We love this resort!!! Stunning, modern & chic architecture and use of natural, local woods built on a hillside overlooking the bay…
We used 160k AA miles for 2 Biz class seats on AA from LAX to DFW, then from DFW to LIR (Liberia, Costa Rica).
We rented a car through Budget. My online reservation for a compact car for a week totaled $122, “including taxes and fees”, but I knew that in Costa Rica, liability insurance is mandatory (about $20 for minimum coverage). Even though we declined CDW (damage to rental car) and Personal Accident Injury insurance (these were covered with my enrollment with Amex Premium Rental Car Coverage for $17.95 per rental for California residents), but I didn’t expect them to add even more taxes and fees (local) so that the rental actually totaled about $368. A total rip-off, in my opinion, but what are you going to do? We needed a car so we just bit the bullet and signed the papers. Just expect to pay a lot more for a rental car than what you signed up for in Costa Rica.
It was about an hour ride to the resort (right turn leaving airport, another right turn on the road before “The Do-it Center”, then follow signs to “Papagayo” (left turn at Papagayo sign), then take 2nd exit towards Papagayo at the first roundabout. Clear security gate, then take 2nd right again at 2nd roundabout. Go to the end of the road to t-intersection , then make right turn to the Andaz). Valet parking is included in the resort fee, or you can park on the driveway for free.
We paid a cash and points rate of $100 plus 7500 points per night and added a Diamond Suite Upgrade. We got this gorgeous suite with a view of the Marina and bay:
They do stock the minibar daily with water, drinks and snacks and these are free. Our suite had a coffee maker and espresso machine as well, and there was a filtered water and ice machine at the entrance to our building.
The buffet breakfast (and a la carte) was served in “Rio Bhongo”, Andaz’s open air restaurant. The food was good but the real star of the show was the view of the water. Diamond members get anything on the menu plus the buffet for breakfast. Gratuities are supposed to be included in Diamond breakfasts, but I always left 10% for good service. Another thing about eating in restaurants in Costa Rica – they add a 10% service fee and a 13% tax on everything. Tipping is not required but maybe 10% should be added for very good service. So that means expect to pay 33% more for your meal than the price listed on the menu. The nice thing is that unless you are eating at hotels, food in most restaurants in Costa Rica are reasonably priced – maybe $10 to $20 per person.
The Andaz will take you to anywhere in the Papagayo region in their free shuttle, but only until 6pm, after which there is a $25 fee.
The infinity pools are really nice at the Andaz, and there is an adults only pool. There is a spa and gym (very nice) and awesome steam rooms. The property is hilly with lots of stairs, which we loved, but if you can’t handle the workout, they do have golf cart shuttles that will take you from place to place. We did see a lot of cute white faced monkeys and iguanas on the property.
The Andaz is in a gated enclave of properties, including the Four Seasons Resort and private residences. All of these properties have access to a private beach club, “Prieta Beach Club”. We spent some time here, sitting in the hammocks, lying on the beachfront beds, swimming in their pools, sitting in the hot jacuzzi and enjoying lunch on the beach. The Andaz shuttles will take you there and pick you up and there is no charge to use Prieta – you will just need to pay for food/beverages/kayaks, paddleboards, etc. (credit cards only) and massages (cash only). We had a good massage there for only $65 (much less than what the hotels charge).
There are not a lot of dining options near the Andaz, but we did enjoy “The Dive Bar”, which is a little open air restaurant on the bottom floor of the hotel at the Marina, with great views of the boats. yachts and bay.
We tried another restaurant on the main Hwy 21 near the airport, “Cafe Europa”, aka “German Bakery Alemany”. They had outside seating but the decor was a bit strange and the food and service just average.
One night we drove to restaurant “Abbocato”, which is run by an Italian and his Tica (Costa Rican) wife. Abbocato is 30 minutes away from the Andaz, and you do need to watch for stray cows on the road if you drive there. We were so glad we arrived before sunset, because the views from the outside of the restaurant were spectacular. The food and service were good – nothing to write home about, but the ambiance was totally worth the drive.
We also drove into Liberia (1 hour from the Andaz: head towards the airport, pass it and go straight for about 20 minutes) and had an excellent lunch at Cafe Liberia (one block South from the Church/Central Park near Hotel Liberia). The funny thing is that there are no street signs anywhere so the only way you will know where to go is to look for landmarks. Also, some streets are one-way, but this is not marked so you just have to figure it out.
There was an open-air restaurant right next to Budget Rental Car near the airport which was called, “La Choza de Laurel” which served up good authentic Costa Rican food. We didn’t enjoy the nachos or guava smoothie, but the salads, chicken and fish dishes and pineapple smoothies were delicious.
If you are driving, there is a gas station on the main Hwy 21 next to the “Do It Center”. The gas stations are full serve only.
Definitely want to go back one day and check out other places on the beautiful Papagayo Peninsula.