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“An absolutely incredible and memorable stay! Loved it”

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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
Ranked #1 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 January 2015

As I start this review I find myself searching for ways to be concise and to the point without making it too long. This is one of those places that my family and I found to be among the elite. We all have different criteria of what makes an 'elite', memorable 5-star stay: The Andaz Papagayo met and exceeded all of our expectations! Up until a week or so before our trip I actually held a reservation here and at the Hilton. I debated back and forth about which would be better for us. I have zero doubt that this was right and actually laugh at myself for even considering the other.

Before I go on, let me summarize by saying this; if the Andaz Papagayo is on your list of potential locations to stay, do it. 5-star service from an extremely hard working and very personable staff, spacious rooms with beautiful custom details, boutique feel with no need left wanting. Incredibly refreshing pools with services and more. Deliberately unstated and elegant at the same time. We arrived as typical tourists with an open mind to new adventures. We left (reluctantly) with new friends and looking for a good time to return.

So now a little more detail;
The resort itself is located 20-30 minutes from the new LIR airport. It's an easy drive if you decide to get a car and even easier if you arrange transportation ahead of time. Some people have mentioned in other reviews that it is 'remote' and 'isolated'. It is a bit remote for sure, and yes, there are limited options for activities and shopping in very close proximity but that was a big plus for us. We booked the stay here with the sole intent of disconnecting and decompressing. The last thing we wanted was non-stop entertainment and craziness trying to squeeze in way to many activities. We did find very reliable and free WiFi on the property to you could get your fix as needed. For the most part, everything we needed was on-site or a short shuttle ride away to the Prieta Beach Club or marina. If shopping till you drop and hitting the nightlife is what you want this may not be your best choice. Stay closer to one of the typically touristy beach towns that offer all the same none]sense and cheap souvenirs you can find in any tourist location. The Andaz brings in a small selection of local artists and craftspeople a couple times a week to get a little higher quality selection. The amazing staff also helped us arrange a one day car rental with everything included. We were able to do our own tour of the local area and also ride horses, white water tubing and canopy (zip line) tour. One day from our 5 days there was sufficient for our needs.

Multiple infinity edge pools integrated into the landscape made the world just slip away. No, there is not a big beach view from the pool but so what. There is a special feel here surrounded by the sound of waves in the background accompanied by singing birds and the occasional Howler Monkey bellow. Need a cold drink or snack, the attentive pool staff was there to meet all your needs. Wrap it up with a visit to the gym as needed or a massage. One note about the beach here. It is not a big sweeping white sand beach you might find at other places. There is limited but very private beach areas. Most accessible during low tide. If you want the big sweeping beach, take the free shuttle to the free Prieta Beach club. Our beach activities were limited due to some windy days and plenty of other things to do.

Food choices are solid but some may feel limited. The best all around location was Rio Bhongo open for all meals starting with a menu driven or top quality breakfast buffet. Don't miss the fresh tamals with Lizano sauce on top! Lizano is my new favorite sauce for many items. Rio also has a good lunch/poolside and dinner menu. There is a mix of some local style influences but many would consider this a more Americanized restaurant. The most affordable and flexible food location and they will adjust any menu item to your liking. Make sure you get some great coffee prepared in many different ways at the coffee bar. Great espresso, but our favorite was the Costa Rica typical method brewed in a chorreador. Course ground coffee placed into a cotton filter direct to your cup. Can you say yumm!

Chao Pescao offers some fantastic and innovative drinks as many have mentioned in other reviews. I don't recall the exact name but the smoke infused basil mojito served with a smoldering cinnamon stick is fantastic! Chao Pescao also offers a great selection of tapas. In hindsight, I wish we had spent more time exploring the many local influenced items. Those that we had were fantastic.

Ostra billed as the high-end fine dining option. One special event offered during the week was a limited capacity ceviche class with a master chef. The ceviche offered in this class and on their menu was some of the best I've ever had. Strike that, it was indeed the best I've ever had. We had it during the class and then again with dinner one night. For dinner, I've got to be honest, I'd skip it. The only saving grace from our evening and too expensive bill was the ceviche. No local inspired dishes and the food was frankly not something we would return for.

A perfect dinner evening for us would be to start with a selection or two of ceviche from Ostra then take a shuttle over to Chao Pescao for fun drinks and a mix of tapas from their kitchen. If still hungry you could end with the baked pineapple desert from Rio Bhongo.

A lot of good has already been said about the rooms, but I will add that they are very comfortable and inviting. Modern touches combined with local woods and details. The open-concept rainshower was also amazing! Great storage and a minibar with a few drinks and snacks.

Before I wrap it up I want to touch on two things; the grounds and the amazing staff.

Have you ever been to Disneyland? You know how they spend a great deal of effort keeping the place clean and tidy? There is always someone seen picking up messes and more. The Andaz Papagayo is just like that. Constant attention to detail is a priority and it shows. The grounds are masterfully maintained. The plants are groomed perfectly. Everyone you pass offers a genuine smile and courteous helpful attitude. Everyone...from the first person we met to the last...was so friendly and accommodating that at first our skeptical selves questioned how genuine it was. It did not take long to accept that is was indeed very real and honest. Everyone seemed to really enjoy working there. Related to this was really the sheer number of staff allocated to every function. The dining options (with the exception of Ostra where it was hard to get service), the grounds, the cart drivers to the housekeeping and front desk were all very well staffed.

