We are just finishing up a family vacation here so I figured I'd submit this review while all is fresh in my memory. I'm here with my wife & 11 & 8-year old sons.
The resort is in a stunning, unique location. Water on both sides. Beautifully manicured grounds. Mostly outstanding service except as noted in the restaurants below.
We are staying on the 1st floor in a "regular" room in building 3. This building is on the bay side. The best thing about this location is its close proximity to the pool (about a 10 second walk) yet we are far enough away not to be bothered by pool noise. Also, we have a nice bay view from our screened patio & fall asleep each night to the sound of the waves. Without us asking, the resort was good enough to add a rollaway bed to our room which made things way more comfortable.
For much more money, one can stay in a villa on the ocean side. The benefits of course include a much larger room, wrap-around decks, plunge pools, privacy & gorgeous views of the sunset & mountains across the water. Aside from cost, the downside is that unless you are very ambitious & fit, you'll probably need the golf cart shuttles to get around & there is a good chance that the monkeys will be waking you up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning.
Like all of life, room choice involves trade offs. However, for those of you on a family vacation rather than a romantic getaway, I suggest being near the pool. The kids don't really care about sunsets, privacy & plunge pools. They want to be with the other kids at the pools or the kids club.
Housekeeping gets strong grades overall. One suggestion is make sure they know when you leave for breakfast & dinner each day so they come & clean at the right time in the morning & do the turndown service after you get ready for dinner. After the first day, I called housekeeping & made sure they knew our schedule.
The resort itself is super kid-friendly. There are 2 sizable pools & wonderful activities to do each day ranging from independent pool play to organized basketball & beach soccer games. The kids club has ping pong, foosball & pool tables, pop-a-shot, basketball & volleyball courts, guitar hero & Xbox. The beach activities include kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, paddle boating & standup paddle boarding. Throw in some excursions & the kids will have a blast. My family did the zip lining & morning catamaran trip. The kids loved it!
We opted out of the longer excursions like going to the rain forest, the river boat ride, Nicaragua, etc. All involve at least a 2-1/2 to 3 hour ride. My sons had no interest in long car rides nor did I (since I loathed the idea of them fighting or complaining the whole ride & I preferred relaxing here at the resort).
We also did a few extra resort offered activities. The chocolate making class was fun ($90.00 for 2 of us). The Trail of Giants tour (complementary) was a golf cart tour on the golf course. The views were stunning & we saw lots of monkeys. The Sunset Hike (complementary) was a steep climb & gave us a great view of the sunset & more monkey spotting. It was ok but not for those physically unable to handle the climb.
The pool area was so kid-friendly. We hung out nearly every day & the kids loved it. Service was generally good. Special kudos to Armondo who always had a smile on his face & took great care of us. The other guys were ok but we're not the friendliest & didn't speak the best English. The resort provided some nice complementary amenities each day at the pool like foot & shoulder massages, cleaning sunglasses, fruit drinks, fresh coconut milk in the shell, ice cream, pop corn, etc.
The fitness center is a very nice convenience but they should add a few more of the weight training machines. The spa is immaculate. I loved taking a dip in the hot tub after each workout. Just fabulous!
The unavoidable Achilles heel of the resort is the limited dining options & the service in the restaurants. The service in Ticos bar is just terrible. It took nearly an hour for my kids to get their orders which is just unacceptable. The server also forgot one of the items i ordered. The next day, a very nice supervisor named Olivier listened to our experience & was an empathetic ear but who knows what the impact will be. On another occasion, we went there again for lunch & it took 10 minutes to get menus & then after another 10 minutes of no one coming to get our order, we just got up & left. Do yourself a favor & avoid this place.
Last night, we had dinner at Congo's. The hostess seating everyone was clueless about service. She kept everyone waiting to be seated which was annoying to all. She also gave me a hard time when I told her beforehand that we were running late. She said that they were full & this would be a problem. What a joke! We arrived 15 minutes late & the place was pretty empty & I haven't seen them reseat a table there all week. Such a level of service is not Four Seasons-like.
The Rodizio itself is fun & good but you have to ask the guys bringing around the meat skewers to come back if you like something. Otherwise, they only come by with each item once which has become a running joke amongst the families we met.
A problem arose when we ordered something at Congo's other than the Rodizio. My son wanted pasta (penne in butter sauce) offered on the kids menu & a shrimp tempura roll. After 45 minutes, he did not receive any of the food. I then asked the manager about this & he brought the pasta out 5 minutes later. The sushi roll came after 1 hour & it was done wrong! We sent it back & my son's appetite was done. To his credit, the manager felt so badly & bent over backwards to brings special desserts to my sons. The incompetence in the kitchen & with the service certainly wasn't his fault.
The breakfast buffet at Papagayo's was convenient & good. Lots of choices for the kids. We also enjoyed a beach barbeque one evening. It was well done & a very pleasant environment. The downside was that it was very expensive ($440.00 before additional gratuity) for dinner for 2 adults & 2 kids. Keep in mind that my wife & I had 5 drinks between us. What was surprising was that the buffet menu was just about the same one we had at Congo's the night before but at more than twice the cost.
The bottom line is that you are a captive audience so expect high prices. The service though is terrible & it must be improved.
A few other nitpicky things to address. The car service arranged through the resort upon arrival was there waiting for us but the driver barely spoke English & we had trouble getting their iPad working to check-in while enroute. We eventually got it to work & the check-in on the way there was a nice touch.
Also, the concierge gave us a confirmation for the wrong day for the Trail of Giants tour.
When we did the zip lining excursion to Witch's Rock, the a/c wasn't working in the van so it was brutally hot on the trip there.
I didn't rate this resort 5 stars due to the problems with the food service & the astronomical food prices. Notwithstanding the above shortcomings, I would return here for a family trip (but do not come here during March spring break if you are looking for a quiet romantic setting). It's a great place for a family/kids vacation. I'm sorry to be returning to NY tomorrow!
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- Also Known As:
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica At Peninsula Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
- 4 Seasons Resort Costa Rica At Peninsula Papagayo
- Four Seasons Costa Rica
- Four Seasons Liberia
- Peninsula Liberia
- Liberia Peninsula
- Liberia Four Seasons