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“Pretty good... could be great!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal

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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Conchal, Bahia Brasilito, Playa Conchal 232-5150, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Conchal
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Pretty good... could be great!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a seven night stay at this resort over Christmas week. We are SPG veterans, and have stayed at top SPG properties everywhere except the Far East and Australia (next!). As this is a newly "acquired" resort we had a number of thoughts. This place is already great but could be even better with a few minor tweaks.

Rooms - As SPG Platinum guests, we were invited to stay at the Royal Beach Club portion of the resort, which has a separate pool area for "couples and honeymooners" -- no children (< 15). At the Royal Beach Club there are two buildings of oversized hotel rooms instead of "junior suites," but these are fine for a couple, with a large bathroom and jacuzzi, balcony, and sitting area. Bed was classic Westin. One thing that stood out was the lack of insulation on the doors, which looked new. You could pretty much hear anything happening in the building, which had an open courtyard.

Pool/Royal Beach Club Area - I understand from other reviews that some felt the Royal Beach Club "was not worth the upgrade" but I guess it depends on what you are hoping to get from your vacation. Christmas week there are a lot of young kids and families and the main pool is pretty busy. If you are looking for quiet relaxation, I'm not sure you are going to get what you want at the main pool. I also liked having Bergen and Tri who made it their business to keep track of us all week and make reservations for us at the restaurants (more on this later).

There are a few things the hotel could do to further differentiate the Royal Beach Club from the "main" area of the resort. These are generally things we’ve seen at other, higher-end SPG resorts, such as the Romanos in Costa Navarino, Greece (a resort that the Playa Conchal should try to pattern itself after)

First, the umbrellas could have a "call button" to call a server so that you can order drinks/food. Presently, the servers basically walk in circles all day, and since the pool is quite large, sometimes it takes a while for them to get around to you. Second, it might help if some kind of wireless ordering system was installed. There is WiFi all over the RBC, so this should be pretty easy to do. Third, RBC guests could be treated to a "more" premium drink selection. More on that below.

Food - Pretty good, especially for an "all-inclusive" resort, but this is definitely an area where tweaks could be made. All of the restaurants are now open, which I understand was a prior gripe, and we ate at all of them over the seven nights we were there. Faisenella, the Italian restaurant, was the winner, but Cauri, the French bistro was a close second.

One thing we noticed was that a lot of the restaurants seem to serve the same option of chicken, beef, or sea bass (which is quite tasty, by the way) for a main course prepared vaguely in the style of the theme of the restaurant. Otherwise the choices are pretty limited. More could be done to "theme" up each restaurant and differentiate them from each other. For instance, the mediterreanean restaurant could serve mediterranean tapas, such as grilled kebabs.

Also, what's up with the wine selection? Terrible and borderline undrinkable... Particularly the red wine. I'm not suggesting the resort needs to serve 1st growth Bordeaux, but they need to do better than $4 supermarket jug wine. We were pretty surprised how bad it was compared to the liquor selection, which was pretty decent: Stoli, Bacardi, Dewars, Johnnie Walker Red, Sauza. Its fine if the resort wants to keep costs down, but then they should offer bottled wine list for a smaller upcharge (25... even 50% over cost). Not 400%, which is what I figured the markup to be when I saw a wine list.

We heard from someone who had visited several times when the place was a Paradisus that as a Westin there was much less food and drink variety. That’s disappointing.

Last, reservations. I'm totally fine with the system in place, but more needs to be done on check in to explain the system and avoid misunderstandings that are clearly happening. Guests need to know that reservations are REQUIRED to eat anywhere but the buffet, and that the reason that tables are empty in the restaurants is because they are reserved. Several times we saw people turned away disappointed because they were not adequately informed. On check-in guests could be given a menu book and told to make 2-3 nights of reservations. Problem solved.

Staff - Great. Very eager to please. The "concierges" and front desk staff are all great, especially Bergen, Tri, and John. I will note that in the restaurants, service was somewhat hit and miss. It helps if you speak a little Spanish.

Location - Excellent. Well laid out property with a beautiful golf course, about 45 minutes to an hour from the Liberia airport on a newer road. We hired a private shuttle but I would not hesitate renting a car next time -- the way there included none of the "massage" roads for which Costa Rica is apparently famous. The resort might consider doing what the Four Seasons does, and providing its own shuttle. Otherwise, no complaints.

