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“Luxurious place: I could live here.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica

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JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Hacienda Pinilla, Playa Avellanas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica   |  
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5th nt free in Costa Rica
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Avellanas
Montana
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Luxurious place: I could live here.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

I could easily live here every day . . . if I were a millionaire. Pura Vida! Nothing to dislike about it (except for the dirt road for some of the way in to it). That dirt road is trivial in my part of the U.S. The beach, pools, rooms, and food are all awesome.
Located on a Pacific beach, this excellent resort has just about everything you'd want: Excellent food, pools (with an infinity pool to die for), warm sunshine, and dry forest (with howler monkeys to ring your alarm in the morning if you listen for them). Although we had wanted an ocean view room, we appreciated the monkey howls and bird calls in the trees away from the ocean.
Rooms are spacious and excellent. Bring your own goods if you want to save money. Everything is pricey here--no surprise. You can buy just about anything at the stores in the mall in town--about a 30-60 minutes drive. Nothing else is near this hotel, but that makes it special and ideal. There is an international airport somewhat nearby.
Beware of the sand-colored, low rocks disguised as sand on the beach. They hurt feet and eat cameras.

Room Tip: Choose ocean view or tree view, up higher and nearer to the main lobby and pool is best.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Guest,


Thank you for sharing with all of us your recent experience at our Hotel. Which I am glad to know was great.

For been located inside the Hacienda Pinilla we are able to see a lot of wildlife and that is something a lot of people like to see.

The International Airport at Liberia is 1 ½ hour away from the Hotel and if you take a local flight from San Jose to Tamarindo is just 20 minutes away.

We appreciate your tips for our readers.

Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,373 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (393)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
western US
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

The staff makes this sprawling ocean front resort the perfect spot to relax! The staff- Vladamir, Christian, Adolfo, Everio, Anthony, Antonio , Karla all made sure everything was not just great, but perfect! From our beach experience, to every restaurant, they made sure we were well taken care! The staff remembered us, by name from our prior visit & Vladamir even had a Christmas present for me! That is amazing & wonderful to experience- so far from home!

The only negative thing I can say about our stay, were the other U.S. guests. Sorry, but my entire family found them to be exceedingly rude, condescending and lacking any desire to TRY to speak in spanish or show any kindness. I have NEVER experienced such gracious, kind staff members and to hear the way they were treated by the EXCEPTIONALLY rude Americans was embarrassing and heart breaking. Even my teenager was horrified. Not only did the staff deal with these awful guests with smiles on their faces, they treated them warmly, in return.

The food is great, healthy and the resort offers many choices- especially for kids. Even the Four Seasons does not offer such choices. Fish, grilled chicken, fresh veggies and fruit with each meal is a major plus. If you are looking for a holiday filled with fried kid food and huge plates of fries- stay in the US. You can get that here, but why? The Azul grill has the best lunch. We loved the lettuce wraps, and the grilled fish for kids.

We will be going back to this resort & if anyone has anything negative to say about this place they either never travel out of the US, or are never pleased unless something is free. I actually heard a diner flip out because the rolls were not warmed?! Really? By the looks of it, his favorite restaurant is subway. The other East Coasters that were there taught my daughter first hand how ugly Americans can appear when having toddler- like fits over things that are beyond anyone's control. Like blowing sand.

No, you are not in the states & yes, you should TRY speaking spanish out of RESPECT. Yes, you should tip the staff in CASH! They work 12 hour days, spend on average 2 hours getting to work & on their one day off per week most of them attend college. The tips that you put on the bill get split amongst ALL of the staff and they don't get it for weeks. Your kindness goes a very long way in this country & Costa Ricans are the nicest people I have ever met. If you don't love it here, you are a tightly wound traveller that should go to somewhere that has tacky T- shirt shops, cheap greasy pizza and a sports bar.

I would rate this hotel higher than the Four Seasons in Maui, or Lanai.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Guest,


First of all thank you for such a wonderful review. I personally will let know Vladimir, Christian, Adolfo, Everio, Anthony, Antonio and Karla about your great comments about them.

I am pleased to know that your stay was enjoyed by you and your family. Your comments are very important to us and we appreciate your understanding about some situations happened during your stay. Our staff is professional and they provide wonderful service to all of our guests as you had mentioned.

We truly hope to have the opportunity to be your host again in a near future and have the pleasure to meet you.

Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford, Connecticut
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

GREAT staff. The people at this hotel make you fell like you are home. They are friendly, professional, hard working and really want to make your stay there great. THe food at the restaurants was outstanding. THe pool is beautiful and is very large so there is always a nice quiet place to sit if you want some quiet time. The grounds are immaculate. The beach is interesting because during low tide you can walk soooo far out and you can see the large rocks that are not visible during the afternoon under the water. THe hotel has a very nice fitness facility and the staff there is friendly. THe internet is great and available all over the hotel except in the reception area. Do not miss the steakhouse, great meal! BEST BEDS and linens, we all slept great there for 9 nights.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for you wonderful comments about your recent stay at our Hotel.

I am pleased to know that your stay was great and you were happy with our service.

I hope that during your time in Costa Rica you were able to see more beaches and nature that our country offer to all of us and if no, try to do it next time.

Happy New Year!


Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Il.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

This is an amazing resort spread out on many acres they call a Hacienda (we call a Ranch). The property is beautiful with Monkeys hanging from trees & coyotes pooping in the middle of the road! Yes, we saw this one night returning from dinner, it was hilarious! The pool is also spread out & is to die for, you could spend your whole day there. Going from ocean to pool. The Beach directly in front of the Resort is a bit rocky but if you move down a little it is less so. The waves are just enough to relax in. We were fortunate to have a pretty much ocean view and it was gorgeous, to say the least, with beautiful sunsets every night. Our buffet breakfast was included in the price and that was very good. The Steak Restaurant was 'Outstanding', one of the best steaks I have eaten. Only problem with this Resort is that it's very far from all Excursions: Volcanoes, Rain Forests, etc. at least a 4hr. drive. So if you're into that, stay more inland unless you don't mind the drive. I only gave this Resort a 4 as i wasn't as grand as the J.W.Marriott we stayed in in Oahu but it was a very beautiful place to just chill & relax & dream away your days!

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to the Beach as some of the rooms, altho they say Ocean Front, were a little bi...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,


Thank you for your great comments about us.

Is rewarding and valuable for us when we read such a great comments like yours and is also important when we receive opinions about something our guests think we need to improve.

To come to CR you need at least 4 days to see a little what our country offers and believe me , stay with us and relax by the pool with a really good drink and then take a tour to a Volcano or some place else the next day it worth it. One day for relax other for adventure.

A recommendation is to rent a car if you want to see more around the area. There is a lot of beautiful beaches nearby.

Once again thanks for sharing your experience at our Hotel and for us will be a pleasure to welcome you back.


Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

Beautiful resort where everyone tries hard. this is easy to correct-fix the food! The talk at pool Dec 24-27 has been how awful the Christmas buffet, the steakhouse and fusion restaurants were and how we'd gladly pay their top prices if food worth it. Love the resort but eat only in Tamarindo which means u must have car. Coconuts is terrific as is Lola's on beach (lunch only). Marriott management:please fix this - it's not hard and you"ll have a winner!!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your feedback.

I am sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy our food. I will pass your comments to our F&B Director and our Executive Chef to review our menus , also we are in a process to refresh our menus. On the other hand I am glad to know that you liked the Hotel.

Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

I was lucky enough to accompany my brother on an incentive trip through his place of employment, and I was part of a group of around 30 people. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous. The room was very nice, and the beds extremely comfortable. The bathroom was large and had a soaking tub that looked nice, but I never tried it out.

The property is huge and sprawling, and the pool is probably the largest I've ever seen - it just keeps going and going! There were plenty of comfortable lounge chairs, and it was never a problem finding an open chair. The service at the pool was fantastic; the servers were very attentive and friendly (especially Roberto!).

While the resort was enormous and clearly not empty, it was very quiet and tranquil. There were lots of hammocks, which I loved! Not that I set foot into it, but I hear the gym was nice. I did get a massage at the spa and it was good (though I wouldn't call it great).

All of the food we had was great, though we didn't sample all of the restaurants. The breakfast buffet at Mansita was outstanding - omelette station, crepe station, all kinds of pastries and hot dishes, extensive cheese and fruit displays. Most lunches, we ended up eating at the pool, and the food and drinks from the Azul pool bar was great. I loved the house salad (I forget its full name), and I heard rave reviews of the ceviche. I am not a rum drinker in general, but the raspberry mojitos were very tasty. Our group had buffet dinners on the beach and on one of the verandas, and the food at both was varied and excellent. Most evenings we ended up in the lobby bar, where the drinks were delicious and the service was good - they even set up karaoke for our group one of the nights. Try the drink called the "cai-pinilla" - it's vodka with muddled strawberries, and it is delicious!

