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“Very Misleading”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very Misleading”
Reviewed December 4, 2013

They offer activities on their website that are not actually available at the resort such as wind surfing. Also the do not have a swim up bar as advertised. Although much of the staff is friendly and helpful, they do not answer questions directly and are vague with their responses. However, I am not fairly certain this is not due to the language barrier. We booked our vacation with Swiss Travel. Their representative at the resort kept pushing us torward a certain activity deal called the Mega Combo. It is very crowded with tourists and overall was not very enjoyable. The waterslide was nothing special. You could find a similar slide at any waterpark. Also ziplining was a joke. The lines were short and low to the ground. Go on Skytrek instead. Overall I would not recomend this hotel because the are not very attentive to their guests and I feel like they try to scam you out of money. The food was also not very diverse or good.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank B C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Itze P, Reputation Management at Occidental Papagayo - Adults only, responded to this review, December 12, 2013
Dear B C,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback concerning your experience at Occidental Grand Papagayo. Please allow us to express our sincere apologies for any inconvenient you encountered during your stay with us. Your comments have been addressed with our entire team, as your feedback helps us to continually improve our service and provide a memorable experience to our guests. We hope that you will present us with the opportunity to welcome you back to our hotel in the future.

Sincerely
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,257 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (801)
Date | Rating
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English first
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2013

When we first arrived we were told there was certain times for dinner and if we missed them it was on us. We were also told that for the Italian resturant we needed very nice shoes, which I did not have with me. They explained I would not be allowed into the resturant? They had to call the resturant manager to get it approved for me to enter the resturant....meanwhile our time for eating was approaching. Finally we were driven to our room via the up and down hotel roads until we were escorted up to our room which was quaint, but smelled like sewage....I was not spending my honeymoon there. Luckily after complaining about a second room and the house keeping explaining that the whole building stunk they moved us to an upgraded building farther away with an ocean view which was really nice.

After that, things were as expected. Enjoy the beautiful terrace views which are exactly what are pictured. The Gulf is amazing and the snorkeling and fishing are great. I caught some Tuna while we were out on the water.

Everyone here spoke relatively good english and was helpful.

I don't recommend any of their boating or fishing people as we met someone who was incredible. You want to find Captain Ferit who is hadns down the most amazing man in this country! We fell in love with him and his kindness. Meet him and here his story.

Room Tip: If you don't like the room you get, talk with them. If you're not satisfied, go elsewhere, t...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank matthew c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2013

Average resort and good value if the price is right. I was staying in building 18 which was far away from the main building and pool Nov. 22-Nov. 30, 2013. The property has the potential to be a four star resort with some improved room service and building upkeep.

Highlights
Howler monkeys right near our building were absolutely amazing to watch daily
Very friendly staff, especially Carlos who facilitates the daily activities by the pool
Sunset walk (20 min walk each way off the property)
A-la-carte restaurants (Oriental and Italian) were both excellent
Buffet meals were good
A small beach is on the property
Snorkelling tour was very good

Lowlights
-Millipedes in the room. We found that the first few days at the resort we only had 10-20 millipedes per night in the room but part way through our stay, there was an infestation of 100 millipedes or more in one night. When this issue was reported, we were told it was "normal". It took became a nightly ritual of at least 15 minutes to clear the room of most millipedes. The issue is that they lived in the base boards in the room as well as crawling directly in under the door.
-Room service. It took 5 days to fix the phone in our room (*note that you need a phone to be able to call for a shuttle from the remote location of building 18). It took several days for staff to provide us with a remote control for the A/C
-House Keeping. Requests for sufficient towels and restocking in the room would take at least 24 hours to satisfy and 2 requests to obtain the items.
-There is only 1 pool but it was generally quiet during our stay so no issues with getting a chair
-Location of the property is far away from any other hotels, stores or village areas which means that tours, taxis or your own vehichle are needed to see the area
-Pressure from 2 salesman to participate in the Royal Club (timeshare?) tour which requires credit cards, identification, filling out a form which asks for many personal and financial details
-Stairs, walking distance from building 18 to the pool and main building

Not as advertised:
The resort is listed as an adult only hotel but during our stay there were children in the pool

Recommendations:
If you are looking for night life, this resort is not where you will want to stay.
If you are a couple looking for a get-away, this could be your resort, if you request the right building to stay in

