Grand Papagayo by Occidental Reviews

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Grand Papagayo by Occidental  

Playa Buena, Gulf of Papagayo 485000, Costa Rica

"The vacation from Hell"
Posted by: diane  on Feb 12, 2012
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Grand Papagayo by Occidental Reviews
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Grand Papagayo by Occidental Costa Rica Costa Rica

#3
of 28 Hotels in Costa Rica

User rating 3.1

Based on 11 reviews

Grand Papagayo by Occidental Information


At the Occidental Grand Papagayo, you'll sample every primal indulgence that a luxury all-inclusive holiday should offer... From exquisite a la carte dining at D'Oriental & The Italian fine dining restaurants to our white-linen International Buffet.

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Grand Papagayo by Occidental Reviews

Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 3.1 of 5 11 reviews
Excellent
  1
Very good
  6
Average
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Poor
  0
Terrible
  6
By Occasion...
Leisure (10)
Business
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By Traveler Type...
Family and Kids (2)
Solo Traveller (1)
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With Spouse/Partner (4)
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1 - 10 of 11

"All the employees were excellent"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.50 of 5

Posted by:  Tracy  on Nov 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) 
Visited on: Nov, 2007
252 people found this review helpful

My boyfriend and I are in our late 20’s and are frequent travelers. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo Nov 3-10 2007 and had an AMASING time. This was classified as their rainy season but we had beautiful hot weather with only a few showers. I would highly recommend this resort.

Staff:
All the employees were excellent. They spoke good English and always went out of their way to help you. They make approx. $1/hr so if you decide to tip, it is extremely appreciated!

Food:
This resort has 1 buffet, 1 pool-side snack bar, and 2 a la carte (Oriental and Italian) restaurants. The food was good but is more of what I would call traditional “Costa Rican” style. Lots of beans, rice chicken and fish - you will never go hungry though!! I would highly recommend the Italian restaurant A++

Tours:
Avispa’s Tours - www.avispasadventures.com we read about Amy before we left Canada and booked the Miravalles Volcano Adventure and Arenal Volcano Adventure and had a FANSATIC TIME! I would highly recommend booking with them– you won’t be disappointed!!! Her tours are smaller groups (2-4ppl) so this way you get a more laid-back adventure as it’s up to you how long you want to stay at each site. Miravalles is a must do tour which includes zip-lining, horseback riding (or tracker ride), nature hike with water falls, sulfur springs, hot springs, and mud baths. Arenal includes a nature hike, the volcano, hot springs and we added ATV’ing. We did not see the volcano the day we went it because it was cloudy – still worth the trip! This tour is a long day 13+ hours so if you want something closer to the resort go with Miravalles, its only 1 hour away. All food, snacks, beverages are included in the price (which is comparative to what the hotel is going to try and sell you). The van is safe and secure so don’t worry you wont lose your personal belongings. I recommend you bring rain gear and a change of clothing just in case. I won’t go into much more detail but if you want more info check out her website or email me! TOUR WITH AMY – AVISPA’S IS THE BEST!

Mario Tours:
There are a few people on the beach operating tours. They are usually much cheaper then the ones offered through the resort. We did a 2 hour boating trip with Mario which included snorkeling (2 different sites) caves, and whale/dolphin watching for $25. It was safe, and we had a great time.

Sunset Walk:
This is arranged by the entertainment staff and is worth doing!

Wildlife:
My big concern before I booked this trip was scorpions. I heard stories of people finding them in their suitcases, in their rooms etc. I didn’t see one my entire trip. If you get up early (animals feed in the am) you can see all kinds of wildlife on the property. If you are not into the wildlife, don’t worry, unless you are out looking for it you probably wont come across much on the resort

If you have any questions or want more info, please feel free to email me tracybug@hotmail.com

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"We heard from other guests that thefts had occured"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Heidi and Bob  on Feb 1, 2008  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2008
255 people found this review helpful