A couple of tips: Bring bug spray! And yes, the road leading to the hotel is bumpy but it's not nearly as bad as a lot of these reviews make it sound. Just know that going into it, and sit back and enjoy the "car massage," as our tour guides called it. And finally, just know that the location is a bit remote - there isn't anywhere in walking distance, so just plan accordingly. The town of Tamarindo is about 25 minutes away and there are lots of fun shopping and eating options, and even a (tiny) casino, so that's definitely worth a trip. All in all, I had a fantastic stay at this beautiful property and would not hesitate to return if I should find myself in Costa Rica again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest;

We appreciate your valuable time sharing with all of us this fantastic review about your stay at our hotel.

I am glad that you had enjoyed our delicious drinks at the pool bar (raspberry mojitos and caipiriñas) and our Breakfast Buffet at Mansita Restaurant.

The only walking distance beach is Abellanas which is 30 minutes approximately from the Hotel but you can also take the complementary shuttle if you don’t want to walk.

I hope that you can come to visit us again and keep enjoying our pool and drinks while you are watching the sunsets.

Happy New Year!


Kind regards;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

This hotel is spectacular! spotless, friendly, great gym, amazing pool and gorgeous private beach....and the restaurants are fabulous too! If you are honeymooning or looking for a relaxing vacation this is the place. We layed at the pool and on the beach and ordered fresh mojitos all day and it was fabulous. This hotel is also wonderful if you have a children..there is an activity center and daily activities for children!
A few things that I would change is how expensive the gift shop is...a small tube of sunblock is $25 and a bag of chips is $8......a bit over priced ...even for a resort gift shop! Also, the manicures are too expensive ($45). Manicures should be $30 or less....

all in all this resort was fantastic..the rooms are wonderful and the staff was super friendly!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

We really appreciate your time to write this magnificent review.

I am pleased to know that you really enjoyed your stay and what we offer to our guests.

Regarding manicure prices we can check them with our SPA manager but the gift shop prices since they just rent the place to us we can not do anything about it; except addressing your comments to their manager.

We truly hope that you can come to visit us again in a near future.

Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica

Address: Hacienda Pinilla, Playa Avellanas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tamarindo > Playa Avellanas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Avellanas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica 4.5*
Number of rooms: 310
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Live an authentic Costa Rican experience in a luxury hacienda style resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This resort & spa sits oceanfront on a secluded stretch of coastline minutes from the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course and Tamarindo village. The JW Marriott Guanacaste is surrounded by the splendors of Costa Rican rich biodiversity; with a choice of 5 beaches, adjacent to an equestrian center, tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course with a coastal layout. Off-site activities like canopy tours, horseback riding, white water rafting, kayaking, and ATV tours can be arranged on site. You can also arrange tours to nearby locations such as Arenal Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and National Park or Guachipelin thermal hot springs. Enjoy surf beaches with excellent year-round waves and warm water, visit turtle nesting beaches or observe a great variety of wildlife. The property features the largest infinity pool in Central America, outdoor hot tubs, a fully equipped fitness center, biking and jogging trails and a Kids Club with professional care. You can also relax in our spa, ranked one of the top five Spas in Latin America by Spa Magazine. This resort offers 5 restaurants and two bars. Among these options enjoy a romantic dinner right on the beach at Azul Grill our beach front restaurant or visit Tamarine where you can enjoy Asian fusion cuisine. Indulge yourself with a genuine Guanacastecan style meal at Sabanero Steakhouse or relax and admire a spectacular sunset at Nau Lounge and Bar, while you enjoy hand crafted cocktails and a variety of Sushi. All rooms have balconies with garden, pool or ocean views. In-room amenities include LCD TVs, sound proof windows, iPod docks and streaming speed Wi-Fi Internet access, blackout curtains, plush pillow-top mattresses and fine linens, rich woods, and marble bathtubs. The village of Tamarindo is just 5 miles away, where you will find restaurants, bars, and souvenirs in a "Pura Vida" laid back atmosphere. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica Hotel Santa Cruz
Jw Marriott Guanacaste Resort And Spa Costa Rica
Jw Marriott Santa Cruz
Marriott Santa Cruz
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica Playa Avellanas

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