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El Mangroove, Marriott Autograph Collection, Resort & Spa

4.5 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

I've stayed here half a dozen times since last summer, and every time I return it's just as beautiful and relaxing as ever. The property is right on the beach and has a relaxed vibe and luxurious rooms with heavenly beds and waterfall showers. The grounds are beautiful and sometimes if your lucky you will catch sight of a howler monkey in the trees or an iguana shuffling by. Be advised this hotel does not have an ATM (the closest is 20+ min away by cab), and if trying to take out money there is a fee from reception and a limit of $150. The staff offers the utmost of professionalism, server Cindy at their amazing breakfast buffet, and banquets manager Otto, epitomize the essence of Pura Vida hospitality! Can't wait to return.

We booked 5 nights at El Mangroove to relax after 2 weeks of touring around Costa Rica. The hotel looked stylish from the photos and we felt it worth paying extra for the Marriott brand rather than booking a local alternative as we would get a benchmark standard that is constantly reviewed by Marriott International. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but after being here for 5 nights it's become clearer. The hotel is full of guests who are tense or 'on edge' if you like. They have paid big money to relax but encounter a range of stresses that gets them simmering. From the elegant elderly couple who looked like they would have liked to have used the pool but were looking at all of the children jumping in the pool and thought better of it. The new arrivals pacing around looking for a spare deck chair near the pool with that slightly exasperated look when none are to be found. The following day they become part of the 6am swarm who claim a chair by putting a towel and book on one. The guests who have made the effort to get dressed up for dinner. They have already braved the shower with hot water that only reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) and now are at various stages of their meal which inevitably involves an apology at some point in the meal from the staff when they mess something up. But, you can't eat an apology. You are tense no matter how much you want to relax. Just look at the legs below the knee of the guests who have been at the hotel for more than 2 days. They are covered in sand flea bites. These tiny but ferocious beasts are prevalent on the grass beside the pool and at the restaurants. That little itch you feel is actually sand fleas biting and you have the lovely red welt to appear shortly after. The staff are tense too. They often approach guests with that slightly cautious walk as if they know that something has gone wrong but not sure what has been messed up this time. From the wrong meal being made or part of the meal missing or the wrong drinks or entirely forgetting to take the order, the staff are lost and need proper International Marriott standard training to sort out the restaurant service. You will notice that the staff never ever return to a table and ask if something is alright after delivering the food. You might get asked when the plates get cleared but that's too late and without waving your arms or getting up and tracking down your server, it's a lost cause. With proper International Marriott training the staff will know what they should be doing and will be happier in their jobs as there will be less complaints. The resort is surprisingly small and feels crowded. There's no space to find solace. In front of the hotel is a busy public beach so you won't find it there. The El Mangroove isn't ideal for couples as there is only one pool (that is actively used by children) and it's probably not ideal for families for more than 3 days as there is a lack of things to keep children otherwise busy. To appeal to couples the hotel needs an adults only pool (and there is room available beside Matisse restaurant, hint hint to Management). The best way we can describe El Mangroove is as a boutique hotel in front of a busy public beach rather than a resort as the gardens are pretty basic. The property is made up of three buildings with an inadequate sized pool and dining area. The hotel is very popular with families and over the Xmas and New Year period is extremely busy. We're not into racing down to reserve a chair by the pool so ended up on the chairs on the grass. The sand fleas are a touch aggressive (especially after 4pm) and some spraying to keep the numbers down would help. There are no real resort facilities apart from a tiny gym, some bikes and a couple of paddle boards and kayaks. You are charged a daily resort 'fee' of $20 presumably to cover this but lets be honest it is just an add-on to the room rate. So what are the facilities like? The gym has one bike, two cross trainers and one running machine which is out of order and has been since at least September (see Tripadvisor review of 15 Sep). There are a handful of free weights and one multi gym. We were the only ones ever using the gym and were not surprised as it was poor. The kayaks are supposed to be free but the info on the TV advises that they are $25 per hour. Hmm... We used the free bikes on two days (we tried a third day but all bikes apart from 2 were being serviced). The pedals on one were so loose it was too dangerous to use. The bikes are poorly maintained with worn gears and lose pedals. Whatever maintenance that is done is minimal and seems to mainly be to address flat tyres. It is quite ironic that you have to sign a waiver to take the bikes out given the poor condition they are in. The bikes have fat tyres suitable for offroading or the beach but we used them on the roads to cycle to Playa del Coco approximately 12km from the hotel. The roads are ok but hilly and a challenge on the heavy bikes. Good for working off breakfast! Some drivers get a little close so keep alert. The pool is basically an unsupervised crèche with kids jumping, screaming and splashing all day long. If you are a couple looking for a quiet relaxing time by the pool and a swim, forget it. As other reviewers have said there are nowhere near enough loungers for the number of guests and unless you feel desperate enough to get up at daybreak to 'reserve' a chair with your book or t-shirt you may luck out. Many of the reserved chairs are left unoccupied most of the day. There is a long list of pool rules posted on a sign. No reserving seats, no jumping in the pool, no unaccompanied children under 12, no drinking in the pool. All of these are ignored. Why bother with the sign? There is no pool service for assistance with chairs/towels. There are two guys that stand at the end of the pool. Never figured out what their roles were. We booked the Canopy Grand Suite which is the room on the top floor of two at the front overlooking the sea (the best view). This was $620 per night including resort fee. Like all the hotels we stayed in in Costa Rica we felt it was 40% more expensive than comparable hotels in other countries. The room was however the highlight of our stay at the hotel. It was spacious with a bedroom, separate living/dining area, large bathroom with double shower. There are two toilets and two large balconies, one with an ocean view the other with a daybed (with sand fleas). The locks on the doors to the balconies need replacing. Either they are set to auto lock so you can accidentally lock yourself out if you close them from the outside and you left your room key inside or they are permanently unlocked with the associated security risk. The airconditioning works very well and the bed very comfortable. It was the best (although most expensive) room in our 3 week stay. There is an issue at the hotel with hot water. On the first day the water in the sink and shower was barely tepid. We reported it to the front desk manager (Andrea) who advised that the water in every room is only heated to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius). We were slightly amazed with this. Really, a 60 degree shower? The manager advised she would see what could be done. We're not sure what happened but the temperature of the water improved significantly for the remaining 4 days but we're guessing that other rooms suffered even colder water as a result of this. We feel that water only being heated to 60 degrees should be clearly marked on the Hotel's website. It's not normal! We wasted lots of water running the shower waiting for it to get hot and expect most other guests do likewise. A complete waste in a country that prides itself with eco principles. Like all the hotel restaurants we ate in in Costa Rica, service is patchy and slow with bursts of attentiveness and then nothing. Hotel restaurants Matisse and Makoko are no exception. We were totally ignored at Matisse for dinner and had to go to the bar to order. We were given a 'complimentary' bowl of guacamole as an apology but then that was 'accidentally' added to our bill. Nice! Breakfast is ok with better service but you can struggle to get a second cup of coffee etc. This hotel was saved for us by the room. It is more suited to families than couples and desperately needs to install a second quiet adults only pool to make it worthy of consideration for couples. We wouldn't recommend El Mangroove to couples until a separate adults only pool was installed and looking at some of the faces of other couples we're confident they would agree! But then again, without resolving the other issues, you are probably going to leave more tense than you arrived...

