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“The great, the good and the needs improving” 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Conchal
Oklahoma City
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“The great, the good and the needs improving”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

Overall, this was a pleasing resort. The highlights are the staff (--very well-trained--they are there to please), the location and the security. The junior suites were spacious and nice.The grounds are beautiful. the beach is fine--a little pebbly and it is public.

The food could use a little improvement. We are vegetarian and the food was not properly labeled. Also, there was a lot of meat in the buffet line which I noticed went, for the most part, hardly touched. Most of the staff did not know whether the food had chicken or beef broth in it. For others, not just us, who have allergies or are looking to reduce their animal fat consumption, this is not acceptable. We would suggest having one interesting vegetarian item each night since the population being served is multicultural. Also, for the vegetables or bean/lentil dishes, there is no need to season it with bacon or animal fat. Serve some soups that are not cream base and are vegetarian.

Poolside massages would be great as well as some sort of snack bar with quick but not sit down food near the pool. There seemed to be an awful lot of carbs--pasta, pizza and bread. It would be nice to have a juice bar or an ice tea juice infusion drink. Poolside chairs seemed old or dirty or just in need of a good cleaning. A salt water pool would be great especially in an eco-friendly country. More recycling containers.

The hotel guests need to be warned about the racoon animals. The Westin needs to clearly state on the room service trays that the room service dishes should not be put outside the doors. The animals break the dishes and go after the food aggressively. People understand living with nature and the hotel needs to be swift about picking up the dirty room service dishes.

More communication is needed upon check-in. Our bill was different than the price that was quoted. we had to show our daughter's departure itinerary from the airline to get her off the bill. The reason was we did not get her bracelet clipped before she left earlier than the rest of us. No one told us. Also, upon check in the hotel should tell the guests that there are on site excursion packages. We were very pleased with the on site excursion tour which was the same price or cheaper than the Pappagayo tour recommended by others. A weekly activities page or booklet should be provided for each room that explains dinner, with menus, and activities available. Spa appointments were tight.

The grounds are pretty, but hard to get around. A lot of walking was needed which is good for us. There are taxis--luggage carts--available but the timing is not always right. The resort is spread out. It needs a good power washing on the pathways and on some of the tile roofs.

Overall it was fine and some of the complaints are nothing to stop me from going back. It can be a great resort and I think for just having opened and reorganizing the staff--they are doing fine.i

Room Tip: Get closer to the pool or beach.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (877)
Date | Rating
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English first
Fairfax Station, Virginia
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

First of all I love Costa Rica it has become my number one vacation spot. We spent several days at this Westin and overall it is really nice property. The rooms are large and nicely appointed, however, the lighting in our room made it difficult to see things. In addition, the restaurants are good and they have these little shuttle cars that transport you around the resort. Although this resort was on the beach it had restricted entrance points. I was also surprise that the pool closes pretty early in the evening.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

As usual, I will resume this with the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

- A la carte are good
- Fast check in and out
- Big and beautiful resort
- Very big swimming Pool
- Beach is ok if you go about 10 min left at the resort, water is warm
- Foods are good and well kept in a good temperature
- Big, beautiful and very clean room
- Air conditioning works perfectly
- lot of things to the outside the resort (Arenal Volcano for example)

Cons:

- Expensive resort compare to the destination as Mexico, DR, Cuba, Jamaica
- Limited selection at the buffet
- Public beach

In overall, it's a nice place but it's expensive and I don't know if it worth it.

Hope this help

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

This hotel was exceptional in service and boasts a relaxing embiance. The food was excellent as far as all inclusive resorts go. We stayed at the Royal Beach club which allowed us to have a quiet and relaxing holiday. I would recommend this hotel to anybody. Watch out for Berget, the concierge for the Royal Beach club who is simply AMAZING! The staff was exceptionally helpful and pleasant. Our only bad experience was at Bamboo, which was a shame as it was our New Year's celebration. The service was awful and the food was the worst Thai food I've ever eaten. Very minor in the grand scheme of things.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
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.
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011 via mobile

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.

Sincerely,

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
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011 via mobile

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.
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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
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Conchal
Amenities:
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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