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Paradisus (Melia) Playa Conchal Costa Rica

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May 6th, 2003, 11:10 AM
  #1
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Paradisus (Melia) Playa Conchal Costa Rica

Paradisus (Melia) Playa Conchal 04/21-04/28/2003

Boy where to start? Well, first thing, sorry for the length of this report, but the resort and surrounding area were so amazing, that I am sure I will ramble on.

Liberia airport: As soon as you deplane and walk into the airport, which is very small, you go through customs and get your bags. Super quick, fifteen minutes total! From there we walked a few yards to where our Paradisus rep. and bus were waiting. Enormous, air-conditioned bus, very clean and comfy. The ride to the resort is about 50 minutes. On the ride they have you do all your registration and have your room and resort packages ready. Once we arrived at the resort, a trolley took our bags and we were off to our bungalow. So great not to have to sit around and go through a whole check-in process.

Bungalows: Wonderful. Get 2nd floor if possible; more private and has vaulted ceilings. You walk in from your balcony into a sitting room with couch, table, chair & ottoman. To the right are the mini-bar/refrigerator, sink, coffee maker and a table & chairs set. To the left is your massive bathroom. Large vanity, mirrored closets and shelves. Next room is bathroom with shower/tub, toilet & bidet. All large and well lit. Off the living room, a couple steps up, is your bedroom area. Beautiful, comfortable beds, a couple dressers and also TV on a stand that can be turned into the bedroom or into the sitting room. All the furnishing is in great condition, clean, and comfortable. The housekeeping was amazing throughout our stay. If you look at the Melia website, the rooms really do look like that, no touch ups.
** The bungalows are kept quite cool so I would suggest bringing along a terry cloth robe. I had a silk robe and it just didn?t do it. And you can?t turn down the air because then you get condensation everywhere, and with all the floors being tiles, makes for a very slippery room.

Restaurants:
Dinners/No reservations needed, always got a table.
** The air in the restaurants is very cold. So ladies, if you are wearing sleeveless outfits I would suggest a light shawl. It was quite chilly on the shoulders/arms in most of the restaurants.

Mitra International Buffet. Nice selection, very fresh, made to order pasta bars. Plus large range of meats & seafood. Very nice for a more casual evening.

Spices features Asian fusion by menu. Wide selection and everything was very flavorful and fresh. Spring rolls are a must. Ate there twice and loved it each time.

Faisanela features Italian. Another great meal. They go the whole Italian way, 4-5 courses. Only problem was that they gave you so much, each course could have been a meal in itself. But everything was so good; you had to eat it all anyways! The Porchini Risotto was exceptional!

Boucanier Caribbean Restaurant: Another great choice. Ate there twice, both times exceptional. You like spicy, try the Tortilla Soup. That will warm you inners!! Lobster was exceptional.

Lunch
Nineteenth Hole (El Hoyo 19): Great for after-golf munchies. Wings, quesadillas, burgers. Great view & breeze up there.

Caracola: Great lunch buffet with various salads, pastas, rice, cold cuts & soups.

Spirula: Burgers, hots dogs, roasted chicken and THE BEST personal pizzas ever! Whatever you want on it, they have it. But watch out for the hot peppers, hot is putting lightly!

Breakfast
Mitras: Large buffet with made to order eggs, pancakes & waffles. Also yogurt, cereal, fruit, blended smoothies (made to order), pastries and all the usual sides (bacon, sausage?)

Pool: What more can be said besides the largest in Central America. It was large, clean and had many little alcoves for floating and relaxing. Always enough chairs and palm umbrellas for everyone. Pool bar is both upper (out of pool) and lower (in pool) and those guys hustle.

Beach:
Long, clean and beautiful. To the left is the sand beach and to the right is the shell beach, but not the rough kind of shell that you can?t walk on. More like getting a great pumous job on your feet! The resort offers snorkel gear that you can take out to the shell beach area. Bring along a couple rolls from breakfast and you will have dozens of fish swimming with you. Water is very clean and calm and swimming along the rocks offers great opportunities to see various fish.

Golf: Robert Trent Jones Jr. course. Need I say more?

Tours:
Tamarindo shopping: $20 cab ride, about 30 minutes max to get there. Great surfing village. Found tons to souvenirs, pottery, and clothes. Stopped for lunch and couple drinks at Zullymar (?) on the beach. Great fried shrimp and wonderful breeze from the beach. Made arrangements for the cab to pick us up at a certain time, and there he was. Great day.

? day Canopy tour. You MUST do this!! Wear loose clothing that?s goes to about your knees. They really strap you in those harnesses so you want something that moves with you. Bug spray, sunscreen and camera are about all you need. Don?t bother with hats or sunglasses; they suggest you leave them in the bus. Someone in our party wore her sunglasses and they are now somewhere in the rainforest floor. Also, anyone with long hair, make sure you bring something to tie it up.

