Quick recap of our journey to Costa Rica
Flight with Interjet Airlines,The Grand Elite Lounge Priority Pass Mexico City, and What To Expect in San Jose, Costa Rica Airport
I don’t have a bucket list. I go where the deal takes me. I can’t say I’m loyal to hotel programs either. Many of my friends swear by the Hyatt, or Hilton, or Marriott. Me? As long as I have a place to sleep, and shower…consider me well and good.
BUT, there’s always an exception. If there was ever a hotel or a property I wanted to try, it was the Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.
When I started this points and miles hobby back in 2014/2015, the Andaz Costa Rica was one of those hotels, a great value hotel that promised the ultimate getaway.
As a World of Hyatt cardholder, in the past, a standard room at this property:
- could be booked using 15,000 Hyatt points per night
- considered as a Category 4 hotel, meaning we could use our anniversary free night at this property
But, that all changed. The hotel now charges a minimum of 20,000 Hyatt points per night, (through March 21, 2020) and is no longer a Category 4 Hotel, it’s now a Category 5 property. After March 21, the property will begin charging 25,000 points per night. Ughhhhh….so I missed my chances of using very few points. But, I didn’t cry over spilled milk.
The Costa Rica Itinerary
I booked us a trip to Costa Rica. If there were two places that was suggested for newbies like us, it was visiting La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio areas. To squeeze in Andaz Costa Rica in between La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio meant that we’d be going away or going on another direction. Rats! Whatever. This was my chance. And if there is one thing I learned from Hamilton, “I am not throwing away my shot!”
Finding solutions to our challenges
Five guests will need two standard rooms
There were 5 of us in my family who flew to Costa Rica. The standard room, worth 20,000 points per night, only allowed a maximum of 4 guests. We couldn’t request a rollaway bed in the standard room. We were advised that we would need to get 2 standard rooms at 20,000 each per night x 2 nights = 80,000 points. I didn’t really want to spend that much.
Get a suite, use points + cash
The alternate suggestion – get the Andaz Suite, and use 20,000 points per night PLUS, the additional cost for this room is $205 USD + taxes and fees per night. The suite has 1 main bedroom with 1 king size bed + a living room separate by a door. In the living room, we could get 2 rollaway for the kids. While it sounded promising, that was still going to cost me the same amount of points PLUS nearly $500 in cash out of pocket.
The Andaz Costa Rica said that the suite was not available in using all points during the nights I needed, and that I could check directly with the World of Hyatt customer service for other available options. Before I checked with the WOH, I asked the Andaz if I could get the suite using points (all points, no cash out of pocket), will they honor/allow all 5 of us to stay in one suite? I was told…yes.
Finding one suite using ALL points, no cash out of pocket
I called the WOH, and at first, we struggled finding the right dates that would work with our visit. We finally found the right dates and the right room rates using points, all points.
Finding one suite, instead of 2 standard rooms was better for our family. We were all in one room, and in the end, we used lesser points.
Getting to the Andaz from La Fortuna
It took us over 2.5 hours to get from La Fortuna to Andaz Costa Rica. The drive down took lots of turns, zig zag roads. Once we made it down from the mountains, for the first time in days, we drove on a wide freeway (two wide lanes, no traffic congestion). We passed through Liberia Airport (the other airport that’s near to the Andaz). From that airport, it was another 30 minutes to get to the resort.
The anticipation kept building as we began making our approach to what looked like a master-planned community. There was a roundabout that directed us to the Four Seasons, the Marina, and the Andaz Papagayo. We had to go through two gates. The 2nd gate was specifically for Andaz guests. We were led to the front of the Andaz. It wasn’t a palatial entry…a purple VW van or Kombi was off to the right, and the Andaz valet guys greeted us and took care of our luggage.
We walked down the reception area. Again, it was a very simplistic design approach. The area reminded me of the Hollywood Bowl with it’s dome-shaped appearance.
There were 2-3 stations where you could check in, a station for coquitos or coconut cookies to the left. and water. Plus a welcome lemonade drink was given to us.
Stephanie assisted me during our check in. It was around 1pm when we made it to the Andaz. Our suite was not yet ready. I wasn’t sure what upgrade I was given, if any. Remember the booking I made was for an Andaz Suite, and if I’m not mistaken, I knew of 4 different suite options – the Andaz Suite, the Andaz Bayview Suite, the Andaz Large Suite, and the Andaz Presidential Suite.
We were advised to hang out by the pool, or go to Rio Bhongo (the restaurant near the infinity pool). Justin, one of the Andaz valets, drove us to the pool area via a golf cart. It was a short ride, but he drove us there anyway.
We had no problem killing time at the infinity pools that was a signature image ever since I began wanting to visit this property.
The kids found a few poolside lounge chairs right away. Nancy decided to venture around while I swam with the kids at the pool. Aaahhhhh, life was good.
