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“Some of those on our tour thought it was paradise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica

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JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Hacienda Pinilla, Santa Cruz, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 8 hotels in Santa Cruz
Dublin, California
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“Some of those on our tour thought it was paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

I travel a lot and am VERY picky. Many others on our Caravan tour thought this hotel was paradise. We had a good time, but there were some glitches (most of which were promptly addressed).

1. Our group of 42 arrived at 4:25 PM. The hotel computer had been down since around 11 AM, so the check-in guy was not sure all the rooms were ready. Our tour guide had to persuade him to let us to to our rooms to check them out.
2. The regular daily maintenance of our room had been done, but there was an omission. The room safe was missing. We called and within about 30 minutes they had located one. It took about another 15 minutes to get it installed.
3. The shower controls are strange. You only get hot water when the control is set in the middle. If you peg it one way, it is cold, but pushed to the other exteme it is only tepid while water from the sink or bathtub is scalding.
4. The heavy duvet on the bed would be more appropriate in a cold climate.
5. Our garden view room had a view of a fence, "scrub" plants, ad was far from the pool and restaurants.
6. There is no where in the room convenient to hand wet swimsuits.
7. We did not get a requested 5:45 AM wake-up call.
8. We stayed 2 nights, but the shampoo and conditioner were not replenished. When we asked for more, the maid pulled them out of what had been set aside for another room. -- Perhaps that is why ours were not replenished.
9. The toiletries are very nice and there are a lot of face clothes, but the first night there was no shower cap.
10. Others in our group loved the pool and spent the day in it. It is large with a well marked, very shallow children's area. The maximum depth is about 4 feet. There is a very nice "infinity" effect overlooking the ocean. Only one side of the pool (the south side -- on the left as your face the ocean) has steps. There are also shallow entry steps at the main lobby end. I was able enter from the north side by using one of the two bridges as a hand hold. The only shade of the pool comes from two narrow bridges.
11. Our room had two beds. My husband was convinced that the one he slept in was tilted.
12. There is a nice gym with a view of the garden. The attendant will bring youa headset and you can get English language programs on the TV.
13. We enjoyed watching sunset at the beach. The pelicans put on quite a show diving vertically into the shallow water.

Room Tip: Ask for one near the pool.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear Guest,

We understand that not all persons are or think equal. And we respect your opinion and we appreciate for sharing your comments with all of us.

We apologize for our mistake waking you up at 5:45am.

We will consider all your comments point it in this review to improve our services. Feedback from our guests are always welcome.

Kind regards,



Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 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 (373)
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1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

Loved the property..stayed 7 nights in a deluxe ocean view room. Appreciated the free bottled water as it was hot. The staff was very responsive to requests (repair guy even gave us directions to a locals only style rodeo in Tempate..awesome!). We had a rental and ate all meals at the local sodas..Las Palmas was the closest and best menu. Surfing was great at Avellanas just a 5 min drive or 15 min walk down the beach. Saw numerous turtles out in the water. The only improvement is in the checkout process...it took 20 minutes. Normally 2 minutes in any other hotel. Contrary to other reviews, the menu prices were close in price to other touristy restaurants in Tamarindo. Bottom line..great base camp for tours and surfing or a day at the pool relaxing. See you again soon.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 31, 2013
Dear Guest,

I like to hear that you spend a wonderful time here.

You really experienced Costa Rican style eating at local sodas.

I hope to see you soon too. Bring some friends to Avellanas for surfing. They would love it.

Thank you for your feedback about our Check out process we will work on that.

Kind regards,

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I stayed a few days in this hotel - the rooms are very spacious and well appointed (large TV screen with many channels), large mini bar, coffee machine, great linen and shower products.
Swimming pool huge and relaxing at the same time. due to configuration , and very good quality sunbeds. IN addition, a very light zen music makes the whole experience incredible.

Many different restaurants within this 310 room complex (6 i think) - every one very friendly and good service. Really enjoyed that aspect.

The only BIG down side is that every thing is outrageously priced - no shop around to buy a coke or some drinks.. every thing has to be purchased in house at the restaurants - bottle of Evian water at $7.50 (and that is for starters) gives you an idea on how every thing is priced. The beach was somewhat disappointing as well - quite small, many stones... can not really bath in it.. just need to stay at the swimming pool


OVerall great stay (as long as u are ready to pay for all the extras).

Outside of that aspect, i enjoyed

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your positive comments about your recent stay at our Resort.

We are please to know that you enjoyed your vacations.

We are 20 minutes away from Tamarindo and this beach is very nice for swimming and surfing and we do have a shuttle to go there. Also avellanas beach is beautiful and the shuttle inside the hacienda is complementary.

Next time that you visit Costa Rica I will recommend you to rent a car and explore this area. You will not regret since you can find the most beautiful beaches of our country.

Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canyon Lake, Texas
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

The JW Marriott is a fabulous property - simply beautiful - right on the Pacific - unbelievable pool - great rooms - fantastic bedding - you will not want to get out of bed. If you stay here - you stay here - no town within about 50 miles - not even a small village - enjoy this great property - your not going anyplace else. You will have to eat and drink here - it is 5 star and you will pay 5 star prices. Fill up an extra suitcase with your favorite beverage - we did and enjoyed the great views and great weather on our balcony. We did purchase drinks by the pool and ocean. If you don't mind the isolation - you will love the JW Marriott.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for such a great review.

