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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
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Reviewed 3 August 2014

I traveled as a single woman & felt comfortable & safe at this resort! Food & Drinks were average.. Staff Is absolutely fantastic & helpful!! The grounds are well kept & nice! I did an excursion with swiss travels. had the time of my life! Zip lining, Horseback Riding, water Slide & more!! coco beach was festive !! I went in june Costa Rica won twice soccer while i was there! Pura Vida!! I really have nothing but great things to say about this resort! The bar/disco was my favorite way to end my nights... I will be back!!! Costa Rica Is Such A Magical Place with beautiful & friendly people!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank 143,455
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Overall the resort, beach, rooms and food were good or great. There were 4-5 kids staying there while we were there so this was NOT adults only and it's very annoying that it is allowed to be advertised as adults only. The service was hit or miss... some of the staff were friendly but some were quite rude or just uninterested in helping us. We often got different answers to the same question depending on who we asked. Making dinner reservations is confusing, there are limitations to how many times you can eat at a reserved restaurant but it's only enforced by some of the staff. There isn't regular drink service down on the beach but if you tip the bartender he will sometimes bring down a tray of drinks. Stay away from all of the sales people on the beach, the tours aren't very good and they try to talk you into buying a timeshare. The layout of the resort didn't bother us (who doesn't need a few minutes of cardio before a meal?) but I can see how some older or out of shape people would have a hard time making the walk from beach to top of the resort each day.

I don't think we would stay here again based on the fickle customer service and the fact that they DO allow children, but we did have a good vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank LesleyJustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Pros:
The room was clean updated and had a beautiful view!
The entire resort was beautiful and well kept!
The staff was WONDERFUL. Juan and Roberto made sure our stay was everything we wanted! My boyfriend and I often went out on the town late, after the taxi service had stopped running and Roberto always found us a safe ride back regardless of time!
The drinks were wonderful. They had multiple bars all at convenient locations. Although the bar by the beach isn't on the sand they always had a server coming around with plenty of delicious drinks!
Get some Cacique and Chilliguaro shots!
Fantastic private breakfast for royal club members for a quite morning as well as a private bar!
The buffet is great for breakfast. The snack bar is a better option for lunch. The oriental and Italian food were great.
This place is quite during the day but the disco bar is always a blast at night!!
The wildlife is so much fun and very friendly!!
The spa was so relaxing and less expensive than the spa at home!

Cons:
This is not a foodie paradise but there is something for everyone.
As a Texan I was disappointed with the "Tex-Mex" restaurant.
No swim up bar, but we spent most of our time at the beautiful beach.
Learn when is high and low tide. High tide pretty much consumes the beach property.
The hot tub and pool bar were under construction while we were there.

Royal Club:
We upgraded to the royal club and overall it had an okay value.
Same day dinner reservations, a private bar and breakfast.
We did not receive the promised "personal concierge"
The Royal Club rooms had a stunning view.

My boyfriend and I were looking for a quite getaway that would allow for some Costa Rican culture at the same time. We had a fantastic time and loved all the available excursions. Go see Rick representing United down by the snack bar! He customized many of our excursions to avoid zip lining (due to my fear of heights.) We loved getting to know the staff and Costa Rican culture in comfort. Make some time to hit the tourist parts of Coco beach and do some shopping. We will most likely be returning during the dry season to see more!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Renatadenise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

My family and I went to Costa Rica and a fantastic time. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo. The service was wonderful. The food was great. Adults only property. The only problem was that it didn't have a swim up bar. They did have waiter service at the pool. The entertainment in the evening was enjoyable. The spa had great massage. We took some tours with swiss travel which was great. We truly enjoyed the catamaran sail and the Arenel sky tram tour. My husband and sons went on the atv and loved it. I would recommend this property. Loved Costa Rica and would go back.

Room Tip: we had the deluxe concierge room which gave us free internet we got wine and fruit
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank maggie13042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

