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“Small but Friendly”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Small but Friendly”
Reviewed July 4, 2014

Just got back on Sunday from beautiful Costa Rica. This resort and the staff were fantastic and made it a great vacation. It is one of the smallest resorts I have ever stayed at but was big enough for the amount of people that stayed there. Only 1 pool, which I think could use some improving (no swim up bar) but there was always a chair to sit down and staff walking around asking if you wanted a drink (don't get that at the larger resorts). It's an adult only (no screaming children) so it was nice and quiet, until they broke out the pool activities which were always fun to join and everyone is welcome. One thing I didn't like about the resort was there was no food once the buffet closed so the bars were open until 2 am or later but there was no snacks (free or for purchase) which made for some pretty bad mornings. The snack bar should be open as long as the bars are.
If your on the beach its worth stopping and looking at the handmade trinkets, they will make you anything you want within an hour. Also, get a massage those women are great at what they do and there's nothing better than hearing the waves crash, natural sounds of the wildlife and the beautiful spanish language.
While we were there, it was a good mix of young and old but everyone enjoyed themselves and partied together. It was a blast. Thanks for the memories.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Elizabeth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 3, 2014

From the moment my husband and I got off the shuttle from Liberia, we knew we arrived at our happy place. The staff was amazing. They were all so gracious to have you as their guest and it showed. Although our Spanish completely sucked, they figured it out and kindly assisted us with what we needed. Their English was much better than our Spanish and that was mui bueno!

Bryan at the pool was a hoot! Full of positive fun energy and a delight to talk to. He made sure we had what we wanted and offered more of what we needed. It's unbelievable how the pool staff works all day at the pool (where it is very hot and usually sunny) and then work into the evening to entertain the guests. Which brings me to Jared...

I cannot begin to tell you how awesome Jared (the entertainment director) was, is. He is the epitome of Above and Beyond! We were interested in visiting Nicaraqua and asked him for some tips. It so happened that his shift was ending soon that day and he offered to show us around while we visited. We ended up in a nice city called Granada, Nicaragua which was near his hometown. He was so gracious to show us some beautiful sites to visit. Unfortunately, for unforeseen reasons, we had to cut our Nicaraguan excursion short so we were not able to see most of the beautiful sites he is so very proud of. We made sure he knew that we WILL be back to visit Nicaragua and we hope to see him there again.

All in all, it was a pleasant surprise. We were a little hesitant to book at an all inclusive resort, but being the adult beverage condensers, no children having, foodies we are... this place was perfect! It was exceptionally beautiful, entertaining and very relaxing. We most definitely will be back to stay here.

Room Tip: If you book this hotel, upgrade yourselves to Royal Club luxury. It's so worth it. You get top s...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TwoGlasses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2014

Very well kept, landscaping was very nice. Room was generous in size with "welcome gifts" for our honeymoon package; fresh fruit plate, chocolate covered strawberries, and champagne. The ice was melted in the bucket, though, for the champagne. A/C unit worked VERY well. View from the room was gorgeous. Wildlife about property was a fun and different sight to see. If you go to the beach at night, watch out for the hermit crabs! LOTS of them! The restaurants on the property were good, however, everything we ordered at The Oriental was not good. Bland, not what I would consider "oriental", and other couples who were dining at the same time agreed that their dinner was not good, either. The Mexican restaurant needs a little more authenticity when it comes to the food. All of the bartenders were excellent, service was wonderful. Booking tours and excursions through Swiss Travel on the property was a bit pricey but totally worth every penny spent. We had such a blast on our honeymoon and can't wait to make it back to Costa Rica very soon!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RenoWW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livonia, Michigan
Level Contributor
77 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2014

Stayed for one week in the end of June 2014.

Short summary: Beautiful views, clean room, clean grounds, super nice friendly service (thankfully for me the staff all spoke wonderful english), great wild life, great beach for snorkeling, for buffet the food is good, the a la cartes are also good, strong drinks and quick refills. A little bit of issues with follow through on getting some small issues taken care of.

LONG detailed review:
Arrival: Close to the airport. Smooth drive to the resort. Breathtaking view from the lobby. We took a shuttle to the resort, but I did not notice signs for the Occidental Grand (Hilton had a lot of signs telling you which way to go).

