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At first glance, “family-friendly” and “Planet Hollywood” may not be the most obvious pairing, but after a visit to Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica, I discovered that the two get along famously.
Established in 1991 as a pop culture-themed dining franchise, the Planet Hollywood brand has expanded to include first-class hotels and resorts around the world. Among the newest is the all-inclusive Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica, which opened October 2018 in the destination’s Papagayo Gulf, providing clients the opportunity to “Vacation Like a Star” in the popular family vacation destination.
My star treatment began immediately with a splashy red-carpet arrival, complete with my own paparazzi as I made my way to the check-in desk. There’s also iconic Hollywood memorabilia displayed throughout the resort’s three-story main building — ranging from a sword wielded by a knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” to a tuxedo worn by actor Sean Connery during his time as James Bond in “Goldfinger.” From the glam decor to guestrooms, excursions and dining, there’s plenty that appeals to all ages during a stay at the property.
Guest SuitesEvery guest suite at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica features a private balcony or terrace, and in-room amenities such as a stocked mini-fridge, a coffeemaker and snacks. Plus, via the interactive, personalized satellite television, guests can order 24-hour room service, check out the day’s activities, or even pick custom background music from a list of 20 genres. (As a child at heart, my choice was the playlist with Disney, “Sesame Street” and other kid-favorite songs.)
Clients also have the option to book a Star Class upgrade, which provides exclusive amenities such as preferred suite location; a personal agent to handle dining and spa reservations; access to the Green Room lounge and Star Class pool and bar; and a personal rider that allows them — and, more importantly, their kids — to select in-room mini-fridge selections and snacks that they simply can't vacation without.
The resort's 611-square-foot Junior Suites can comfortably accommodate a family of four, but those traveling with a bigger crew — or who just want a little more elbow room — should book the 966-square-foot Director's Suites, which offer flexible multiple bedroom arrangements. For Star Class guests looking for the ultimate celebrity vacation experience, the 3,110-square-foot two-bedroom Producer's Suite has a dining room, a living room, an in-room bar and a spacious lounge area. These suites also come with a private resort agent who takes care of everything a guest needs during a stay.
DiningBreakfast in bed is never a bad idea when you're vacationing like a star, but So Cal Gourmet Food Emporium offers an extensive breakfast buffet that’s hard to miss. With options such as made-to-order crepes and omelets, freshly baked pastries and desserts, and Costa Rican specialties, there's something for everyone. A special buffet also offers kid-friendly choices like ham and cheese paninis, French toast and even a breakfast pizza made with Chantilly cream and fresh fruit.
For lunch and dinner, dining options include the fun and funky Guy's! Burger Joint, from chef and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” star Guy Fieri, to international specialty restaurants such as East Sushi & Teppanyaki Bar, Gusto Italian Trattoria and Sunset Strip Steakhouse & Grill.
“When it comes to dining, we are committed to providing a memorable experience that is tailored to everyone’s tastes, featuring curated menus that offer something for all ages and food preferences," said Stefano Sturni, general manager for Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica.
Family-Friendly ActivitiesIn addition to daily activities in the complimentary Stars Kids Club, the property offers resortwide activities that families can enjoy together, including beach soccer, face painting and a “foam party” in the pool.
“Our kids’ club goes above and beyond the traditional games and arts and crafts,” Sturni said. “We offer activities that bring imagination to life, encouraging kids to explore a world in which they can act, dance, sing and even work on their audiovisual production skills.”
Among the family-friendly evening activities I attended was a silent neon disco — a blacklight dance party where everyone listens to music through headphones and dances — as well as a nighttime beach party featuring spectacular fire dancers with daring routines.
ExcursionsCurated add-on excursions, called PH Experiences, allow clients to explore the Papagayo Gulf and learn about Costa Rica's rich biodiversity. These include a full-day tour of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with stops at the still-active Masaya Volcano and the colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua, and ziplining adventures via either the Canopy Congo Trail or Mega Combo Buena Vista excursions.
During my stay, we visited Diamante Eco Adventure Park, where I zipped over treetops on Costa Rica's longest double zipline; crossed a hanging bridge over a pool of crocodiles; saw butterflies, sloths, baby monkeys and jaguars in the park's animal sanctuary; learned about — and tasted — Costa Rican sugarcane, coffee and cocoa; and enjoyed a delicious Costa Rican lunch.
“There are many reasons Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica is an excellent option for families,” said Maria Jose Arias Giralt, online communications manager for the resort. “But our personalized and focused attention to our stars allows us to offer the best experience in the best Pura Vida style.”
The DetailsPlanet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Ricawww.planethollywoodhotels.com