We booked an 18 day tour of CR- which was fantastic, we did SO much and saw SO many parts of this beautiful country- including Nicaragua, it will stay with us for a long time. We had read so many damning reports of this hotel that we were really quite nervous when we reached this the last hotel of the tour for just over a week's relaxing break. We were so looking forward to being able to finally empty our suitcases and to just relax. We arrived from Guachiplelin which was another road journey full of guanacaste trees and mountain scenery, we passed the Rio Colorado, very stoney areas and noticed just how DRY the area was becoming- so different to the Caribbean side of the country, Our driver did us a big favour stopping off at Jumbo supermarket complex at Liberia on the way as we had opportunity to buy up more mossie spray,snacks, mixers for our duty frees,lemons and honey(for my tea) etc- we were booked all inclusive but I still like to know I have all I require without having to pay resort overprices.The selection of fruit was amazing- and the prices of tequila unbelievably cheap. The journey was great to view further farmlands and learn more about this country.We were lucky to spot a white swan necked heron on the way- only seen in CRica aswell as brown turtles, the sugar cane fields remind you of Mauritius but the beautiful tall trees are unique to this country.
Once we drove off the main Alaska- Panama road we turned off to a small industrial area full of bathroom and kitchen warehouses and a modern hospital building then avenues of mango trees- never seen so many lining one road, then flatlands and always the mountains in the distance,then we noticed lots of burnt soil,leafless trees,dry scrubland like in western Australia. We then entered a very UNnatural area- signs for Panama beach, Coco beach, various hotels- but all far apart from one another. Unlike the rest of our stays this was obviously a large hotel area and therefore very touristey... I am glad that we didn't just come here for an 18 day stay as we'd never see the REAL Costa Rica, here we didn't see any local towns etc until towards the end of our stay when we were invited by locals to attend a Bull fiesta at Sardinal town.I was beginning to think that we would be stranded in the hotel as our driver told us it would cost $40 for a taxi ride from Occidental to the nearest supermarket- seemed rather dear for CR. Seemingly tourists are sitting ducks here - just waiting to be ripped off- shame really.
Reception was welcoming- champagne and cold towels- the temperature here was MUCH hotter than previous 7 hotels.Cynthia told us they had no upper floor rooms as we had requested- hubby was ready to leave at this point- I dislike bugs creeping in on the ground floor.We were taken by buggies to view several rooms but the one she had reserved for us -believe it or not- the ground floor room -was the best- we had no neighbours above or below, no steps to negotiate and it was in the quietest part of the resort, very natural and with plenty of space out front to walk straight out onto the grass area with trees and a WONDERFUL view acrosss the bay and you can hear the sea rolling in- what more do you want ? We struck lucky- and looking at the rooms in the blocks we really did have the best. We were far from the pool and reception, dining areas etc but that was no problem as you just dial for a buggy which comes to collect you straight away.We met an American couple who had a time share there- their accomodation was huge with two bathrooms, two bedrooms and sitting areas etc but our location I felt was perfect.So despite feeling downcast at first we did in fact get a fab place and had no trouble at all for the rest of the 8 days.
Rooms are all slightly different- ours was deluxe ocean view and larger than some.A/C was very quiet- I didn't hear it once.The A/c switches off after you've left a door or patio open for a while- good idea.Plenty of fluffy towels,very comfortable bed and sheets etc all nice quality. Lots of furniture in the room- glass table with bowls of fruit, fridge that made no rumbling noise like some fridges can- water and mixers provided.Ironing board and iron provided, bathrobes,large wardrobe space and a good large safe.Only thing I would have wanted more would have been a bath- I do like to stretch out and have the option of shower or bath but hey, the view is to die for...you can't always have it all.
When the sun came up it was sizzling hot, we sat in the chairs on the porch observing wildlife as it crossed over the grass area- lizards, iguanas, koatamundis, parrots,white throated blue magpies, pale coloured squirrels,fincheseven chirping hummingbirds- one morning I opened up the curtains to see a really LONG black and yellow striped snake on our porch floor outside- only to the see it was a sleeping giant iguana - its body and head were hidden under the table- the "snake" was its huge tail- when I moved the curtain it lumbered off across the parched grass area heading towards the hedges- even the security guy took foties of it - it was the largest iguana ever seen- aka dinosaur.We were lucky to be able to see the sun rise from our room and see the sun set from the left.
Maid service was good tho I did notice that there was some romancing going on so I'm not sure what sort of work was completed by the maid and service men in vacating rooms! Some maids did have a language barrier if you didn't speak Spanish but everyone else on the staff spoke perfect English and you were easily understood. Staff were all great- very friendly, accomodating and always a smile to greet you.