Check-In: We upgraded to the Royal Club so we were lead upstairs to the private lounge/bar. Served Mimosas for our welcome drink (my husband switched to beer and they might have more of a selection in the Royal Club bar vs. the rest of the resort when it comes to beer). There was a lot of information given at check in about reservations for dinner, pool towels, turn down service, etc. After we checked in (with gold wrist bands to signify Royal Club (you may also notice time-share have a different bracelet)) we were taken downstairs to talk to the time-share guy. He was very easy going and no pressure when we said we would not be going to the meeting. We were never approached again about a time share meeting. Next we pointed out our luggage and were taken to our room in building 6 via the shuttle.

Room: Beautiful view, just as nice as the view from the lobby. King size bed. It was cold in the room when we entered (17 degrees Celsius) and remained cool with the air conditioner running as much as we needed (whether we were in the room or not). The AC even had a remote, which the housekeeping would put by your bed for turn down. There was a bottle of wine and fruit plate (apples, pear, grapes and banana) waiting. The mini-bar was not stocked, but the bell hop is the one that checked and said he would take care of it (it did eventually get filled but I had to mention it to Roberto). The linens were clean and there were plenty of towels (2 wash clothes, 2 hand towels, 2 extra large bath towels). The linens and towels were soft and nice. The mattress was a bit lumpy and the pillows were very big and a bit more firm. The floor is tile and had been recently swept and mopped (including the little patio we had outside). There was no dust on any surface, light switches and doors were clean. The safe was easy to use with clear instructions. The coffee maker included 2 servings of coffee. There are room darkening curtains (one was not attached to the pull) and regular drapes depending on how much light you wanted.

Bathroom: Toilet had a separate door. Clean, no cracks. No toilet bolt covers. 3 rolls of toilet paper (which smelled like baby powder). Small trash can in bathroom toilet area. The only issue was the light had little dead bugs in it. Large counter with one sink. The provided amenities included: a shower cap, shoe shine sponge, 1 comb, 1 toothbrush, travel size pack of facial tissue, and a bar of soap. Very clean, no cracks in sink, no smears on mirror and good lighting (but light switches are on the other side of the door). Shower was large with one shelf that held the bath towels and a soap/shampoo dispenser. No convenient place to set your own supplies of shampoo or soap (they do not provide conditioner or lotion). They really need a soap dish, or basket in the shower area (or you may want to bring your own). The shower was also very clean and had no smell. The shower door was clear glass and was very clean. The water was very hot quickly and never seemed to run out of hot water. The water pressure was weak. Water drained quickly.

Housekeeping: Came at different times every day (once it was after 4 pm and we got a call to see if we wanted housekeeping even though the "please make up room" sign was on the door). The stocking of the mini bar seemed to be whatever the maid had available. We always got water (2 - 3 bottles) and a least some pop (1 -2 cans sometimes Coke, sometimes Diet Coke and sometimes Sprite or any combination of those) and at least 2 beers. But one day we got 1 pop and 4 beers. So it was always refilled, but if you consistently want the same thing that didn't happen in our room. The mini-fridge wasn't super cold either, but we left the cabinet door shut. We never got a refill to make more coffee (but we don't drink coffee I tried the first one to see if Costa Rican coffee was any different). Housekeeping cleaned the room completely. Unfortunately I tracked a lot of sand from my days at the beach but it was always super clean when the ladies were done. Towels were replenished daily. They did a fantastic job. One small complaint I had was about the turn down service. It happened only 1 time during my week stay. I'm not sure what the issue was, but I didn't want to complain to Roberto about anything else so I let it go. I did recommend to the resort that they provide a consistent time that housekeeping will do turn down service or provide an extension to call if it is wanted.

Resort overall: There are steps and walking (but there are quicker easier routes if you explore or ask and the shuttle). The grounds are amazingly well kept (no litter, no overflowing garbage). I found all the grounds to be neat and well kept. We saw a lot of wildlife. There are a lot of birds, owls, bats, iguanas, coatis, raccoons, other lizards, toads and monkeys (we even saw and heard a baby monkey), not to mention butterflies and dragonflies everywhere. We had no issue with bugs. The grounds are beautiful. I felt the lighting was sufficient but did bring a small flashlight that I used especially on the way to the beach after sunset.