We're still waiting for our insurance claim to be honored. We had an expensive camera and cash stolen within an hour of our luggage being put in the room and when we filed an official report the management accused us of telling lies, suggested we had lost the camera on a tour, but after three days of wrangling finally agreed they'd have their insurance company pay for the loss. Two months later, we're still waiting despite several e-mails. We heard from other guests that thefts had occured prior to ours but the management denied it, said their security system is failproof. Aside from the uncooperative attiutde of management, there was no attempt to move us to another room and we never felt safe in that room again. The rooms themselves are very basic, mold in the bathrooms, definitely not a five star, but more like a three star. We've stayed with the Marriott and Hyatt chain many times and know the difference. The spa cold and uninviting and th eworst pedicure I've ever had. The staff aren't trained properly. The grounds also are so so and the beach almost a waste of time as it's so small with no real way to swim safely in the ocean. Food was very good as was waiter service, but the rest of the hotel left much to be desired, a very quiet, boring place without any dancing or evening activites. We were very disappointed in our stay there.

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"It is quite hilly"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Karen from Toronto  on Feb 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
257 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
We flew with Air Canada. The flight was uneventful. Bags came fairly quickly at the airport. Immigration was pretty quick also. The Air Canada Vacations representative was visible immediately upon clearing immigration and we were quickly taken to a waiting bus. The ride to the hotel is only about 30 minutes away.

Rooms:
We booked the Grand Romance Package as it was the only package available at the time of booking that guaranteed an oceanfront view. We loved our room. It was in building #24 with a beautiful view of the water. It was spacious. We were told that the Deluxe Rooms in our building were larger than the ones in the stacked building closer to the main building. The only complaint is the bathroom. I expected more from a 4+ star hotel. The bathtub had flaking enamel & the soap and shampoo dispensers were broken and falling apart. Included in our package were some nice touches: a bottle of champagne on the first night, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries the second night, nightly turn-down service, bathrobes (though they were a little small!), a beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers mid-way through the trip, and two 30-minute massages outside. That was heavenly! I'd highly recommend this package. We were also to get continental breakfast in bed, but we were always too hungry in the morning to settle for a small breakfast & instead got the buffet. A romantic dinner is also included which we also ditched.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was fine. It's much smaller than ones I've been to in other all-inclusives, but the food was fairly tasty. After a few days, it gets a little repetitive: each night, there is the same beef, chicken and fish in a different sauce. The snack bar is ok by the pool. As others attest to, the bars are far from the rooms, and with the 'hilly-ness' of the resort, makes it inconvenient to go out and get drinks. As well, only the lobby bar is open after 6, so went we wanted drinks in the evening, we'd go to the lobby bar and order 2 each and take them back to our rooms we knew we were not going to make the long trek back to the main building to get any more drinks.

We had been told that there were 2 a la cart restaurants: the Oriental and the Italian. We could only get reservations at 9 p.m. for each of them on the days that we booked. They were both OK. The Oriental restaurant had sushi and sashimi which were not high quality, but not too bad. The teriyaki dishes were on the sweet side, but OK -worth a night away from the buffet. The Italian restaurant had nice main dishes: we had beef tenderloin and mahi mahi. Very nice. Tiramisu dessert was terrible.

We found out on our last night that there was another a la cart: The Grill Restaurant. We were ticked off that the business centre staff had never mentioned it, not was this restaurant mentioned in any of the hotel literature. We tried to book on our last night, but it was totally booked up.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is not fantastic, but we knew we were on the Pacific side, so not the whiter sands of the Caribbean side. The sand is brown, so if you're looking for pristine white sands, this isn't the place for you. However, we enjoyed ourselves on the beach. The water isn't as clear as in other countries I've stayed, but still, the salt water was nice and it sure beats Toronto in February! The pool was nice, but too small for the size of resort. It was often difficult to get beach chairs after about 10:00 a.m. It was difficult to actually swim in the pool because of the activities happening in and around the pool. It was extremely annoying when the 'college-boys' engaged in games of football across the whole length of the pool making it impossible for people to relax in the pool or on the chairs surrounding the pool. It would have been nice to have a lap pool or another pool where people could relax without activities going on.

