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“Great place to stay”

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Occidental Papagayo - Adults only
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 August 2014

I've had the advantage of trying a lot of different hotels along the Pacific coast in Costa Rica. We found the hotel to be very beautiful, the grounds were well maintained and the room was clean and quiet. Normally this would have given a 5 star instead of a 4 star review.

However, the buffet was just not up to snuff. Breakfast was ok due to omelets prepared fresh and loads of fresh fruit, the bacon was super but the oatmeal was so thin that I checked the label twice as I thought it might be a broth.

Lunch and dinner were the low points of our day. The food on the buffet was nicely labeled and beautifully laid out, however the taste often tended to be awful. The meats were often over cooked and too hard to cut let alone chew. You learned to pick your battles and I often found myself depending on the salad bar and desert bar to avoid going hungry.

The asian night at the buffet was amazingly bad and I've come to the determination that Costa Ricans in general don't know what good Chinese or Japanese foods should taste like. Even the sushi was much too dependent on pickled vegetables rather than on fresh fish or other seafood (one would think living on the ocean they'd have an amazing supply).

We did get to try the Asian specialty restaurant on the second evening and I'll admit I wasn't really thrilled after the asian buffet the night before. Somehow where they failed at the buffet they delivered an incredible meal to us at the restaurant. For this meal alone I'd book at the hotel again with hopes that something might be done about the buffet.

Room Tip: We had asked for a handicapped room and ended up with one that had a steep climb to reach. Ask agai...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sway57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 August 2014

We went to Costa Rica for diving and relaxation. There were 8 of us (3 non-divers) and everyone had a great time. We upgraded to the romance package and the rooms were in a perfect location with partial ocean views and lots of wild life. The rooms were typical of this type of resort and we thought they were clean and well taken care of. Our air-conditioning worked well; when we drank something out of the fridge, it was replaced the next day.

All of the staff was extremely helpful and friendly. You have to figure out how some things work, but once you do it is easy to navigate how to do things and how to get around.

The food was good. Staff very attentive and friendly. Buffets were nice, but not outstanding, but they were what we expected. The Oriental restaurant was real good, and the Italian was not quite as good, but still nice. Breakfasts were good and we ate at the pool buffet most days. The drinks were NOT watered down contrary to some reviews. You could ask for anything and they would make if for you, and if you wanted more alcohol they will tie it to you. We gave small token tips with each round and I am sure that enhanced our experience with the waiters and bartenders. Yes, its all inclusive, but I think people should be willing to tip, no matter how small.

The beach was actually quite nice, though the first evening we went down there and there was no beach due to the high tide and we were concerned, but those who did not dive loved being at the beach. The massages were actually better at the beach than the hotel. No problems getting drinks at the beach. The lounge chairs were very comfortable with snorkel gear and kayaks to check out of free.

If you don't take the free shuttle there is a lot of walking but we found the exercise to be good for us. Taking the stairs is a lot tougher than the walkways around the buildings.

There isn't a lot of entertainment, but the pool activity folks were great, and there was some type of music each evening whether canned or live. The gym is adequate though could get real hot if you weren't under the air.

We dove with Deep Blue and they pick you up from the beach. It is a great outfit and we had some miscommunications the first day and they more than made up for it. Highly recommend them.

Go into Playa de Cocos and some of the other areas. They are a lot of fun. We rented a car for a day and drove to some other beaches. We booked the mega combo deal and really loved the hot springs, and the water slide, and the zip lining. This was our first zip lining experience and it was a great starter, because when we did it, again, a few days later in Arenal, it made the 600+ foot zip lines there not as scary.

Overall, we thought we got a great value for our money. We read a lot of negative reviews going in to the trip and were nervous, but they were vastly overstated. Things were not perfect, as they never are when you travel. You need to learn to adapt and have fun. BTW--we were NEVER approached about time shares the entire time we were there.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank ScubaCALI1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014

This was the first trip to Costa Rica for my husband and I. We chose this resort for our Honeymoon especially for the adults only status of the resort. Overall the staff was great! The servers at the restaurants were always extremely friendly and accommodating, however, depending on the time of day they seemed understaffed (2 servers in the buffet at breakfast and dinner, one bartender for the beach all day). Carlos and Antonio were OUTSTANDING servers in the snack bar and buffet and Edwin, Mauricio, Hermando and Ignacio were amazing bartenders, always smiling and making sure your drink was full!!

All staff speaks English so it was relieving for someone like me, who has limited Spanish knowledge.

The resort was quiet and it was fun seeing the natural wildlife all around the resort. The Coati's are are abundant and cute but not afraid to ask for a snack from the patrons at the snack bar, but the staff prefers that vacationers do not feed them. You will also see a wide variety of birds as well as howler monkeys and iguanas around the resort.

The relaxing nature of this resort is great for the people that want the all-incusive benefits without the party-all-day atmosphere. There is a shuttle that will bring to any part of the resort, however we preferred to walk. We never tried the shuttle so I would not be able to say which is more efficient but there was always something to see when we walked somewhere.

