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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo (Costa Rica) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo (Costa Rica) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

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Old Jul 12, 18, 2:56 am   -   Wikipost
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Overview of hotel, restaurants, menus, activities, pretty much everything you need to know: (Link)

Buildings 1, 2, 3 ,4 on higher level and will have steps or you can call for a shuttle
Buildings 5, 6, 7 will be at pool/restaurant level

Property Map (click here)

Parking: valet and self parking included in 10% resort fee

Free shuttle: was until 6pm, now extended to 10pm. Please check for the specifics. Shuttle from 6pm has a charge of $25 USD to Four Season. (2/18 - sign only spoke of shuttle to 6pm)

Vaccination:
Hepatits A and Typhoid vaccine before travel.
Mosquito repellent, especially at night and during rainy season due to Dengue fever.

Complimentary poolside and beachside sunscreen and ice water with citrus in it

Complimentary in the rooms- Sun hats and flip flops, as well as a modest minibar including chips and nuts

If you plan to drive:
1. Strongly recommend GPS, or iPhone app
2. About 30-35minutes from airport
3. 20-25 minutes from hotel to major road (route 21)
4. Road is 2 lane paved road
5. There are no shoulders, just ditches (for rain to drain)
6. Roads in small towns may be unpaved.
7. Roads are not lit. Scariest part about driving at night is not getting lost, but pedestrians walking or a cyclist right on the edge of the road.
8. Another guest at Andaz turned over a car on the first day out with a rental…and this is during the dry season!! (I have no idea how this is possible, unless the driver was incompetent. I rented a car and drove my family several times into town. No problems. Was considering not doing so based on the above sentence. if you have common sense, you will be fine.- Bikeguy)
9. Consider rent from hotel a couple of days instead of getting rental for your entire trip : $90 smaller car, $120 Toyota RAV, $190 Toyota Prado seats 7

Worthwhile activities:
1. At hotel: complimentary kayak, snorkels, paddle board
2. Golf at Four Seasons
3. Witch’s Rock: very close to hotel. Canopy (zipline- $75 pp), horseback riding, quad rental
4. Palo Verde:
• Boat tours are worthwhile
• Chose one that has sun protections or bring an umbrella for sun protection
• Best approach from the south end (eg Palo Verde Boat Tour in Ortega) since it is only an hour away from hotel (vs 2hours from the north entrance.) Stop by Guaitil and pick up some famous Chorotega pottery for souvenir/gifts.
• If approaching it from the north side, stop at nearby Llanos de Cortez waterfall for a dip.
• For bird lovers, consider a Palo Verde boat tour that includes Isla Parajos that can be seen with a tour from Puerto Humo (2 hours from the hotel)
5. Rincon de Vieja
6. Fishing, surfing in Tamarindo

Nearby dining:
At hotel:
• Rio Bhongo: great breakfast (especially for diamonds), recommend casado for lunch. Diamond can also get room service breakfast instead of at restaurant.
• Chao Pescao: recommend chicken arepas, apple cake (apple pie with crème brulee like custard and vanilla ice cream)
• Ostra
Four Seasons
Dive Bar
• at Marina
• A value for happy hour and Tuesday tacos and other specials, otherwise food were similarly priced as at the hotel and not as good.

Cambi:
• 8-5 free childcare, but with a 1 hour break at noon (so you can't do a full day trip while leaving the kids in Cambi). There is a charge for some activities
• Evening:
a. 6-10pm: $50 with meals served
b. Up to 3 hrs: $40 with meals served.

Miscellaneous:
• There is a supermarket right as you enter “larger” cities like Liberia, Playa de Coco, Santa Cruz. See if guide will make a stop if you are by a “larger” city. For example, if taking a tour to Rincon de Vieja or north end of Palo Verde, see if they will stop in Liberia for meal at Café Liberia (excellent well priced food, serving lunch and dinner but only snacks from 2- 5pm) and to pick up items at the supermarket
• Do It Center
• at 21 and 253
• Can pick up Sim card:
a. Need unlocked phone.
b. Kolbi at the pharmacy
c. Movistar in the Monge electronic store in the hardware store
• Pharmacy
• Pizza place
• Bank
d. Gas Station is across from airport, adjacent to Hilton Garden Inn
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Old Dec 23, 13, 9:16 am
  #1  
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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo (Costa Rica) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Greetings FlyerTalk members,

Today, Hyatt issued a press release announcing the opening of Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, the eleventh Andaz hotel and the second Andaz resort to open in 2013 following the opening of Andaz Maui at Wailea in early September.