Lastly, I've got to say that we truly hated to leave. We were getting to know some of the drivers and front lobby staff and feel like we made many new friends. How many places have you ever stayed where you are taking pictures (good size group pictures) with the people there? We did...hugs and handshakes with a promise to return wrapped up our great journey. I am terrible with names so I will apologize now if I missed you; Special thank to my monkey-hunter partner Pablo! We had a great time finding the troops of white faced and congo monkeys. Maria! You are the best. Thank you for everything from pre-arrival to departure. The special attention you provided was very much appreciated. My son felt like a rock star with what you did for him. Fabio, Helmut, Andrea, Alexa, Jessica in housekeeping, the coffee bar, all the other drivers and so many more I am forgetting now. Thank you very much to my new friends! We appreciate all you do. Be blessed!

Room Tip: All rooms are great. If you want a great view, try to get a Bay-view class or better.
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  • Stayed: January 2015, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Mike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michael S, General Manager at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 31 January 2015

Dear Mike,

thank you infinitely for the wonderful story about your stay at the Andaz. I'm sure many fellow TA readers will benefit from your review and I'm glad you and your family had such a good time and are looking forward to coming back to Costa Rica.

I will be sure to pass on your comments to our attentive and genuine staff. They will certainly be proud of having exceeded your expectations.

Please do come back for more 'Pura Vida'.

Michael Schmid

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1,221 - 1,225 of 1,665 reviews

Reviewed 21 January 2015

We stayed at Andaz Papagayo after 4 days in Arenal. Beautiful hotel, and I didn't feel like the resort was too large to walk around. Beach is nice, and there are several pools with plenty of seating. You can tell the hotel pays attention to reviews, since previous reviews said that pool staff wasn't that attentive but during our stay they were great, even brought me fresh aloe for a sunburn! Plenty of towels, and they were fast with drinks. Rooms were nice and spacious, and all have ocean views. Complimentary hats and flip-flops were provided. Restaurants were decent, and the food prices were a little high but not outrageous. Ostra, their signature restaurant was good but not amazing. The ceviche was delicious, but the dinner portions were a little small, and there are no a la carte sides to add. Chao Pascao lived up to the hype, both food and drink were amazing, and we got to see a howler monkey one night while we were there! Complimentary shuttles to the Four Seasons and the beach club was really nice, especially since we learned that the Four Seasons does not offer complimentary shuttles. As far as improvements go there are a few that could truly make this place amazing. They do offer complimentary snacks and drinks in the room, but we kept having to ask for them to be replenished, including the coffee, and they only did it once. It would also be nice if they had a little shop like the Four Seasons does with common items. The peninsula is a little isolated so we weren't able to go to towns like in Fortuna. Also, not the hotel's fault, but there was a large private party present while we were there so at times restaurants or pool areas were closed to the rest of the guests. Overall a very nice resort with potential to be great. I like that I could tell they take reviews seriously and continue improving. Tip- if the hotel has a "special" going on take advantage-we got a bottle of wine during a tasting event for 1/3 the usual cost.

Room Tip: We stayed in building 3. I think the higher buildings have nicer views of the bay.
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  • Stayed: December 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michael S, General Manager at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2015

Dear Jessica,

thank you for your choosing to stay at the Andaz and for posting this review.

I'm very appreciative of all the nice comments you have and I'm sure your pool&beach team will be delighted to hear they have exceeded your expectations. They have put a lot of emphasis on their operation and it's great to see their efforts are recognized.

Thank you also for highlighting some areas in which we can improve. The complementary mini bar in the room is refilled once a day and we will focus in the consistency of delivering these services. We have also started a project to have a full shop on site which we hope to complete this year.

We are looking forward having you back. Until then, I wish you all the best.

Michael Schmid

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Reviewed 21 January 2015

The resort is beautiful in a natural way. It's cozy, warm and everything is in harmony.
Regarding accommodation: the design, furniture, paintings and all the rest were complimenting each other. We have never seen a hotel suite that was luxurious and so spiritual at the same time.
The staff were exceptionally helpful and genuinely friendly.
Before going to Andaz we spent a few nights in Four Seasons which was impeccable but to our surprise we enjoyed Andaz more.
I see that some people were not 100% satisfied with the beach at Andaz.
Initially, we had low expectations of the beaches in Costa Rica. It's not what this country is famous for. However, we were very pleased. It turned out to be much better than we expected it to be. The beach is not wide and the sand is not white on the beach at Andaz but it has a lot of shade, great view and warm water. And it feels very private and secluded.

They have one fine restaurant which was quite good but we liked the tapas bar more. It was more casual and relaxing and the food was as good if not better.

We don't really like going to the same hotel twice as there are so many different countries and places to explore but this is going to be an exception. We look forward to visiting this outstanding resort again in the future!