By 3pm, we were told that our suite was finally ready. Justin came to pick us up via golf cart again. Why a golf cart? The property is quite vast, and getting from one location to another could take time by walking – it’s doable but could very well take some time. And if it was your first time visiting, it’s good to get a golf cart ride so you could decide for yourself later if you will just walk or if you will need more golf cart rides.
The Suite Upgrade
There were 4 buildings in the higher level. Buildings 1 & 2 were closest to the front desk, Rio Bhongo, and family infinity pools. Buildings 3 & 4 were closest to the spa, the gym, the adult pool, and Onda, their exclusive restaurant.
Justin led us to our room. And wow! That was the time I realized, this was not the standard Andaz Suite. Instead, the Andaz upgraded us to the Andaz Suite with Bay Views. It was beautiful, and everything gorgeous, and roomy. If we paid in cash, this room usually goes for over $1,000 per night. However, for our stay, we used 32,000 points per night, and no other cash out of pocket.
Here’s the description from the World of Hyatt website.
Enjoy enhanced views the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay and the resort in this 1,173 square foot (109 sq. mt.) corner suite, featuring a king-bedded master bedroom, living room, executive work area and spacious balcony. Modern design blends with touches of character such as woven textiles, solid woods and carved artifacts to highlight the Costa Rican aesthetic. The extra-large bathroom includes soaking tub and separate oversized walk-in rain shower and an additional half bathroom adjoins the living room. Complimentary gifts and deluxe amenities include custom fedora hats and Andaz flip-flops, use of espresso maker, wireless internet access, local phone calls, non-alcoholic minibar beverages and snacks restocked daily.
Here’s my YouTube video tour:
Dining at the Andaz Costa Rica and nearby
The Andaz Costa Rica also offered me a $50 resort credit. It may not seem like a lot, but that was able to get us up to 4 kid’s meals that we had by the pool. We knew going in that we didn’t want the breakfast buffet option which was around $32 per person.
We did go to the Dive Bar, an offsite restaurant outside of the Andaz Costa Rica. It was at the marina. There was a free shuttle that drove us to the marina within 10 minutes.
There is also a mini-market nearby. Many of the guests at the Andaz and the Four Seasons would go down to this restaurant.
On our second night, we decided not to ride the shuttle to the Dive Bar. Instead, we walked from the Andaz pool to the marina. It took us about 30 minutes to walk which was just perfect enough for us to build our appetite.
What do you need NOT to bring
- Bottled water
- Sun tan lotion
- Insect Repellent
- Stand up paddle board
- Snorkeling mask and fix
- Football, soccer, volleyball
- Beach Towels (no need to bring towels from your room)
- Mini-bar access (except alcohol – for us in the Andaz Bay View Suite)
These were some of the adventures available during our visit. Got kids? There’s the kids lounge, Cambi – with activities for the kids. Certain activities could a little extra, but it’s a great option to have. The kids also have their infinity pool (but I saw adults using it, too).
A secluded getaway
When planning a vacation here at the Andaz Costa Rica, I’ve heard many naysayers who said, “once you’re there, you’re stuck, it’s so remote, you’re far away from everything that’s Costa Rica.” I knew exactly what they meant. I did my research and for this visit, we sandwiched out stay in between to busy visits at La Fortuna and Jaco/Manuel Antonio.
Visiting this resort gave us that balance, that chance to just wind down. We did not see our car or had a need to drive our car for 3 days. While we had access to getting a ride from the golf carts, we took advantage of walking to the different amenities ourselves. Yes, it took some time, but we had the time.
The Andaz Beach House
Yes, it was totally secluded. But we had no problem with it. It was quiet, you could hear the nature, the voices of nature.
We spent the next morning by going to the Andaz Beach House – a 10-minute boat ride to another private beach owned by the resort.
We had access to kayaks, stand up paddle board, snorkeling masks and fins. There’s a volleyball court, lots of lounge chairs and lounge beds.
There was a snack bar with full service wait staff who assisted us. We were able to snorkel and ride the kayak, and just relaxed. There’s free Wi-Fi at the beach house as well.
This is not to say that there are no opportunities for you to go outside and explore other parts of Costa Rica. One of the couples I met played golf, and another one went on a zipling tour, another one went on bird watching walk tour.
So there are different options for you to still enjoy and go out on an expedition. For my family, we channeled our energy and enjoyed our visit onsite (including the Beach House and the marina).
Would I stay here again?
Yes, yes, yes! If ever we get the chance to return to the resort again, there is no doubt that we would like to visit the Andaz Costa Rica. In fact, I’d even consider staying here for at least 3 nights. I would also consider flying in to LIR (Liberia Airport) since we’ve already gone to La Fortuna and Jaco/Manuel Antonio – so there’s no need for us to explore that side of Costa Rica.
Another thing I would consider is booking our last 2 or 3 nights here before flying back to the US. So I will treat our stay here as the actual downtime after exploring other parts of Costa Rica.
All in all, thank you to the World of Hyatt, and to the staff over at Andaz Costa Rica!