All in all this was a good experience, and we would definitely consider returning.

Room Tip: Ask to be closer to (either) pool.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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2,687 reviews from our community

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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
New York, NY
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

We stayed in 4 hotels in costa rica over 10 days between Christmas and new years. Weston Playa Conchal was the worst and the most expensive. JW Marriott just down the road was 100x better. Like a whole other ball game.
Ok first, when we checked in at noon there were no reservations for dinner. The buffet was the only option. On new years eve all the restaurants closed at 10pm. Ridiculous.
Second, when we went the bar "the 19th hole" after a round of golf and they wouldn't serve us food without a reservation. So we tried to make a reservation on the spot and they said they were booked. Except the place was empty. Literally not one person. So we said we'd sit until someone showed up. Finally the manager came and agreed to seat us after we went through the entire negotiation again. We sat, ate, drank, and lingered for over an hour and a total of 6 people were seated when we left.
Back to dinner...since we couldn't eat dinner in the restaurant, we decided to order room service with some friends and eat outside. Not allowed. Ok, in our room.
Can we get some nice wine glasses? Cups showed up.
Maybe with nice thin rims like in your restaurants?
20 minute negotiation.
Calls from manager.
1 hour goes by. Still waiting. Forget it.
Food is just ok. I'd rather pay more to get good food and not wait 45 mins.
Beach is a public beach. Can't leave anything unattended for 5 seconds or it will be stolen which makes swimming difficult. No waves.
Pools are nice. Adult pool is quiet. Beds are westin heavenly beds....although our "king" was 2 doubles pushed together.
When we asked for advice on places to eat in Tamarindo we were told the concierge left at 7pm and no one else is allowed to make recommendations in case we got hurt at dinner. Odd but ok.
Golf course is fine but no ocean views which for a place right on the coast was disappointing.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WPCManagement, Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, responded to this review, January 4, 2012
Dear Mr. BabsAbTabs,

We really appreciate your open feedback. We are very sorry that you had this impression of our resort in just a one night stay; many of the comments that we have received through TA, of which 85% are positive, are from customers enjoying our services and facilities for seven days on average. We sincerely respect your point of view, yet one night is probably not long enough to get a fair impression.

Indeed, all of our à la carte restaurants served New Year’s Eve dinner until 10:00 p.m.; however our main Mitra Restaurant kept its gala buffet open until 11:30 p.m. As you could ascertain, most all our guests moved to our NYE’s themed dance show, with live band and a spectacular 10 minute firework bash, all of which started at 10:00 p.m. and which was really enjoyed by over 600 of our guests; I am truly sorry you did not partake in this celebration.

Again, we thank your remarks and we hope you give us an opportunity to be of service to you again in the not too distant future.


Victor Gomez
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

The bed was a "heavenly bed" but that was the only thing heavenly about this "resort". For a 1000/night I expected a bit more.The service was unfriendly and unaccommodating..."no" was the new substitute for " my pleasure". The food was uninspiring and at the margin bad. The beach was pretty, the golf course nice but lacked ocean views, and the lobby looked somewhat new. The rest of the place was tired and needed a redo. I would stay at the J&W Marriott which is close and a MUCH MUCH better value...no comparison.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

We recently returned from the Westin, Playa Conchal. The resort is very pretty and the food was good. The service, for the most part, though, was sub-standard--particularly in the restaurants.

We had to constantly ask at meals to have our drinks either brought to us or refilled. It got to the point that when we dined at the restaurant by the pool for lunch, one of us would just walk to the bar to get a refill, b/c chances were, the waiters wouldn't remember. Also, at pretty much every meal, there was something we ordered that never got brought.

The worst (and most ridiculous) issue occurred the last night of our stay. We had made a reservation at the restaurant in the lobby for 8 people, which was accepted. However, when we arrived, they wanted us to split up 4 & 4, even though there was PLENTY of room in the restaurant for a table of 8. They told us they don't seat parties larger than 6?!?!? Ok, then why accept the reservation?? We ended up sitting at two 4 top tables that were side by side (and with the same server) and they told us under no circumstances to push the tables together. It was just ridiculous and incredibly unaccommodating.

My other major complaint was the "off limit" pool and bar for those that didn't have the gold wristband.

