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“Oddball property. Great Manager but not really a JW Marriott” 2 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 9 hotels in Santa Cruz
Charlotte, NC
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
77 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Oddball property. Great Manager but not really a JW Marriott”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

Stayed here the other night. Platinum member, stay at plenty of JW properties around the world.
This one totally misses the mark. Staff are slow, lazy, unfriendly, and more interested in hanging out and chatting than serving customers.
At check-in I had to wait ages, then finally checked in. No real welcome, actually the guy was pretty hostile! not a good way to start a vacation.
Hallways to rooms are tatty and worn out, trash and soiled bedsheets line them throughout the day. Not a good impression. Room was big but bathroom unclean and nothing worked in my room! lights broken, shower broken, connecting door left unlocked, and right before bed...the air conditioning broke! insane for a newer hotel!
Luckily the rooms have fans and it is cool at night, but how odd....
Pool is nice, ocean is pretty and the sunset a must - however as others have said you cant swim in the ocean (but this is not the hotels fault). Service is poor at the restaurants which I can concur are wildly overpriced and poor in quality. The property has no....umph factor. It might as well be a courtyard resort. I didnt once see any JW marriott signiature service, quality or standards. For US$575-675 a night, this hotel could provide a lot more! I left feeling like I would not return, nor would I advise anyone else to spend sums of money that large for the fake JW marriott you get here.
Hotel is also VERY far from town through a failed golf community (only a few houses built, no doubt part of the property bubble of 2008-2010). Depressing and slow. Unpaved road for a few miles for no apparent reason, then Tamarindo town which is pretty nice for some non hotel food.
All in all, I would avoid at all costs. Not a real vacation, and not a good ambassador for JW Marriott or Costa Rica.
Manager, however, was a great guy!

Room Tip: Save your money and go to Mexico!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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, April 3, 2013
Dear Guest;

I appreciate your comment about me and surely I did everything in my power to amend your inconveniences. All areas of the hotel are always well maintained and up to par with quality controls, we will check the faults that you have mentioned and correct them if needed.

Please accept again my apologies for these inconveniences. The last thing I want is for one of my guests to leave the hotel with a bad impression which is why we do everything possible to fix any situation.

Regards;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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1,207 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (345)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
asheville, nc
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

This is a beautiful property--gorgeous pool, lovely views of the Pacific, nice big rooms with comfortable beds. But the staff does not measure up. The porters were incredibly slow (we ended out fetching our own bags after waiting over 30 minutes), the waiters who bring your drinks are also slow and hard to find. (An exception was the lady who did the Latin Dance class-she was charming and very patient, although she was also late showing up for the scheduled class). There were also some odd minor things wrong with the room--the A/C wouldn't work unless you slammed the patio doors shut (the door could be shut and locked and it still wouldn't come on); the light in the armoire also wouldn't turn off unless you slammed the door shut; the toilet paper holder didn't fit properly so the toilet paper kept falling on the floor, and most odd, the shower and toilet were in a room together so that when you took a shower, the floor by the toilet got soaking wet. (It also made it awkward, to say the least, for someone to use the toilet while someone else was in the shower.) Although this is a very expensive property, there is no free wifi. Also, the location is very isolated--we were just there for one day of rest in the middle of a tour, so it didn't matter to us, but if you spent more time there, it might become an issue (shuttle service to town, etc., is also expensive). Overall, I think there are many beach resorts that are a better value for your money.

Room Tip: Many rooms have a view of the Pacific--I think you'd definitely want that. The weird bathroom s...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 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
    • 2 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, April 3, 2013
Dear Guest;

As you mentioned the AC doesn’t work if the patio doors are open and the lights in the armoire turn off until you close the door, this is done for energy saving.

I would like to clarify that not all the rooms have the shower and the toilet together, only in the handicap rooms.

I apologize if our staff did not fulfill your request in an adequate amount of time, we will review this issue. I thank you for your comments.

Regards;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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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 March 25, 2013

I would actually give them a 3.5/5 if I could...Not "Very Good", but way better than "Average". Nice property, generally clean, people were nice and helpful. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but there are things to do in the surrounding area(zip-lining, surfing, a small town, etc...). Service is "acceptable", but not great...if you speak Spanish, you will probably be better off. Food is just OK and very expensive, although the Asian Fusion place was excellent, and we ate at Coconuts in town one night which was also very good. The beach is pretty bad, and the water is not swimmable, so if you want a beach vacation, this is not your place. Pool is really nice, but a little cramped. Overall we had a nice stay, but prefer the Carribean and Mexico.

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


We strive to get a 5 rating but thank you for your rating, this is what helps us to improve. I am glad that you enjoyed dining in the Tamarine Restaurant.

Our staffs knows English as a second language and are as fluent as possible, I am sorry if you had some trouble in communication.

You can find beautiful beaches in the Guanacaste area, from rocky to some perfect for surfing and swimming such as Avellanas which is right next to ours.

Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

It was great place for doing nothing. In my case it was perfect- after all 8 days running all over the country and exploring wildlife, I could not wish for the best place to end my vacation.
Right on the beach Spanish style resort with huge pool right on the beach, great food, spa, hummocks, wonderful comfortable rooms- it is exactly what you expect from Marriott and plus.
Too bad that it was not really swimming area in Pacific- too rocky. But you can find little pool between rocks where you can wet your feet :-)
There were offered some classes- Spanish, dance, and such, so you get yourself busy. But I don't know if anything you can do outside of resort, by getting there I didn't see any, but it doesn't mean it is not existing :-)
So, luxury accommodation, great food, long walks on the beach, relax- it what it's all about!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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 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 22, 2013
Dear Guest;


It is easy to realize that you had a relaxing stay with us; and I am glad.