Pool: We had towels with our room number waiting for us at the pool (after I asked about them twice). I think this it is a royal club perk not to have to deal with a towel card. And I think someone else may have taken our towels which could be the reason I had to ask twice. The beach towels were huge, thick and heavy (I recommend bringing a lighter weight towel for any excursions). The loungers at the pool were clean and every one I used at the pool worked (some on the beach had the adjustable part broken). The pool has nice colored lights at night. The old kiddie pool needs to be removed or turned into a fountain or something (it is an eyesore in my opinion). The pool is very close to the snack bar, but the waiter is continuously coming around taking drink orders faster than I personally needed refills. The fun club activities leave a part of the pool free. The music was OK and not too loud.

Beach: small and the tide does come up. No waves. Clean beach. Did some amazing snorkeling at the resort beach (saw spotted stingray, blow fish, blue striped fish, black striped fish, blue and yellow fish (sorry I don't know the names - but there were a lot of fish right off the shore)). Brink your snorkel gear and spend some time exploring (or sign up for the snorkel tour with the resort). The security on the beach was thoughtful enough to put my bag on my lounger because the tide was coming in. I brought him the cans of pop from my mini bar tipped him. The few people selling on the beach were not pushy. No need to be rude and not even say hola to them, but once you say you aren't interested they do not bother you again. We did see monkeys on the trees by the steps going back up to the resort. The snails and crabs are quite a sight to see in the evening on the beach. The beach is small but it was peaceful, beautiful and I completely enjoyed it. I wished I had packed a hammock. Please be aware that when you are walking on the beach and especially on the rocks (in or out of the water) that they are full of living creatures. It was unfortunate to see some damage being done. There is a place at the top of the steps to the beach to rinse off. The beach bar is also up the stairs a bit of a way from the lounger on the beach and no service comes down to the beach to bring you drinks. I'd have to say the beach bar was not the best on making any mixed drink besides a pina coloda. There are also no restrooms near the beach.

Food:
Buffet - for a buffet it is great. The food was all the correct temperature (hot food was hot, cold food was cold). The variety was good. There was always a chicken dish, beef dish and fish dish. Nice salad selection with nice dressings. The buffet was always well stocked and nicely presented. Pretty good service (getting a water or drink refill was not quick).
Mexican - excellent service, good food.
Italian - excellent service, very good food.
Oriental - excellent service, very good food.
At the Italian and Oriental I was having trouble deciding between 2 entrees so the servers brought a smaller portion of the 2nd entree to taste.
We had no trouble getting into the restaurants at the times we liked (we don't like to eat dinner at 8 pm so we were glad earlier times were available) on the days we had, there was no line and we signed up for all our restaurant meals on the first day (possible royal club perk).
Snack Bar - great service, good food (the chips and guacamole are excellent).

Miscellaneous - they do offer boxed lunches if you have an all day excursion. The best chocolate martini is in the Royal Club lounge, the best cafecitico is in the lobby bar. The special mixed drinks at the snack bar and beach bar were not so good. There were some issues with follow through (or maybe it was me not understanding the Costa Rican minute) regarding minor details (like getting a room service menu in my room) with my stay but Roberto was gracious and did everything to please and make sure we were happy. I think the resort is really trying to be outstanding and has a few kinks still left to work out. I had the impression that if anything was not up to your expectations and you let them know they would do whatever they could to make you happy. Talk to someone there before you come back and write a poor review, they really are trying and sometimes need to be told exactly what you expect (in a nice way). The resort won't let your outside tour company come up to the lobby, you have to walk down the hill to meet them outside the gate because of not paying a commission to the Occidental (which I mentioned was a little unsatisfactory). If you are a light sleeper you may want some kind of ear plugs - the birds are loud and start at 4 am.

The Royal Club was worth the price difference. A few of the perks: free high speed internet for all of our devices (and only one day was the internet a little slow, we did have to get new codes anytime we took a device off the resort); a private restaurant for breakfast with part buffet and part waitress (she will bring you eggs, omelettes or anything else you want but don't see) this separate breakfast had a different/better selection then the buffet but it does not open until approximately 7:30 (a little later before everything is really ready); the separate lounge with grey goose and other top shelf liquors (and a computer for your use, books to borrow and a pool table); at dinner one night the buffet had a wait, but we were seated immediately due to the royal club upgrade; no towel card; a beautiful view from our room (but I think a lot of rooms have a nice view); the wine and fruit; and room service that is there in 30 minutes with excellent food!

