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“It's all relative....in this area a VERY nice place to hang” 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
Chicago, IL
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“It's all relative....in this area a VERY nice place to hang”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

I find it tricky business to give rankings as I am forced to compare to other experiences elsewhere. As this was our first trip to Costa Rica, I have nothing to compare it to locally, only to other places we've been.

Room - we had a ocean view, literally (room 232). There are plenty of rooms at this resort which are exposed to this amazing view, but plenty more which are not. So if it's important to you, you'll need to pay up for it. We shared our room with our two grown children and is decent sized with a large bathroom (tub, shower, separate toilet, etc.) and a balcony. Nightly tun down service was spotty, free bottles of water (never enough), mini-bar. Overall, very nice.

Food - we don't favor spending our dining time on campus so only had a few experiences. Pool food was mediocre for what we like to nibble on. We had breakfast buffet included with our room and it was quite good, very large selection but even this get's old after a few days. Had one dinner (Asian) and was quite good. The waitstaff are very sweet and proper. Overall - average.

Pool - HUGE pool, not sure if that's good or bad. We never had a problem finding a spot although did have a problem finding shade as it was VERY windy while we were there thus no umbrellas up. Other posts refer to the "bus tour people" which there where but we didn't find it a problem at all. The pool staff aren't as good as you'd expect (pointing "that way" for towels rather than helping you...) As a result, we chose to spend our pool time at the beach club down the way - much smaller, more to our liking.

Beach - the beach proper isn't much of a beach as you can't swim due to the surf and rocks. However - head to the beach club (a 10 minute walk or 5 minute care ride) and one of the best beaches I've been to (a couple of mile long and very wide with great body surfing, boogie board waves). From there, it is a 15 minute walk to Lola's - a FANTASTIC lunch place a million miles form nowhere. A highlight for us.

Location - 25 minutes from Tamarindo, hour and half from the airport. Remote by some standards. We drove into Tamarindo for dinner most nights - fun to do. Other posters have complained about "the roads". Get over it. There is about 3km's of bumpy dirt roads. The resort itself is deep into a development that obviously got stuck in the 2008 financial crisis but what didn't! Overall - a great experience traveling here and there.

  • Stayed March 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 6
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, March 12, 2013
Dear Guest;


We appreciate your valuable time sharing your experience at our Resort for your first trip to Costa Rica.

I regret you didn’t like our food. I will appreciate feedbacks about this with the purpose of improving the quality of our food.

I hope you having a car during your stay had been able to see more about this country. There was more beautiful beaches around this are like Papagayo, Conchal or Flamingo.

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 (372)
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

I stayed at this hotel for 8 nights feb 10 - 18 2013. 2 nights in a garden view room and 6 nights in an oceanfront suite. Our daughter joined us and I booked her a room for her self for one night. This room cost over 450 dollars and she was given a handicapp room with the shower in the toilet and people walking on a path two feet from her balcony. When I complained I was given all kinds of attitude by the staff. They did change her room but the new room was not cleaned properly. This time they tried to say she lied to them and it was clean.
This hotel is full of groups. We found it difficult to get a chair by the pool and even towels were in short supply at different times of day. The staff was taping off chairs with danger tape it would save for the business people even though they did't show up most of the day. I think all the guests should be treated egually. This was certainly not the case.
The resort is other wise lovely. J. Ko

Room Tip: Good Luck. Even the suite we got was not the category I booked. The reservation staff has real attu...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear Guest;

I regret to know that you perceive a bad attitude from our staff; I just want to let you know that we always try to help you with all your requests and needs.

We never wanted to make your daughter feel like a liar. We respect all our guests since you are very important to us.

It is pleased for me to know that you did like our Resort.

Regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midwest
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We had a wonderful stay at this hotel, read the other reviews and decide if the middle is where you will be happy. First this hotel is on a property which is gated and has other hotels, condos,golf course, single residences a chapel, clinic etc. within. Ask for a packet at the concierge office and you will find the large map of the property- wish we had been given this in our room instead of finding it so far into our stay. People from the properties are shuttled to different areas within the gates. A shuttle comes every hour on the hour and it will take you to any place you would like to go within the property but not outside. (you can take a ride in a van for 14$ each roundtrip to Tamarindo if you like ) That means that residents and guests can come and go. that is what it is - everyone we met staff and visitors alike were kind and happy - we had no incidents at the pool - although we could not find a chair often,we didn't come to sit at the pool - some do, I just figure I could do that stateside for a lot less money. We stocked up on necessities in Liberia before coming to the hotel and had the hotel staff remove the contents of the mini bar so we could use it for our own. they were very nice to do this. Sunscreen in the Liberia grocery store was not much cheaper than the hotel so bring what you need. I do admit it would have been nice to have soda in the gift shop when we ran out - it was $4.50 per soda in the bars..just sayin..the food was wonderful everywhere we went but we did spend an average of $25 per person for every meal with a beverage. If you are expecting to walk across the street and get a big mac you should probably be staying in Liberia. - we were tipping for everything until we realized there was already 10% added to every bill - we are good tippers but not that good. There is a nice beach club down the beach a ways and everyone mentions Lolas a little further down which is cool. I will say that the timing needs to be right for that or you will get stuck on one side or the other when the tide comes in. I did not appreciate the quote of 70$ to go two miles down the road to Lolas and back. I understand it's not on the property, but I didn't expect extortion - friends were quoted a different price for the same ride and that did not reflect well on the hotel. I would take the shuttle to the beach club, to save a bit of time and walk to Lolas from there. there is another hotel further down the other way and they have a nice beach as well. Housekeeping, staff, pool waiters, foodservice workers, were all excellent. Beds were comfortable no mechanical issues at all. if you are complaining about the light on the smoke detector you must have your eyes open. mine were shut while I slept. I happened to like the vendors that came in to sell their wares. it was nice when I realized I forgot to get a gift for a friend the night before we left. I would not change that. They were not intrusive in any way. I was part of a group and we had dinner a few times out on the property but it was two hours at best, & they brought in entertaiment. Other guests commented that even they enjoyed the dancers with soft music and a local group of excellent musicians. Yes, there are tourists, yes, they come from all walks of life as they do anywhere, yes, it's hot, no, it's not couples exclusive so there are kids although on our stay we didnt see many. Yes, there are big and small and average sized people wearing what they consider to be resort wear. yes, companies bring their employees there-its a nice place. All of this happens at every single resort/hotel in the world. if you want something exclusive and to your exact taste you should consider renting a private home on the beach with a chef and a maid. Read the other reviews and decide if somewhere in the middle of them is what you will find. We had an excellent stay, anything that wasn't perfect was because we didn't research enough to make better decisions. ps. PLEASE tell me where I can get one of the amazing hammocks!!

