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“Went for our honey moon and was not what expected but still great!”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 October 2013

We came to this hotel for our honey moon. To be honest it was not what we were expecting but we made the best out of it.

Pros
- Views from our room and overall hotel were amazing
- Food was not horrible, Unless you are quite picky
- The staff was AMAZING. The serving staff were great and made our trip worth while
- the bar for the royal club was nice with amazing views
- Walk around the beach there are untouched places which are beautiful
- We are active people so the walk to our room was quite high up the mountain we didn't mind the walk but many would!

Cons
- The sales staff was pushy
- Annoying sale people on beach
- The beach was public
- There is not food all the time
- The entertainments was kinda lacking
- The management staff is horrible. We complained we were not happy with our room ( cleanliness, it was not getting stocked, the sink would get clogged and the toilet would not flush)
They did nothing but say sorry. We were highly disappointed because after all it is our honeymoon.

We are not a picky couple we did a lot of out of hotel activities and we understand things cannot always be perfect. But I honestly believe the worst part of this resort is the management and owner participation in their clients problems. We have been all over the world and this was quite disappointing.

If your looking for a relaxing low pace resort this is for you.

If you are looking for

Room Tip: The high the room the better the view. BUT you get a smaller room!
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank KristaSCM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 October 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo for a week back in June of 2013. The hotel and grounds were both very-well kept and the staff was great. All of the reviews of the hotel are fair so browse them to get a good idea. What I would like to review are the options for those wanting to explore Costa Rica off of the hotel property, since many people miss those.

The first day we booked a tour through Swiss Travel, the onsite tour company. We did the Arenal trip including the canopy tour, lake boat, hot springs, and dinner. The tour was very well structured and went off without a hitch. The tour guide was very professional and knowledgeable. While I must say that we thoroughly enjoyed this excursion, what we did the following day blew it out of the water.

The beaches in CR are public property, and therefore any resident can use the beach as a grounds to sell their goods or services. This is why you will see signs posted by the hotel as well as unsanctioned masseuses and people selling souvenirs. However, there are also tour guides that will sell their services to you. I approached a man on the beach one morning and asked him what he knew about Coco Beach. He told me he was a tour guide and could take me there. I was a bit hesitant at first, but I spoke with him for quite a while and it eventually became clear to me that he was trustworthy. He even told me to go to tripadvisor to check out reviews of him, which is why I feel obligated to write this review for him in return.

His name is Jaime Posuelo, and he is a short, older guy with a raspy voice from years of smoking. The locals call him "loco" because he comes off as a bit crazy. But trust me when I say that his attitude and honesty are unmatched. He started telling us about the real side of Costa Rica that you don't see when you go on the organized tours. He gave us many options of places to go and was adamant about the fact that it would only be the three of us. We decided to go on a riverboat tour with Jaime the next morning. He asked that we put down a $40 deposit on the tour (the total cost was something like $90 per person, far cheaper than the Swiss travel tour), so he didn't waste his time and show up the next morning to no avail- completely understandable.

The next morning we headed out in front of the hotel and met Jaime in his car. He drove us to a local coffee shop where we tried the freshly picked coffee. Then we went to a supermarket and bought some beverages for the day as well as some coffee to take home, all which were a fraction of the price that they were at the resort. Finally we went on the river boat tour itself. Although I can’t give any details of the actual tour, let’s just say that you will have an experience that you could NEVER have with a legitimate company. And it was just us three and a driver on the boat. All of this was included in the price of the tour, and Jaime was very honest and upfront about this from the start.

We enjoyed our day so much that we decided to do a Jetski tour of the cove the next day through Jaime. Again, his prices for this were much less than the company on the beach advertised, even though we did it with them anyway.

And finally, on the last day Jaime took us to Coco Beach and showed us the local bars and the best views in the area. By this point we had become so friendly that he didn’t even charge us, we just bought him a few beers throughout the day.