The grounds were beautiful - well maintained. Beautiful tropical flowers. However, when researching this hotel, some sites had spoken of bird-watching and wildlife. While the birds were plentiful, there was not much variety - maybe 3 or 4 different kinds. We saw one monkey from a didstance. There were occasionally quatimundi's (like racoons) walking about the resort - they're harmless.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activities on the Resort: almost non-existent. The 2 or 3 Fun Club staff, while energetic, didn't do a lot - at least not in comparison to other places I've stayed. They did a very quick AquaGym class in the mornings and a quick dance lesson in the afternoon - 1 song only! They sometimes started a volleyball or water polo game in the pool, but that's about it! There is not much entertainment in the evenings. There were only 2 shows while we were there and you don't find out about them unless you're hanging out in the lobby and the Fun Club staff happen to tell you about them. The lack of entertainment was disappointing given that the hotel is isolated and there's nowhere to go in the evenings.

We went on 3 tours. Two were with the Air Canada Vacations tour operator: CRT. The third was with Avispas Adventures. We had researched Avispas on the internet prior to going to Costa Rica, with the intention of calling when we got there. However, they found us - one of their reps was selling tours on the beach. We went on the Avispas Miravelles Volcano Adventure. I can't say enough about Avispas as it was a fantastic trip & they are a far superior tour operator to CRT. I talked with Amy on the phone before booking as I wasn't sure if I should try the Arenal Volcano Tour or the Miravalles Volcano. She highly recommended Miravelles as there is a lot packed into the day and the travel is not very long. She advised that the Arenal Volcano is not always active or visible and is a 3 hour drive. She said that customers are often disappointed to travel a total of 6 hours to not see the volcano. The Miravelles trip was awesome! First we went zip-lining. Very scary, but after the first line, the rest is easy. The zip-lining crew was amazing. They kept our spirits up with their jokes all morning. Then we went to a Costa Rican restaurant. This was the best food that we had the entire week in Costa Rica! Amazing! Then we went to the volcano. We first went horseback riding for about half an hour part-way up the mountain, then we hiked for another half an hour and saw some beautiful waterfalls and the lush forest. Then we rode the horses back and toured the crater of the Miravalles volcano. At the end of the tour, we had a mud bath right there in the crater! Then we bathed in the hot springs. The Avispa tour guide, Mario, brought us a bottle of wine to drink while we were in the springs. Heaven! This trip was $145 and there were only 4 of us. The personal attention was worth every penny. We were able to go to souvenir stores and stay as long as we liked. I would absolutely recommend Avispas Adventures to anyone wanting to tour in the Guanacaste Region.

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"It is quite hilly"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Karen from Toronto  on Feb 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
257 people found this review helpful

Other Comments:
Overall, I would say that the Grand Papagayo is a beautiful hotel with some really nice staff. Ana Mary in the buffet & snack bar is particularily lovely and remembers everyone's names. Even though I've been a little critical, I do think that the hotel is a good value and if I was to come back to this region of Costa Rica, I would stay here again. As many travel sites state that this hotel isn't appropriate for those with physical disabilities - take this advice seriously! It is quite hilly. My travelling partner had a sprained ankle and it was unbearable for her often on the hills and steps. However, the shuttle bus is available to take you around, so don't let the hills stop you.

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"Good service, Staff are super friendly"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Nina II  on Jan 6, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
655 people found this review helpful

The arrival to Costa Rica was like any other Carribean country - You have to wait in long lines in the heat to get through customs, pick up your luggage and then head off to your resort. I recommend bringing a change of clothes either before you arrive or while you wait in line to get through customs. Air Canada Vacations had a bus waiting to pick everyone up and take you to the Grand Papagaya. The whole process takes about an hour. Once there you have a cocktail waiting for you as you wait in line to check in. Overall a smooth process and as I said before no different from any other all inclusive set up.

