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During our recent trip to Costa Rica, Brooke and I spent two nights at the beautiful Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort. We have been fortunate to visit many resorts in exotic locations like Hawaii, French Polynesia, and Cozumel, but this resort had a very special quality about it. Everything about the resort, from the serene infinity pools, to the beachfront hammocks, to the easygoing staff members, showcased the Costa Rican way of life… Pura Vida! After less than 24 hours here, we were already tallying up our points for a return visit!
- Cash & Point Expense – Hotel costs in terms of cash, points, or both.
- Hotel Overview & Rooms – Overview of the property and room choices.
- Service & Conveniences – Service and amenities offered by the hotel.
- Restaurants & Dining – Restaurant and bar choices in the hotel.
- X-Factor – What sets this property apart from others.
Cash & Points Expense
During our two-night stay over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday weekend in January, the cash price for rooms at this hotel was nearly $650 per night! Future dates start around $300 per night, which is actually quite fair for the quality of the resort. You can check current rates here.
We redeemed 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, for a phenomenal value of 4.3 cents per point. As a category 4 hotel, this resort is one of the best point redemption values you will find in the Hyatt portfolio. Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 points), add an authorized user (5,000 points), and meet the minimum spend ($4,000), you will earn 59,000 points. You will have nearly enough points to book four nights here!
Hotel Overview & Rooms
We arrived at the resort in the evening, after a long day of exploring the Costa Rican rainforest. From the moment we stepped out of our car, we were treated like family. Walking into the lobby at night was absolutely stunning, and the resort is so remote that we could see every star in the sky. Despite our late arrival, resort staff greeted us with smiles and some refreshing beverages. We checked in and were escorted to our room on a golf cart. All of the staff members were well dressed in fun, brightly-colored attire.
We were upgraded to a Partial Bay View King room on the third floor. The room was extremely spacious, and the shower was to die for! Because of how the resort is built, there is no way for others to see into the balcony area. Therefore, the showers are designed so that you can open the floor-to-ceiling door and enjoy your shower while feeling like you are outside. This was a rainforest shower in more ways than one!
Andaz left no stone unturned with the amenities included in this room. We received complimentary fedoras, flip-flops, a beach bag (to use at the resort or $30 if you wanted to keep it), and a fully-stocked mini bar. Oh, and the room comes with MONKEYS! Most evenings around dinnertime, a family of monkeys makes their way through the resort, looking for food. They are not shy and will come right up into the balcony. I didn’t give them any food, but they sure were curious to see if I had any around!
Service & Conveniences
In your room, you will find the “Pura Vida News,” a guide to all of the activities available during your stay at the resort. Options for activities include kayak tours of the bay, forest hiking, cooking classes, massages, and even a mixology class. If you’re just looking to chill, the resort features two infinity pools and two private beaches. There’s also plenty of wildlife to observe around the resort grounds, including lizards, crabs, and of course, monkeys.
The Onda Spa is easily one of the most relaxing, peaceful places we have ever visited. Brooke and I each signed up for an invigorating body scrub. From the moment we arrived to check in at the spa, until our walk back to our room, we felt completely pampered.
The experience begins at check-in, where the receptionist handed us some herbal tea. She then led us to the locker rooms and soaking pool. Here, we put on our spa robes, kicked back, and sipped fruit-infused water until our therapists arrived. They led us to our couples massage room for the body scrubs. Large windows filled the room with natural light, and our therapists offered a few audio selections for the background. We selected rainforest sounds to fit the surrounding environment.
I selected the house specialty Gallo Pinto Scrub, which offers skin exfoliation and hydration using rice and beans, followed by a rice cream application. Brooke opted for the Coffee Mocha scrub, which combines coffee-infused salt, cocoa nibs, and cocoa butter for an invigorating, sensory experience. After our body scrubs, we had the option to rinse off in a private outdoor shower, before concluding our spa experience. Ahhhhh… luxury!
The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort offers two beach options. One beach is designated as a tranquil beach, with only a cart for water and towels. When Brooke and I arrived here, mid-morning, we were completely alone. We walked along the beach and the rocks, hunting for seashells and dipping our toes in the water. During the walk, we found whole colonies of tiny hermit crabs.