I also recommend the cab ride to Hermosa Beach! Beautiful beach with some more amazing snorkeling. There are local bars and restaurants at Hermosa Beach too. I also went to Rincon, Miravalles excursions with Issys tours and Corobici /Tenorio River Floating with Costa Rica best trips. Great service from both companies reviewed separately.

Feel free to email me with any questions!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Misswestmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Floyds Knobs, Indiana, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2014

I have never been outside the country of which a passport was required. This Resort had excellent staff all of which were extremely nice and helpful. Nice meals with 3 different sit down meals, Asian, Italian or Mexico. See Roberto for reservations. Skip the Oriental. Was an extreme disappointment. The Italian was very good. I had the pork. The Mexican was also good and make sure to try the Mai Mai for your entrée. Of course there is the Buffet and we never had a problem finding good things to eat. Breakfast is always great, but the Saturday night dinner was not to my liking so much. Lots of wildlife and birds on the property, birds, monkeys, iguanas etc.. We were in building 1 room 401. Best view of the bay, pool, main building and grounds. Yes the stairs were not to my liking, but the view made up for it and you will find you are not in your room all that much anyway. The weather was good. Only rained for about 30 minutes one day (we were there for 8 days). After the rain everything went back to sunny, hot and humid. We were there from July 21 to 29. Rooms clean, room service available, beer, soft drinks (American) and bottled water in mini refrigerator in your room which is restocked daily. Run out, just call the front desk for more and ask them to put more drinks in their daily for you. You will drink a lot. Not just alcoholic beverages. Everything was absolutely FREE once you get there. No additional charges of any kind, unless you use the phone in room for oversea calling. Make sure and do some of the available tours. We did two of them and they were both great. PLEASE, make sure to tip your servers after meals. Just a $1.00 per person goes a long way for them. The average salary in Costa Rica is $400 to $500 per MONTH!!! All Inclusive does NOT mean you cannot leave a small tip. Also tip your bartenders. I would give each of them $1.00 per day to every bartender that served me. If you can afford to go on a trip to Costa Rica, surly you can afford to tip such small amounts per person to those that serve you. Although I saw MANY cheap people never tipping a nickel.

You will enjoy your stay here. No it is not the most expensive resort in the area and maybe (who knows) some of the more expensive resorts have a couple of things they might do just a little better. But this resort is wonderful and I highly recommend.

WARNING: To those with children. No children allowed!!! No one under the age of 18 is welcome to stay at this resort, which was the reason I chose this resort. I very much appreciated that policy has I do not have children and certainly do not want to tolerate misbehaving children during a nice vacation.

Room Tip: Building 1 on 4th floor has the best views of everything.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank naskippy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2014

We spend a week at the Grand Papagayo in June 2014 and we got exactly what we were looking for - a peaceful vacation environment with good food. Except for the Mexican restaurant, the speciality restaurants were good. The resort is very spread out, so if you are not up to walking then use the shuttle service, it is very efficent.The Buena Resort beach lacked the usual amenties such as beach tables and umbrellas but the hotel service was good. Beware, the only shade is provided by the beach palm trees. When it is high tide the beach virtually disappears. If you are looking for the a more authentic Costa Rican experience then you will have to travel off the resort site to nearby beaches, Coco and Hermosa. You can enjoy shopping, food and music. If you looking for reasonable excursions for sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, motorized sports and guided tours then try JD excursions. He is honest, reasonable and works right off the resort beach. JD assisted us in finding the Hidden Garden Art Galley ( near the airport) where you can buy great local art by Costa Rican artists. We took the Nicaragua tour and it was wonderful. Although it was a day long trip, it was worth the experience. We highly recommend it. We also heard good reviews about other tours as well. All in all we had a wonderful relaxing trip.

Room Tip: Rooms futher away from the lobby and pool are quieter but you would need to do more walking to get t...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
2 Thank kenfish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 1, 2014

Had a great time here. The food was good the room was clean and comfortable. The entertainment team of Jerald(boss), Bryan, Jania, Yendry, and Yeudy, were fantastic, they have lots of activities for everyone. We would definitely go back.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Richard P
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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