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“Grand Vacation!”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 14 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Florida
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Grand Vacation!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2005

Husband and I just returned from a 5 day stay at the Grand Papagayo. Costa Rica is an absolutely beautiful country with wonderful, friendly people. The resort was just gorgeous. Lush trees and plants, unique flowers and birds. The entire Guanacaste region is mountainous and the resorts are built on these mountains so it is very hilly. If you don't get around real well, maybe not the place to go. We didn't mind the hills- added to the ambiance and provided some exercise after eating too much wonderful food!! The rooms are spread out in the resort and some are higher on the hills and farther from the lobby than the others so you may want to request one closer to the lobby. The rooms are very nice- although we spent very little time in the rooms. Not really any room service but maybe if you ask. They may not be by every day to clean your room or stock the water in the minibar but just keep in mind that the Costa Ricans are way more laid back than Americans but will accomodate when asked. The beach is very small and somewhat rocky. Not many people spend time at the beach ( If you want beaches- go to Hawaii or Jamaica or Florida. Come to Costa Rica for the tropical lushness and the animals) The pool is very nice and the bartenders are warm and friendly (they appreciate the tips but tipping is not necessary). Food in Costa Rica was amazing. The hotel offers a buffet restaraunt for breakfast and dinner (this was the only restaraunt we ate at) and an italian and oriental restaurant for dinner by reservations. We couldn't get in for reservations but that was just fine because the varied food on the buffet everyday was great. For lunch they offer "snacks" (actually is a full buffet) by the pool from noon until 5pm. Awesome food too. Entertainment at night is provided and they have a late night 'disco' (bar/dance club) which wasn't bad. There are some other great bars for dinner and nightlife in nearby Coco Beach (only a 10 minute cab ride- $30 round trip or rent your own car). In Coco Beach- eat at Louisiana. They have the most amazining Garlic Seafood stuffed lobster- very inexpensive!! If you plan to buy coffee or the national liquor- Guaro- stop by the grocery store in Coco Beach because it is very inexpensive. We highly recommend the Mega Combo tour (we went with Swiss Travel and Eric was the tour guide- he was very good). It was AMAZING and well worth the price.
Overall- we had an amazing experience and would gladly go back to the Grand Papagayo and most certainly will return to Costa Rica.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank ang7633
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,056 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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oklahoma
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2005

my wife and I returned last week from a week at the Grand. Had a wonderful time. Staff was great, although we could have used a few more wash clothes. Beach was not what we expected but ok in low tide. Food was great as was bar service. Rented a car for one day and was able to see and shop at our leisure. No night life around the resort but we are early to bed anyway. Spa was wonderful, got two massages while there. Recommend the mega tour for the zip line, water slide, horse back riding, and spa. Four boys from OK had a great time. One word of caution when booking. avoid Champion air at all costs. This was our 4th trip with them, and second time we've been stranded in a foreign country overnight. Mlt tried to put us in a hotel for the night that had no A/C, broken windows, a mattress on a piece of plywood, and a spider on the floor as big as my open hand, after a rather tense disscussion we were moved to a more acceptable resort. Bottom line is Costa Rica is beautiful, and the Grand is a great resort. But AVOID worry free vacations (anything but) / MLT, the price may be great but the draw backs are far worse.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank jwd55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2005

We spent a week at the Occidental Grand Papagayo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, during the first part of June. When we arrived it was very quiet and we were greeted with a glass of chilled champagne. Upon checking in, we gently reminded them that we had e-mailed a room request (Building 17, secluded and lots of wildlife), based on some reviews that we had seen on Trip Advisor. However, it became quickly apparent that the young man had no record of our e-mail as we were placed in Building 2, facing the pool. Upon further discussion, we learned that much of the resort was “closed” due to the low season. Buildings 1 and 2 (both facing the pool) were the primary buildings being used by guests and Building 17 and others on the outskirts of the property were closed. We were then told that even though it was 2:15 and the resort was not even a third full, that our room was not ready. Disappointed, we went off to explore and in search of some lunch. As we quickly saw, the grounds of the resort are beautiful. The open-air lobby is at the top of the hill, with the lobby bar, disco and restaurants. Then there are lots of stairs down the hill to the pool area. There are lots of stairs and hilly areas but you can ask for a shuttle if you wish. There is plenty of flora and fauna everywhere with bright flowers, tons of trees and a beautiful cliffside ocean view. The resort also offers much wildlife with iguanas, frogs, parakeets, howler monkeys, crabs and we even saw a skunk! We enjoyed exploring the resort on many occasions and always found something new. The beach is a bit rocky but we enjoyed decent snorkeling right from the beach during high tide. The bay was fairly calm and we kayaked, snorkeled and swam at the beach. Here is an overview of the rest of the resort:

Food
The food was decent but not great. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of selection at times. Because of the low season, lunch was not held at the main buffet but down at the snack bar. We were unable to get snacks at the pool during the day but instead had to go to the full buffet. I was frustrated at the lack of simple items like chips and salsa or guacamole at lunch. My husband loved these fried potato chips but we only got them two days. Also, the two specialty restaurants, oriental and Italian, were only open one at a time on select days. We had to shuffle our reservation days to make sure that we got to eat at each one, although it wasn’t a problem to make reservations. Both restaurants were okay, not great, and they were in rooms so small that we felt that we were sharing tables with the guests next to us. I found the drinks to be decent and were usually too strong for me. There was self-serve juices and water at the snack bar by the pool and a soda machine behind the bar. There is also an air-conditioned bar up by the lobby at the top of the hill.

