I cannot say enough good things about this hotel and if you're considering staying here...you absolutely should! My husband and I traveled here 8.2012 and had an unforgettable vacation! The resort is gorgeous, our room was so clean you could eat off of the floor and the grounds were beautiful and constantly being maintained. The staff was incredible and beyond helpful. We were there for 8 days and by the 3rd day no matter what restaurant or bar we went to, the staff knew who we were. Stephanie Guitierrez was an absolute pleasure to work with and Katherine, Marisol & Milena deserve a special shout out for being so sweet and welcoming!
August is their off season, and it was perfect! I think there were close to 400 people staying the same week but you never knew it. The rooms are laid out 4 a pod and when it got dark, all you could hear was nature and it was glorious. The pool/bar was always full but never overly crowded and the restaurants were always at capacity but not in an obnoxious way. I will say this...if you're looking for a party hotel....the playa conchal is NOT it...at least not when we were there. It was however INCREDIBLY relaxing! I suggest going off season if you're able.
We experienced amazing bird watching, enjoyed seeing the millions of coati daily (there was a huge family of them that lived by our room) and we even saw some monkeys! The beach club restaurant had great food - ceviche was amazing and we loved the Latin restaurant, and the one that served cuisine from different countries (forget the name). The buffet was also really good any time of day. Never a disappointment! All of the food was excellent, however our least favorite was the French restaurant.
The drinks are great and strong, the pool is beautiful and the beach is breathtaking! Their sunsets are the most beautiful we've ever seen....bring a good camera! The fridge is stocked daily w alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and you can get room service just about any time of day. I highly suggest taking the resort golf tour, great picture taking opportunities - we saw lots of monkeys! Also, snorkeling is free and there's a guide who takes you out about 20 minutes by kayaking, to a reef that is FILLED w/ aquatic life. He picked things up like puffer fish, squid and starfish and let us touch and play w whatever he could get his hands on. We loved this excursion so much we did it twice! We also went far right on the beach and there's great snorkeling there however we saw a giant sting ray and high tailed it out of there and back to the main beach.
We did two excursions with Eric Garcia - zip lining and a rain forest, volcano tour. Eric is located right outside of the gate when you go to the beach. Not affiliated w the hotel. He's great to work with and we were totally safe. On the rain forest tour it was just us and our guide Rico Suave who was fantastic and really gave us a great experience and taught us a lot of CR history past and present.
Bring the highest SPF you can find. It is hot hot hot and the sun is brutal! It cost us $30 for SPF 40 that we got at the resort store. We got fried, snorkeling. We've traveled many places before...such a rookie mistake!!
We stayed in the main area and only a few children were there. We had a huge water volleyball game one afternoon which was a blast and many people we met were staying at the royal beach club but loved the "regular" pool and bar much better. I also went to the spa which was divine!! Definitely check it out if spas are your thing. We didn't do the "club" thing at night but did do the nightly shows which were great! Very little nightlife when we were there which was fine for us. We thought we would hate not having a casino or things to do late night but being up real early and being out in the sun all day...I don't think we ever made it passed 11pm!
Last but not least...definitely take a day trip to Tamarindo...beautiful and awesome surf town! Great food, fun shopping! Also - buy local coffee! The reserva is what all the locals drink and what the hotel serves I believe and it's fabulous and less than $2 a bag! Don't buy the coffee at the resort coffee bar... It's very expensive!
One thing I will say...,if you want to get a true rainforest experience, or want to go to the cloud forest, butterfly conservatory etc. split your trip in two if you want to stay here because its really quite far for a day trip. We fell in love with CR and everything about it that when we eventually go back (because that's the plan) that's where we are headed!