can find elsewhere, but were sufficient since it is not a large resort. The beach is perfect for watching sunsets over the gulf and ocean. We stayed in a Junior Suite with an extra living room and jacuzzi. Besides relaxing, there is still plenty to do and the hotel has a concierge and travel office with all of the available rainforest excursions. We would love to go back to this resort the next time we travel to Costa Rica.

Room Tip: If possible choose a room high on the hill for the great view of the gulf.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Scott B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Just returned from our vacation and we already miss Costa Rica and the Grand Papagayo staff. We are a family of four and are OVC members. We were given a 1BR in building 24 with a view of the mountains and the sea. The First Club staff (Esteban, Kimberlyn and Yuran) as well as the bar tenders (Davis and Gio) were very friendly and accommodating. They always provided us with first rate service. Their manager Don was always there to ensure that we were being taken care of as well.

The restaurant and snack bar staff were great too. Special mention to Lizette, Henry and Giovanni. They were very friendly and were always happy to be of service to the guests.

The room was always clean and we were provided with fresh towels, toiletries and our mini bar was replenished everyday.

Overall, we were very happy with the service - from the shuttle drivers, front desk staff, housekeeping staff to the fun club coordinators!

We also got great service from Swiss Travel. Thanks to Alexander, the tour guides and the drivers. The Arenal Tour is highly recommended.

We also booked our diving tour with Buzos de Aventura. Great staff there....very professional! Our dive master Andres "Pony" and our boat man "The Captain" provided us with great scuba diving experience. We are first time divers.

We highly recommend staying with Occidental!

Room Tip: Make sure to give your room preference ahead of time.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Challenger400_1006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I arrived around 10:00pm on a weeknight, and was walked down to my room in building 22. I could hear the ocean, and was expecting elegance inside. As our bell boy opened the door I saw it; One bed, a table, and a dresser. Nothing fancy, nothing 'resort like'. Minutes later the phone rang from the front desk, asking us if we would like dinner. The front desk, knowing we were arriving later, saved us a plate and brought us dinner around 10:10. That was just so lovely. After eating, I looked around the room again, then outside...
This hotel/resort doesn't try to up-play the nature surrounding it; instead the buildings are perfectly nested within the tropical forests. I would hear monkeys on my roof around dusk, and while showering, I heard birds and could see butterflies zooming by. From my porch I saw the gulf and it was amazing to be woken up to a beautiful sunrise reflecting off the ocean.
So, to answer the other reviewers on here critquing the rooms; my room was never once filthy. In fact, Lise, the woman in charge of our building, mopped our floors daily, and scrubbed our bathroom. She was fantastic always making sure we had clean towels, water, soap, etc.
The rooms are not American-upscale, but they are simple and comfortable, and compliment the beauty surrounding you outside.

The food was very good in my opinion. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies to pick from, and during lunches in particular, my husband and I were quite happy with the sea food selection. We were able to eat in the 'fancy' restaurants as many times as we wanted, and we never heard a rule that you could only eat there twice.
The drinks were tasty, and the staff was phenomenal. We never had to go to a timeshare meeting, nor were we harassed by pushy sales.

My favorite part was the beach right off the property. The hotel has kayaks and snorkeling gear for free, which made for many fun mornings. There are some tourist hunters down on the beach, but they are more interested in being friendly than trying to make a sale. And if you speak to them in Spanish that you aren't interested they will stop being salesmen and transfer to being just friendly.

We stayed at this resort for a week and I loved it. The wildlife is abundant and fun (Coati's, lizards, monkeys, huge butterflies, etc), and the staff is amazing. I would definitely recommend this hotel for people looking to have fun and enjoy the outside.

Room Tip: Building 22 has wonderful ocean views, and Lise, the woman who cleans, is beyond wonderful!!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank EPayDallas
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

Property: Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Address: Playa Buena, 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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