Costa Rica though is an extremely beautiful country and I highly recommend people to explore the countryside as much as you can. The best tour company bar none to go with is Avispa Adventures to book all your excursions. They are an excellent tour company. You can book in advance by emailing or calling the owner, Amy and she will see to your every need. She provides not only the tours but any other things your would need to know about in Costa Rica. She is an US expat who fell in love with Costa Rica and stayed.

Rooms:
The rooms were fine. Clean and spacious with good beds. Though not all the rooms have a safe as advertised. Air conditioning works so that really is the most important thing for when you are in the room. Otherwise we didn't spend much time in the room except to get ready and sleep. The rooms are set up in about a dozen buildings spread out throughout the grounds of the resort. So depending on where your room is, you could have a bit of a hike to get to the main building where the restaurants are. But they do have a shuttle to drive people around. Our room was in building 1 so nothing was far away.

Restaurants and Bars:
The Oriental and Italian restuarants are very good. The meals we had there very good. It is a la carte but you can order as much as you want. No issues with that. If you are a large party (greater than 6) the Oriental restaurant puts you in your own separate room where you sit close to the floor and it is excellent. The Buffet was good for buffet. However they don't have as much of a selection as some other places I've been. But the food overall was fine. This is the Carribean so you shouldn't be expecting five star here.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool was nice to swim in to cool off from the heat. The grounds were well kept and the view from the hotel is gorgeous. The hotel is situated on a hill so from the main building to the beach it is quite an elevation difference so be aware that at this resort there are a lot of stairs to climb. But it is a good way to build up an appetite for dinner. The beach isn't like the carribean beaches with their white sands - darker volcanic sand. And with the tide in there isn't much beach but that is usually late in the day. The water is warm and nice to swim in.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
On the resort, we did some diving with the Dive Company situated at the Resort. The visibility was poor when diving. You would be lucky to have 25 ft of visibility. I am not sure if it is because of the location in the Pacific or the time of year we came. But it was not as good as what I have seen on the Carribean side. But you do see some great sealife (white tipped reef sharkes, lots of eagle rays, manta rays if you are lucky). It is just too bad that you can't spot them until they are up close and even then it still isn't nice and clear. Th resort dive company could have been better. They aren't very accomodating (their dives leave late as far as dives go - 9 am and they weren't very happy to move it to an earlier time so that you could do some other tours in the afternoon). Also their boat is old and needs repair. The dive master and boat captain were very good though and helpful.

For off the resort activities, I went on tours with Avispa Adventure and as I had mentioned above, they were excellent. I would go with no one else and when I go back I will book everything I want to do next time with them. What was really nice with them is they are quite flexibile with your schedule. As I mentioned above, the dive company wasn't very flexible and so we would come back later than I wanted from the dives but Amy made sure to be ready for us once we got back so that we could do other things with her to maximize the day. Very excellent with that. Again, I can't say enough good things with this company. Avispa and Amy are the best. The Miravelles Tour is absolutely great with Amy. Fun and lots to see and do. Whitewater rafting is a lot of fun. Palo Verde is great to see especially if you are into nature and wildlife. Hidden Treasures takes you to the Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and it is beautiful. If I had more time, I would see more of the region but that will be for another time with Amy.

Other Comments:
Overall, we enjoyed the hotel. Good service, Staff are super friendly there and everyone has a smile there. My best recommendation is where ever you are staying go with Avispa for your activities.

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"nice stay"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Kevin  on Mar 1, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
628 people found this review helpful

Overall the resort was nice,quiet and very scenic. The food was good and flavourful, I will say we upgraded to the Royal Club and found that there is no difference and would not do it again if we go back there. We went with a guy on the beach for day trips his name is Marvin we used him twice and both times he took the payment at the end of the trip, he is personable, knowledgable and spoke good english I would use him if I go back, also he did come down on his prices. It was a nice relaxing vacation.

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"Great Country, Great People"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  Alan  on Apr 6, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
599 people found this review helpful

I will say that I truly enjoyed our week in Costa Rica, I cannot say enough about the people, fantastic. Hotel needs to change management due to incompetance but staff more than make up for it.

Your Arrival:
Arrival was normal for that area of the world. Get used to it.