I hope to have the pleasure to be your host again in a near future.

If you want to have some adventure there is a lot of activities that you can do in this area. Next time contact our Concierge he would help you to plan your vacations.

Kind regards;

Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

I am currently at the end of 12 day stay.
The location of the hotel is on the beach, only it's not swimmable, the beach club is 5 minutes away and is much nicer for food , pool and beach. They don't have accommodations there, as it is the beach area shared amongst 4-5 properties nearby.

Thank goodness we have a car. We go to Taramindo every chance we get for dinner , make sure you go to Patagonia Argentina restaurant ( everything is great there and well priced) and we even found a great little Italian style pizza place ( thin crust ) called pizza la baula- good spot.
We found the best place called Lola's for lunch and hang out at beach - 10 minutes down beach by car and exceptional . We do Lola's from 11-3 - it's a surfing beach and the beach club for nice pool and sunsets. Food is good there too. Very beautiful, sort of a bohemian feel. A must !
Breakfast we go to la posada near the property and very good and half the price.$ 10-15 per person and nice atmosphere .
All in all the people and service is very good at the Marriott . Location is good for doing day trips , but if you want to stay put, you will be very bored and the food is extremely overpriced - considering the quality . Must say the deserts were good at Marriott. Very disappointed , not one good meal. I didn't want to drive every night, but after 4 dinner meals at different places on resort , a few breakfasts , just gave up. Actually, had a hamburger one say and it was fine to be fair, but has to send back as it was too red for my comfort , but they we're good about it.

I tried every restaurant and quite openly. They were not good, even though the service was good. I feel bad writing this, but the restaurants out side the property are 5x better and they are 1/2 the price.

Rooms are good - tour people were kind as most Costa Ricans are. The tennis courts are good as well.

Back tomorrow to Patagonia for a nice steak. Last night my wife had a delicious lamb pasta, my daughter had the chicken - good as well.

Toronto - Canada

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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 22, 2013
Dear Guest;

I regret to know that you didn’t like our food at any of our five restaurants.

It is good to read that you are having a great time though.


Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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McKinney, Texas
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

The JW Marriott had beautiful grounds and very nice rooms. We had two nice ground level rooms ( on the ocean side) which were very convenient with kids. Very comfortable beds and bedding. The beach had a red flag warning when we arrived. I was unable to find a staff member with good enough english to explain the warning. Be forewarned if you get there at high tide that there are a lot of rocks you cannot see. You will be surprised in the morning when the tide goes back. Kids had fun with the tide pools in the rocky areas- live octopus, starfish, conch! In the evening we watched the sun set as the kids played in the best waves of the day- knowing were the rocks were located from earlier in the day. Food was not terrible child oriented. We ended up getting room service for kids every night- but they were exhausted- even the 13 year old- so it was fine. It is remote, so unless you have a driver or rental you will be stuck there. This isn't bad if you are honeymooning or just relaxing and not looking for entertainment it is such a nice property. Kids were amazed by the breakfast buffet. We got the package that included breakfast which I think was worth it for a big meal for a family of five.

Room Tip: We were in the low 200's and faced directly to the beach.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 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 22, 2013
Dear Guest;

The fact that your children had fun and enjoy their stay it is gratifying.

I hope our readers take your advices about how have funs at the beach with their kids as you did.

As you said we are a relax place but we also are 20 minutes away from Tamarindo where you can find night clubs to have fun. That is why it these cases we recommend rent a car.

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. We will be waiting for your next stay.

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.
Newton, Massachusetts
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

This place is really spectacular, I loved the slow pace and relaxed feel. Like really, what other resort has massive hammocks situated in courtyards throughout the property!!! The whole place has an inside outside feel, the weather is so beautiful that the lobby is outside overlooking the pool (which btw is the largest pool in central america, it is HUGE). The beach is beautiful as well, we spent lots of quality time there, like surfing lessons, exploring tide pools at low tide, swimming, and best of all, taking long walks! Overall, this place is an oasis of peace and tranquility from your busy every day lives!

Room Tip: The higher floors have great ocean views, and the rooms toward the center of the building have an un...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 22, 2013
Dear Guest;


Thank you for sharing your experience at our Resort during your stay.

Is good to know that you had enjoyed every minute and liked all what we did offer you.

I hope you have learned some surf. Next time it would be better for you.

Sincerely;


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

Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica Hotel Santa Cruz
Jw Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica Hotel
Jw Marriott Guanacaste Resort And Spa Costa Rica
Jw Marriott Santa Cruz
Marriott Santa Cruz
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:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 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 a Costa Rican hacienda style resort experience, in a rustic luxury beach front property in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This resort & Spa sits oceanfront on a secluded stretch of coastline near the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course, south of Tamarindo. The property features the largest infinity pool in Central America, outdoor hot tubs, a fully equipped fitness center, biking and jogging trails, a Kids Club where children will be entertained with various activities while you relax in our Spa, ranked one of the top five Spas in Latin America by Spa Magazine. This Costa Rica resort offers 5 restaurants and two bars, enjoy a dinner right on the beach under the stars at Azul Grill, Asian Fusion cuisine in Tamarine, a genuine Guanacastecan style Steakhouse in Sabanero or relax at Nau Lounge and Bar while admiring a spectacular sunset. All rooms have balconies with garden, pool or ocean views. In-room amenities include LCD TVs with premium channels, soundproof 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 resort is surrounded by the splendors of Costa Rican nature; with a choice of 3 beaches, adjacent to an equestrian center, tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course with a coastal layout designed by Mike Young, be sure to pause at the 15th hole overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Off-site activities like canopy tours, horseback riding and scuba diving can be arranged on site. The town 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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