We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Go to San Diego instead” 3 of 5 stars
Review of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Save
You added JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica to your Saves list
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Hacienda Pinilla, Playa Avellanas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel website
  |  
Hotel deals
  |  
Hotel packages
  |  
Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Guanacaste Experience
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Avellanas
Certificate of Excellence 2014
California
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Go to San Diego instead”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2010

Other reviews mention the isolated nature of this place. You are stuck out in nowhere. If you think you will take your rental car and explore, after you drive 30 minutes down a dusty, bumpy gravel road you will reconsider. No Marriott shuttle to anywhere is available. The website implies this is near Tamarindo village-this location is hardly on the same planet. They are trying to sell homes/timeshares here; you can save some pity for the suckers who fall for this.
The architecture is a cross between a hacienda and a fortress. Landscaping is adequate but suffers from the short time it has had to grow and the climate. A few rooms face the ocean, the rest face inward towards the pool. The reason is that the surrounding landscaping is mostly bleak.
The pool is extensive and is the resort focus. They prominently advertise the infinity pool but unless you are a 4-foot tall midget the effect is lost and it only covers a small side of a shallow pool. Only a few chairs and umbrellas are on the beach because very few sit out there, it is not pleasant.
The mostly Tico staff is well trained and most speak English more clearly than many Americans. They are very attentive.
Rooms, linens, toiletries are superb.
There is such a contrast between the room climate and outdoors that you can expect fogging on cameras, glasses, etc. when passing outside from the room.
Food is excellent, though mostly variations of North American menus with a little local input.
A fairly routine golf course is nearby.
In some ways this is a beautiful place however I cannot think of a single reason to come here.
1. If you want to visit Costa Rica, this is not it.
2. Advertising make a big deal out of the sunset, I guess if you have never seen one over the ocean it is beautiful, but not worth waiting all day with nothing to do except visit the spa. Sunset is the one time that the beach looks good.
3. The pool is large and has a bit of landscaping, but much better ones are widely available.
4. The food is good but can’t you find anywhere to eat without driving here?
5. It is oceanfront, but even the resort structure shows the beach is not attractive
6. You are close to exactly nothing.
7. The wireless internet is a rip-off at $15 plus tax- it costs them virtually nothing to provide –pure profit.
8. If you want a beautiful oceanfront resort, then go to San Diego, Florida, Hawaii, etc. and enjoy it and additionally something interesting nearby.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Write a Review

1,564 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    842
    410
    170
    92
    50
See reviews for
496
655
29
92
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)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cleveland, OH
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Price Your Stay

Been to JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travelocity, BookIt.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Marriott, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Priceline and Jetsetter so you can book your JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.