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“Natural beauty and adventure in Guanacaste” 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
Washington, DC
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Natural beauty and adventure in Guanacaste”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

We stayed at the Westin Playa Conchal for six days over the Christmas holiday. Since we planned so many off-resort activities during the day we opted not to upgrade to the Royal Beach Club. Our room was a junior suite about a five minute walk from the pool, beach, and main restaurant area in bungalow 7. The resort is sprawling but immaculately kept and everything is in reasonable walking distance. There are also shuttles that run continuously throughout the day and evening.

Room: The room was spacious and very clean with neutral decor. The primary negatives were the lack of dressers/adequate shelving and the bathroom set up. For a couple who packs pretty lightly, it was still tough to fit all of our clothes on the three small shelves in the closet. Other reviewers have commented on the bathroom, which is modern and spacious but does not have a door separating it from the bedroom and living room. As a result, running water in the sink, the shower, or a flushing toilet definitely wakes up someone who is sleeping in the next room. I tend to be an early riser while my husband likes to sleep in on vacation, so this was a design drawback for us.

Food: As others have noted, no one comes to Costa Rica for the food. That said, we did anticipate better food at a Westin. The food on the resort ranges from decent (Cauri, Caricola, Italian restaurant) to abysmal (Medaterra). The food is plentiful and there is a lot of variety, but we had a couple of dishes that were almost inedible. A rib eye special from Medaterra had the texture of shoe leather- I counted twelve sawing strokes with the steak knife before I gave up. We don't like to waste food and were embarrassed that we left practically our entire meal untouched. That said, you should have better luck if you stick to seafood, rice and beans, and fresh fruit and vegetables. The pizza restaurant near the pool is also good. Also, the service is very friendly and waitstaff and bartenders go out of their way to be helpful and hospitable. If we return to the resort we will not opt for the all-inclusive option.

Pool and beach: Both are wonderful. The resort was full but we never had a problem getting lounge chairs by the pool. There are far fewer chairs on the beach, so get there on the early side. The landscaping is lush and there are lots of interesting creatures around, from howler monkeys and iguanas to coatis, which look like a cross between a raccoon and a cat. The beach is narrow and long, with lots of palms and other trees providing shade. We enjoyed that it is a public beach- it was fun to be with all of the Ticos on vacation and not feel isolated with other tourists.

Activities: Like many others, we also booked tours through Erik Garcia. He is just outside the gate when you walk out onto the beach- you can't miss him. He is efficient and enterprising, with a number of local guys to help him out and lead the tours. We booked a half day ATV and zipline tour with Omer and had a blast. It takes about an hour to get to the Congo Zip Line and you pass through beautiful beaches, small towns, and back roads. It can get quite dusty, so be sure to use the dust masks they give you. Also, if you wear contacts, I would suggest bringing a small bottle of saline so that you can rinse them out when you get to the canopy. The zip lining was also wonderful- the guides were efficient and friendly and took safety very seriously. The platforms are high in the canopy with amazing views, and one platform was right next to a tree filled with howler monkeys. It was great to see them playing and interacting up close. We had about an hour and a half there, with twelve zip lines. It wasn't crowded at all and felt very peaceful. On a different day we also booked a two hour wave runner tour, which we also highly recommend. Walter was our guide. We saw much of the coastline and lots of beautiful deserted beaches.

My husband also played two rounds of golf and loved it. He said it was a challenging, beautiful course and really enjoyed the privacy- on the first round he didn't encounter another golfer til the ninth hole. The practice facility was also nice and open until dark each day.

