Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo Review
The Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is located at the Papagayo peninsula (no surprise there) which is a rather big development about 90 minutes north of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. It is about 1.5 hours to Liberia airport and 5.5. hours to San Jose Airport.
The property is built into a steep hill - the setting reminded me of The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket, or the Conrad Koh Samui.
Check-in was very much in Andaz style - we were sat down and across the room, an agent checked us in. It took a long time to get all the paperwork done (I always feel that is annoying and as more expensive hotels get the longer it takes). About 20 minutes later we got driven to our room which was just a short walk away.
The room itself was huge. In fact, the shower alone was likely bigger than some rooms I had lately. It had a great view towards the ocean and seemed in great shape. However, the massive shower and the beautiful bathroom area seemed the highlight of the room for me. There was also a small patio to sit outside and enjoy the quiet location.
The WiFi came in at 35Mbit which is really nice given the remote location. It worked stable across the whole property.
The Air Conditioning was loud and needed a major fan noise to cool down the room (which it did well). I would have preferred a setting with a low fan but that was not to be.
The property comes with steep hills and getting to the beach is indeed a workout. It is a 20-25 minutes walk (even down) through the jungle. There are two beaches (one offers a number of complimentary activities such as paddle boarding). Both beaches seemed artificial and had been built by removing mangroves and adding sand. The water is clear though and it is fun to take a quick dip but you don't want to spend too much time there.
The pool area is beautiful and consists of one adult and one general pool. There was a surprisingly large number of children at the general use pool and it was loud and crowded. The adult pool seemed like a different world and also had access to more sunlight. However, even with the rather small occupancy, the pool area seemed cramped. I wish there would be more space.
The dining area is built right on top of the pool area. It is equally beautifully designed. We found the dishes to be of varying quality - we had two excellent breakfast items (out of three ordered) and found the dinner portions to be huge but lacking in taste. The prices seemed quite reasonable.
We found the staff to be a problem at the resort - but not for the reasons you'd expect. The staff was extremely friendly and generally helpful and spoke English (and Spanish) perfectly. However, there seemed to be way too many staff members around- there was constantly someone interrupting (in a friendly way). I felt it was a little too much and I wasn't comfortable with it. I also found many of the replies to be scripted and way over the top. The housekeeping staff started cleaning the room above us at 8.30 Am with a lot of furniture being moved around. Many of the housekeeping staff organized themselves so loud that you could hear that all over the property.
In sum - the Andaz is a beautiful property way top-rated amenities. However, prepare yourself to be in a jungle setting and the beach and pool will not provide much space or enjoyment.
The rooms feel quite luxurious and are almost perfect - the air conditioning should be quieter though. The staff members try hard but I felt they tried (collectively) way too hard.
It wasn't what I expected for my time in Costa Rica but I can see how others may enjoy it much more.
Room rates are too expensive at $535 plus high taxes and fees. The redemption rates are 20,000 points per night which is reasonable. Budget another $50-100 per person/day for food.