Room Tip: Stay off the ground level if possible to avoid millipedes. Stay in rooms closest to the main buildi...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JulesofCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omemee, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

My wife and I stayed at the resort from Oct.28 to Nov.4 and had a wonderful time for our 10 year anniversary. We weren’t interested in hearing the business/time share spiel so we cancelled that the next day. We did have a couple fun conversations that weren’t business or tours talk with Hernan, one of the sales staff. We booked a couple day trips thought the Air Canada Vacations rep when we got there and had a good time. We found the resort to be very very nice but also needed some minor details spruced up and there were renovations going on but that didn't affect us. The grounds were luscious and full, some wild life and just off the resort you could see some monkeys as we did going up to watch the sunset. We found the food to be delicious and plentiful. Both a la carte restaurants and buffet had a nice variety and very tasty meals. The pool side buffet was good for a mid day meal and the staff were friendly. Riccardo was very pleasant with his repetitive and charming “Nice to see you! Thank you for coming!” when dining in the a la carte. Make sure you book your dinners when you get there as we found that there was a schedule of what was open and certain nights only. We found the staff was always very pleasant and hospitable. We stayed in building 6, room# 602 and found the room to be nice and clean, nice size bathroom and the fridge had fresh water each day. The room was close to the lodge, gym, and decently close to the pool and had a nice view of the gulf. We chose a package with a room that included complimentary WiFi so we could Skype with our wee children back home and it was worth the extra money. The beach was nice and the water was quite warm. The bay was a little rough on the feet during low tide when wading in the water. We went snorkeling a couple of times on our own. We were very happy with our stay, ate lots, relaxed and threw in a couple tours. We weren’t interested in night life activities or drinking. Coming off of low season the price for our room was much less than what it is for high season and it was a great time to visit Costa Rica. Two thumbs up for our stay.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ryan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montclair, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We read all of the reviews and decided to take the chance anyway and book this hotel because it was a smaller resort and less expensive then the popular riu which i personally knew from friends was a great resort. I have to agree with a lot of the other reviewers that this resort although beautiful needs a lot of uodating and not quite a four star hotel as it is stated, the rooms are a bit shabby and the operations staff is not always so pleasant and the food is far from great. Every night they have a buffet which is very small and the choices are limited and not very good either. They do have two restauraunts one japanese and one italian which was good but yiu can only book one for every three days you are staying here. The only pool is small but the activitie personal is extrememly fun and very friendly especially carlos. He made it a point t know your name from day one and never forgot it. My biggest tip if you do decide to stay here is to ask for rooms closest to the main lobby area. Buildings 9,10,11,12,14,15,16,17 are a bit out of the way and if your are older or not in shape you will have to call a shuttle every time yoy want to come closer to the lobby where everythung is located. We changed from buikdung 14 to building 1 the first day because we felt isolated there which we were more then hapoy with because building 1,2,20,21,22,23,and 24 are great locations. You might not get an ocean view but to be quute honest view isnt worth the inconvience. The last thing i would also recommend is to tip house keeping daily or there might be days where yu dint get your refrudge restocked with water and soda and you might not get towels.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank lisat315
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2013

We spent last week at this resort and loved it! We upgraded our room to the Royal Club class, and had a marvelous room with an amazing view of the gulf from building #8, room 806, a quiet end room in a building that had a total of 8 rooms. This time of year is at the end of the rainy season and start of the high dry season, which suited us as there were fewer guests than in high season. The resort has only 165 rooms and is much smaller than a lot of other resorts in the Liberia area of Costa Rica.The staff were very attentive and friendly and competent, the food was good, especially in the 2 specialty restaurants: Asian and Italian- both excellent. Royal Club class allows the guests to eat every night in the specialty restaurants, if desired, rather than in the buffet. Other reviews mentioned that the buffet in the evenings was not as good as the buffet in the mornings, and we found this to be true. Breakfasts were amazingly good with omelets, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc., plus an array of fresh seasonal food. Lunch was what would be expected by the pool - burgers, fries, rice and beans, salads, and pastries. As this is an all inclusive property, drinks were available at all times, with beer, sodas, and water supplied in the mini fridge in the room. Tipping to all service staff is appreciated and pays its rewards, Zip lining is awesome. A trip to Nicaragua is doable, and for us was an unforgettable day. Nicaragua is a beautiful country and close to this location in CR - both countries are unique from one another. Grilled red snapper in Cocoa Beach was delicious and worth the $40 taxi ride to town and $40 taxi ride back to the resort.