There are travel and tour agencies stationed by the snack bar. Our experience using Swiss travel left something to be desired and they were overpriced in my opinion. I would not recommend the Mega Combo tour for anyone who has experience with zip-lining or horseback riding. We also did the ATV half day and Sunset cruise - both were a disappointment. For these activities talk to the guys on the beach - much better experience from other people we spoke with. For the ATV tour we just went on dirt roads to a beach and a local bar, while those who booked with Larry on the beach got to go on trails and go to a snake and monkey sanctuary where they let you hold the animals. Our sunset cruise was on a 32' catamaran (capacity 12 people) we were with 20 other individuals. We were told a snack and dinner and only got a snack (chips, salsa, oreos, and some watermelon). When we complained to our representative at Swiss travel he blamed the over-booking on the other hotel. Lesson learned for next time!

Overall our experience with the resort was good but the tours seemed to put a damper on our memories for our honeymoon:/

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Kathleen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

I loved Costa Rica, as did my wife. We needed some time away from it all and wanted an easy, no-adventures vacation where we could sit on the beach, drink a few cocktails, eat some decent food and forget we really couldn't afford to be doing it. Not that Occidental Grand Papagayo was expensive, quite the opposite, its affordable. The broke thing is just a personal issue. Lets move on.
I loved Costa Rica because it allowed my wife and I the rest we sought, sitting on a private beach, snorkeling at will (the resort has this available for you) and drinking surprisingly strong drinks. A patron at the buffet was so drunk he vomited and was ushered out of the room, obviously a bit too late to not ruin many a dinners. Make reservations at the restaurants for better food and service and much less vomiting. Lunch by the pool is also better quality.
Rooms were fine, clean and cool in the heat with a fan above the bed. I heard some rooms had non-functional fans but ours worked fine. Getting towels is a freaking hassle. They run out. BRING YOUR OWN!! Wifi was only available in lobby and in restaurant by pool, which was a pain. Nightlife was loud with music and fun but the rooms drowned out most noise if night fun ain't your scene.
The big thing that killed this for me was the timeshare pitch. The moment you get there they sit you down and try to bribe you into scheduling a meeting to listen to a 2 hour presentation. We refused and I think this actually hurt the guys feelings because he gave me nasty looks any time we came across him. A real downer for an otherwise nice getaway. Shuttle to/from airport was included if I remember correctly.

Room Tip: Bring towels. The towel borrowing situation stinks. When you get there and they sit you down with a...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

It was a fun time with lots of nice people. Good food. Good service. Free shuttle from your room. Only downer was there was no swim up bar, but they brought it out to you anyways. It was nice that it was an all adults resort so there was no rowdiness. I thought it was pretty nice that the people working there remembered my name after a few days of being there. Good weather also the 2 weeks we were there.

Room Tip: The far rooms have all the monkeys and other scenery but its farther from the restaurants and pool.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Corey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

This resort was inexcusably terrible. I'll just make you a bullet list of the cons because there were no pros.

1. it's a cheezy timeshare posing as an all inclusive resort. from the momment you check in they try to get you to agree to sit through a 2 hour spiel and buy into these resorts. not my idea of a vacation

2. the air conditioning didnt work in our room. it started going out on Sunday night and continued to get worse. i spoke to the mgmt several times and they did nothing till Wednesday. Wednesday they sent manitenance to the room and they played with it for half an hour then told me "its fixed". No, it wasnt fixed. I called and asked for another room and was put on hold for approx 30 minutes so i finally hung up and made arrangements to leave Thursday morning. upon checking out i was told "you can't leave". i had a cab waiting and the security guard tried to physically stop me. I politely shoved him out of my way and proceeded to the cab. Then he stopped my wife and I had to go back and shove him out of the way again.

3. Tuesday I got a sea urchin in my heel and had to go to first aid. They cleaned and bandaged it. During the night the bandage leaked some blood on the sheets and i recieved a bill from house keeping for $560. I offered to pay for the sheets if they would show me an invoice of how much they actually pay for them but I refused to pay the $560.

4.The food is marginal. May as well be eating Chinese fast food

5. The beach bar is constantly out of beer, Ice, liquor or the bartender isn't there.

6. The "all inclusive" wifi doesnt work but if you complain they mysteriously have one that works for $10 dollars a day.

Do your homework before you give these clowns a dime of your money. I disputed the bill with Amex and waiting to hear back on what I actually have to give Occidental.

I will never stay at one of their resorts again.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
22  Thank 132Alpha69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

We stayed seven days at the Grand Papagayo and had a very relaxing time. It's adult only which is great for noise levels. Food is very good. They have three speciality restaurants-Italian, Oriental and Mexican- with the Italian being the pick of an average trio. Actually, the food, atmosphere and service in the Buffet restaurant was better.
Daily activities leave a lot to be desired and night entertainment was mediocre. Resort is in need of a little refurbishment while the hot tub adjacent to the pool is under construction!
The private beach was our favorite destination. Sun loungers are provided by the hotel, the waiter plies you with as many drinks as you wish and you can seek shelter from the sun's rays under the mango trees that line the back of the beach.
We witnessed more wildlife at the Resort (coaties, howler monkeys, iguanas, a variety of birds) than on our trip to the Rain Forest. "All inclusive" is a great way to chill out and on balance I would recommend it.

Room Tip: Buildings 14 and 15 at second floor level are quieter and have great views of the Bay.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank David J
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:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#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: £122 - £226 (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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