El Mangroove, Marriott Autograph Collection, Resort & Spa
What We Love
- Modern, comfy units feature open-air living rooms with quirky local art and hammocks
- The culinary director of on-site Makoko restaurant is the former head chef at Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s Michelin-starred restaurant in London
- The outdoor center at the beach rents light-up paddleboards for sunset journeys
- The mixologist nails the cocktails; don’t miss the Porn Star, a bubbly passion fruit and vanilla vodka concoction
What To Know
- The property opened in February 2014
- December through April is dry season: brown landscape, no rain. May through November is green but can be wet
- Although the hotel is only 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, adventurous guests should rent cars
- Pulsating electro house music gives the place a South Beach vibe
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Perched beside a mangrove wetland on the chocolate sand shores of Playa Panama, El Mangroove is 17 acres of pure sexy (think in-room pleasure kits and free condoms). The whimsical resort features 85 sleek units, two mouthwatering restaurants, a spa, a gym and a long, cabana-flanked swimming pool, all dreamed up by It architect Ronald Zürcher. Aside from carnal pursuits, the focus is on food and drink. By day, the Matiss restaurant offers light and playful dishes in an oceanfront sandbox setting. By night, spectacular cocktails are stirred up in the pulsating, open-air lounge before some truly epic feasts. Try the Worcester glazed short rib with apple-jalapeño puree and rosemary breadcrumbs, but save room for the fierce chocolate cheesecake for dessert.
In the Area
Ensconced between the opulent Pagagayo Peninsula and the bustling Playa del Coco, Playa Panama offers a tranquil setting to swim, kayak, snorkel, paddleboard, bike, boat and hike. It’s also a great base to fly through trees and explore volcanoes. Golfers will be well served by the nearby Arnold Palmer signature golf course, and serious scuba divers shouldn’t miss a trip to the shark-friendly Bat Islands. For an urban adventure and hiking combo, try the Santa Rosa National Park & Liberia City Tour.
How to Get There
My husband, teenage daughter and myself spent the last night of our week long Costa Rican vacation at this resort. We used our SPG points to reserve a 2 queen bed Nesto Suite. Our room was in building 3 (furthest from beach). The room was the smallest room we had of the 5 hotels we stayed at. Strange floorpan. You use room key to enter through your 'front door' onto a screened porch with couch and rocker, to enter another 'front door' that is a glass slider door. Right as you enter, you walk into the beds. To the right is a sink, left of that is a toilet stall, and to the hard right is a closet. The closet is where you find the shower stall. Strange. The shower has a window out to the screened porch. Yep. Strange. I get that the Autograph Collection is a collection of eclectic properties, and this property lives up to that. The beds were comfortable We ate in the all day restaurant for lunch. Food was pretty bland and service was extremely slow considering only a few other tables of diners there. The beach was quite unimpressive, so we went to the pool and rented a cabana. We paid for a half day rental rate as we arrived to the pool after lunch and it was about 2pm. Other than the cabana, the only lounges were in direct sun with no cover. The pool is quite small. There were only adults at the pool in the hours that we were there, but if there were children, it would have been a very different experience. The size of the pool reminds me more of an Adults Only pool at the resorts I frequent. The cabana fee includes 4 lounges outside the cabana and some beverages in mini fridge (local beer, water, juice). Service is not more frequent or personalized than anyone else gets. Took us 30-40 min to get a round of drinks. The pool servers, in general, were not attentive at all. During this vacation, we stayed at Andaz, Four Seasons, Rio Perdido, Hilton Garden Inn and El Mangroove. We travel a lot and stay with lots of brands (hence our trip picks), but I would not return here.
The front desk was a bit cold upon arrival. Perhaps the front desk staff is new as they did not recognize our Marriott Platinum rewards status and would not discuss any upgrade as is Marriott policy (even though the hotel was clearly not at capacity.) Our room was clean but very small. The grounds and views are a tropical paradise with the exception of the beach.
We have nothing but praise and thanks for most of the staff. David and Diego (bellman/drivers) were attentive and accommodating. They are smart and super nice. We had a wonderful sunset boat tour with Andy, Mario, and Elias. These guys were also super nice and accommodating. We saw a whale and some dolphins and crocodiles! Another great staff member is Marco at the beach shack. He personally arranged our sunset tour to accommodate our requests.
Even considering all the beauty and amenities (breakfast, pool service) at this hotel, David, Diego, Marco, Andy, Mario, and Elias made this a great 3 day stay. They were all so nice and pleasant. Thank you all for the great memories!!
This was our first stop on our 9 day Guanacaste trip, and what a welcome site. After the long flight, we arrived pretty late at the lovely outdoor lobby. It seemed so tiny and boutique, and very quiet. We knew we had arrived at the right place when check in was easy and the room was beautiful. It had a cozy deck, that truly overlooked not much, but foliage and trees and was just a piece of Costa Rica and nature. We were on ly there for three nights, but each day was filled with relaxation. They have kayaks for free and a beautiful beach that some seem to complain about because it is public not private, however the influx of locals made it feel authentic and real and we loved that. We took kayaks out to the other side of the beach, parked and swam. The water was lovely and clean.
Food here is spectacular. The breakfasts, included for us, was amazing. A great selection of fruits, juices egg items, omelets, vegetarian options,meats, baked goods and excellent coffee!
Dinner there on our first night was memorable. I had a Mahi Mahi that melted in my mouth. It was pretty quiet while we were there so we didn't have much trouble getting a chair by the pool (they are limited) and the one day we simply sat by the beach in one of their other loungers. The pool is not huge, but set up well and quite pretty to look at. It was warm and clean and refreshing. They seem to take good care of the property as well.
My most memorable moment was when I asked for a yoga mat to use, and they were happy to lend me one. Not even asking for so much as a room number. Trust. Implied. Nice.
Then, when I started to do a little morning yoga outside, a "paid" class appeared and I opted out. So they suggested I come over to the massage area and boy did they treat me like a queen. The moved a massage table out of an ashram type area, and even turned on the fan and spa music for me. So there amidst the birds and foliage, I had a very amazing and relaxing yoga session. I will always remember that, and their hospitality as well. I returned the mat on our last day and thanked them. It was amazing.
The bed was super comfy and the shower was soooo killer! I mean huge and open aired with two rains shower heads. Totally spoiled for any normal shower now.
The entire experience was very Zen, comforting and homey. We would recommend this place and look forward to returning on another visit.
Nice beautiful resort. Kinda very overpriced for what was offered. $20 buffet breakfasts where the fresh fruit was the only good option. Fortunately it was included with platinum. Dinner was overpriced so we snacked or ate elsewhere. Loved the beach, soft volcanic sand and clear water. Comfy room and the hammock was great. I doubt we would spend money to stay here again though.
Six adult family members met at this resort to celebrate a milestone birthday. Every afternoon a group of howler monkeys would hang out in a tree right outside our building! We loved the location on the beach and although we did not snorkel, we heard there was good snorkeling not far down the beach. We had the all-inclusive option and found the food and service excellent. Lavish breakfast buffet offered many fresh fruits and fruit juices as well as local dishes, e.g. gallo pinto, and American standards, e.g. bacon and eggs. We ordered many shots of the local drink, "chili guaro" as well as other creative cocktails. Another favorite was the "basil collins". Several of the drinks had basil leaf garnish which was very tasty. Be aware that the more casual of the two restaurants on site has a sand floor and I recommend using insect repellant on your feet and legs if you dine there. Repellant (free) is available there to use if you didn't spray yourself in advance. I'm not sure the sand floor is such a good idea, but we enjoyed a lot of great food and drinks there nevertheless.