El Mangroove Autograph Collection
The El Mangroove, Autograph Collection is set in the lush foliage on the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica. The El Mangroove is located about 30 minutes from the Liberia Airport. The boutique resort has 85 guest suites, a pool, spa and two restaurants.
We booked two nights at the El Mangroove using points. The El Mangroove is a Category 7 Marriott property requiring 35,000 points per night. Using points was a good value as the actual rates for the hotel were near $400 per night.
The lobby and for that matter much of the hotel features an open air design that blends into the natural landscape of the forest surrounding the resort.
At check-in, we were greeted with a welcome cocktail which consisted of ginger, honey and cinnamon (it was delicious). As Marriott Gold Members, we were given complimentary breakfast buffets each morning along with a 10% discount at the spa and gift shop.
The rooms at the El Mangroove are absolutely beautiful. All of the rooms are suites, with the bedroom and bathroom air conditioned, while the living room has more of an outdoor feel with a screen and a hammock.
Everything in the room was top quality with modern decor. The decor blended the simple clean lines of the architecture of the building along with the surrounding environment. We enjoyed pending time in the outdoor living room, which felt like we were sitting in the middle of the forest.
The bedroom has a desk, king size bed, two night stands and a mini-bar and television. The connected bathroom has a toilet room, walk-in closet and enclosed shower which faces the outside living room and forest.
The suites were extremely comfortable and made us feel like we were in Costa Rica.
The El Mangroove features two unique and dining options on the property. Makoko is the central restaurant located off the lobby serving breakfast and dinner with a farm-to-table and ocean-to-table inspired menu.
We ate at Makoko each morning and had the breakfast buffet. The buffet had a made to order omelet station which we used each morning. The buffet also featured fresh fruit, a meat and cheese station and local Costa Rican breakfast dishes. Overall for a buffet, the breakfast was satisfactory. Our only complaint was the lack of variety on the buffet as it was nearly the same all three mornings.
We also had dinner two nights at Makoko. Both nights the food was average to above average (the flatiron steak was amazing) and service was also fairly good. Some of the side items seemed a bit bland, but overall the food was decent.
The other restaurant on site is Matiss. Matiss the oceanfront beach restaurant surrounded by sand on a teak deck with a laid-back atmosphere and a fresh, casual and contemporary menu.
While we didn’t eat any full meals at Matiss, we did have an incredible ice cream sundae which had a caramel sauce and honeycomb. And it was unbelievably delicious.
The pool at the El Mangroove is a long lounge pool overlooking the bay. The view from the pool is incredible. One side of the pool has cabanas which are available for rent while the other side has lounge chairs.
Lounge chairs were a bit of an issue as there never seemed to be enough around the pool. The hotel has tried to fix that issue by adding more lounge chairs in the grass and sand near the beach. We were also told that the El Mangroove will be adding a new pool complex later this year which will be a welcome addition to the property.
The Bearth Spa was probably one of our favorite experiences and amenities at the resort. We booked a couples massage and were treated to the couples spa suite which had a private outdoor jacuzzi and shower. The couples spa suite and massages were just amazing.
Needless to say after using the private jacuzzi plus an hour long massage with essential oils, we left feeling extremely relaxed.
Next to the Spa is the fitness center. The fitness center was well, a bit underwhelming. There were only a couple cardio machines including a treadmill, bike and two ellipticals along with a set of free weights.
We used the fitness center one afternoon and there were three other people plus us using the equipment. Needless to say it felt extremely cramped and there just simply wasn’t enough equipment to feel like you got a good workout. I’m hoping this is something that the El Mangroove fixes in the future.
The El Mangroove is a great and underrated addition to Marriott’s Autograph Collection. While the food wasn’t the best we’ve ever eaten and the gym could use some work, overall we enjoyed the hotel and had a very relaxing stay. The hotel does an incredible job making you feel like you are in Costa Rica with the open air design.
For a resort in Costa Rica, prices were reasonable and we felt the property did an excellent job providing benefits to Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Members. Needless to say, we would and plan on returning to the El Mangroove.