Rooms
Our room was in Building 2 on the lower level, facing the water sports desk and pool. It was decent size, though not large, with a king size bed and marble floors. The bathroom shower did not have a shower curtain and this was perhaps our largest pet peeve of the week. The water leaked out of the shower and there was a leak around the tub. Every time we took showers, the water leaked out the door into the main room. We had to ask for extra towels and mop up the mess every day. It was very dangerous and aggravating to say the least. When we complained to the front desk, we didn’t get any help and were told that every room was like that. The balcony was nice and the air conditioning worked well. We were supposed to have our refrigerator restocked every other day but we only got restocked once. I requested more water one day and received that, but our other drinks were not replaced. The rooms were decent and we were not in them very much other to sleep, but these little things bugged us. There are also lots of bugs. I know it is a tropical climate but there were tons of bugs inside the room and every day it got worse. For rooms that face the ocean, I would recommend Buildings 16, 17, 21 and 23, if those buildings are open when you are there.

Staff
Overall, the staff at the hotel (and the Costa Rican people in general) were very friendly. We were greeted with a smile and many would strike up a conversation with us. The pool waiters and waitresses worked very hard and were always asking if they could get us a drink. I tried some weak Spanish with them and they seemed to appreciate my effort. We asked several questions about Costa Rica and they were willing to answer and talk with us. However, the service wasn’t always great. We waited at every meal for drinks or silverware. We were very discouraged by the response to the water issue in the room and the housekeepers didn’t do the most thorough job. I realize we were on “island time” but often we were just ignored. However, the friendliness of the staff helped. I know that they work long hours but with the resort being so empty, I sometimes felt we could have had better service.

Insider tips
We enjoyed the resort because of things we discovered while we were exploring and out and about. We found a whole group of lime green parakeets that were beautiful after we were woken up by their very loud voices every morning. They were gorgeous. Down by the beach during low tide, there are a ton of hermit crabs that walk along the sand, both large and small. We were fascinated by these little crabs. Also during low tide, there is a group of rocks to the left of the beach as you face the ocean. We ventured out a bit and there were small “tidepools” were we discovered all sorts of sea creatures. Then, to the right of the beach, there is a huge forested area with trails and tons of tall trees. The howler monkeys love these trees. If you walk through the forest, you can see tons of monkeys! Look right by the beach first, though. Often, they would be right by the beach. Wear your bug spray in the forest!

We enjoyed our stay at the Grand Papagayo. It is a four-star resort with decent food and accommodations. We really feel that Costa Rica is a place to get out and see – don’t stay at the resort! We took a couple of tours and really enjoyed seeing the country. The resort is a bit secluded and that was frustrating. It was hard to get out and do things on your own without a car or an arranged tour. However, the resort is beautiful and we enjoyed our stay in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
39 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monticello
Level Contributor
39 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2005

Leaveing Grand Papagayo today and a short review with more later. This hotel reopened late 2004 and has been remodeled. It was only about 20% full, so lots of service and no problems with meals, chairs by the pool, etc. Response to problems (few) was prompt. This is, in my opinion, a solid 4 star now. Spa opened a week ago .. brand new. Food was very good to excellent. Service was excellent. Advise: Try to get here away from peak season (Dec to March) as the hotel may not be able to support well with all rooms full. The manager noted that they did have issues the first few months, but have got most resolved now. So do not be swayed by reports Feb or prior. I will have more details when I get back to USA in a week. By the way, we are in May the rainy season (Green season), but so far no rain at all. Sunny and hot. (Will have photos later)

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank SAPMAN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
41 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2005

Based on the reviews on this site, I was concerned about our decision to end our vacation in Costa Rica at this hotel. However, I think using a good travel agent familiar with Costa Rica is very important. Turns out that everything was very nice. The facilities were improving daily. The restaurants were quite good for all-inclusives. The staff was very accomodating and friendly. One of the waiters actually brought us drinks on the beach. It is a fair distance from the bar, so that was really nice. Just remember that this is an all-inclusive with alcohol included, so people do drink a fair amount here.

The rooms were very nice. We were in the new portion of the hotel with ocean and pool views. Could not complain. The spa was just completed and opened our last day, so that will be a great addition as well. There were classes and activities each day, including Spanish lessons, cooking classes, salsa classes and other things, which were nice. There's not alot around the resort, so don't expect to go buy souvenirs in a nearby town.

We travelled extensively in Costa Rica before arriving in Guanacaste and used this portion of our trip for rest, relaxation and recuperation after attacking all the interior activities, so this was a good place to do so.