Rooms:
Room was ok, sure it lacked items that we are used to in NA but it was ok.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was as good as to be expected in this type of country. We have visited Cuba a lot and find that Costa Rica food is that much better, more flavour.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
I saw a lot of complaints about the beach but enjoyed snorkeling and just walking the beach. It is a paradise.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There is unlimited tours available, everything I heard from fellow travelers was the "guys" on the beach were trustworthy and collected their payments after the trip. Marvin was a special mention.

Other Comments:
Hotel didn't supply minor things as promised in literature but how crazy can you get when you don't have a beer in your fridge when you can walk 50 paces to get unlimited supply. It was very difficult to get change for American dollars so you could give tips to bar/restaurat staff which seems crazy so I would suggest bringing $100 in singles.

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"HOTEL UNSAFE. MULTIPLE SECURITY ISSUES. AVOID AT ALL COSTS."

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  erica  on Oct 14, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Solo
654 people found this review helpful

1.To fix your safe they remove the entire front door of the safe. Very non reassuring as the maintenance person for the safes could get into your safe if they really wanted to.

2.PATIO DOORS THAT ARE SIMPLE TO BREAK INTO. One night the key to my room stopped working and instead of hotel staff bringing me another key they broke into my room through my patio door which was locked. They took the patio door off the track and did not fix it. In another room I stayed in the lock on the patio door did not work and the dry wall around the handle to the door was crumbling as if it had been repeatedly pulled on violently.

3.Upon arrival and for at least the first four days the key magnetizer to the rooms was broken. EVERYONE’S KEY OPENED THE KEY TO ANY ROOM. This issue was resolved during my stay but who knows how frequently this occurs.

4.I am a young female and was travelling alone and A MALE FRONT DESK WORKER ATTEMPTED TO ENTER MY ROOM UNINVITED AT 3AM!!! He was fired but allowed to work his last shift. However, I am pretty sure security was with him when he tried to enter my room as they were the only other people up late at night and he appeared to be talking to someone when I looked through the peep hole of the door. All the security people there that night still work there.

5.Lacking of appropriate level of customer service to deal with any of my issues. I had to change my room 3 times as a result of problem #4. Not to mention constantly be in fear for my safety.

6. On the second last day of my stay I was stricken with food poisoning. Food was mediocre.

7.My fridge was not refilled with drinks in my first or second room and my third room just had no drinks in it upon arrival and was never refilled.

6. Drinks are EXTREMELY watered down.

7.Beach is small or non existant during high tide which it seemed to be at almost every time I went down to the ocean except early in the morning.

8.Rooms do smell like mold and are humid. I left clothes to dry in the closet for days and by the end of my trip they were still damp. Showers are moldy with no hot water in any of the three rooms I stayed in.

9.If you are travelling to party do not come to this resort. It is about ½ hour away from coco beach were the only nightlife occurs. Coco beach is essentially a dirt road with 5 bars on it that are nothing special at all. There is one disco in the hotel which is small and very boring.

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"Dancing in the Resort Disco and A GIANT TELEVISION FELL ON MY BACK!!... NO APOLOGIES!!"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Dean  on Sep 14, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
585 people found this review helpful

