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“Fantastic location and facility -- POOR SERVICE !!!!” 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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Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Avellanas
Arkansas
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Fantastic location and facility -- POOR SERVICE !!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2013

We struggled with giving this a "excellent" rating in as much as the dining room service was terrible! The buffet dinning room bakery was amazing, and the food above average, but the service was awful. Most likely because we were on a Caravan.com tour and the tips were pre-negotiated by Caravan, but that is NO EXCUSE -- especially for a Marriott that gets up to $500 for a room with a view during the high season from private pay guests. We were lucky enough to draw one of the best view rooms --- three floors up, with ocean, beach, and infinity pool views. That infinity pool is simply amazing -- 4 foot deep and the largest in all of Central America. Sunset pictures from the pool are the best. This is the most "wow" place we ever stayed. The grounds are impeccable. The grounds staff is friendly and helpful.

It took us 15 minutes to find our room. We were miss-directed as we picked up our key. Our room was in a separate wing building. The room maids did not know where our room was. Finally, a manager came by, and took charge and was very apologetic. The facility is huge. We recommend you view the ground maps before you leave the massive lobby area.

The only other down-side is there are no close by fun things to do --- like para-sailing, golf, wave runners, etc.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, November 18, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you for your great comments about your recent stay at our Resort.

I really appreciate your feedback about our dinner buffet since it help us to improve this service.

Your "WOW" comment is very gratyfing for me and all our team because it shows that you really enjoyed your stay and liked the Resort.

I would like to let you know that there is a lot of different activities to do in this area and I you coming again I would recommend to go with our Concierge to help you with any tour arragements.

Sincerely;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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1,376 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
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English first
Lexington, Kentucky
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

Our first impression was not good. We were told we had a great room that we would really like. It was hot when we arrived and the bellboy that we paid for on our hotel bill escorted us down the elevator, to another building up the elevator and to a room which said suite on the outside. We were excited for the complementary upgrade. The room keys didn't work so he used his master key, only to find several girls sitting around in their bathrobes. So we went back down the elevator, past the pool up the elevator, to another building at the very end. We were sweating buckets at this point. Found the right room that did not have a good view but the keys worked. The air was not on in the room so it was a while before the room and we cooled down. Beautiful grounds and hotel, rooms nice, bed comfortable, towels great. Breakfast buffet was great but the line for omlets was always long. Dinner buffet was not worth the money. The beach was a disappointment because there were so many rocks. Didn't even get in the water. Glad we had a car to go to other areas to eat. If you don't have a car you are limited to eating at the resort which is very expensive. Would probably stay at a condo in Timarindo if we ever went back because food was cheaper and beach better.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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, November 18, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you for your positive comments and feedback about our Dinner Buffet since it help us to improve in our service.

Please apologize for the mistake that we had during your check in. On the other hand I am glad you have liked the Resort and that you had the opportunity to visit another places in the area.

Sincerely;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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Shreveport, Louisiana
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

This resort is gorgeous with a panoramic view of the pools, grounds and Pacific Ocean. Beautiful setting. The flora was breathtaking. The pools are shallow 4ft max. The area is around the pool was crowded early morning but vacant by afternoon. The pool is open 24/7 and lighted. Rooms were first quality honeymoon style. The area has rocks in the ocean in front of the resort so to swim you must move down the beach away and the there are no places to place your things which was a distraction. This is also not a good place to snorkel, sand too dark and it makes it hard to see. There were also no fish. Most guest stayed close to the resort to lay out by the pool or beach right in front of the resort. There are plenty of comfortable loungers and umbrellas. Food and service were excellent. Old Spanish decor and plenty of places to explore.

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the pool at or above the 3rd floor.
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  • Stayed October 2013, 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 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, November 11, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you for your positive review about the resort and service. I am glad to know that you had a great time during your stay.

Yes; the beach area in front the Resort is a little rocky but the Avellanas Beach which is 10 minutes away from the Resort is good for swimming. You can walk or take the free shuttle to go here. Tamarindo Beach is also beautiful and friendlier for swimming and is 20 minutes away by car.

