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“Better than Expected” 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
Sausalito, California
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Better than Expected”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

I came here expecting it to be of JW Marriott quality but based on some of the reviews, maybe a little overrated. I was pleasantly surprised! The is located in a gated area that includes another hotel, a golf course, villas and a beach club. It takes about 5 minutes just to find it once you pass the gates.

The hotel and grounds are absolutely beautiful. The resort is very Spanish style and the rooms are great. Very spacious with great linens, towels and toiletries. And a really nice bath tub! We definitely made use of the fridge in the room. Bed was really comfy too. No complaints about the room at all. If you get the Garden View room on the edge of the property, you can encounter a lot of wind that rattles the screen that keeps the bugs out of the patio area (brilliant idea).

We ate at the Azul restaurant for lunch one day and loved everything we got. Pricey compared to restaurant prices in the area but what you would expect at this resort. Another night we got room service because the only reservation available at the steakhouse was 8:30 and we wanted to go into town to see the rodeo!

I absolutely loved the Beach Club. Awesome beach that is great for surfing or just laying and watching. We drove around and explored the area and found the most beautiful beach that clearly doesn't get a lot of traffic. There were chairs and palapas set up but not 1 single person and it was GORGEOUS! Softest sand of any beach I had been to. I am not telling the name because I want to keep it deserted :-)

Service was great, property was beautiful and food was good. I recommend having a car so you can go out at night. If you want to be up in the action, then stay in Tamarindo. If you want peace and quiet with a lively scene 20 minutes away, then this resort is perfect for you!

  • Stayed March 2013, 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 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 1, 2013
WOW! This is a great idea to keep the name of the beach just for you. This makes the idea to our readers to explore too.

I am glad to know that you have fun exploring and also relaxing.

I appreciate your comments about our property and service.


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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1,357 reviews from our community

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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 (393)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Livingston, New Jersey
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We were deciding between the Four Seasons and the JW Marriott and ended up choosing the Marriott because we were told that it was newer. It was okay, a little disappointing. The rooms were okay, not amazing. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we felt "swamped" by two bus loads of people who were on tour, being dropped off. That was a turn off from the very start. In the morning we went down to the pool, and the lounge chairs were all taken - I suppose that happens at a lot of resorts, but it is "that kind" of a resort. The employees behind the reception desk and those who dealt with the tours spoke English, but if you asked any random employee for directions, for example, more often than not the response was a non response. The steak restaurant was okay, the asian fusion restaurant was lackluster. We did not eat at the Italian restaurant

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 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, April 1, 2013
Dear Guest;


Reading this review is very disappointing for all of us since you didn’t enjoy your stay at this Resort.

I am really sorry that you didn’t like this property and what we offer to our guests. I hope next time if you decide to come to Costa Rica again find a place which has everything that you are looking for and have a wonderful vacation.

Thank you for your time sharing your comments.


Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

My husband and I went here for our babymoon. We loved Costa Rica but were disappointed with this hotel. It is very expensive so we were expecting first class service and food. The first day we go to the pool and there were no towels. The staff kept saying "there being washed" but two hours later there 10 people waiting for towels and the staff was able to find one towel. We finally gave up and went back to our room. The food is ok at best. The staff raved about the "steak" restaurant. Our food lacked seasoning. I wonder if the guy on the grill had even made a steak before. We asked for the meat medium and it came out well done. The room itself was nice and the staff always eager to please but for those prices I expect things to be perfect. Definitely get a car so you can travel around to do stuff. We brought our own gps unit but if you don't you will have to rent one because Costa Rica doesn't have road signs to tell you where you are.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, April 3, 2013
Dear Guest;

We really appreciate that you chose our Hotel for your babymoon, congratulations!.

I regret that the food was not to your liking at our Steakhouse.

You are correct about the road signs which is why the hotel has its own signs throughout the roads.

Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
88 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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...
See more room tips
  • 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
30 helpful votes 30 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
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
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*
Number of rooms: 310
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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