Submitted my review, but thought I'd post it here as well.
We had an amazing stay at the Westin Playa Conchal May 26-June 2 in the Royal Beach Club. It was a special trip for my husband and myself to celebrate my 50th birthday.
We are well traveled…Europe, Caribbean, Mexico, US. Sometimes we stay at All Inclusives, sometimes not. Just depends on what kind of deal I can get .
Our room was in Building 2 on the second floor. It was spacious and clean, but non-descript with regard to décor. Bathroom was large, with a sink and tub; and separate toilet and separate large walk-in shower each with their own glass doors. One thing of note is that there is not much privacy in the bathroom, as there is a “window” between the bathroom and bedroom area. It does have a shade, but the shade is quite transparent. Not a problem for us, but I can see it being a bit uncomfortable if you are traveling with friends or children. See pic of bathroom here: westincostarica.shutterfly.com/pictures/8
We had an issue with the toilet not flushing, but called our consierge and it was fixed ASAP.
The resort is lush and beautiful…complete with lovely flowers, colorful butterflies, exotic birds and animals (monkeys, raccoons, iguanas). The resort was only at 40% capacity during our stay. I read in other posts that the resort is huge. I didn’t think that was the case. One can easily walk from the RBC area (which is the furthest from beach/restaurants) in 10 minutes or so. I can understand why there is shuttle service though…it’s not a pleasant walk in the billion degree heat!
We hung out at the RBC pool because it was quiet, convenient and they had pool service. Unfortunately, the Jacuzzi at the RBC pool wasn’t working. We were disappointed because we like to relax with a soak in the Jacuzzi in the evening.
The staff was exceptional. Every person from the shuttle drivers to the private consierges at the RBC were simply lovely and couldn’t be more helpful. Big shout-outs and special thanks to our consierges John and Bergen, David at the RBC pool and Alexandra Jefferson, the hostess with the mostess who seemed to be everywhere we were from the time we arrived and she seated us for lunch at Caracola. And Victor at the Adventaras booth, who braved the torrential rain to get us an umbrella, then held it for us while he escorted us to the nearest shuttle.
This is a very subjective topic, but I will say that in my opinion, the food at the restaurants was outstanding and better than any AI that I’ve been to. One thing we found was that the menu descriptions of the dishes were not always accurate. Sometimes we were surprised, but never unpleasantly. The service was almost always outstanding… wait staff constantly coming around re-filling water glasses, asking if everything was ok. The only exception was Faisanela. Our entrees took forever. I was told that it’s because Faisanela is the largest restaurant, it seats a lot of people and the kitchen isn’t able to keep up.
On our first night we ate at Mediterra. Everything looked so good, we had trouble deciding. Our waiter didn’t hesitate to tell us that we could order as many appetizers as we desired and suggested that we each order an entrée, and then one to share between us. So basically that is what we did in each restaurant if we couldn’t decide between a number of dishes. Our fav restaurants, in order, were Cauri (French), Las Candales (Latin), Mediterra, and Faisanela. We never got to try the Asian Fusion restaurant.
Spirula makes a lovely wood fired pizza for lunch. They also serve pasta. Try the nutella dessert.
Some photos of menus here: westincostarica.shutterfly.com/pictures/8
I can’t say that I was fond of the buffet. It’s open air and there were flies all over the food as well as birds in the eating area. I even saw a bird land on the bread table and help himself to a croissant. Something definitely needs to be done about the flies and birds. Very unsanitary. Because it is open air, it is HOT. Luckily, we were RBC and had access to the air conditioned area. However, one day the air conditioned area was closed due to a problem with the ceiling, so we had no choice but to sit in the open section.
The food was just OK on the buffet and I was really turned off by the fly situation, so we only ate there twice for breakfast and once for lunch. RBC guests are supposed have access to Faisanela for breakfast and lunch, but because the resort was so empty, it was not open. I thought that was a bit unfair, since it’s advertised that Faisanela Restaurant serves an exclusive breakfast and lunch for Royal Beach Club guests.
Ordered room service almost every day for breakfast. I would call the night before to place our order and let them know what time we wanted it delivered. It was always delivered at the time requested. We ate breakfast on our balcony and gladly shared it with several feathered friends (who ate out of our hand!). By the end of the trip, they came to expect us on the balcony at a certain time and they would be waiting.
We ordered room service one time for lunch. We were told it would take 30 minutes. It arrived over an hour later, but the food was very good.
Tours and Excursions
By TA recommendations, used Erick Garcia on the beach. We did the waterfalls/volcano/mud baths/hot springs. It was a full day tour which included lunch. Rigo was our guide and he was fabulous. He’s very knowledgeable and an all around nice guy to spend the day with. We liked him so much, we specifically requested him for the Palo Verde river boat tour. Use Erick on the beach to book your tours and ASK FOR RIGO as your tour guide. Some pics here: westincostarica.shutterfly.com/pictures/8
There is an entrance to the beach near the Spa and Reserve area. There is a guy on that part of the beach who does tours as well (Sorry, but I can’t remember his name). We wanted to go to Tamarindo, but didn’t want to pay the $50 r/t price that the hotel quoted, so we arranged for a car/driver thru this other guy. It was $35. The car was not exactly in the best condition and the driver spoke absolutely no English, but we got there and back in one piece. I can’t say that I would recommend him tho.
Took a taxi from the resort to Brasilito for $15 r/t. Ate in Soda Brasilito for some Comida Tico (authentic Costa Rican food)….good and incredibly cheap. Dinner for 3 people was $22, including beverages!
We went during wet season. Other than a brief rain once a day, the weather was wonderful albeit humid as all heck. One day in particular, the air temperature was only in the mid-80’s, but the “feels like” temperature was 106 F.
Some things of note
• Tipping – tipping is certainly not expected. However, we always tipped in the restaurants as the service was impeccable. Also tipped housekeeping staff and room service. Tipped our wonderful consierges, of course….and they were VERY grateful.
• Bring floats from home, as there aren’t any at the resort and there is nothing more relaxing than floating in the water with a frozen cocktail when it’s a billion degrees. They have pumps and the pool staff is more than happy to inflate them for you.
• Bring insulted cups/glasses. The drinks at the pool bar are served in plastic cups and the refreshing frozen drinks melt quickly in the heat.
• Bring bug spray!!!
• The beach is technically not part of the resort. You can get a beach chair and umbrella, but there is no beverage service. Pack a small, soft-sided cooler, fill it with ice from the ice machine and the beverages from your mini-bar and you’ll be good to go.
• Lots of pretty shells to be found on the beach…but there are also lots of little crabs that live in them. When shell searching, just be sure you don’t pick up someone’s home LOL. Oh and the water is warm and crystal clear. You can see for yourself: westincostarica.shutterfly.com/pictures/8
• The food at the Liberia airport is insanely expensive ($10.17 for a slice of pizza!!!!), and you cannot get food (other than packaged snacks) on the plane because the airport is not equipped for such. I took ziplock bags from home, ordered room service before we left and viola…we had actual real food to eat on the plane.
We loved Costa Rica. The country has such amazing natural beauty and the people are warm and friendly. We will be back. Pura Vida!