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“like trying to sleep in a bowling alley...” 3 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
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“like trying to sleep in a bowling alley...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

OK, but disappointing for the price... We have 'gold status' in the frequent stay plan and have been very successful in all our global stays with Marriott, but this one missed the mark. Even more disappointing because it's a JW, which is their high-end brand.

On the plus side; The grounds and pool area are undeniably gorgeous and well maintained. We were 'upgraded' to a room with a pool view. Room was somewhat larger than a typical studio with a very large bathroom & dressing area, very nice. The hotel's private beach area was spectacular. Bed was very comfortable (would have made for a great night sleep, if not for the noise...)

On the negative side; Many minor complaints, that taken individually would hardly be worth mentioning, but together distracted from the overall stay. These include;

1) No complimentary bottled water. This is after the hotel made a point of telling us not to drink the tap water. The problem I have with this is that as a 'gold member' we are accustomed to having access to the Executive Lounge at almost all the Marriotts we stay at. This being a JW and a resort, they do not have an Ex Lounge, which is fine, BUT then I would expect to at least get complimentary water in the room, without push-back from the front desk, instead of attempting to charge $3 a bottle for 12 ounces of water. It was just a naked cash grab, and not indicative of our usual Marriott experiences.

2) My wife finding a hair in her dinner (OK, it ain't the end of the world, and the restaurant waived the charge for that meal, but it is one of those life experiences you'd rather not have...)

3) A $7 charge, one way, on their hourly timetable, to take their shuttle into the local town of Tamarindo. Didn't impact us because we had a rental car, but I sympathize for those relying on Marriott for transport, as this was another naked cash-grab. Really? Over $400 a night for a room and a $7 eye-gouge...

4) The noise level was completely over the top. Architecturally, the building design has long enclosed hallways and tile floors that contribute to it being one massive echo chamber. There is a small entryway with doors, acting as a foray to block off 2 rooms (you & your neighbor), but the pins at the top and bottom of the doors would not fully retract, meaning the doors could not be closed. Without being able to close the doors, it was like trying to sleep in a bowling alley until things settled down, usually by 1am.

5) At checkout, I verified all charges on the statement, everything was fully accounted for and correct. Then, two days after checkout a mystery charge of $5 hits my credit card, with no explanation. Sure, I rejected it, but I expect them to do better.

Add in some mismatched furniture in the room (one with broken knobs) and it kind of looked like it had been decorated via flea market.

Overall, a somewhat disappointing stay, particularly for the money. I expect more from JWM.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 5, 2013
Dear Guest;

I would like to start saying thank you for your positive comments mentioned.

I will check why there was a charge made after your departure.

We do place in our rooms’ two bottles of water every day free of charge. The shuttle service to Tamarindo is an option that is given to our guests and it is handled by an external company, since a local cab costs around $30 for each way.

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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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)
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English first
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

Enjoyed a week here with our two teenagers. Agree that it is a bit isolated, but we had a car and left the property every day for adventures and food in Tamarindo. EVERYONE at the hotel was very friendly, and contrary to earlier posts we made many requests for extra towels, water, etc... and each one was met very promptly even though the hotel was extremely busy last week. In regards to on-site dining and prior reviews of Mansitas breakfast buffet, we were pleasantly surprised with the pricing on the breakfast menu. There are plenty of very reasonably priced and healthy breakfast options on the menu, the buffet is not the only option. Tip: We caught three very large red snappers last week and upon recommendation from the boat crew, brought some back to the hotel for dinner. Mansitas cooked it to perfection and delivered to our room exactly on time. Best fresh fist I have ever had. Also, it's worh going to the beach club for some relaxation away from the big pool. They have great iced coffees, drinks, and food.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 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 5, 2013
Dear Guest;

That’s great that you caught three red snappers on your boat tour and I am glad you liked the way they prepared for you, fresh fish is delicious.

I am very happy that your requests were met and that you enjoyed your stay with us. We will be looking forward to your next visit.

Everyone at our hotel will be very happy with your comments. THANK YOU!

Kind regards;


Jesús González
General Manager
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Danville, California
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

I spent 5 nights here and was upgraded to a suite for my platinum status. It was one of the nicest hotel rooms I've ever stayed in and that includes some Four Seasons resorts I've been to. The suite was luxuriously elegant and huge. It also had a private plunge pool just outside on the patio. Our kids also loved the gigantic resort pool. We spent hours every day swimming from one end of the pool to the other. The resort is very secluded and hard to get to so there isn't much to do around it but this was perfect for our family since we just wanted to get away from it all.

  • Stayed April 2012, 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 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, April 2, 2013
Dear Guest;

Your family having fun, relaxing having a great day at our Hotel is the scenery that we want to have with all our guests. It is our goal and I am glad that we have it with you.

We truly hope to have the opportunity to serve you again.

Sincerely;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013 via mobile

Our first time here my husband swore we were lost. No high end resort would be at end of dirt road. But this is. I love this place. From the cows roaming the road, amazing service and friendly staff. Love it. Far enough from Tamarindo but close enough to drive. Best hotel in area

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, April 1, 2013
Dear Guest;

I like your phrase: “Far enough from Tamarindo but close enough to drive” I just would add far enough to walk to tamarindo jajaja. But you are right is easy driving.

Thank you for your great comments and I am glad your experience was lovely.

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.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

We stayed at the JW Marriott Guanacaste for two nights as part of our Costa Rica Caravan tour. The service for checking in was efficient and our bags were delivered promptly. We were immediately impressed with the room - it was of a nice size and the jacuzzi tub and screened in patio were nice unexpected touches. The large pool was very nice to cool off on a hot day. Bar service at the pool was good. I was disappointed with the service at the restaurant - there was not enough seating for the two tour groups that were there are we had to wait for a seat on a couple occasions and the lineup at the egg station was too long for me - I opted for what was already prepared in the buffet.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 337 - nice garden view off the patio with a view to the Pacific Ocean. The room wa...
See more room tips
  • 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
    • 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 2, 2013
Dear Guest;

I am glad that your stay was enjoyed.

Thank you for let us know about your thoughts regarding service at the Restaurant. We need to improve it and we will.

We hope to welcome you back soon.

Regards;


Jesus Gonzalez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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.
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.
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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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