  • Stayed: January 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Timur B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michael S, General Manager at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2015

Dear Timur,

thank you very much for you vote of confidence and we look forward to your next visti. I'm sure there will still be some parts of our 'neighborhood' that can explore further.

It was great to read you enjoyed the suite, the décor and the balance it offers. The interior designers - DAS out of California - have put a lot of emphasis in understanding the locale and have brought this with many details to our rooms and suites.

With best regards,

Michael Schmid

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Reviewed 19 January 2015

Beautiful resort and surroundings at the gulf of Papagayo. Loved the surroundings, attention to detail and outstanding service at this hotel. Rooms were very nice with beautiful views. Stayed with my mom and daughter last April. The hills were kind of steep for my mom, however the staff were always accomodating with their golf carts. The beach area was disappointing, but we were able to enjoy the beach at a nearby location. The location is quite remote and excellent for honeymooners or maybe a company offsite. We rented a car for one day and spent a day at the beach in Tamarindo. The breakast was excellent with many choices, the restaurants and poolside dinning was excellent as well with great drinks.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank amalSeoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michael S, General Manager at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2015

Dear amalSeoul,

Thank you for reviewing your stay.

It's wonderful to read that you still have such fond memories of your vacation with us. I'm glad you were able to relax and also explore some of the beaches around the Peninsula. Hopefully you will find time to visit us again in the near future.

With best regards,

Michael Schmid

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Reviewed 19 January 2015

It was the best of resorts, it was the best of resorts, there was no resort of our discontent (at all)! Due to a scheduling snafu our planned stay at the Andaz was split between it and the Four Seasons (reviewed separately). Though not as famed in luxury lodging circles the Andaz more than held its own. The staff was very friendly from top to bottom (even by Costa Rican standards) with Rodrizio and Christian tops. The food - breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas was all upper, upper tier. The coomon space and pool areas in particular are spectacular. Most spectacular of all was the room - not an apples to apples comparison as we had a suite here - - but it was the finest I've stayed in. The beachfront is the only real deficiency as there are two small beaches on the bay side which are not great for strolling. All in all an exceptional value for a high end location with views and grounds that are wonderfully beautiful and relaxing.

  • Stayed: January 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank waynejscott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michael S, General Manager at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2015

Dear waynejscott,

I wonder what Charles D. would have written on TripAdvisor...

It's great to see you enjoyed both properties you were able to experience on this recent trip and have found great attributes on both. Thank you for highlighting some of our wonderful staff members as well as noting that the suite you stayed in was one of the finest.

We certainly look forward having you back for a more extended stay!

Pura Vida,

Michael Schmid

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Additional Information about Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort

Address: Peninsula Papagayo | Final de la Ruta 253, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range: $504 - $1,879 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 153
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo stands quietly among the trees, overlooking the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay. With spectacular design, the first Latin American Andaz, was inspired by the organic forms and shapes of the native flora and fauna, using the shapes of cocoons and shells for the hotel's facilities, stimulating the senses of guests in new and refreshing ways. Each of the 153 rooms balance modern design with touches of character that blend into the natural surroundings, with woven textiles, solid woods and carved artifacts highlighting the rich Costa Rican aesthetic. Guestrooms and suites offer a spacious balcony with breathtaking bay and forest views. Four of the 21 suites feature plunge pools, and the Presidential Suite offer a private, full-sized pool. The unique gastronomic experience of the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo s Cuisine features three themed restaurants. Each one tells a story about our culture. Chao Pescao, a casual dining enclave nestled within the lush Guanacaste landscape offering a small plates menu and the mixologists' specialties, is our neighborhood place. Rio Bhongo, the meeting point, a place for everyone, a culinary "paseo"... Just like a farmer's market. Ostra is our signature restaurant, elegant, discreet and romantic, offering all kind of delicacies from the sea, carefully prepared using the most sophisticated culinary techniques. Totally open kitchens allow a distinctive interaction with chefs, making guests feel like if they were visiting family or the home of a friend. Onda Spa is a respite of energy, touch and evolution. Elevated into the trees of Costa Rica's rich tropical forest, guests at Onda set out on a journey to envigorate both body and soul. Blending Papagayo's culture, senses, smells and touches, treatments are individually tailored for each guest, directly addressing specific needs, goals and desires. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo has a free-flowing environment that means no desks, no processes, no formality and thus, no stress. The home-feel experience allows you to enjoy complimentary a health-minded mini bar, complimentary wi-fi through out the resort and a complimentary kids program. Hotels in this collection reflect the unique cultural scene and spirit of the surrounding neighborhood through their Andaz Salon program and are dedicated to creating natural and vibrant living spaces where travellers can indulge in their own personal sense of comfort and style. Andaz meaning personal style in Hindi, is infused with character and weaves itself into the fabric of its locale. Every detail is an opportunity to explore the uniqueness of the destination and every moment is a chance to discover something new. True to the Andaz brand, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo will reflect Costa Rica's Pura Vida philosophy, creating locally-inspired experiences and engaging guests in the local culture in a comfortable, unique atmosphere for which Andaz is known. ... more   less 
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