I hadn't planned to scuba dive since there were so many other activities, but I decided to go one morning after meeting Mauricio, the dive master from Buzos de Aventura who is at the pool every afternoon giving introductory lessons. There is a two person minimum for the boat to go out and since no one else was signed up to dive the following day, it appeared that I was out of luck. However, I decided to pay the cost for two ($200 including gear) and Mauricio offered to throw in an extra tank. I had the dive boat and two dive masters to myself, and as a result the morning's dives were customized to my skill and experience level. We dove two sites off the Catalina Islands and one nearby called Sombrero. The dives were very challenging as visibility was terrible and the current was very strong due to the high winds that stuck around for several days, but the marine life more than made up for it. The highlight by far was the manta ray who came and checked us out, swimming around us within a couple of feet for several minutes. It was an incredible experience. It was great to see that Mauricio shared my excitement even though he's a veteran dive master with over 6,000 dives. They are majestic creatures and if you dive the Catalinas you have a pretty good chance of seeing them. For those who are interested in diving in Guanacaste, you can't go wrong with Buzos de Aventura and Mauricio and Elena. The equipment is new and the whole experience was more personalized and fun than many of the dives I've done in the Caribbean.

Overall, we had a wonderful vacation and enjoyed both the relaxing and adventurous things that the country has to offer. Costa Rica is a special place and we found everyone to be warm and welcoming. We would definitely go back, but may opt for a self-catering rental or non-AI next time. Safe and enjoyable travels!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2,269 reviews from our community

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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 (894)
Date | Rating
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English first
Oceanside, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Stayed over Thanksgiving. The hotel was beautiful and the gigantic pool is designed so well that it has the feel of a smaller more private setting in many locations. The food was good at the buffet and all the restaurants.

We followed others advice from here and booked tours through Eric Garcia's group located on the beach, can't miss them. We worked with his associate John Rodreguez and he became our go to guy for anything we needed. Taxi to Tamarindo, taxi to the airport, zipline tour with transportation & monkey experience, horseback ridiing, ATVs or anything else the area has to offer. They are organized and charge far less than the tour company affiliated with the hotel.

One last piece of advise, don't feed the Coatie. Oops, they have a lot of friends that also like potato chips.

Room Tip: Rooms are pretty spread out, plan on some walking. I don't think any have ocean views. We were...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Worcester, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Simple review... Beautiful hotel, beyond friendly staff, good food, amazing trip and country overall. Went for our honeymoon and spent 12 days there. We stayed in the royal beach club which is well worth the extra money. You get a separate pool, bar and even restaurant (breakfast and lunch) which is all adults only. Also a private concierge is there to take cae of pretty much whatever you need for royal beach club guests only. Nice little open air shuttles can take you around the property as it is pretty big, so it's very easy to get around and check out everything. Awesome bartenders and staff everywhere.

I highly recommend the Westin at playa conchal. Pura Vida!

Room Tip: For couples, I would highly suggest getting a room in the Royal Beach club. Adults only pool and po...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Beautiful place, well maintained. Nice service everywhere.
Everything was perfect with a couple of exceptions.
1) whoever was cleaning our room did not do a good job. We were out of soap and other things and they were never replaced. The stuff in the mini bar was not replaced either. As far as the mini bar, we have stayed at many all inclusive resorts and this one was the smallest mini bar by far with very limited variety.
2) I was very disappointed that such a nice expensive resort did not provide free wi fi in the room.
When we checked in we were told we were getting a room with a lake view. Upon arrival to our room we realized that was not the case.
A few tips for travelers - ask for a room facing the lake, preferrably on the 2nd floor. As soon as you check in book all your dinners.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

Stayed here for 8 days, November 14th to 22nd. Got in touch with the hotel and they arranged the transfer to and from the airport. When we arrived at Liberia airport the driver was waiting with a sign with our names on. It took around 45 minutes, which we got to see monkeys at the side of the road. $90 each way for 2 of us.

When we arrived at the reception area we were welcomed with friendly smiles and the offer to take a seat at the bar. We were pleasantly informed that we had been upgraded and will be taken to private check in over at the Royal Beach Club (we are SPG gold) (RBC) via the golf cart. The RBC is an adults only area pool, butler service around the pool for all your food and drinks needs and a private concierge. There is also the added benefit of premium brand alcohol (be sure to specify your preference when ordering), complimentary Wifi, coffee 3 to 5 in the RBC check-in (very nice foyer, with air conditioning!) and breakfast/lunch at Faisanela.

