Andaz Costa Rica Suite Review
I originally had booked a trip to Costa Rica for April 2020 with a free ticket I had won through Alaska Airlines. However, due to COVID, I ended up having to push it back a few times. Finally in April 2021, after being fully vaccinated, I felt comfortable completing the trip. Last minute one of my friends was able to join me on the trip.
I used points and booked four nights at the Andaz Costa Rica and used a Suite Upgrade. Currently a free night at the property is 20,000 points however I understand they may be raising the rates to 25,000 (Category 6) soon.
The Andaz Costa Rica is located on the Papagayo Peninsula on the west coast of Costa Rica. It is about 45 minutes drive from the Liberia Airport.
I booked a private shuttle from the airport ($59 each way) through Liberia Airport Shuttle, significantly cheaper than either a taxi or using Andaz’s transportation. The driver was very professional and spoke great English.
The “Peninsula Papagayo” gated property has the Andaz and Four Seasons as well as a marina and golf course. The Andaz itself has a second gate so access is well controlled. I never felt unsafe during my stay.
Throughout the peninsula there are trails and work out stations.
We arrived at the property at 1:15 and were greeted by the Andaz staff. We were ushered in to their outdoor welcome lobby and offered waters and snacks. The staff member that helped us was very friendly and thorough. He was apologetic that the room was not yet ready (we were early so weren’t expecting it to be ready). He had another employee, Guyerson, come pick us up on a golf cart to get a quick tour of the property and to take us to the restaurant for a lunch.
Pretty soon in to lunch the employee came back with our keys and told us he would come back when we had finished lunch to drive us to our room. The service was incredibly personal and top notch.
The property is not huge but it is built on a hillside. They offer golf carts (with drivers) to pick you up and take you where you want to go if you don’t want to walk.
We were assigned to room 129, an Andaz Bay View Suite. The standard suite is an Andaz Suite (same room but with lesser view). The rooms are numbered in the following way: first digit is building (1-7), second digit is floor (1-3), third digit is room (1-9). So our room (129) was in building 1 on the middle floor at the end of the building.
I believe the “9” rooms are the suites and each building has three for a total of around 20 Andaz Suites on the property.
Buildings 1-4 are located along the “top” of the property hillside with building 1 being closest to the lobby and 4 being farthest away but closest to the spa, adult pool and Ostra restaurant.
Buildings 5-7 are located downhill at the same elevation as the main restaurant Rio Bhongo and main pool. None of the buildings are located right on the beach.
As you enter the suite, straight ahead is a hanging swing chair and the half bath.
Hanging on the wall next to the door are the complimentary fedoras.
The living room area has a desk (where you will find the coffee maker) and mini bar where you will find complimentary water, soda and snacks. Each day it was restocked with six bottles of water (two sparkling), a can each of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta. The snacks were packets of peanuts, dried bananas, crackers and granola. Alcohol is extra.
I had asked for a rollaway to be set up in the living room. Typically there would just be the couch, chair and two floor cushions facing the TV.
The floor to ceiling windows can be fully opened (there is a glass half wall) to really give the room an open air feel.
The Suite has a single king bed in the bedroom. As you enter the bedroom, a walk in closet is on your right. In addition to the hats each guest also gets a pair of flip flop sandals that are in the closet.
The bedroom has a second TV and floor to ceiling windows on two sides.
One wall of windows can be opened to the patio where there is two chairs and a lantern.
The full bathroom is off of the bedroom and continues the open feel of bringing the outside in to the room.
The floor is tiled with pebbles. A large soaking tub is opposite of the double vanity.
The open shower has both a rain shower head and a hand held wand.
The full wall window is frosted so you aren’t exposed during your shower. There is also a privacy curtain you can lower but there are no paths that would lead people past the window.
The bath products are Lather branded. A bottle of hand sanitizer was also provided (though there were many dispensers throughout the property).
My only complaint about the bathroom was that it took a couple of minutes for the water to heat up for showering or washing your hands in the morning or after not using it for a few hours.
The suites are built on the ends of each building. It means that there are windows looking out on three of the four sides of the suite. With the amount of glass (most of which can be opened) makes it feel like you really are in the jungle even when in your room.
There are two pool areas: the main pool at Rio Bhongo and the adult pool at Ostra.
The main pool area has three pools. The first two are a small upper pool that flows down to the natural entry pool.
The third pool also has an infinity edge and is more narrow and shaped like a river.
The main pool has a bar that is built out of an old VW bus. Rio Bhongo restaurant and gift shop is located above the pool area.