I would recommend Jaime's services to anyone. His car may not be as fancy as the Swiss Tour buses, but everything else about him blows them out of the water.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Alan Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

The resort was great. Food was excellent and the drinks were always flowing. If your looking for excursions go down to the beach and look for JD. Hes honest and trustworthy. They happen to be doing work on the resort at the time of our stay but the grounds were beautifully manicured. Their staff was extremely helpful and attentive.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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2  Thank ezeman21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

We booked through an online booking agent, which probably explains the low price and resulting horrible experience. Upon arrival, guests are assaulted by aggressive sales persons for the time-shares. While the grounds were lovely, our room couldn't have been further from the restaurants, the pool, and the office. There was one shuttle to transport guests from one end of the property to the other, but our telephone was broken the entire time and no one attempted to fix it; therefore, we could not phone for the shuttle. We had a mildly strenuous 10-minute walk up and down low hills to get anywhere. When we checked in to our very shabby, very dated room in Siberia, we immediately observed all the mold in the bathtub. When we finally walked back to the front desk to complain about the dilapidated room, the broken phone, the debris surrounding our building, and the mold in the bathtub, we received absolutely no satisfaction. We were never given another room, despite our many requests. We couldn't wait for our 4 days to end. The food was mediocre at best, with one exception. The Italian restaurant was quite good, but as our visits to it were limited, we bribed the maitre d' and ate there almost every night. The food everywhere else was bland and uninspired, especially the snack bar. The free drinks were so watered down that there was no alcoholic effect to blind us to the mold growing in our bathtub. The pool was nice, but there was a critical shortage of towels and lounges. The smart guests got there early, staked out the lounges and towels and never left. The beach is dirty in places, and in order to get to the sand or water, you have to walk through a gauntlet of locals selling their wares. The resort is isolated, so there is no where to go off-grounds, unless you pay for an excursion. The only explanation for why some others have given this place great reviews is that there appeared to be much nicer rooms which were much closer to the action. They probably did not have mold in the tub and were probably updated. As for the lousy food and beverages, I don't know how anyone could rate it above barely palatable. I photographed the mold, our shoddy room, and the trash around our isolated building and when I sent it to our booking company (bookit.com), they were very accommodating. They became our advocate with Occidental Papagayo and we were offered a comparable visit to one of their other resorts. We did not use the voucher we were given, but we did feel some satisfaction.

Room Tip: Specify newer or remodeled rooms close to the pool.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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4  Thank Hollylapin
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 reviewResponded 7 November 2013

Dear Hollylapin,

Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay at Occidental Grand Papagayo. We strive to provide the best experience possible and are sorry to hear that you did not have a perfect stay.

Our goal is to always exceed our guests’ expectations. We value your comments and we will take whatever steps we can to correct the problem. We regret that your room was not properly cleaned on a timely manner, your comfort should have been our first priority. We will forward to this to the head of Housekeeping for a review and I assure you that we will take measures to correct it.

We are very concerned by your experience at the restaurants. We work with an internationally recognized food and quality standard company, which certifies that our food and beverages follow the international requirements of food hygiene and quality. We will meet with the food and beverage manager to discuss your comments.

Despite this experience we hope you give us a second chance to host you in the near future.

Sincerely

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2013

My mother and I went to this resort October 12-19. I'm glad I did my research on here ahead of time. We were greeted at the airport by Swiss Travel, it was about a 30 minute ride to the resort. Once at the resort we were taken to the concierge area and given a welcome drink. They told us our room wouldn't be ready until 3pm. We were then handed over to a gentleman who "claimed" he was our RCI ambassador, he asked if we had any questions etc. then proceeded to tell us to come to a sales meeting the next day. The next morning we were in the lobby making car rental reservations and he hung around us like a vulture, there was NO way to get past him even though we told him over and over that we weren't interested. The way the sales people hound you was very uncomfortable. If you are not interested in buying they should respect your vacation time. Be warned if you do go to the presentation....it's NOT 90 minutes, more like 4 hours....of YOUR BEACH TIME!

Yes we were without water, at times, the first few days. This was in others reviews so I knew what to expect. What bothered us the most was the lack of communication. We could have planned around it should we have known. One day we got a notice under our door that the water would be off during the day. Wouldn't it be better to turn it off at night when everyone is sleeping and not using it? Don't let this bother you though, things like this happen, out of our control.

The resort is beautiful and the staff is very friendly. Kimberlyn in the concierge department did so much to help us, she really went out of her way. Although the resort is older they do keep it clean. Please remember that it's a tropical destination and there will be mold, but unless you are searching for it you won't see much mold. Hopefully they will update common area furniture, as well as in the lobby lounge.

Our room was in building 1, 3rd floor. We were given a First Club room that was renovated. This location was perfect, our patio had a view of the main building, pool and ocean. We could also link up to the free wifi from our patio! The bed was comfortable and the bathroom was nice, even had a big/deep tub. Extras in the room were a couch. fridge, microwave, coffee maker, dishes/utensils and glasses. As previous reviews stated we were given 2 waters, 2 beers and 2 sodas. When we needed more we just left a note (in Spanish) and we received what we asked for. Maintenance and housekeeping were quick to help. When it rains there are little black bugs that come in at night through a crack in the door, I required a light to be on in the bathroom so I feel this attracted more. We put a used towel at the bottom of the door to help keep the large number of bugs down. When you wake in the morning you'll see a bunch dead!