Overall view:
Probably THE BEST vacation we have ever had. Have traveled to Jamaica, Antigua & St Lucia and none compare to the beauty of the land or the genuineness of the Costa Rican people. Every person we met, on and off the resort, was kind, helpful, and just basically fun to talk with. The staffs at the Paradisus do everything in their power to accommodate and go beyond the regular limits of customer service. We are already planning our next trip to Paradisus and can hardly wait.


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May 6th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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BrendaR
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Thanks, Lisa, for the great report. Just yesterday I was in a bookstore and I read an article about this resort. It has become one of my 4 or 5 choices so far for a March '04 trip. Did you have kids with you? We will be taking two teens so I'm concerned about daily activities and nightly entertainment for them?

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May 7th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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No we did have any children with us but saw many teens while there. There is alot to do, especially on the beach. Snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boats. Plus the pool is enormous and most of the teens seemed to sort of come together in one area. Also the Activities Center by the pool has different things all day long. From Spanish lessons, to laser target shooting, to Tai Chi and so on. It's a beautiful resort with lots to do, including doing nothing.
You should have a great time. We can't wait to return.
Lisa S
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May 7th, 2003, 07:47 AM
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Spent a great week there before it became an all-inclusive..did you get to eat at the Golden Shrimp in town? One of the things I did appreciate besides the best rooms we have ever found was that they had jitneys to get around because the place is so huge...900 acres..The night before we were leaving they tell us there was an earthquake...never felt a thing. We have found another resort in the D.R. equally as great, but rooms aren't quite as lavish..
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Feb 24th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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We're planning a trip to CR and staying at Paradisus Playa Conchal. Loved your trip report. Can you recommend which building we can request to stay in. Naturally we'd like something close to pool, beach. I have stayed at Melia Tropical Caribe in the Dominica several times and it was so nice and convenient when we stayed in rooms close to pool. Thanks.
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Feb 24th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Brenda, did you say March, 2004? When we were there in December, a friend who works the front desk told me the were already booked through April!
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Feb 24th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Parrotmom,
Yes, we have eaten three times at the Golden Shrimp. . .Camaron Dorado. It has a lovely atmosphere right there on the beach. The BEST time of day is about sunset time and a little before. Very romantic! Excellent service. For those of you who haven't been in this area, this little restaurant is in Brasilito, just south of Playa Conchal. You drive through town and as the road curves to your right, this little gem of a restaurant in right in front of you before the curve.
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Feb 24th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Disculpeme! Brasilito is just NORTH of Playa Conchal! It is about a 15 minute walk from the entrance gate of the Paradisus!
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Feb 24th, 2004, 05:19 PM
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This resort sounds wonderful. How would it be for honeymoon couple - is it full of families/kids. Is there accommodation right on beach. Presume best chance of dry weather in July here?
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Feb 24th, 2004, 05:54 PM
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We would go lunch or supper and just tell the owner to "feed us"..no tourist menu..lol.It is the type of place that the locals would go for lunch or supper.. He used to own a restaurant in Jaco Beach. One day he brought his parrots to the table and I thought I'd die..this wonderful sweet little bird in a rusty cage much too small, no water, no food.,nothing.. We spent our time feeding the poor thing water and our dinner.. He told us that the bird was too big for the cage...and he kept the bird in the kitchen. There was no way I could tell the gentleman what he was doing was cruel.... it was pretty hard to keep my mouth shut. On the other hand did you see all the humming birds on the way to the breakfast area and the pool in shrubs lining the golf course.. We also had the experience of sitting away from the monkeys who resided in that area... they were urinating on people who sat to close to their trees and if you were in one of the buildings near the beach they ran up and down on the roof. Onthe last day we finally noticed the sign about being careful of the crockadiles...that cracked us up.. Loved reading the report by Lisa1271 and if the charters from Boston go back... I'll be back in a heart beat..
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Feb 24th, 2004, 06:41 PM
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I think this would be a fun resort for honeymoon couples. I say "fun" because that is exactly what it is. It's a nice place with a lot of things to do or nothing at all. The band that plays by the pool bar for 2 hours at noon and again at night before the show is very entertaining. . .as are the dancers. And some evenings the disco is fun. Never cared much for the casinos in Costa Rica! Guess it depends on what you want in a honeymoon. Some would prefer a smaller, quieter, more "romantic" place, but Paradisus for a good time is hard to beat!
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Feb 25th, 2004, 05:27 AM
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Hi Parrotmom,
Funny your mentioning the monkeys at the resort. The resort must have found a way to keep them off the propery because we never saw one or any indication that they were in the area. The only time we saw any were in Tamarindo in the rain forest. Just the occational cat and kittens camped on our balcony, who were just darling.
Lisa S