very clean, very modern, very service oriented. excellent location on a wonderful beach. snorkeling is surprisingly good. layout of hotel doesn't take best advantage of the setting. no jungle feel, no beach views from most rooms. restaurants are average. Cesar, our concierge is wonderful. access to activities is available, but rather expensive, except for free beach kayaks. beach/pool chairs can be hard to come by. great location, areas offers many fine beaches and restaurants and shopping.

This is a nice hotel in a nice location. The beach is very nice and convenient and the hotel is clean. The rooms are neat and it is safe and secure. However, the service is horrible. Food/drinks at the pool or bar will take you upwards of 30 minutes every time, regardless of location or time. Twice I stood at the bar waiting for ice for over 15 minutes with no other customers needing help and three of the staff standing around talking. The property is great, they just need new service management or better help. You’re better off to spend your money on a non-“name brand” hotel. If you pick this one, expect to pay a lot for very poor service.

Our family stayed at El Mangroove from 12/23-31/17. The hotel is really past its prime. The service is terrible and they are way understaffed. Every cushion cover has signs of wear and tear, for example. The hotel is located on a public bay beach; the bay is often loaded with jellyfish. And there are only 20 chairs at the pool for the entire hotel. The front desk wasn't helpful. We were told that they incessant tours that come in and out take priority from their point of view.