Situated on 28 oceanfront acres, the resort offers sweeping views of the Bay of Culebra and the country's untouched natural beauty. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo features 153 guestrooms, including 21 luxury suites and 8,200 square feet of meeting space. It also offers three restaurants, the ONDA Spa, a state-of-the-art gym and two pools with ocean views.

The hotel will be holding Andaz Salon events with up-and-coming local artists and musicians, as well as Costa Rican twin brothers and surf enthusiasts, Alex and Mike Faherty, who have created an exclusive guide for the hotel on the hottest, hidden surf spots.

Safe travels,
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Old Dec 23, 13, 10:58 am
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Looks beautiful, but ADR of $600!!!
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Old Dec 23, 13, 11:01 am
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For those few of us who are not geography experts, it might be a good idea to include the country in the title, although I do see it down there in the last paragraph.
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Old Dec 26, 13, 7:18 pm
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I have reservations here and at the Hilton in June, and have not yet decided where to stay. I will travelling with a family of 5, and will be staying on points at either resort. Although I know this is much more luxurious than the Hilton, I fear that the food, drinks and activities will break the bank at the Andaz (whereas they are included at the Hilton).

If anyone has stayed here yet, I would love to know the following:
1. What are the prices of the on-site restaurants for Breakfast & Dinner?
2. What are the prices of the drinks?
3. Are there any local restaurants/Sodas that are in walking distance, or are reachable by either local transportation or hotel shuttles?
4. Are there any beach activities (snorkling, paddle boards, boogie boards, surfing, etc.) and what are the prices?

Thanks!
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Old Dec 27, 13, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by arrosen View Post
I have reservations here and at the Hilton in June, and have not yet decided where to stay. I will travelling with a family of 5, and will be staying on points at either resort. Although I know this is much more luxurious than the Hilton, I fear that the food, drinks and activities will break the bank at the Andaz (whereas they are included at the Hilton).

If anyone has stayed here yet, I would love to know the following:
1. What are the prices of the on-site restaurants for Breakfast & Dinner?
2. What are the prices of the drinks?
3. Are there any local restaurants/Sodas that are in walking distance, or are reachable by either local transportation or hotel shuttles?
4. Are there any beach activities (snorkling, paddle boards, boogie boards, surfing, etc.) and what are the prices?

Thanks!
In post #24 of the following thread, I emailed the manager in regards to most of your questions except prices: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hyatt...-2013-a-2.html

I'd be interested to see if anyone has accepted another form of transportation to and from the hotel/airport that may be a tad cheaper. I'd rather spend money on hiking and zip lining!
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Old Dec 27, 13, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by healthnut View Post
In post #24 of the following thread, I emailed the manager in regards to most of your questions except prices: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hyatt...-2013-a-2.html

I'd be interested to see if anyone has accepted another form of transportation to and from the hotel/airport that may be a tad cheaper. I'd rather spend money on hiking and zip lining!
Are the transportation quotes from LIR or SJO?
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Old Dec 27, 13, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by DCAcubsfan View Post
Are the transportation quotes from LIR or SJO?
I want to say LIR because I am flying into there and this was a whole thread of discussion, so I'm sure I mentioned it.

I just contacted them and will let you know!
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Old Dec 27, 13, 5:52 pm
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The per opening thread, http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hyatt...iscussion.html, has been locked. Please post in this thread which will probably become the master review thread.

Peteropny - co-mod- hyatt
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Old Dec 30, 13, 9:28 pm
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Anyone know what breakfast options are available for diamonds? Eg. Breakfast at any of the restaurant?
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Old Jan 4, 14, 12:27 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Just completed a 6 day vacation stay...here are some basic observations and answers to previous questions asked.

-Breakfast & Mini Bar is comp'd for Diamonds (Not sure if mini-bar is complementary for everyone?). The breakfast is "buffet style" and lavish. As good as any I've ever seen...a "skip lunch" type of meal.

-The property is not suited for kids under 4. There are a lot of hills & stairs to climb. Kids club (over 4+) is great. You can take children under 4 years old to the club as long as you remain at the club with them.

