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Our first “no kids” trip in over two years just wrapped up, and boy was it worth the wait. Josh and I recently visited the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica not only with each other, but we met up with a few friends while we were there, and found the resort to be the perfect backdrop to feel calm, relaxed, rejuvenated, and maybe even a touch inspired before starting a bit of a new chapter in our day to day lives. The resort feels very secluded, but the reality is it is only 30 minutes from an international airport that is serviced by the major US airlines, so you get the remote feeling without endless hours of travel and time zone changes.
After just a three hour flight from Houston and a 30 minute shuttle ride from the Liberia airport, we were ready to put down our bags and experience all that the Andaz Papagayo had to offer, starting with the suite we had booked using 7,500 Hyatt points per night + $100 USD and a confirmed Globalist upgrade. This hotel is just a Category 4 Hyatt making it a steal on points or points + cash. It has been a Category 4 since it opened a few years ago, so fingers crossed that it likes that spot and stays there for many years to come. Remember that your Chase Ultimate Reward points also transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
Our check-in was completed pretty quickly in an open air lobby with a complimentary fresh juice and cool towel which was really appreciated as it was quite hot and humid.
At check-in we learned a bit more about the activities going on that week, as well as how the complimentary shuttle around the Peninsula operates. You sign-up for whatever time you wish to go, and you can get a complimentary shuttle ride to places like The Marina to eat at the Dive Bar, to the private beach club, and even the Four Seasons. We took them up on all of those options over the course of our stay.
Once the check-in process was complete, we were then taken via golf cart to our suite located on the second floor of Building 2. The second floor was the best floor in my opinion as it was the ground floor and minimized going up and down the stairs. Speaking of stairs, this resort has a lot of them. If you have small kids or any sort of mobility issues you will want to let the resort know ahead of time so that they can hopefully place you in one of the buildings that is on the same level as things like the main restaurant, kid’s club, and pools which our building was not.
In our case a few stairs were a good thing because eating was one of our very top activities on this trip, but we’ll get to the food later. Our visit happened in May, which is really shoulder season here before the true
rainy green season starts, so occupancy was pretty low. Peak season seems to run from November – April with most days being bright and sunny during those months. Our May visit had more rain than they said they usually have in May, but it was still delightful to be in the jungle with a few drops here and there. In planning our next trip we asked about the typical weather in June and were told that the weather pattern is usually more established by then with some rain most days, but also some sun.
Probably because of the lower occupancy during our stay, we had a bay view upgrade to our suite. I mention this just so you aren’t disappointed if your suite doesn’t have the same view, but I believe the physical layout is the same in the base level suite, just without the same view. I also want to quickly interject that you shouldn’t lose hope of having a fabulous space to lay your head if a suite is out of range for your crew because the standard room is far from standard, and I’ll share a look at that, too.
Andaz Papagayo Suite
This suite is just under 1,200 square feet and consists of a large living area with a work desk overlooking the bay and sitting area that can comfortably accommodate 4-6 people for hanging out, and could have easily hosted a rollaway bed should we have required it.
The space and furniture in this suite was not only pretty to look at it, but it was also functional…with the exception of perhaps this one chair. Seriously though, some Andaz properties I have visited have been form over function, but this one struck a nice balance of both.
While the living area was grand, the bedroom was my favorite. Not only has it been a couple years since we took a trip without kids, but it has been just about that long since I had a full night’s sleep without at least one little one in my room. To have a dark and quiet sleeping area all.night.long with a very comfortable bed was just heavenly.
And when we didn’t want it dark with the blackout shades, but instead wanted to take in the view, we could look out of the glass patio doors or even head out to the balcony and look for monkeys while enjoying some coffee.
This suite had one huge bathroom with a separate tub and shower as well as a half bath in the living room, which is oh so appreciated when traveling with a family or even just a partner.
We had no issues at all with water pressure or water temperature, and taking a shower among the trees was pretty fun!
A hallmark of the Andaz brand is the free mini bar that is restocked daily. While I was thankful they gave us tons of bottled water upon request, I wasn’t otherwise blown away by this particular mini bar selection, but it is still nice having a few snacks on hand for free.
I loved our suite, but if I was going to come up with a complaint it would be that the lighting wasn’t intuitive to me. I frequently was fighting with the buttons and just hitting all of them trying to make it dark…or light. I’m sure those smarter than me wouldn’t have a problem, but this was one of those modern rooms with lots of buttons for lighting.
Thankfully, the air conditioning worked very well and didn’t shut off just because you weren’t in the room. It was very nice to come into a cool room after a hike around the property. It was also very nice to get some fun and free hats in the room, another hallmark of this property! I was even able to bring one home to my older daughter as a “gift” and she loved it!
They also provide complimentary flip flops in each room.
Each room also provides a beach bag for you to use during your stay, as well as an option to have a bag of laundry done for just $25 – though apparently Gary Leff’s room had a different test going as his was just $20! The GM said this is something they were testing, and while we didn’t use it on our three night trip, I do think if you were here for a week or if this was just a stop on a longer trip then that would be a steal and well worth it for a round of clean clothes and swimsuits. Heck, we paid more than that last year to get just 2-3 items cleaned at a Hyatt!
While suites here can be secured either with a Globalist suite upgrade award or a palatable 24,000 Hyatt points per night, I know not everyone will be staying in a suite, so we also asked to get a quick look at a standard room. In truth, our return trip with the girls may not be in a suite simply because we are hitting the stage where two real beds for our family of four are better than one bed + a rollaway. If you want a good view of the suite, it is featured in my video review of the property.
Standard Rooms at the Andaz Papagayo
Standard rooms here have either one king bed or two double beds, but all have patios or balconies. I posted a quick video of the standard room on Instagram. By the way, now that I am traveling a bit more again, I’d be honored to have you follow along on Instagram!
The sleeping area and bathroom areas are sectioned off with a divider that really helps to define and separate the space.
The standard room’s bathroom isn’t as large as the one in the suite, but it is still plenty large and wonderful with a huge shower, though families should take note it did not have a bathtub.
Many people have asked me about bugs and Zika as they relate to Costa Rica and the Andaz Papagayo. I’m not a Zika expert, but I personally wasn’t overly concerned for a few reasons. First, I live in East Texas and mosquitos and mosquito born diseases are a reality even in my own backyard. Second, I’m not pregnant or planning to be pregnant so Zika isn’t that large of a concern for me personally. However, I am a mosquito magnet, so I very much sympathize with those concerned with getting bit. This hotel is in a jungle and there are bugs, including mosquitos. I did get a couple of bites, though mainly during a lunch when I hadn’t put on bug spray or long pants and was sitting still for a longer period of time.
I didn’t personally have an issue with bugs in the room or at breakfast in the open air restaurant. It was the start of the rainy season during our visit, so that might have played into why we did get a few bites. They do provide free bug spray all around the resort, and I recommend using it and wearing long pants and such if you plan to be out and sitting still for a period of time. While I got a couple of bites, I didn’t get any more than I would at outside at home for a weekend so this won’t stop me from bringing my girls next year unless reports about the bug situation or Zika change dramatically between now and then. If I was pregnant or actively planning to be pregnant, then I would likely avoid Costa Rica and other Zika zones until I was beyond that stage in my life, but obviously, that is a risk assessment every family must make for themselves.
We loved our suite and spent a fair amount of time relaxing in it during our stay, but as much as l loved that space, I think I loved the on-site food and activities even more and those are the things I will cover in the next portion of this review!
Know before you go.
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