There I was going to Costa Rica from Toronto to Celebrate 26 years together with my spouse!
Also Celebration my birthday in the coming weeks!!
-We upgraded to the Royal Suite (Thank Goodness!!)
The evening of our new upgrade I was Dancing up a Storm with Andrea (fm California)when a HUGE HONKIN' TELEVISION FELL FROM ABOVE ON MY BACK AND ARMS KNOCKING ME TO THE GRAOUND! The music stopped and the lights came on, when the night manager came running in and yelled "IS THE TELEVISION BROKEN!!??" well.....needless to say, I awoke on the ground with hearing Vince (my partner) yelling "WHAT ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER?" (The first time I heard him raise his voice in 26 years!! For the next 2 days i litterally could not move!! I could not put on my shoes or wipe my rear-end. Luckily we had a bidet and a jacuzzi!! I requested 4 times to see the Manager, and not until I said "there might be a claim", Then she called and ONLY then! She said right away "I am suprized you are still in Pain, the tv was on a stand this high, as she pointed 6 inches from the ground!!!??? Vince said "Dino, show her your back." I lifted my shirt a you could see the red marks by my shoulder blades, and she was nodding no!! No apologies, no compensation, NOTHING!!! We were embarrased for her! We could not do the Volcanoe tour, river tour or the Zip lining!! When we returned home the bruising started and my entire lower back was the colors of the rainbow! Also my arms were bruised! They did not admit to anything and she had totally down-played the situation!! I am still awaiting to hear from them, it has been over 6 weeks!! I had been advised to aquire a lawyer in Costa Rica, which I am in the process of! We live an 100% Honest, peaceful and happy life together, so our Dissappointment is obvious. I can NOT wait to return to Costa Rica, but unfortunately NOT TO THE OCCIDENTAL GRAND, PAPAGAYO, DEFINATELY NOT!!!!
Thank you,
Dino Jalapeno xxxxxxxxxxxxx :(

Arrival:
August 6, 2010
-Easy ride fm airport to Hotel, nice scenery, and Butterflies!

Rooms:
Royal Suite
-We asked for an upgrade on the second day, and had our own room service menu, a bottle of champagne a letter fm whats her face titled Mr & Mrs ... (we are a gay couple!!??) Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Nice jacuzzi outside w/the view of the bay!!! Yum that!

Restaurants and Bars:
-We are Both Vegetarians and the food was very good and lot of it too!
The bars were great, especially the bar tenders EDWIN AND JOHNNY!xx
Try the iguana drink w/tequila......"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

BE CAREFUL OF THE DISCO, THAT A TELEVISION DOESN'T CRASH LAND ON YOU!!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
-Great Beach and pool. (We actually never even made it into the pool, cause the ocean was Perfect!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Unfortunately we could NOT get out of the Hotel. DAMAGED BY THE TV THAT ALMOST FREAKIN KILLED ME!!

Other Comments:
I CAN NOT RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL BECAUSE OF THEIR BLATANT DISREGARD FOR THE WELL BEING OF THE CUSTOMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM STILL IN PAIN AND HAVE TO GO FOR A COMPARISON ULTRA SOUND!!!

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"Bad Experience"

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Diana  on Aug 24, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
558 people found this review helpful

Would not recommend this resort to anyone. Beautiful place, lousy room, no towels, resort ran out of alcohol numerous times. Worst experience was money was robbed from locked safe in our room. Resort was reluctant to acknowledge theft and finally agreed to submit to insurance if we filed report with local auhorities, which we did. No word from anyone, emails and phone calls are ignored. We were basically lied to to keep us quiet. Poorly run resort with obvious problems that are not addressed. And we are still out the spending money we took on the trip for outings and trinkets. Would never receommend this place to anyone.

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"The perfect hotel choice for us "

Grand Papagayo by Occidental
User Rating:  Grand Papagayo by Occidental Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  Gail  on Dec 30, 2011  >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
470 people found this review helpful

One of the reasons we chose to visit Costa Rica was for all her critters. We love all critters great and small and as a rule we practice “no kill”. We were blessed with many critter visitations, big and small. We had lots of crabs in our rooms. We devised a “crab remover” - a coffee cup and a piece of cardboard. When spotted we’d grab the crab cup and scootch him into the coffee cup with the cardboard and take him outside to his natural surroundings. The cleaning staff uses a germicide or something in the water to wash the floors so the little critters don’t last long if you don’t like their visitations. We scooted out a couple of spiders from our room as well. We were blessed to have the howler monkeys outside our room one morning, they hung around for about 45 minutes and the mothers had their little babies on their backs, they were so cute. There was a family of Coati’s that came to visit almost every night; they had little ones as well. The raccoons visited nightly – we had fun with them. I left the patio door open just a little too much one day and one came into the room, jumped on the table and then left. We all laughed! We had a special visitor one night outside our room – a tarantula! Now don’t get me wrong, we love critters and we have the no kill credo but this one had to go. We used a snorkel fin to scoot him waaaaay down the hallway. We also saw a stick bug, scorpion and praying mantis and leaf bugs. Really neat white squirrels in the trees too, they eat the peas from the huge pods that have all dried out. Say hola to the huge iguana who hangs out under the landing at the top of the stairs coming up from the pool, he loved to sit in the sun and watch folks stumble down the stairs. We were disappointed that we didn’t have a “room gecko”, we saw them everywhere but none entered our rooms. We would have loved to have one during our stay. We loved the flock of green parrots that flew from tree to tree around the pool everyday as well. Enjoy the bugs and critters people, that’s what Costa Rica is known for!