I felt like the most friendly and accommodating staff were the guys that drove the resort shuttles--and thank goodness for those, this resort is HUGE!

In summary--what I've been telling my friends is that this was a nice place but we have definitely visited other all-inclusives that had better service and were not as expensive. We might go back to Costa Rica, but will not go back to this resort.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011

We stayed here for 3 nights in October 2011. The place was empty. Although we booked 6 months in advance, we kept re-booking as the rates dropped. In the end, we paid around $275/night total for 2 people. At that price, it's hard to complain about anything.

The food is outstanding for an all-inclusive. Far better than any Club Med, Beaches, etc. Having table-service at night, with multiple restaurants to choose from, is a great feature that really adds a feeling of luxury and relaxation to the venue.

The pools are beautiful, and the Royal Guest cabanas are great to lounge away the day in.

We did a day-trip with Tours Your Way and would highly recommend them.

Our room was very nice; the wifi worked great. We didn't spend a lot of time on the beach, but there seemed to be plenty of activities down there. The gym is very nice, and the golf course looked beautiful.

If you can get a good rate (I'd say less than $400/night for two people) this place is a no-brainer.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 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.
Abilene, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2011

We were here with a group of friends and had a good time. The country is beautiful and the hotel is very nice as well. On the down side they were renovating the beach front rooms that we had reservations to stay in. When we asked about it they said we had to call the company we booked through as it was their fault. Basically we paid for upgrade and didn't get it. On the bright side it was a real nice place with nice amenities. The beach area is beautiful and very private. We went on a tour that we booked on the beach and it was one of the funnest excursions we have ever done. It had zip lining, horse back riding, lunch, and a trip down some kind of river slide. We will definitely go back, but will make sure we get beach rooms next time.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011

My wife, three children and I just returned from the Westin. We were there for 5 days including Christmas. For your information:
1. The rooms are large and very nice (just like the pictures show). However, they really don't understand the concept of a thermostat. They have a thermostat in the room with buttons that suggest that you can increase or decrease the temperature. However, regardless of what you want the temperature to be, they have set the temperature (at 65 degrees in both of our rooms). Your only choice is to change the fan settings or turn off the thermostat. We were able to get them to change their desired temperature setting to 69 degrees. No luck, however, on providing even moderate control of the thermostat.
2. The food is plentiful and good (but not great).
3. If you want to rent a car, may I suggest you get one off-premises. We rented a compact car on Christmas day at a cost of $173 (yeah, I know, my own fault). When I returned, I checked a few web sites and found that the rental agencies we are accustomed to (not the one in the hotel lobby) are nearby and much less expensive.
4. The staff is very accommodating and very friendly. Notwithstanding, confirming things is probably the order of the day. We arrived our first night late after restaurants were closed. We ordered room service and waited an hour and a half before calling again. They had lost the order. We ordered again and received the second order about 40 minutes later. About 11:15 pm (as we were climbing into bed), the first order was delivered. The next morning, as suggested, we made dinner reservations for the remaining four nights that we would be there. When we showed up for dinner the first night, we had no reservations (although they graciously accommodated us). I called to confirm the reservations at the other restaurants and found that they also had not been made (or lost).
Notwithstanding the above, we truly loved our time in Costa Rica. The people are warm and friendly, the weather was beautiful and the country is truly spectacular. At no time did we feel even the least bit in danger (and I was very comfortable letting my two daughters wander the spacious resort even long after dark). Likewise, we much enjoyed the Westin. The physical plant is beautiful, the staff is very eager to help and the all-inclusive nature was great.

Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal

Address: Playa Conchal, Bahia Brasilito, Playa Conchal 232-5150, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Conchal
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Conchal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal 4*
Number of rooms: 326
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Westin Playa Conchal is an All Inclusive eco-friendly retreat, located between the exotic forests and unspoiled beaches of the North Pacific Riviera of Costa Rica. Our secluded vacation spot is a perfect balance between unrivaled luxury and local culture, giving our guests an unforgettable vacation experience. Our All Inclusive experience includes all meals, drinks, use of our fitness center and kids club as well as entertainment options including non motorized water sports, daily activities and nightly events. The resort also offers an adult only all exclusive experience at the Royal Beach Club where guests have access to a private pool with concierge service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Resort And Spa, Playa Conchal
The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal Hotel Playa Conchal

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