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“Outstanding!” 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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Special Offer
Guanacaste Experience
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Avellanas
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cleveland, OH
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Outstanding!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2010

Just finished up a week at JW Marriott in Guanacaste - what an experience! Everything was first rate - including the staff. Very attentive. I travel on business about 120 days out of the year and have to say this resort was the best I have stayed at - anywhere.

Heartily recommend having a four wheel drive vehicle for the trip - cannot imagine not renting a car when staying in Costa Rica - much less this resort (which is nicely secluded). The 2 mile stretch of dirt road leading to the resort is interesting - but I can't believe the number of people mentioning it - it really is nothing to worry about - some of the streets in bigger US cities are worse!

Also strongly recommend spending time in Tamarindo. Best restaurant we found (and we went twice) is "El Coconut" in Tamarindo. Food is exceptional, ambience is outstanding, and the place is run by Katharina who looks like a model and is extremely interesting! Can't beat El Coconut - on the main drag in Tamarindo. Also can recommend "Eat at Joe's" and "Nibbanna" both in Tamarindo.

Breakfast buffet at JW is excellent as well - ended up doing a brunch type thing with the buffet - then just eating a later dinner - food was great and you are so active during the day I actually lost weight on this vacation! A first for me!

Anyway - really loved the resort, Costa Rica, and the whole experience. Already planning our Spring Break 2011 return!

  • Stayed April 2010, 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
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1,564 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
    4.5 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 (465)
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English first
Chicago
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2010

Upon arriving the hotel, the front desk person attempted to put us in an OceanVIEW room instead of what we had reserved and paid for which was an OceanFRONT room. WE paid upfront and a $50+ premium for the OceanFRONT. After HOURS of waiting and discussing this with the front desk, after a full day of travel and during the sunset, I discovered that they overbook the OceanFRONT rooms so the front desk person was trying to pass off the OceanVIEW rooms as being the same as the OceanFRONT - NOT TRUE, the OceanFRONT are on the ocean and that's why I paid the premium.

Anyway, the Front Desk Manager (Guillermo P.) promised that he would refund the dollar amount of difference we paid for the OceanFRONT. He said that it would be taken care of at checkout and that his accounting department would take care of this without any problem. IT HAS BEEN THREE WEEKS SINCE WE HAVE RETURNED AND THEY STILL HAVE NOT PROCESSED ANY REFUND AND THE MANAGER (Guillermo) HAS NO RETURNED MY CALLS OR EMAILS. This is blatantly wrong and very upsetting.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Tampa
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2010

My wife and I stayed at the JW after 3 days in a cabin in Arenal- Our check in was quick and the staff quite welcoming- Our bellhop took us for a tour of the grounds before taking us to our room, which was an immaculate, beachfront room. The views from the room and all over the grounds are amazing. The staff was prompt whenever we needed anything, brought us ice, mango, and Perrier throughout the stay. Yes the trip into town is bumpy and a few miles away but the resort offers a shuttle into town that departs and picks up at different times through the day. Our only issue the entire time, dining at the Asian restaurant we were made to wait way too long to get our drinks, and over 30 minutes for dessert before we finally walked out. However the manager of that restaurant not only apologized, but the next night, at the steak house, he shows up with complementary champaigne, and tells us that our meal that night, as well as the night before, is on them. This gesture more than made up for the inconvenience from the night before. If anything, the only thing I was ever put off by was the way some guests talked down to the staff over every minor issue. I expect quality from a place such as this myself, but the way some guests act and treat others was deplorable. Finally the sunsets are a thing of beauty at this resort, attracting many guests outside to watch, photograph, or even have a romantic dinner on the beach. All in all this was a great stay. 1 thing, and this goes for several high end hotels- why do they continue to charge for internet/wireless when less expensive hotels offer it for free? Our previous stay was in the middle of the jungle next to a volcano, and even they had free wifi-

  • Stayed March 2010, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
So. California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2010

more than comfortable room with a fabulous view of all of the swimming pools with a Pacific Ocean backdrop. The bed felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. Luxury abounds with a tropical feel. Gracious staff who made sure you were comfortable. I would definitely return.

  • Stayed March 2010
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2010

We spent 5 nights at the JW in January. The hotel is beautiful- the pool is great. The food is expensive. We had lunch at the pool side restaurant when we arrived which was very good and had dinner one night in the Asian restaurant. We went into town and stocked our refigerator for lunches the rest of the days. It is out of the way so I think a car is a must to be able to explore on your own. Lola's is right next door but after you drive the 5 miles to get off of the grounds you have to drive 5 miles back to the beach right next door so about a 30 minute trip right next door. We went into Tamarindo almost everyday- sometimes twice a day for bfst and dinner and it was about a 20 minute drive. if I was going back I think I would stay closer to town.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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
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Denver, CO
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2010

This hotel is a little over a year old, and it shows. Everything is neat and clean. Parts of the drive there from the Liberia airport were rough, as there were several miles of ungraded dirt roads. There are man things to do both on and off the resort. ATVing and Ziplining are common activities. If you plan on going with a family, consider a rental car, rather than shuttles. 3 on resort restaurants; including an amazing steak restaurant. service is "vacation speed"

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2010

The facilities and property amenties are absolutely first class. We got a significant room upgrade which we were indeed very appreciative of but this still does not excuse the awful service. My family and I kept ignorning one lapse after another but after four days, we finally documented our complaints to Mr. Frederique Cappello, Manager on Duty on the evening of April 4, 2010. In just four days, here are the the continual service lapses:

1) Check in took 35 minutes and room was not ready at 3:30 in the afternoon. Note that check in delays have been a common theme in TripAdvisor complaints about this hotel for over a year but the process has not changed. They try (which is a noble goal) to have a small intimate check in experience with three individual check in desks. In practice, it is a disaster that causes endless waits and also makes it difficult for a guest to go to the reception and ask a simple question without having to wait.

2) We asked for a rollaway bed and I asked for it "immediately" as my child needed to go to sleep. Immediately turnbed out to be 50 minutes and when the bed came it did not have a pillow or blanket which caused a further delay.

3) We asked for someone to come to our room to show us how the DVD player worked. We are still waiting for him to show up after four days.

4) We ate lunch at Mansita restuatrant at 2 PM and chose not to get the buffet option, We waited about 90 minutes for our food and the penne pasta did not have chicken in it originally even though the menu said it did. The staff tried to claim it was not supposed to have chicken until I asked them to show me the menu again. To their credit, they comped the meal, but that is not what I wanted,.

5) We waited over an hour for 3 sushi dishes to be delivered to our room. Out of frustration, we walked to the restaurant to pick it up but crossed paths with the delivery.

6) One of our rooms was not even cleaned (there was no DND sign on the door) one day.

All in all, the property has potential as the facilities are beautiful and luxurious. However, I would definitely wait a year until the service kinks are hopefully worked out. One comment I did see on this site but I do not agree with is regarding food prices. They have a beautiful breakfast buffet for $25 for adults and $12.50 for children. Yes, I realize this is a lot of money in Costa Rica, but this is the JW, a luxury resort and if you want to stay here, this is the price level you expect (if not more). By comparison, JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes charges $35 for breakfast. The food and beverage prices are definitely not cheap and may even be a bit over priced but not by as much as some may lead you to believe. The issues with the Food and Beverages at this hotel are many and are primarily related to consistency and service, not price.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 2 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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