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
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
I have been curious to stay at El Mangroove for some time, but could never use my Marriott points at this property. We had the opportunity and booked a room and then added another paid room for my sister and daughter.
We arrived in the dark, so my initial impression was they put us in the worse rooms in the hotel. The were literally the furthest from the beach! They ended being really nice and private and we had nothing to look at but jungle. They gave us connecting rooms which was great for getting together. My daughter had the Nesto Suite and I preferred their room to our larger one. I'm not an air-condition fan, so having the screen "porch" felt like you were outside without getting eaten by mosquitos.
The property is gorgeous and I really enjoyed kayaking and swimming in the clear water. We saw lots of wildlife at the resort, but only heard the howlers. This was our 5th trip to Costa Rica, and the smaller boutique hotels have a more Costa Rican feeling to them in my opinion,.
All the staff were friendly and welcoming. The grounds were clean and well maintained.
Highlights were the cocktails. The menu is interesting and we tried a number of drinks and they were all exceptional. The pool area is small, but nice. There are also chairs on the lawn, but they tend to be a little buggy.
Food is the area in biggest need of improvement. We ate there the first night and it was truly horrible. The fish was fishy and the guacamole was a joke. Being from California, guacamole is served in a BOWL. A 1/4" thin smear on a plate with a few chips sticking out is not guacamole, especially for the price. We ordered a couple room service pizzas one night after a trip to Nicaragua and they were darn sad as well.
All the other reviews discuss the pool, so I won't go into detail about the cabana thing. I will only add that the cabanas are a joke, mostly empty and ridiculous. Get them out and let more people enjoy the resort!! When you are charging a resort fee, and 1/2 the pool must be bought, it doesn't leave a good feeling.
I would also suggest they offer free coffee (serve yourself) in the lobby area. Both of our coffee makers were broken and even asking for a new one, it was broken as well.
Overall, it's a nice place. I'm glad we gave it a try, but I probably wouldn't return because it is isolated and the food is sub par. It's a good location for visiting Rincon de la Vieja. I have also been wanting to visit Nicaragua on a day tour and this location put us in a good spot for the tour. There is so much to see in Costa Rica, but if you are looking for a very long, but very interesting day, I highly recommend this trip with TAM. Tam operates out of the Mangroove, but I had booked in advance independently.
-We had wonderful days at the el Mangroove resort.
The stuff is super friendly, helpful and treading is with respect.
-Very very good breakfast. We choose the buffet and find everything what we need. A lot of fresh fruits, bread, cheese, eggs, pancakes, frenchtoast and many more!
-The room was very nice and clean! The bed was super comfortable. We slept like little babys ;)
-The beach is very clean, the water crystalclear and is perfect for long walks. On the beach they have Kajaks for free.
I overall was underwhelmed by the resort-- was expecting much more for my honeymoon. I think my biggest issue was the staff, but I was also underwhelmed by Matisse and actually a little stressed out by the front desk. We had stayed at Bosque Del Mar in Playa Hermosa before and found the staff to be much more helpful. I often felt the wait staff particularly ignored us altogether (I literally had to flag them down so many times), took forever to bring out our ordered items, and seemed to be less friendly/take less initiative. I didn't think Matisse was anything special-- the cocktails were usually watery and the food was average at best (e.g. salty/flavorless plantains, unseasoned shrimp in the sandwich), maybe with a few exceptions (e.g. the guacamole and the octopus dish). MaKoko was pretty good overall though. The breakfast was good, but at Bosque Del Mar I thought it was better and it was a little cheaper as well. The most annoying experience was having to call THREE TIMES to get our room service delivered. It was kind of bizarre but we also got a number of calls from the front desk that were unsolicited. Once was because they couldn't figure out how to use our rental car key-- I was annoyed because I came there to relax-- not to be awoken at night to help deal with a mechanical issue on a rental car! The beach is definitely better at Bosque Del Mar. The things I did love were the pool-- definitely a nice touch, and the spa facilities on site. Overall, I would not return. Bosque Del Mar is much better, has a better user review, and is actually cheaper with a much nicer beach. Too bad as I had been looking forward to a relaxing stay at el Mangroove for months.