Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of spending three nights at one of my favorite Hyatt properties of all time – The Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. I stayed here previously in December 2014 as a family with my then-10-month old son. I had a blast with my family, but since we were traveling with an infant and I was also pregnant with #2, I was limited in experiencing all that the resort had to offer.
This time around, I got to do so much more, and I loved every bit of it! To start, I really love the Andaz brand in general because it’s Hyatt’s “lifestyle” brand, and each property has unique individuality with tons of local cultural integration (I also recently learned that there are only 12 Andaz properties worldwide… I really though there were more).
What I love even more about the Andaz Papagayo is that it still remains a Hyatt “sweet-spot” redemption, being that it’s a category 4 property (15,000 points); and it’s one of the best uses of the annual free-night certificate from the Hyatt Credit Card (definitely worth that $75 annual fee!).
The purpose of this post is to highlight my impressions of the property after visiting a second time (this time I was completely solo).
Lets Talk Mosquitos
Let’s get this one out of the water first. SO many people have contacted me asking me if they should postpone or cancel their trips to the Andaz Papagayo because of the hype surrounding the Zika virus. First off, it’s only fair to say that I rarely attract insects in general (B+ blood type FWIW). I also don’t use bug spray… like ever (though it is available throughout the resort). With that being said, I can happily report that I did not receive a single mosquito bite on the Andaz Papagayo grounds.
I did get one bite while zip-lining in the rainforest during an outside excursion (more about that below), but I can assure you that I do not have the Zika virus. Again, I am not a healthcare professional, nor do I want you to rely solely on my advice, but I did not experience any issues with mosquitos, so there’s no need to worry.
This time around, I was a Hyatt Diamond. I did not apply one of my Diamond Suite Upgrades to my reservation (because I was alone, and what fun is that?), but I did get a chance to peek inside the suites. WOW, they quite impressive to say the least! There is one presidential suite and 4 amazing “andaz large suites”, with a private plunge pool on the outside deck; these were honestly some of the best suites I’ve seen in my life. Unfortunately a DSU does not get you that upgrade (instead, you’ll get the “andaz suite“, which is a category below).
As far as breakfast, the Diamond breakfast benefit was great at the Rio Bhongo restaurant, which offers a full buffet and a la carte menu. The service is still a bit hit or miss like it was the first time I visited in December 2014, but hey – it’s hard to complain in paradise!
Fitness & Onda Spa
I love that they’ve made it so easy to stay fit at the resort! Aside from a modern gym, the resort offers a variety of daily fitness classes ranging from sunrise yoga, aerobics, and nature walks. I’d be lying if I told you that I woke up early for these 6-am classes (believe me, the intentions were so there, but I neverrrr get to sleep in anymore…). I’m still kicking myself in the butt for not trying at least one class during my stay.
I did however enjoy some morning snorkeling (that’s a workout, right?), which is free for resort guests. All non-motorized sports are included with your stay between 8 am and 4 pm (paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.).
I also had a chance to indulge in a spa treatment at Onda spa. I personally prefer super-deep massages, so I asked for the deepest one they offered. I ended up going with the Caña Brava massage, which uses a combination of local Caña Brava sticks and hand techniques. This massage definitely gets into muscles that you probably never thought you had (and there were a few “ouch” moments). I did feel great and limber afterwards.
I also really like that you can customize your experience from start to finish by choosing everything ranging from the type of music you want to the aroma in the room, etc.
What intrigued me during my first visit was experiencing the cocktail creations created by the resort’s champion-mixologist at Chao Pescao. I was pregnant last time, so I could not indulge! This time around, I did not hold back, and I had fun tasting a variety of the signature cocktails. The resort has daily cocktail classes (margarita, sangria, etc. for $15 pp) and signature mixology classes for $30 a person (includes 2 drinks). It’s definitely a unique and fun experience to be part of.
If you love ceviche and fresh seafood, then you’ll think you died and went straight to heaven at Ostra. Designed to emulate a private residence, Ostra restaurant focuses on the fresh seafood of the country. Ostra is an adults-only restaurant, so I was not able to dine here during my first visit with my infant son, but now I understand the hype!
The ambiance at this restaurant (both night and day) is pretty incredible, and I love the open-concept. You can watch your drinks being made at the cocktail station and then witness incredible ceviche creations in front of your eyes. The octopus dish was to die for.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we did not participate in any excursions off of the resort during our first time. This time around, I took a day trip and went zip-lining, horseback riding, and spent some time in some great hot springs in the rainforest (complete with a volcanic mud body mask) from about 8 am to 5 pm. The Andaz Papagayo offers plenty of other organized-tour options as well including white water rafting, hiking, beach tours, and even a day trip to Nicaragua.
The tour company was amazing and everything was seamless from start-to-finish. I would do another excursion in a heartbeat the next time I return.
Overall, I had yet another incredible experience at the Andaz Papagayo. It’s definitely one of my favorite resorts and I hope it will remain a “sweet spot redemption” for as long as possible.
Have you recently visited this resort? If so, how was your experience?