There is a lot of beautiful beaches at this area which I recommend you to go visit during your next trip to Costa Rica. (Rent a Car, is better)

Kind regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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Chicago
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

My husband and I traveled to Costa Rica for an anniversary trip and stayed at the JW Guanacaste Resort - the JW came highly recommended, but we were using a travel voucher purchased at a silent auction so I was nervous how they'd react to "free" guests. The JW staff made it very easy to turn in the vouchers for the free rooms, and surprisingly didn't then stick us in a room in the back of the campus - instead we were poolside, and just off of the ocean. We couldn't have asked for a better room, location on site, or hotel. While on site we enjoyed our many walks along the beach, outdoors couples massage, the swimming in the gorgeous infinity pool, and drinking poolside while taking in breathtaking sunsets. When we ventured off campus we enjoyed our drives to local villages to shop and dine, a boat ride along the coast, ziplining through a jungle, and horseback riding through farms, jungles, and along the beach. The restaurants on site were terrific as well - the breakfast buffet came with our room and certainly gave a wide variety of tasty local fare and traditional American fare, and the steakhouse near the hotel entry will go down as one of the top meals we've ever eaten in our lives. Simply incredible. Once piece of advice if you're seeking to view the volcano - either sign up to take a tour, or have a personal (local) driver. We rented a car and drove four hours with no luck...the directions we were given were to drive over a mountain ridge which looked to be private property, and we think only a hummer would have made it over the rocky road...best to leave longer drives to those who know the way.

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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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, November 6, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you for have choose our Resort as a destiny for your anniversary. I am glad to know that you had a great time during your stay.

Our guest are very special for us and we care about them. So never be nervous again.

Reading your review is easy to know that you had a lot of fun and relaxation at the same time during your visit and I am glad for you.

I am sure our readers appreciate your feedback about driving to Arenal.

Kind regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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Wausau, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

This resort is a beautiful property. From our balcony, we could see the pools and the Pacific Ocean! The rooms were spacious, and had a heavenly bathtub. Pocket doors separated the tub from the bedroom, making a window like opening to let the natural light from the patio doors in. We had great dining experiences. The pool was an infinity pool, with the feeling that you could swim right out to the ocean. Since I'm an email person, even when traveling, I would have liked to have WI FI included in the room rate, instead of an add on, but I guess that is pretty minor. They are located in a remote area, so you aren't tempted to go shopping or elsewhere to dine. There was a nice gift shop in the resort.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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, November 6, 2013
Dear Guest;

I appreciate your time for sharing your wonderful comments about your recent stay at our Resort.

Your satisfaction is gratifying for me and the rest of our team.

I am glad to know that you have liked your room and the pool.

We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you back in a near future.

Regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2013

What a gorgeous resort! Our room was well appointed, the bedding was comfortable, plenty of towels(in fact, we got the nicest "towel art birds" in our entire trip to CR at the Marriott!) and a terrific deep soaker tub. Our patio doors opened onto a private little lanai which gave us access to the third/ main floor gardens. We saw the cutest little spotted skunk several times in this vicinity. Other wildlife seen were: a praying mantis, many birds, and hermit crabs and starfish on the beach. We also found cotimundi tracks on the beach but several walks on the beach at sunset and sunrise did not flush him out for us! We really enjoyed the food at the resort but my favorite part was the infinity pool(apparently the largest in Central America) that gave us views of the Pacific. Amazing at sunset! It was nice that we could swim anytime we wanted, though.

The staff were helpful- whether arranging shuttle transfers for us to go into Tamerindo, providing us with towels when the towel carts were empty, and holding doors open for us in and out of the restaurant. The staff in the little gift shop were super friendly too!

While there were renovations going on during our stay, it didn't have any negative impact on our stay- in fact, it makes sense that renos would be going on now, before the busy winter/ Christmas season.

We would love to return to this resort!

  • Stayed October 2013, 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, November 6, 2013
Dear Guest;

THANK YOU so much for your understanding about the renovations that we are doing at our Resort. We are getting ready for the high season. Fortunately we are almost done.

I am pleased to hear that you really enjoy the Resort and the wildlife that the Hacienda offer to our guest.

Sincerely;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

JW is terrific resort, in great condition, setting, beach, staff, food. They were doing some renovations during out stay in late October (it didn't look like anything needed renovations, it is still seems like a "newer" property) but I believe those are over next month. Definitely walk down the beach (or drive) to Lola's - awesome local beach restaurant open only during daytime. Food was great at all restaurants, in particular loved the local Costa Rica choices at Mansita for breakfast and dinner. Catch of the day was great at Tamarine too. Steakhouse maybe a little pricey. Maybe better to head into town... which is the only negative of resort is it is isolate resort, so I would highly suggest renting a car from Liberia airport and just keeping it for a week, its not a bad drive into Tamirindo to get off resort maybe for a night or do other excursions. This is great resort to get away and relax.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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, November 6, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you for your excellent review.

I am glad to know that you have enjoyed the Typical Costa Rican options that we offer in our breakfast and dinner.

I personal recommend to rent a car if you are visiting this area since there is a lot of good places to explore and adventure.

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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