I really don'y know why some folk have said that the food is not good here- maybe they expect too much? There are three ala carte restaurants- we tried the Oriental first night, small place,very dark, modern with some lovely Chinese silk artefacs behind glass, waiters dressed in black/white Chinese style,VERY cold A/C, you can reserve a private sliding door tea house type room for privacy where you sit on the floor.Only criticism is that the portions are small, there is a menu which is good and the food is served artistically- the fish dishes are good.The Italian was my favourite- the ambiance is discreet, lovely vaulted ceilings and candelabras- lovely high backed sofa seats, felt quite medieval- and the food was really nice- we celebrated my Birthday here and altho the menu was great we asked for mahi mahi fish which was not on the menu that day - delicious- aswell as providing us with other alternative dishes- mixed seafoods etc and a beautiful surprise cake. It can be a bit dark in there also. It is a special place with classical music in the background- sedate. We ordered our favourite Malbec wine at both these restaurants which proved very expensive- $43 a bottle !!! tip- order the house wine which is part of the all inclusive deal- we didn't know this at the time.The third is the Mexican which is further down from the pool area and is also open for lunches during the day. We had good reports on this but never tried it ourselves. The dining room is buffet style breakfast- looks like Betty's tea rooms in the morning with cake stands on each table- doilies etc sweet, lunches are served here and at the pool side dining room and dinners are served here and at the ala cartes.There is ample choice through the day- B'fast: eggs however you like them, crispy bacon, sausages, various tasty breads, fruits, European breakfasts with meats and salads, different beans, stuffed tortillas, fried spuds,plantain etc a bloody Mary port,cereals, porridge, choice of teas and good coffee etc etc.
Lunches and dinners are varying- fish, steaks, pork,local foods,good choice of vegetables,salads and desserts, the pool dining area has chips, pizzas etc as well as main course meals. Everything is nicely laid out and the cakes and ice creams are also good. You won't go hungry- buffet food is always best served fresh- and its not like a cruise menu with lobsters and all the accutriments but it is better than standard food. If you want proper local food then I suggest the cafes- but I didn't see many of these in the vicinity- certainly not within walking distance.It is a largeish hotel and has to cater for many people- maybe to justify some of the other criticisms is that we did stay at an Occidental in Mexico at Xcaret several years ago and the food was much superior to here- but as I say- you won't go hungry and you won't get an upset stomach, I would class it as probably 4 star for the buffets.You might see the woman manageress lurking in the buffet- she tends to sit a table for a while and observe the poor staff then flit off- she always seemed grumpy to me.
The bar at the side of the lobby also serves snacks and drinks throughout the day and is small enough to get to talk to other guests.They had a fantastic saxophonist entertaining one night and dance routines etc others- we didn't spend much time in the entertainments place and neither are we animation team fans- but they were good at the poolside and not pushy like some can be- and their dance routine was good. We preferred to be at the beach for most of the day and talking to folk in the evenings with meals and afterwards.
The public beach area is narrower than expected- but natural and beautiful- trees cascade down to the water,the bay is lovely, water can be strong undercurrents so beware but great for walking up and down- you can get complete quiet at the end of the bay where the rocks start and there are lots of hermit and ghost crabs to observe. They especially come out at night- so a torchlit midnight walk is a must.The steps down to the beach from the hotel are steep but there is also a public path through the woods which I guess you could use? The tide comes in right up to the trees so sometimes you have to abandon beach and stop off at the thatched bar nearby. There are a couple of lovely lasses- Maria and Gabriella who sell jewellary and ceramics as you step onto the beach- they are from Nicaragua and very warm and friendly- they even shared their food with us- delicious! There are also 3 guys who alternate their days on the beach selling tours Larry, Johnie and I forget the last one aswell as a really strong masseur woman who live in Coco beach- best massage in Costa Rica- under the shelter of the trees on the beach with the sea in front. You can also book a more expensive massage in the hotel just up from the thatched bar area..There are a couple of other guys who hang around- security and the young Diego- he can talk to you about anything at all- and at length ! he was the one who invited us to his vilage to the fiesta which showed us proper CR culture- we ate at he local bar/meeting place there and then strolled through the town to the bull fiesta.
There is still a lot of wildlife on the beach- pelicans,diving birds, lots of fish. We booked a sunset cruise with one of the guys- it was ok, a small boat but it was fun- drinks and small snacks provided, not your catamaran trip at all but it was fun, we came back home in a small bus in the dark- Bruno looked after us- he was interesting to talk to about fishing, we saw flying fish as we reached the shoreline.We also booked a trip to Nicaragua- I will write this review separately.
We had a fantastic storm one night which blew the electrics for a while- no probs, made it feel good.Lots of guests from America here- I felt that being from England we were an attraction for them- everone was SO friendly and interested and wanting to spend a bit of time talking to you- thank you to Jodie, Connie, Ginny, Pam and Sharon, Bob, Ted don't know what happened to the emails we didn't receive.
In all we had a wonderful stay in CR- we did so many things and we were looking for rest and relaxation at the end- this hotel fitted the bill for what we required at the time. I am however glad that we didn't just stay at this hotel as we would never have seen the CR that is so diverse and local.





Nicaragua

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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