San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hard Rock to open its first hotel in Costa Rica

Hard Rock International will build its first resort in Costa Rica in the province of Guanacaste, the company announced on its website.

The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo is set to open by early 2018. The 294-room resort will be located 30 minutes from Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport.

The resort will provide travelers with easy access to the Gulf of Papagayo, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica’s northern Pacific area.

Global head of hotel development Marco Roca said Costa Rica has seen a steady rise in international arrivals.

“The country’s worldwide appeal aligns with our development strategy, deeply rooted in expanding into desirable locations,” he said.

The Costa Rica resort will boast brand exclusive offerings such as a full-service rock spa and the music amenity program, offering free in-room Fender guitar checkouts. It will cater to multigenerational leisure travelers and will offer family-friendly offerings, such as the brand’s signature hangouts exclusively for younger guests.

The company also plans to offer a vast array of dining options, ranging from an all-day buffet restaurant to four a la carte eateries, including a U.S.-style steak house, an Asian restaurant, an Italian trattoria and an “internationally inspired eatery.”

“We look forward to electrifying the destination with a musically-charged differentiated product never before seen in the area,” Roca said.

Joint venture

Hard Rock International will develop the project through a partnership with tour operator Sunwing Travel Group, eyeing future growth within Latin America, the company reported.

Hard Rock International owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Locations include venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.

There are two Hard Rock Cafes in Costa Rica. The first one opened in 2013 in the province of Heredia and the second opened in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, in 2015.

[Editor’s note: The original information received about the development, and published in the original version of this story, was that the resort would open in 2019. We were informed following publication by a Hard Rock representative that the resort is now slated to open in early 2018. The story has been updated with this information.]

Contact L. Arias at

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The worst part of the all-inclusive hotels in Guanacaste is that their customers fly into Liberia, shuttle to the hotel, spend 3 or 4 days isolated at the hotel, then shuttle back to the airport, fly home and tell everybody that they went to Costa Rica and make some judgement about Costa Rica based on their hotel stay. They see very little of Costa Rica and have almost no interaction with the people of Costa Rica other than to say “otra cerveza por favor”. Quite a difference from years ago where people flew to San Jose, spent a couple of nights, drove to hotels around the country, ate at many sodas or restaurants, shop at small stores and truly experience Costa Rica and it’s people. Beyond this, Henry is exactly correct about the hotels impact on the environment.

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unfortunately these types of new tourism are not representative of the true costa rica nor are they sustainable. it is too bad to see the opposite of ecotourism taking such a strong hold in this country. another huge project to consume more water that could be used more by local communities in dry guanacaste. too bad, costa rica continues to go in the wrong direction when it comes to sustainable tourism.

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