Private check-in went smoothly, lots of information to absorb but leaflets to take away. Top tip would be to enquire straight away the restaurants open days (we were there just before peak season) and then book all reservations. It can get difficult to get into each restaurant at the time of preference. However you do not need to book for the buffet and you can get 24 hour room service.

The service was out of this world, our concierges John and David were amazing. One evening they made bathroom up with flowers, very nice touch. The maid did a great job on the room including making me a towel animal, I did love that. The guys at the bar were super friendly and wanted to do their best at all times. They even remembered our drinks and were making them before I even got to the bar, some times they made you two! Restaurant service was also brilliant and efficient.

I am a big foodie, so tried all the restaurants, buffet and room service. Breakfast in the room was a perfect way to start the day on the balcony. Favourite Cauri (French) not only was the food amazing so was the view. Atmosphere was fantastic and there is a nice bar you can hang out before/after dinner. Duck was cooked to perfection and loved the creme brulee.

Cararcola we tried for lunch more than once. They have lighter options salads and wraps. But we tried a fish burger very enjoyable. If you don't get too full try the chocolate brownie. Spirula (pizza place) was very good if you like a thin crust pizza.

We ate at Mitra buffet on international buffet evening. Salad and desert stations were firm favourites. Like breakfast there is lots of choice, try the fresh fruit and smoothies at breakfast extremely refreshing.

Faisanella was open at lunch/dinner only (due to low season) so we didn't get to try breakfast there but did love the lunches we had. We sat out side but be warned it can get a bit too hot in the midday sun. Dinner must haves are the lamb shank and the tiramisu.

Las Candelas, Latin inspired, was nice but would be rushing back for any of the main course selections. We did enjoy the tres leches and strawberry desert. Bamboo, lovely Thai food. Big portions, try the spicy soup.

There were many shows and activities available incase you are not one for the pool/beach side. We saw most of the evening shows. They were all very good but the must sees would be the magicians and the circus. The day activities were either very active or informative. We went on the bike tour, you get a helmet and water which is difficult to hold. I am not at all adventures or fit and found some of the tour hills hard. Don't forget to put lotion on and bring a camera as the view is breath taking. The running session follows a very similar route to the bike tour. We also tried kayaking as part of the package for an hour, life vest included. Some of the classes you need to book and they are worth going to, coffee and food tasting. It is the staff that really make these enjoyable, they are awesome.

Yoga on the beach was very nice and relaxing. The aqua-tone session was also very fun way to work out. The beach is fabulous. We went horse riding booked through Eric Garcia.I have never rode a horse before so only wanted half an hour rather than an hour and he arranged this.Our Instructor was amazing and soon had me galloping down the beach

Don't forget at the airport there is a Departure Tax which needs to be paid before you check your baggage through, this can paid in us dollars and we got dollars change

Overall amazing resort,with friendly,warm,attentive, awesome staff,they truly made the experience hats off to them.

If you are not sure about this hotel or Costa Rica don't be it is truly amazing.We take 7 -8 trips a year and rarely visit anywhere twice but we simply can not wait to go back here and its first on our list to book for 2013!

Room Tip: The hotel offer golf carts as transportation from one part of the hotel to another. If you are not k...
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  • Stayed November 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodside, California, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

We looked at reviews before we came and they all recommended Erik Garcia. We found him easily on the beach and he was great. He created an amazing excursion for 10 of us to ride ATVs about an hour to the Conga Trail for zip lining, and back again on the ATVs. All of us (adults and teenagers) had a fantastic time for a reasonable price. Bring cash. He can provide almost any excursion you want directly from this location. Thanks Erik!

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Framingham, MA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

A beautiful resort with spacious rooms. The staff is wonderful and try to make your stay as pleasant as possible. The resort layout and condition are absolutely beautiful!
The only negatives: Inconsistency among the staff and restaurants. The day-to-day staff are very helpful and want to make sure you are attended to and keep you happy. In some cases it is like "the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing." All of the restaurants are good and have varied menus-however, the meal quality is inconsistent and most of the restaurants use too much salt in the food.

Room Tip: Being an extremely large resort, you may opt to stay near your activities during the day. There are...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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.
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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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