Staff are available for drink and food orders and also bring around ice water. At one point an employee came out with complimentary home-made popsicles in a cart.
The adult pool is under the Ostra restaurant and also has a bar and grill.
Sunscreen, bug spray and towels are complimentary at each pool.
The beach is located below the pools. From the main pool area there is a boardwalk with stairs that takes you down to the beach.
Overall I didn’t find the onsite beach to be particularly scenic or inviting. There is a roped off swim area and you can use the paddle boards or kayaks for free. But you will also get people trying to sell you tours or day trips. The seating area is not very pretty either.
However, the better beach option is at the Andaz Beach House. It is up the bay towards the Four Seasons; maybe 1/2 mile away. Your options to get there are either by boat or by shuttle and golf cart.
I would suggest taking the shuttle to the Beach House and the boat back to the hotel. The shuttle takes longer (maybe 25 minutes total) but the last part is through the jungle in a golf cart. Here we saw lizards, birds, monkeys and pizotes (coatimundis).
The boat back is quicker and gives you a good view of the property from the water. The boat is fairly accessible, however you do have to wade out to it. The nose of the boat lowers which makes it easy to step on.
The Beach House has a ton of various types of seating, lawn games, and water toys like kayaks and stand up paddle boards that are free to use.
You can order drinks and food; all the items we tried were delicious.
Towels are provided and the service attentive. There are modern bathrooms and a shower on site. A few non-Hyatt venders hang out but were not pushy. I found if you told them you weren’t interested, they were happy to still chat and didn’t push their sales.
The beach itself has sand and as the tide goes out, the beach gets larger. The water is clear though a few guests seemed to get stung by something that was a minor irritant.
There are three restaurants at the Andaz Papagayo in addition to the pool bars and Beach House.
The main restaurant that is open for all meals is Rio Bhongo located at the center of the property above the main pool area. The gift shop is located at the restaurant.
Globalist breakfast is served at Rio Bhongo. There is a buffet, coffee bar, smoothie bar, and you can order off of the menu. In the evening the smoothie bar turns into a bar and the food options include Costa Rican inspired dishes, pizza and sushi.
Chao Pescao is open only for dinner and offers live music, tapas, and drinks in an open setting.
The final restaurant is Ostra, also only open for dinner, and specializing in seafood. It is located above the adult pool and just below the spa at the far end of the property (by buildings 4 & 5).
The only restaurant we didn’t try on our stay was Ostra. I never had a bad meal or drink. Everything was very fresh and used local ingredients. The prices were about what I expected: $25 USD for an entre and $12 USD for a mixed drink. A 10% service charge is automatically added to every meal. You can tip more but it isn’t expected.
In addition to the activities at the beach, there is a rotating calendar of classes you can take at the Andaz. Each class is an additional charge ($15-$25 per person). Some of the options were Spanish class, pottery painting, barista class, hikes, and yoga. We only did one, the empanada class ($15). And we were so glad we did! We made our own empanadas starting with making the tortilla, filling them with meat, beans and cheese, and then having them fried. We also made plantain based empanadas. There were only four total people in the class plus the instructor. We each made 6-8 empanadas which were then served to us after being fried with toppings. It was fun and delicious and after the class I didn’t feel the need to buy a separate dinner.
There is also both a spa and fitness center at the Andaz. Because of COVID protocols during my stay, a reservation was required.
There is also a kids club (Cambi) located just down from the lobby.
While I originally booked four nights, I ended up extending the stay for a fifth night instead of staying at a hotel near the airport. It is a fantastic property.
The service is incredibly friendly. There were a few very minor hiccups due to the fact that the property had to close during COVID and was ramping back up with many new staff. I hesitate to even mention it because of the extraordinary circumstances. Overall the vibe is casual.
The suite is gorgeous with high end features and plenty of room. The number of windows, most of which can fully open, makes you feel like the outside jungle is part of the room. The Andaz brand shines through with the fun touches like flip flops, hats, and the complimentary mini-bar.
The location is good. Don’t expect a beautiful sandy beach or views of the sunset. At least during April, the south facing property doesn’t get sunrise or sunset views. But the property is on the water in the jungle and less than 45 minutes from the airport. It feels extremely safe. The grounds are well kept and the wildlife roam free (though limited few bugs).
I don’t know if the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica is considered the brand flagship but it should be. I am not surprised that the property is going up to a Category 6 at 25,000 Hyatt points per night. Even at that price it is a worthwhile property to visit.