As others have said, this is not the Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton. However, the prices are so reflected. But for the price, this resort is a good value.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank Mojo8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2005

after a 9 night stay in antigua, we went to costa rica for another 9 nights. believe me, this one was one of the best hotels we've ever been. beware the trip from the int'l airport to the hotel by car is between 3 and 5 hours, depends if you're travelling in the morning, afternoon or nigth. enterring the building, which has been renovated lately, your breath will be taken away. the whole lobby is very stylish furnished, and with view to the pool and the pacific ocean. After a few moments you'll be served with a welcome drink, and after this they'll bring you to the room with a golf car, as the hotel area is really huge. there are about 10 different buildings. some in front of the pool, some up the hills. we had one up the hill and had a fabulous view to the ocean. the rooms were very clean, every day new towels and, well, not every day the fridge was filled up, but id doesn't matter. staff is extremely friendly, they'll try to help you immediately. the food, what about to say, we are indeed "gourmets" but this was absolutely excellent. morning buffet, was full of everything you wish to have, it was huge. lunch, we're not sure, cause most of the days we were on trips to see the animals. dinner is also awesome. we can truly say, we ate like gods in this hotel. there are also 2 other restaurants, were quite good, but the italian wasn't like a real italian, japanese one, well... leave it out. and the best, everything is for free, you have to try the pina colada at the bar, right to the lobby, best ever! we'll definitely come back some time later.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank scubacaribe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clifton, NJ
Level Contributor
46 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2005

My friend and I stayed in Grand Papagayo Occidental for 1wk. We just got back and it was hard to leave. From the minute we stepped off the bus we knew we were in heaven. We flew into Liberia airport approx 30-45min away from the hotel. The beauty of Costa Rica could be seen once the bus pulled up to the hotel. The view was amazing. While we checked in we were greeted with 2 glasses of champagne. The hotel is very spacious, clean and just plain beautiful. There is a beautiful staircase leading to the pool and snack bar. From past reviews, people complained of the stairs but they added to the beauty and the landscape of the area. It doesn't hurt to do some exercise after eating such hearty meals. But if you are not a fan of the stairs the shuttle is always available. We were there for a week and not once used the shuttle.

Staff: Staff was great. No complaints. Very humble and friendly people. They go out of their way to make sure that you are content. They all want you to have the best vacation. Although tip was included in the package, we just couldn't help ourselves so we did tip those extraordinary staff members.

Entertainment: There was aquaaerobics at the pool, volleyball, waterpolo, dance lessons, movies, sunset walk . The entertainment is not as developed as it could be but take into consideration that the hotel has only 3-4mon of being open after going through some renovations. But they are working on having night shows and bands. They have a bar and a disco. The disco wasn't too popular. Since there isn't too much to do at night you get to know the other guests in the hotel. So we met a lot of nice people...played games and drank. Other reviews rated the hotel poorly b/c of not having a nightlife but the hotel's philosophy is relaxation, peace and quiet. Therefore, it goes with their theme. We didn't complain...it was nice to get away from our hectic lifes and just get some R&R.

Rooms: The rooms were nice. Very clean. They all have a balcony giving way to beautiful scenery. We saw monkeys, iguanas, lizards, birds..all from our room. The room had an iron and an ironing board. The refrig had soft drinks, beer and 2 bottles of water. Everything in the refrig was free and was restocked every 2days. We stayed in building #17 which was further away from the pool but the walk wasn't bad at all. It's part of Costa Rica's terrain. Plus, we saw nature's creatures throughout our walks.

Food: The food was incredible. I give the director of food and drinks, Horracio Torres, five stars. The food was delicious. There are 2 restaurants, the oriental and italian, which need reservations which weren't hard to do. There was also a Buffet in case you couldn't get a reservation. The food was just as good. The snack bar by the pool wasn't as great. Therefore, we ate at the Buffet all day. I have never eaten so many veggies and fruit. Everything was fresh. Very tasty.

Beach: The beach was a normal distance from the pool. Yes, the water is dark due to the volcanic sand but we expected this so we weren't disappointed. Kayaking and snorkeling are also included. Great.

Excursions: We took our tours w/ Swiss Travel. The tour guides and their whole staff was excellent. We did the mega combo tour which was our favorite. We also did the Arenal Volcano and Liberia tour. We initially signed up for the tour to Nicaragua but it was cancelled due to some political protesting in Nicaragua so the trip would have been a little risky. But according to other guests that had taken the trip earlier in the week, stated it was beautiful. All the excursions were worth the money.

Overall, the hotel was excellent. No complaints. If you are looking for a nightlife go somewhere else b/c that's not what grande papagayo is all about. it's a very relaxing atmosphere. everyone from staff to the guests are wonderful. There's a lot to see in Costa Rica. It's a nature trip. we are two girls in our mid 20s and late 20s that have travelled to other places like Aruba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Bahamas, to name a few and this was by far our favorite trip. If you love the outdoors you have to go and explore.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
39 Thank jmad42
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
#5 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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