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Feb 25th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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Lots of feral cats and weren't there chickens running around too (they ate the insects). The monkeys hung out on the trees and casitas near the beach...and when visiting somebody in Tamarindo we saw monkeys on the tree outside his office. We went on a tour of the "dry rain forest"..and they only thing we saw was a colony of working ants, a coral snake, lots of trees and some butterflies.. oh yes. the bus had a flat as we left. Since it wasn't an all inclusive when we went I'm surprised at all the new restaurants they had. When we were there they had the "grille" with some of the most expensive hamburgers...the Italian restaurant, the buffet at night and the "gourmet" restaurant on the hill. We had a sort of semi-food plan and we learned to take fruit or a smallsandwich from the breakfast buffet.. Oh yes..there we iguanas by the pool. also surprised that they now have music by the pool... they had nothing then and the entertainment at night was definetely pretty lame. We were there after El Nina hit and the pool water was so warm it was a riot and the rip tide on the beach was very dangerous. We ladies would stand around in the pool under a tree and discuss whether we got chocolates(not me) or face cloths..lol The resort was a Melia then and they had facilities and a school for the staff not to mention a little hospital. The night before we left Liberia they tell us there was a strong earthquake...never felt a thing. and then at the airport while leaving saw the volcano giving off fumes and smoke.. Previously we had been to Jaco Beach before it became the Cancun of Costa Rica and you can not believe how primitive it was then.. No lights, no cabs, no nothing.... just a gorgeous black volcano beach, surf to go body surfing andgorgeous sunsets.. Oh yes.. you walked to the homes where there were restaurants...watching out for the coral snakes in the road and avoiding the big steers that were being herded by the Ticos...
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Feb 25th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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I can't believe you are describing the same place! When did you go? I remember being down at Tambor in July of 2002 when there was an earthquake (we didn't feel it either, but everyone was talking about it). Our first time at Melia Playa Conchal was last March just before it changed to Paradisus (although it is still operated by Melia). We have been there 3 times since, but it must surely have changed a lot. It doesn't fit your description anymore!
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Feb 25th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Tried to find the date on our pictures, but nothing...sorry.. It has to be at least five years ago and it was as I wrote..lol. It was a pretty laid back semi-inclusive (if you wanted) resort at the time..
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Feb 25th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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Out of curiosity I checked my passport stamped in Liberia...Feburary 1998..lol At this age I can't remember exact dates, but it's always or almost always the second week in February....somewhere warm...very warm.
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Feb 25th, 2004, 07:42 PM
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Wow! It would have been fairly new then, I would think. It seems funny to hear you talk about monkeys there. Probably the entire area got too developed for the monkeys to enjoy their natural habitat! That is the thing that I hate to see happen in Costa Rica; yet in the Papagayo area, it's full speed ahead with the resort building, I suppose. Paradisus is a very expensive resort now. .probably was then as well .at least I consider it expensive. During high season, unless one has purchased a package through an airline or agent, it costs about $225 per person per day! For a family or even just a couple, that adds up fast!
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Feb 26th, 2004, 06:57 AM
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That's sad...at the time there was a semi inclusive plan if you wanted to buy that included breakfasts and three or four meals and so much for drinks. If I remember right Liberia Airport had just opened..cutest little airport..lol.. The week we were leaving two plane loads of Pediatricians were flying in for a conference(school vacation week).. the hotel had to put many of the M.D. at a different hotel until we left..Letme tell you I had worked in hospitals directly with M.D. and you never saw a more unhappy group of M.D. andtheir spouses who were put up at the other hotel until we left. Sad to hear the funkiness has been taken out. We go charter from Boston and years ago we spent a few days in San Jose and then in Jaco Beach.. Jaco Beach had nothing but a few budget hotels if even that...no lights, no roads, no taxis, no nothing..and now it's the Cancun. We have been fortunate over the past 20years to go to places like Machu Picchu and Cartegena before they become developed and expensive. guess you just can't go back. We did Carbo San Jose years ago too and now I hear it's a disaster with time share sales people and drug dealing.. We did a few years ago to Playa de Carmen and at this point they couldn't pay me enough to go back...But I have to admit I really loved the Conchal and thought Melia was a class operation (except you had to double check your bill before you checked out)..
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Mar 2nd, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Hi, I am new to this forum and I am planning a first trip to CR. I have read all the rave reviews and am very excited. I will be staying for 3 nights in a Royal service suite. Does anyone know anything about this type of service? Any helpful info is greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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Mar 2nd, 2004, 09:38 PM
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Hey ParrotMom,
I am mom to one parrot and one macaw myself.
It was interesting reading your recent response about how places have been built up so much. We just had the same kind of experience in Argentina. My husband lived there as a child and spent a lot of time with his father and the indians up around Iguazu Falls collecting bird specimens for the Smithsonian. Back then there wasn't even a road to the falls. He was heartbroken when he saw all the hotels and people. We have dear friends in BA but I have a feeling he won't want to go back. He got to see the old neighborhood in BA where he lived when he wasn't in the field with his dad as well as the new and "improved" Iguazu Falls and that was enough.
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