The Occidental Grand was definitely the perfect hotel choice for us in Costa Rica. We were treated so well, as were the rest of the guests, the food was excellent, the customer service was outstanding, and the staff were like family members. The hotel grounds were immaculately kept. We highly recommend the Occidental Grand and we hope everyone who stays at your hotel gets the opportunity to experience exactly what we did – a fabulous 2 week vacation at the Occidental Grand in Costa Rica. Muchas Gracias mi amigos.

Suggestions to consider: New bed pillows, a cold water dispenser in the lobby, serve yourself Cappuccino machines in the lobby, serve yourself virgin Daiquiri’s and Pina Coladas in the lobby and/or Buffet. Quiet time at the pool (so you can hear the birds – they are fantastic).

Room Number:
1402/1403

Room Block:
14

Arrival:
Our stay was November 22 – December 6, 2011 – our flight arrived in the evening so we didn’t get to see anything but the stars and passing lights as we were driven to the Occidental Grand via our personal transport. A big up to Eco Trans for the prompt service from and to the airport. Upon arrival we were the only ones checking in so it was a breeze. Jesou welcomed us to Costa Rica and to the resort and Mauricio (we dubbed him “autobahn”) shuttled us to our rooms. We had requested either building 14 or 15 – we got building 14 – up and down those hills everyday! We did our research, we read the reviews, we knew about the proximity of some of the rooms from the main lobby, we knew about the 73 stairs from the pool up to the lobby, we knew about all the hills. We loved building 14.

Rooms:
We had two rooms, adjoined as we had requested. To our surprise, upon waking our first morning we had fabulous ocean views and sitting on our little patio we could hear the waves! We didn’t have any issues with our rooms at all; there was a safe in the closet – lots of closet space and space in the TV unit to store clothing and articles. The fridge had beer and water and we only had to call to get it refilled once, after that the fridge was always full. The bathrooms were always clean, we always had towels – fluffy & thick - always had hot water and the rain shower in the tub was fantastic. The power went out a couple of times but only for mere seconds, enough for the clock in the room to be reset. We had a great little patio which we loved to sit on and just take in the view which never changed, maybe the odd day there would be a sailboat or small boat but otherwise it never changed and we loved it. Loved the thick white bathrobes that were provided, they were so comfy. The bed pillows were a bit sparse – maybe that could be put on the wish list – thick new bed pillows.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was excellent in all the restaurants. The buffet had so much to offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner that I wonder how anyone could complain about the food. There was always an abundance of food to choose from at every sitting. A special thanks to Sharley for greeting us in the Buffet at dinnertime, it was a pleasure knowing you.

Buffet Breakfast: there was so much to choose from at breakfast it was often hard to decide what to have. Scrambled eggs, omelet’s made to order, cereal, fruit, yoghurt, the odd days they had bacon, and there was sausage every day. The passion fruit for breakfast was delicious! There was always orange juice, mixed fruit, iced tea and sometimes there was pineapple juice.

The Snack Bar for lunch: Mostly the same thing every day but we never tired of it – hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, nachos and all the fixings, salads, fried chicken, pasta and sauce, always fruit and desserts. Lots to choose from. The white-throated magpie jays loved to steal the packages of mayonnaise.

The Japanese restaurant: The food and the ambiance in the Japanese restaurant were excellent. We went twice, once the first week, again the second week. By the second week we asked for bigger portions as we found the portions the first week were very small – but the food was excellent. A big thank you to Roidy – you made our visits that much more enjoyable, we’re sorry we didn’t get to say adios.

The Beach hut: The Aztec soup was spectacular – it was so good we had to have another bowl. The portions, once again, were small but the food was very good. We had the “Surf & Turf”, the steak was done to perfection and the shrimp was excellent. Only complaint? Only 1 shrimp with the surf and turf.

The Italian restaurant: One visit to this restaurant. The food and service was excellent. The Pork Gorgonzola was tender and excellent.

The customer service in all the restaurants was top notch – always attentive, water glasses always topped up without asking, servers were always very courteous and friendly. Can’t say enough about the quality and quantity of the food - starting my weight loss program January 1st!

Top notch liquor and drinks at this resort as well, sometimes they were too strong and we asked to have them re-made with less liquor. Not sure how anyone could say they were watered down, we never had to ask for more booze in our drinks! Loved the Pina Coladas, Daiquiri’s, and Mojito’s. The Imperial beer was good too, reminded us of Pilsner Beer from back home in Calgary.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Loved the black sand beach. During low tide the beach stretches on and on, lots of rocks, and tide pools to explore. High tide makes the beach smaller but it’s still beautiful and we loved it. Lots of hermit crabs, lots of shells, and at the time we were there, just enough jelly fish to get stung a couple of times. Be prepared; bring small packages of vinegar to reduce the sting. Tried to snorkel but the water was just too murky, until our last day there when we didn’t bring our snorkel equipment with us – you could actually see the seabed and lots of sea critters. On the weekends we found there weren’t enough lounge chairs so we just spread our towels out on the sand….. a bit uncomfortable but we made do. We were warned about using the tour providers on the beach and I’m glad we steered clear of them – the one fellow we considered booking with didn’t show up at all after our first discussion with him and we were there for 2 weeks.

The pool was beautiful, clean, water is warm but refreshing, not too crowded but we did find on weekends when the locals visited the lounge chairs were a hot commodity. It would be nice if they had more chairs at both the pools and on the beach, especially on weekends. Or if someone decided to “save” the chair with their towel and they didn’t show up for hours, that you could remove the towel and use the chair – which often sat unused for hours – because it was “saved”. If you’re not in the pool or have your butt in the chair - please don’t save the chairs, there are others who would love to use them. A server comes around and takes drink orders which was very nice. We brought our own thermal mugs so we didn’t use endless plastic cups and straws. I would have preferred the peacefulness of the quiet and birdsong at the pool over the music blasting everyday at the pool - we’re there to relax, we don’t need music all day everywhere. We did spend more time at the beach to avoid the music.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We participated in the Sunset Walk provided by the hotel, we met at the pool by the activities hut at 4:30, they leave on the walk at precisely 4:45 and walk outside the resort to the preferred sunset viewing spot – it was beautiful! Our guide picked up a huge beetle type bug, which I got to hold (and I named him Fernando), we saw some Howler monkeys on our walk and the sunset was out of this world. That’s one thing I noticed in Costa Rica, every night the sunset is spectacular. It’s almost like every night it tries to outdo the previous night. Absolutely stunning. And when the sun sets, it’s pitch dark. Just like that. But the good thing it’s still hot and you definitely work up a sweat on the walk back!

Make sure you take a trip into Coco Beach for the day, there’s great souvenir shopping and a great beach there - $40 round trip and the taxi driver will wait for you as long as you need. Check out the supermarket there too for coffee, it was the least expensive and the selection is excellent.

Other Comments:
Free Wi-Fi in the lobby – if there isn’t a power bump! Not quite enough chairs in the lobby/lounge area either, it was nice to visit after dinner but there wasn’t always a comfortable place to sit. Great rocking chairs outside the gift shop – maybe put more of those out! Some nights there was entertainment in the lobby, some nights it was nice not to have anything. Towards the end of our stay it was quite bizarre hearing Christmas songs in Spanish – our first time hearing all Spanish songs – in +30 degree weather – it was a treat.

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