Four Season’s Papagayo Costa Rica – Casa La Luna – Beautiful Villa Experience – But Avoid Incentive/Corporate Groups When There -(Ask when booking your stay)

Cruising Review 20140204:
This was our first stay at the Four Season’s in Costa Rica, and it was amazing. True to the Four Season’s we’ve been to, service and staff is the best available.

We stayed one night in one of the plunge pool canopy suites, which was nice, but I wanted a view of the sunset. I paid for an upgrade to one of the high-end hilltop villas, Casa la Luna, which was the most amazing suite in all of the resorts I have been to (I have been to Bora Bora multiple times, which have incredible suites as well).

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Casa la Luna is perched high above the Pacific, with a commanding view of the western sunset and northwest, with the surf below. The villa has one huge master bedroom, and on a lower level two additional bedrooms. Each level has a deck, outdoor shower and separate living room.

The villa is almost too big – what a great concern to have. I especially like the separated levels with the master bedroom on top level, and guest bedrooms on lower level, which makes this a perfect option for families, couples, or high-end clientele with an entourage (handlers, security, travel partners, etc.).

The villa is available at the end of the brick road (accessible by the resort golf carts) and is gated with a code or card access. This is a very private villa, and perfect for high-end clientele.

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Arriving at the villa, there is a entry portal and to the right are the bedroom suites, and to the left is a huge living room, dining area (seats 10), a kitchen, guest bathroom, laundry room and separate entry for service. The entire entry portal and living room/dining room is floor to ceiling wrap-around windows and huge sliding glass doors.

Walking out onto the deck area, there is a large pool with hot-tub and separate hammock lounge area. Just off the dining room is a outdoor deck dining area, and lots of lounge chairs for sun tanning.

On the corner of the villa near the pool, there is a outdoor bathroom. There is also a outdoor grill located near the pool, which we used twice for a dinner and lunch. Just call room service for groceries. You can also order your own chef if you wish.

The kitchen is complete with high-end Viking gas burners, a ice machine, wine cooler and large refrigerator. There is a complete bottle bar with the essentials (liquor, wine, champagne) which is a la carte (pay extra of the bottles). Don’t see what you want ? Just call room service and they’ll bring bottles, mixers, coconuts, ice, etc. We found that the sound system was difficult to operate, and the ice machine didn’t seem to work well (just have room service fill up the large ice machine with ice – simple enough). The pool and hot tube controller are located on the wall near the kitchen with a remote for the hot tub on the hot tub top side. They are slow to heat and there are no pool lights.

One thing that would make Casa la Luna perfect, would be a outdoor fire pit and lantern candles on the deck (even solar lanterns would be a nice touch).

Stargazing is amazing from Casa la Luna – the night sky is very dark and you’ll be able to see falling stars, constellations and the Milky Way. We really wanted a telescope (they do offer stargazing on the resort every night I believe – check resort activities).

For our stay, we did most of our breakfast meals down at the resort which has a chef to make omelets and other made-to-order entrees. We didn’t get a chance to sample all the restaurants, but sushi at Tico and the Brazilian style grilled beef was very good. There was also a made-to-order Ceviche station, which was excellent.

We spent a late afternoon at the beach, but loved our Casa la Luna so much, ended up there most of the time.

You can see a sunset only from the top of the hill, so if you want to take photos of the beautiful sunsets, you need to get a golf cart ride to the top and walk down, or stay in one of the villas.

The weekend we were there (last weekend in January 2014) was busy, but not overly crowded. We didn’t have to wait for any service.

While the girls did a massage (the spa is excellent), I chose a tennis lesson out at the gold and tennis facilities. I have to admit, I’ve never been so pampered. I had a lesson and got a chance to play with one of the instructors, who was an expert (you can always learn something from every instructor). For each break, a cool towel was provided, and they had two staff which would actually pick up the balls. That’s a first at any Four Season resort ! Made me feel like a pro, and allowed me to actually focus more on learning.

The facilities at the resort were spotless. The entire staff was very friendly and was genuinely concerned of your happiness with the resort and services.

Since the villas and suites are located some distance from the main resort and bars/restaurants, I recommend calling for a golf cart ride if you don’t want to walk. The service is included and very prompt.

A 10 percent tipping charge is included with all services (15 percent for room service) and you are welcome to tip additional to that if desired.

Weather is hot, but not humid. Dress accordingly.

Two nights a week, the resort allows local artisans to display and sell their craft, which was a very nice touch. I ended up buying a bunch of hand-crafted wooden puzzles using local sustainable hardwoods, that were less expensive than even at the airport, and at a fraction of the price of similar items online. I highly recommend that you support these local artists if you see something you like. You can pay directly to the artisan, or charge to your room for a 5 percent fee.

The prices are typical Four Season’s. I’m surprised anyone actually mentions prices in these review, since Four Season’s is the best, without question. As far as value for money, you can’t get any better (service, view, location, adventures, quality of food, cleanliness, etc.).

Overall, I’d recommend splurging on one of the more private, luxurious villas they have to offer. The Casa la Luna was simply amazing, beautiful and with an incredible view. If you want privacy, a pool, service and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, book one of these villas. After experiencing it once, I want it again.