Room Tip: Anything Ocean View will give you amazing sunsets! I would avoid the plunge pool room right next to...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 5 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear Guest;


THIS is a Great Review. Thank you!

We appreciate your feedback and we are glad you have mentioned all the good aspects found at our Resort during your stay.

If you want to find hammocks like ours, I have to say that you need to go to Nicaragua. I recommend you to stay at the Intercontinental Managua.

Please feel free to contact me for any further information.

Sincerely;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

Just spent a wonderful week in Costa Rica. The hotel, location, food and people were wonderful! The beach is very nice and the pool is gorgeous. You will not enjoy the hotel if you are looking for a hotel near shops and restaurants. If you are looking for a place to escape, this is your spot!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you very much for your positive comments.

I am glad you liked the hotel and that you have a pleasant stay.

We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you back in a near future.

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.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

My wife and I are half way through our week long stay at this beautiful resort. We have the perfect room for us. Ocean view, but bordering the woods filled with beautiful birds. Have taken some great pictures fro our balcony. So far, the staff has been helpful, the food good, and the pool and views terrific. One caution - this resort is isolated! Tamarindo is 15-20 minutes away via a very bumpy dirt road. However, there is a shuttle which costs $7/person each way (last shuttle to hotel at 9:30 PM. Not much there, but bars, restaurants and tourist shops. If you're looking for nightlife, this may not be the destination for you as there is not much in Tamirindo, and even less at the JW. This is the dry season and it is hot and dry! But...beautiful blue skies over the Pacific. One caution - food and wine are quite expensive and given the isolated location, not much choice on where to eat. Not even a vending machine with a soft drink. Everything has to be purchased at one of the resort restaurants.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Dear Guest;


We appreciate all your great comments wrote in this review.

I am pleased you have experienced a nice stay at our resort and I hope you return in a near future.

Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel, Indiana
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed at the hotel with a tour group and were assigned a room that faced a woods. The resort is quite large so it was quite a walk to the pool and even further to the Pacific Ocean. The pool was great and the meals were very nice. The frist night we were there a company was giving a presentation and there was a man with a microphone giving a presentation to a group of approximately 100 people at the beach. I'm sure this made a lot of money for the Marriott but took away from the experience. The service was awesome and the rooms were what you would expect from a JW Marriott.

Room Tip: Insist on a pool view or ocean view room.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 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.
GM_JWGuanacaste, General Manager at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Dear Guest;

I appreciate your comments shared at this review.

I apologize if you felt uncomfortable with the event made the first night of your stay.

We truly hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back.


Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I are on day 2 of our 5 day stay. I can't say enough about the hotel and staff. As a Platinum Elite member, I have stayed at some very nice Marriotts and this one is definitely in the top 5. We were welcomed with a room upgrade overlooking the pool and ocean. There were some initial minor issues which were resolved very quickly by the staff. The resort is very clean and updated. The room is absolutely perfect. I read a lot of reviews prior to arriving and made note of some of the negative comments:
1) the road to the Hotel is a little rough but remember where you are and It is not that long of a bumpy road.
2) the food has been very good and typical of a JW Mariott. Pricing and quality is what you expect in a resort.
3) music by the pool is peaceful and relaxing and, unlike some negative posts, you cannot hear in your room.
4) the room is excellent. We have not experienced a bothersome red light from the smoke detector...some people are just too critical
5) the beach is not bad. The rocks on the beach are part of the beautiful landscape and there are parts where you can wade into the ocean and enjoy.
6) the resort is in a secluded area but that is part of the ambiance and what we wanted. Tamarindo is a short drive or shuttle where you can experience the Costa Rican experience both culture and food.

Overall, a great experience so far and worthy of a return trip.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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, March 8, 2013
Dear Guest;

Thank you very much for your comments and for taking from your valuable time to write this review while you are at the hotel.

I hope these four days has been enjoyed for you and your wife.

Please feel free to contact me for any further assistance.

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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