The other beach is more of what you expect at a resort, with servers handing out tasty cocktails, and beach chairs to catch some rays. At this beach, you can also rent jet skis or kayaks to explore the bay. I opted to take a quick nap in a shady hammock, while Brooke settled into a beach chair. When I awoke, there was quite the commotion, because a group of about 8-10 monkeys were playing in the trees overhead. We laid there amazed, as we watched the monkeys dance across the branches. How cool is that!?
The resort also features two infinity pools, with views of the bay through the local vegetation. One pool is strictly for adults only, while the other has a family-friendly atmosphere. We opted for the much more peaceful adult pool. Families with kids will really enjoy the family pool.
As I mentioned above, one of the activity options is a mixology class, taught in the Chao Pescao bar by one of the award-winning bartenders. This is a small class, with a maximum of six people per session. On the night of my class, four people were registered, but three did not show up! I got the whole class to myself… although, I did call Brooke in to help me drink all of the cocktails we made!
During the class, I learned to make seven local cocktails, mostly based on the Costa Rican spirit, Cacique. I learned how to rind fruits, infuse smoke, use shaker cups, and properly garnish a glass. At the end of the course, I had the opportunity to design my own recipe. Christion, the lead bartender, enjoyed my coffee/passion fruit concoction so much that he is considering it as an addition to the cocktail menu!
Restaurants & Dining
The Resort has three restaurants on property, each with a different feel. Brooke and I had the opportunity to dine at two of the restaurants. We also enjoyed complimentary breakfast each morning, due to our Diamond status (prior to World of Hyatt). We did not have a chance to sample the fine dining menu at the Ostra restaurant, but the setting looked lovely.
Breakfast is served every morning at the Rio Bhongo restaurant. The buffet offerings were fantastic, including all sorts of fresh fruit, pastries, hot options, an omelet station, and a custom coffee bar. Costa Ricans take their coffee VERY seriously. As a self-proclaimed coffee-snob, I really appreciated this! I ordered a pour over coffee, using locally grown and roasted beans, and Brooke ordered a latte. Definitely sample the local coffee if you have the opportunity at breakfast.
Chao Pescao – Small Plates and Live Music
Brooke and I had dinner at Chao Pescao on our first night. Fortunately for us, we arrived on a Saturday night, when Chao Pescao fills with the sounds of live Latin music. This restaurant features locally-inspired tapas, which are perfect for sharing, and a craft cocktail menu. We tasted quite a few small plates, and our favorites were: the Sombrero, Fritito, Patacon, Pinchos, and the Latina Empanadas. Order these five dishes to share with your party, and you will have an excellent sampling of the various local dishes. The cocktail menu offers something for everyone, or you can name a couple ingredients and the bartenders will whip up a tasty cocktail especially for you.
Rio Bhongo offers a menu of Costa Rican dishes, with open-air dining in the center of the resort. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner here, overlooking the infinity pool and the bay. Brooke and I took a break from the pool to grab lunch at Rio Bhongo. We selected two sandwiches – the Choripan (chorizo) and the Bhongos (prawns). Both sandwiches were large and delicious!
PURA VIDA!! The x-factor at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort is definitely Pura Vida. Translated Pure Life this easy-going mantra permeates every part of the resort. Resort staff members greeted us with huge smiles, and instead of “Hello,” they simply said “Pura Vida.” During your stay here, you cannot be upset, angry, or tense… it’s simply not possible! The sounds of the rainforest, the serene pools, the relaxed beaches, and the friendly staff offer an undeniable sense of Pura Vida. Words cannot do this concept justice. You simply have to experience Pura Vida for yourself!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the absolute best resorts we have ever visited. Our friends often ask for recommendations for a weekend getaway, and we have almost exclusively recommended this resort. As we were leaving, one of our favorite resort employees told us that when we came back to Costa Rica, our Costa Rican Hyatt home would be waiting for us. Perfectly said! If you’re ready to experience the Pura Vida lifestyle, grab a Southwest Companion Pass, book your tickets into Liberia, Costa Rica, and head over to the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort.