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

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
Very good
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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
322 people found this review helpful

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.

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.

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
322 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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"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
336 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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"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
310 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.

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!

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++

Avispa’s Tours - 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!

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

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