The weather was rather humid, but there was lots of sunshine and little rain. The resort is host to a number of species of birds and animals.

We loved this area in Guanacaste and would definitely stay at this resort again. If you are worried about all the stairs on the property that is set on a cliff, there are shuttles that will pick you up and deliver you to where you want to go on the property. Because it was not peak season, we waited about 2 to 3 minutes for this service - very efficient!

The people in Costa Rica are very happy and gracious and made our stay an enjoyable one!

Pura Vida!.

Room Tip: Upgrade to Royal Club class - it is worth it - and the staff will help you choose the room that matc...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dundee, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2013

We were traveling with 2 teenagers and paid to upgrade to Grand Concierge at the time of booking. While the property is beautiful and the setting breath-taking---there were many issues with both the physical property and the services advertised. We understand they are in the midst of renovations to become a more upscale, couples-focused resort.

Let's start with the positive--the setting is lovely and the grounds were very well kept and clean. It is a hilly property and the shuttle was readily available to drive you if you weren't up to climbing stairs.
The staff tried very hard to please. It is a smaller resort but I thought the pool was very nice and was clean. It has a lot of potential to become much better.

Here are the issues we encountered:
First room (in building 1) had strong mold odor and the furniture and soft goods were definitely at the end of their lifespan. Deterioration around the baseboards and bottom of doors in bathroom. The bed was pretty good and the linens/towels were decent.
On the second day the AC stopped working (we heard for floors 1-3). After a second miserable night in the hot room we requested a new room at dinner. They said they would work on it. The next morning they did transfer us to building 12 which was somewhat renovated but had functioning AC. Unfortunately--after unpacking we discovered it did not have hot water.
We showered in the kids rooms and about 5 hours later they had the hot water turned on for us. There were painters working on the exterior so our view was of scaffolding and workers on the balcony. The following day---no hot water again but by now we knew how to remedy this ourselves. Final day--no hot water in kids rooms.

Grand Concierge upgrade--we paid for this for the free internet in the rooms and in the hopes that the concierge would give us better chances for dining in the al a carte restaurants.
While there was internet in the room (don't forget your ethernet cable!) and a welcome fruit basket and bottle of wine--there were no bathrobes, there was no concierge and there was no nightly turn down service. So we wasted money on this and got only the fruit and wine in return.

They advertise drink service poolside---I did one time see someone bring a tray of drinks to the pool but this was the exception. It's not a huge deal for me to walk over to the bar and get my beverage---but they shouldn't advertise something they are not providing.

Dining--there are only two a la carte restaurants--the Italian and the Occidental. The rules for booking are byzantine and not clearly communicated anywhere with different rules for week days and weekends. We did eat at each one two times and it was infinitely better than the one buffet dinner we had. Make your booking at 8 AM to get what you want--and don't be afraid to show up at one of the restaurants and see if they have an opening, even if the front desk told you they were unavailable in the AM. The menus are also different than what they show online but they were both good with excellent service and lots of choices.
Lunch is either the buffet or the Snack Bar by the pool---it was casual fare but decent.
Breakfast was buffet and it was good with an egg station and lots of variety. Unfortunately one of our sons opened the cereal jar to be greeted by a live cockroach. The staff did take the jar away. They always had Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar for breakfast too.

Spa prices were more reasonable than I normally see in Mexico or Caribbean. Spa is not glitzy but I had a good massage and mani/pedi all for $115. I think regular manicure was $23 and pedi was $30.

Areas for improvement:
I personally hate wearing the wristbands and to me it makes the resort seem lower end. Just my opinion.
Pool towels--you have to use a card to get them and they scrupulously keep track of towels.
We had to get the cards back for all our towels in order to check out. This was different for us-perhaps they have issues with folks stealing?

All in all--we were disappointed with the condition of the rooms and the repeated issues with AC and hot water. The staff was all excellent. I would not recommend based on the condition of the rooms and the absence of services we paid for.

Water--it is hot and humid in Costa Rica. The hotel is supposed to give you two small water bottles per day in your room. This was not reliably replenished and water bottles were not available at the bars or at the pool. They also did not sell insulated water bottles at the gift shop. So staying hydrated meant returning repeatedly to the pool bar for a small glass of water.

Room Tip: Avoid building 1---seemed to possibly be the oldest and obviously the physical facilities are deteri...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EJS35
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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