We offer shuttles to Tamarindo which is 20 minutes away from the Hotel at different times during the day until 6pm and the last one from Tamarindo is at 9:30pm. This shuttle has a cost of $14 per person round trip.

I am glad to know that you enjoyed your stay and everything what we offered was of your complete pleasantness.

Kind regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

We stayed for 5 reward nights. The room, partial ocean view, was lovely and luxurious. Separate spa tub, shower and toilet compartment. Comfortable bed. Balcony. The pool is lovely (though lacking in features) and particularly nice at sunset when the infinity edge makes it seem as though the pool and the ocean are one. We enjoyed the Asian Fusion restaurant.

BUT - there is little to do during the day and NOTHING to do at night. No dancing, no live music, let alone anything else. And the hotel is a drive through a development then long bumpy dark dirt road away from anything else - figure a half hour on mostly bad roads. The hotel itself has bad maintenance issues. Many elevators were broken. The room is damaged and under construction. And the concierge staff is worse than useless. They were surly and gave incorrect advice several times. Their sole role seems to be to sell the overpriced tours listed in the brochure they hand out. The front desk staff was alternately obsequious and sneering. Our best advice was from a waiter in the steak restaurant (unfortunately the restaurant wasn't great). There is no place on property to buy food - e.g. a yogurt, a coke - other than the hotel restaurants (note that this is different from the Marriott Los Suenos down the coast).

Overall verdict: Since the stay was free and since we had a car and free internet (we're Marriott Gold) this was an okay place. I wouldn't pay to stay here and even if it's free - you need a car and to visit a supermarket before you come. And to rely on tripadvisor for help - the hotel won't be any in terms of trip planning.

Room Tip: Make sure you have a working elevator and aren't in a place where there is construction nearby...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Guest,

We appreciate your comments about your recent stay at our Hotel.

I am pleased to know that you enjoyed your room and our Tamarine Restaurant but I am regret that you didn’t totally enjoy your stay.

We are a very quiet hotel and we offer tranquility, relax environment and also a lot of great tours to do in the Guanacaste area. However for all your recommendations we are going to start doing activities at night during the week to entertain our guests without disturbing the tranquility that we offer to our guests.

I apologize for the bad service you perceived from our concierge department. I am taking actions to improve our service.

Kind regards;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We stayed JW Marriott on Dec 30 and 31 as the final leg of our Caravan tour. What a great way to end the tour - with a high note. Secluded location. Grounds are clean and well maintained; room we stayed was at th e 4th floor, immaculately clean, overlooking the pool, with balcony and privacy screen, close to the beach area. Quiet at night, can get a restful sleep. Hotel offers several activities such as stretching exercise, one hour "lecture" on Costa Rican tradition, Latin dance and walk along the beach. Infinity pool is beautiful. New Year's eve party was delightful with a variety of music , food and fireworks. Cost was a bit expensive (about $130) for adults, discounted for kids. They have a walking trail also to explore the Pinilla hacienda. Nice trees and flowers. Nice homes by the golf course. Beach has sands and rocky volcanic rocks. Saw starfish close to the beach. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were buffet style - elegantly presented. Lots of choices of veggies, fish, meat , fruits and dessert. Very pleasant stay and experience - perfect if you just want to relax and stay in the resort; which was what we needed after several days of sightseeing.

  • Stayed December 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

Stayed at JW Guanacaste first week of January and enjoyed 3 relaxing days there with my husband and 12 year old daughter. The rooms/bathrooms were really nice - spacious and well laid out, but best thing about the rooms was the big balcony which had very comfortable seating furniture. The screen on the balcony which can be rolled up and down was really appreciated - kept out the insects and provided shade on the very sunny days. We spent a lot of the time on the balcony enjoying the view and the breeze. We had an ocean view room in the 440 series - while the view was very nice, it was far from the beach and partially obstructed due to the trees on the terrace below. Wish I had known, would have asked for an ocean view closer to the beach. The hotel layout with the courtyards and hammocks was great. We all spent time in the hammocks. We had a rental car (so glad we did!) and divided up our meals between the hotels and restaurants in Tamarindo - found the food to be cheaper and better outside the hotel. We used the tripadvisor reviews on restaurants to pick places to eat - the reviews were right on the money and extremely helpful. We got some drinks and snacks from the supermarket in Tamarindo (as advised by a number of reviewers on the site) - it was wonderful to have drinks and snacks in the room without spending an arm and leg. Driving in the area was not a problem - the road leading upto the Hacienda Pinilla area is a bit of an adventure. There is an unpaved dusty portion followed by stretch of road that is a minefield of potholes. Overall we enjoyed our stay at the JW Marriott and found no glaring negative issue.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Guest,

It feels very nice when I read this kind of reviews and know how wonderful you spend your time at our Hotel.

I share with you about our comfortable hammocks (I have one very similar in my house). They are great to just laying down reading a book or take a siesta.

I am sure all the tips that we can read on trip advisor are very helpful.

Thank you for all this wonderful comments.


Kind regards,


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica

Address: Hacienda Pinilla, Santa Cruz, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Santa Cruz
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 #1 of 8 hotels in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica 4.5*
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 
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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

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