-Beach activities are free for the most part.

My positive impressions first, the property is gorgeous. Great location, the 2 beaches are top notch. The rooms are very modern and well thought out...

My negative impressions, the opening was rushed. There was no "soft" opening...the property owner pushed hard to open on December 20th with 95%+ occupancy and it showed. The staff & service were harried. Simple requests were forgotten like drink request, golf cart transportation requests, etc. In-room dining took a long time, complimentary mini-bar not refilled, etc. The rooms had cosmetic "attention to detail" problems. For example, both of our rooms had the shower glass window looking into the room leaking underneath. The balcony/patio area door would not close properly leading to no air conditioning (since the door sensor would disable the AC). A metal shelf protector (on the edge of a closet shelf) came right off...was poorly glued down and never bonded properly to the wood. Lots of little things like that.

The restaurants while very nice, were extremely expensive. To the tune of $172usd for a 4 person buffet breakfast. There are no cheap places to eat, and the resort is 30+ minutes away by car from any significant town which may have a store, much less a restaurant. Since the four seasons is next door (and there is free shuttle service), you can eat at their restaurants along with the golf course club house...but again, expensive, especially for a family of 4.

The restaurants themselves...

"Ostra" was extremely expensive and frankly average at best. The shrimp appetizer I received had "gelatin" like texture in places...I felt it was not cooked. The waiter insisted its because the chef "bag boils" almost everything, hence the texture would be different. The presentation was a true work of art, the atmosphere was great, sadly the taste was not there.

"Rio Bhongo" is probably your best bet for food on the property. Expensive (think $18 for a burger), but again a great atmosphere. Nothing memorable about the place other than it was consistent and the staff was overall very helpful.

"Chao", the Tapas bar was again extremely expensive. It took 20 minutes to receive an alcoholic drink order (2 identical drinks). We were the only party there when we ordered. We were never asked if we wanted a 2nd round...food came out promptly, but that's about all I can say about the place. Go out for dinner as much as you can. "Aqua Sport" in Hermosa Beach would be highly recommended. Rent a car...it will give you a lot more options for tours & food.

As I mentioned, the property needed a soft launch...when we checked in on December 28th the property was @ 95%+, it was a zoo. Chaotic would be a good description of the property operations. The staff was going above and beyond but it was clear that key operational processes were yet to be fine tuned. By January 4th (the time of this review), the property is @ 45% and the service has improved drastically. It is unfortunate that the ownership chose to rush the opening...there are already negative reviews out on trip advisor & other places, and they are justified. Greed probably cost this property bookings in the long term. I highly doubt anyone who was here for launch would come back at $850 a night for a basic room after their experience.

Based on my last 2 days the property, i'd rate our stay as a 4.0 out of 5, based on our new years week experience it was a 3.0 out of 5. Expect to spend $75usd+ a day per person for bare bones lunch/dinner...not counting alcohol. By comparison, our multiple Aman resort experiences had cheaper food. I think the property will remain an attractive option for the next 3-4 years, after that its anyone's guess.

Last edited by bubu-SNA; Jan 4, 14 at 12:34 pm
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Old Jan 4, 14, 12:35 pm
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arrosen,

Skip the Hilton...we stayed there a night and to call it "underwhelming" is an understatement. If anything try the Westin all inclusive, I heard good things about it.
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Old Jan 4, 14, 1:04 pm
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Thanks for the review bubu. We are looking to stay here (or somewhere in the Guanacaste area) for 3-4 days at the tail end of a Costa Rica trip and will definitely plan on having a car. Are the nearby areas safe to go out at night for dinner?
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Old Jan 6, 14, 11:23 pm
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tys90,

It is absolutely safe in the region but obviously exercise common sense . Stay away from Playa Tamarind & Playa Coco, total tourist traps... unless you are into that sort of vacation.

San Jose on the other hand can be sketchy depending on the area.
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Old Jan 19, 14, 9:33 am
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Thanks for all the reviews! Looking forward to a stay in May when hopefully they'll be a little more "moved in."

As far as renting a car, what is the parking situation onsite? It lists self parking available on their website, but no further information. Prices?

Thank you!
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Old Jan 19, 14, 3:32 pm
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Healthnut, valet parking was free when we stayed at the property...the self parking is 200 yards away tops either way.
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