Nice boutique hotel on the Papagayo gulf. Rooms and service were very nice - staff is very helpful and pleasant. We stayed at the habitat suite - nice balcony and hammock. Pool area is also good. Restaurant food is reasonably priced and has some very good options for vegetarians. Only complaint is that the area in general seems to have alot of mosquitos - so take some strong bug spray.

The location, the facilities, the staff...all 5 stars. Some people have complained that you have to go through the public park area to get to the beach, yet to me it was the best part of the beach to be a part of the locals and their culture. While the stay was flawless and the hotel staff went above and beyond, I would stay away from the restaurants other than breakfast. The staff was not well trained, the service was very slow and they often made mistakes on the order.

We visited this hotel as a family for Christmas Eve dinner. The “welcome” cocktails were terrible, service was slow, and they were out of all of the preset appetizers. The food was mass-produced hotel food. The worst part of the experience was the fraudulent credit card charges that we still have not been able to get reversed. They required full payment in advance and then presented one family member with a bill for the alcohol and sneakily went to the other end of the table with another bill for the dinner and alcohol. When we contacted them to alert them to the problem, they tried to use the overage as a deposit for New Year’s Eve. Beware!

Upon arrival to Costa Rica,we stayed at this lovely lodge a few nights prior to embarking on our more adventurous vacation . The staff was excellent, the room lovely, the food delicious but overpriced.

Just returned from a wonderful stay at El Mangroove with my wife and two kids (12 and 8). The setup was great for our family as we had connecting rooms and everything we needed on site. The facilities and staff were top notch, especially the guys down at The Shack who set up and hosted our water excursions. Steven, Martin, and Andy were amazing and I suggest going fishing or snorkeling with them during your stay. My son and I had great luck with Mahi-Mahi and the kitchen prepared our catch wonderfully for both lunch and dinner. Suggestion: if you do the tour to Buena Vista, I recommend doing it privately if you can afford. It was only an extra $100 for a family of 4 and it would allow you more flexibility and the ability to avoid the obnoxious traveler that might affect your experience (we had one....from another resort). The food was wonderful and reasonably priced. Had we stayed another day we probably would have gone off site for a meal but we were quite happy at both Matisse and Makoko. The wait staff was wonderful All in all, a great spot and would highly recommend. Thx!!!

Papagayo Bay Papagayo Guanacaste

Hotel highlights

  • Free WiFi in rooms and public areas
  • Free valet and self parking
  • Onsite dining
  • Spa

Located in Panama Beach, El Mangroove, Marriott Autograph Collection, Resort & Spa is 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Hermosa Bay Beach. This 85-room, 4.5-star hotel has 2 restaurants, a full-service spa, and an outdoor pool. Flamingo Beach is 22.2 mi (35.7 km) from the hotel, which is on the beach.


Dining

Enjoy dining at Makoko, one of 2 onsite restaurants. Savor a meal from the comfort of your room with 24-hour room service, or make new friends over drinks at the bar/lounge. For your convenience, a buffet breakfast is served for a fee each morning from 6 AM to 10 AM.


Rooms

All 85 air-conditioned accommodations feature living rooms. 42-inch plasma TVs come with digital channels, and guests can stay connected with free WiFi. Beds are dressed in premium bedding and pillow menus, and bathrooms offer rainfall showers, hair dryers, and free toiletries. IPod docks, minibars, and coffee makers are also standard.


Property features

At El Mangroove, Marriott Autograph Collection, Resort & Spa, guests enjoy a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Free valet and self parking are available—or if you're not driving, take the airport shuttle (available 24 hours) for CRC 70000 per room roundtrip. The 24-hour front desk has multilingual staff ready to help with dry cleaning or laundry, and answer any questions about the area. Other amenities at this beach hotel include a steam room, free WiFi in public areas, and 7 meeting rooms.

Room options

Suite, 2 Queen Beds, Resort View (Nesto)

Queen 2 | Sleeps 4

Deluxe Suite, 1 King Bed with Sofa bed, Resort View

King 1 | Sleeps 3

Superior Suite, 1 Bedroom, Balcony (Habitat)

King 1 | Sleeps 3

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

89% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 749 reviews