The food was average. It was slow season (green season) so all the restaurants weren't open on certain days. We never had a problem getting a reservation and there was a sign posted on the buffet door regarding it being closed for lunch and some nights for dinner. We were VERY disappointed with the lunch choice. All we had was the Snack Bar and the food was below average. Dinner was great in the Asian and Italian restaurants but know that they are 4-course meals and you'll be there a while. Breakfast was plentiful, made-to-order eggs, fresh fruits and breads. Victor was an awesome waiter, he remembered our names and we loved seeing him each day.
The snack bar has a bar that people at the pool walk to to get a drink. Mauricio is the bartender and very friendly. Every once in a while there would be someone by the pool cleaning up your drinks but only once did someone come ask us to take our drink order. I heard this was changing when they go to Adults-only.

The pool was large. Wish they had seating in the pool, everyone just stands around. There are plenty of lounge chairs, we didn't have to go early and reserve one. Not sure if busy season requires it. Yes there is a faint green rim in the pool but the pool was cleaned daily (we know because we watched from our patio) and the pool water seemed clean. They have a small hut where they post the daily activities you can participate as much or as little as you want. Gerry with a G and Carlos were awesome. I wouldn't suggest doing the snorkeling, it was disappointing. Do the sunset walk! BEAUTIFUL!

The beach is a little walk so make sure you have everything you need before heading down. The sand is soft and black. Not many people lay at the beach, maybe it was because the tour guys were pressuring them or the trees that drop stuff on you! It's fun to walk the beach and look at the shells.

Spa was nice. We stopped in there on a rainy day and they were able to get us in. They have great specials!

Pros:
- friendly staff, everyone from the bellmen to the wait staff to the maintenance.
- clean resort
- nice renovated rooms
- free wifi (you are in a foreign country, it's a bit choppy)
- continental breakfast in the lobby for early risers
- Avis rental car on property
- almost everyone spoke very good English
- lush foliage
- Easy to find someone to book an excursion. Johnny D and Larry on the beach, but make sure to book early, you may see them one day but not the next.
- small resort so we got to know lots of guests

Cons:
- Large, spread out resort. 75 steps up to the lobby from the pool, 75 steps from the pool to our room! They do have shuttles if you are staying in other areas of the resort
- sales pressure both at the resort and in Playa Coco
- Entertainment at night is loud and you won't be able to sleep if in building 1 until it's over
- need more plugs in the room for electronics
- water problems

Even though we went in rainy season it was very lush and beautiful. It only rained in the afternoon/evening and not every day. Lots of locals said we picked a good time to come, in dry season everything is brown and lacks leaves.

Be sure to bring bug spray, umbrella, and either a candle or room spray/air freshener for room

Get off the resort and explore. Pura Vida!

Room Tip: Top floor, renovated room ( we were in 134)
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank atw2atl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2013

I stayed here with my fiance towards the end of August. The grounds of the resort were GORGEOUS and most of the staff were very kind and hospitable. The food was above average. The main gripe that we had with the resort was the pushy sales people. It was out of control. From the moment we checked in, we were handed off to our "concierge" person. This person seemed very nice as he was discussing with us different tour options but then he began trying to sell us a timeshare that he swore was not a timeshare. We ended up going to an informational that we almost felt obligated to attend where we were bounced around to literally 4 people who tried to get us to buy a timeshare. Almost 2 hours of a beautiful beach day was gone. It just left a sour taste in our mouths for the duration of our stay which was unfortunate, because if that wouldn't have happened, this review score would've been much higher. My advice: steer clear of any pushy sales people if you can or just stay in a more expensive resort.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank 666daniellea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2013

On the whole, food was fantastic, drinks were great, landscaping was well-kept and service was world-class. The only two inconveniences on our whole trip were one indignant bartender (who, to our knowledge, has been dealt with accordingly) and the fact that the food at the snack bar was not up to the standard as the other restaurants at the resort.

Everything else was great.

Room Tip: Choose one of the "villas" or rooms that are not in the hotel building itself. They are mo...
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank tgsmith61591
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

Address: Playa Hermosa, 485000, Costa Rica (Formerly Occidental Grand Papagayo by Barceló)
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range: £130 - £253 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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