Congratulations Four Season’s Costa Rica, you have outdone yourself once again (see notes below for more recent, bad experience). TripAdvisor does not let up update reviews, unfortunately.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a villa. Have some fun with a outdoor BBQ with your own grill – just order groceries via…

2015 Update: We stayed once again at this resort, and were very disappointed. Four Season’s is now catering to incentive travel groups. Instead of the group leader coaching the incentive bonus awardees about dress code (who pay nothing to be there, and have large drink budgets), and fail to mention behavior code at the Four Season’s, it spoils the experience for us paying customers. The Four Season’s is known for it’s experience, which is now tarnished by catering to groups, who act like it’s a Holiday Inn. I mentioned this several times to the manager at the resort, but fell on deaf ears. They cater to the groups, because it brings in huge revenue.

 

 

 

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g635535-d301231-r193115844-Four_Seasons_Resort_Costa_Rica_at_Peninsula_Papagayo-Gulf_of_Papagayo_Province_of.html

Paradise Found – Bora Bora

Cruising Review 20130206: We just travelled to Bora Bora in the last week of January, and had a wonderful stay at the Four Season’s. I’ve been to Bora Bora and the Society Islands 8 times, and the Four Season’s has the best service anywhere. It’s their attention to detail that really makes them stand out.

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If you go to other resorts, you will find service lacking. This is especially true for any kind of food or bar service. Four Season’s excels in that area.

The week we arrived, a cyclone was passing, so it was quite rainy. In fact, I’ve never seen torrential rains in Bora Bora even though when I go there, it’s rainy season (usually short downpours then sunny again). We started in a over-the-water bungalow, but found that we had a small leak in the roof (324). The staff immediately assessed the situation, and found that it needed to be repaired. We were immediately offered a beach bungalow (huge upgrade with pool) or another over-the-water bungalow. The attention they gave us was stunningly fast.

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After looking at the beach bungalow with pool and jacuzzi, it was hard to turn down. We spent a total of 2 nights in the over-the-water bungalow, and 4 nights in the beach bungalow.

I’ve stayed at this Four Season’s a total of 4 times, and I have to say you are better off in the over-the-water bungalows. First, you have a better view of the water. Second, there are no insects over the water. Finally, you just get a better experience being over the water.

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The beach bungalow’s are palatial. The one we stayed in (503) had two large bedrooms, one with a kind sized bed, bath, and huge master bathroom. In the middle section was a guest bathroom (half bath with shower) large living room and dining room. There’s a small pantry where another sink is located with refrigerator. The master bedroom had a very loud air conditioning system that needed repair – so loud that it would wake you up at night a few times. Luckily, since we had two bedrooms, we had easy options to avoid. The master bedroom bed also had issues, and needed to be replaced. I think these beach bungalows are heavily used, and since there are only a few of them, they probably need more attention. The over-the-water bungalows have really comfortable beds.

On the other end is another large bathroom with two sinks, shower and enclosed toilet. There is a bedroom with two queen sized beds.

None of the DVD players worked in the bedrooms, and the voicemail system never worked while we were there. We mentioned this a few times, but we did not want to have staff come out to fix the system and interrupt our stay (we already had to pack up and move bungalows), so we just ignored the minor problems.

Both ends have outdoor showers.

On the outside is a beautiful infinity plunge pool, heated jacuzzi, covered area for dining and laying out. There is a small lawn area with meticulously cared for grass (looked like a putting green), a hammock and then small beach area.

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The bungalow is surrounded by palms and Caribbean Pine trees (which are not native to the area).

Every day (while we were there) they sprayed for mosquitoes around 5:30pm with a fogging machine. It helped, but there were still flies. If you don’t like Gecko’s then I recommend you don’t stay in a beach bungalow. We had a few of them running around inside. Not a big deal, but you won’t find them over the water.

While the bungalow was wonderful, I would still chose a over-the-water bungalow for the full Bora Bora experience. If you want to splurge, then get into one of the two plunge pool bungalows located at the end of each of the pontoons (the row of over-the-water bungalows extending out over the water is called a pontoon).

The staff at the Four Season’s was great – the best in Bora Bora.

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The morning staff at the breakfast buffet were great. They were always very happy, and would always try to teach me some new Polynesian words each day. When greeted with a smile, you can’t help but have a great day !

Other staff that stood out were the water activities people. Specifically David who was really helpful and even offered to get his friends outrigger canoe there if I wanted to try it.

The bar and pool staff were great, housekeeping did a great job, and the front desk people were always helpful. We didn’t interact with other staff.

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Breakfast was our favorite mealtime – since they had fresh juice (you can even blend your own) and made-to-order omelets.

I highly recommend you get off the resort to try other options, including the St. Regis and Bloody Mary’s for dinner.

We tried a romantic beach dinner which was amazing. Other dinners there were good, but not great. My favorite place to eat was the sunset bar – just having a drink and tapas. The view of the sunset and island of Bora Bora are just beautiful there.

My hats off to the staff during our checkout. Somebody came up with the amazing idea to pre-arrange the check-in for the bags and flight tickets back to Papeete.

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You take the resort tender back to the airport, and there, the staff would check you in and take care of your bags. It was all very seamless and really make you feel pampered.

During our stay, we did the helicopter tour, which is one of those “once in a lifetime” things you should really do. Do the 30 minute tour which takes you over the heart-shaped island of Tupia and flies you up around the peak of Bora Bora.

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At the resort, most time is spent at the pool, on the water, or just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. Be sure to get a drink in a coconut !

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Overall, the Four Season’s is a wonderful stay. If you have limited time for vacations, get the most out of your days by staying at this beautiful resort. The uncompromised service and attention to detail will make your stay a true pleasure in paradise.

Room Tip: Try to get a over-the-water bungalow on the first pontoon – nearest the restaurants and pool. Beach…

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