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JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa
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Reviewed January 25, 2011

Very friendly staff . Nice spa and very large pool overlooking the Pacific ocean. Food in restaurants was good but a little pricey. Our room had large balcony close to ocean. Costa Rica was very warm this time of year but the nice breeze made it more comfortable.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank sls52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comments

Your opinion is very important for us

Best Regards,

Melissa Barrantes
Executive Assistant to the General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2011

Nice hotel, courteous staff, relax environment, a nice little beach resort. Staying here, you do not experience any local culture as such close by. Nearest town is Tamarindo where they have few restaurants, clubs, souvenir shop, and a juice bar. This is about 25 min away (should have been 10 min if the roads were good).

  • Stayed: January 2011
    • Value
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Thank zekky4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2011

Dear Guest,

We appreciate you have taken the time to write this review

Cordially,

Melissa Barrantes
Executive Assistant to the General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2011

My wife and I, along with 3 children (12,9,4) spent 5 nights during the x-mas week (Dec 26th-Jan1 at this location. The trip including air and hotel was paid for using points and booked almost 1 year in advance. Hard to comment on value as the trip was vitually free. We flew into San Jose spent two days at the Doubletress Punteranus and then drove in our rental SUV 3.5 hrs west to the JW. Yes there is a dirt road for about 2.5 miles, but no big deal in our SUV. In fact the faster you drove the quicker it was over. Then another few minutes you hit the gate house for the Heicienda Panilla area, give your name, and then another 7-10 minutes to hit the JW.

Property is beautiful, no doubt. Large pool with a huge area for the smallest of kids. Nice beach right there as well. Weather was outstanding all week long 85 degrees or more during the day. Staff and food was great. I read reviews for over one year about this place being crowded last x-mas and long lines, poor service etc... Not the case while we were here. No issue getting a lounge chair at the pool. In fact, for a busy week and they were sold out, it actually was most peaceful. Many that stay seem to go on day trips so the pool each day was not crowded at all. Our room overlooked the ocean and was very nice; good size with balcony.

We stayed at the JW pool for 3 days, took a day trip (within an hour) to several nearby beaches including Playa Flamingo, Playa Grande, and had to drive to Lola's for lunch as hide tide was in at noon when we wanted to walk there from the beach. Lola's was great even for the kids. We decided to eat in the hotel only one night, as after spending a whole day at the hotel, it was nice to get a change of sceneary. We drove to Tamarindo for dinner 4 nights including New Years Eve dinner and it was great. 20 minute ride, no big deal. Dragon Fly and Coconuts were our favorite. Christy, one of the concierges was most helpful in with finding restaurants for us. Tamarindo, as much of the beach areas, is a "surfing" community with some decent local shops and restaurants.

A few negatives about JW from our family perspective. This place is quiet. Elevator type music at the pool. Pool games like water basketball or volleyball did not exisit. No waterslide or "spash style" park for the kids. One ping pong table, but it was outside and too windy to play. Our kids had each other and brought their own water football and water type balls which kept them busy, but 5 days is a long time to keep young kids busy. We did our canopy tours prior to getting to JW and we prefer not to go on group tours. There are tours, but none really suitable for a 4 yr old, so we stayed at the pool or beach most days. There is a nice activity center for kids, but this is really the kind of place where you drop your kids off while you do something else. We prefer to do things with our kids so we did not take advantage of the center which is best (in our opinion) for ages 2-6.

Food: expensive to say the least. Breakfast was $25/adult, $12.50/child, and the 4 yr old was free. So $75 is steep but averaged $15 each and we made the most of it. Would never do this at home, but the only other option was ala carte and it would be the same price and you would get less food. Lunches poolside would easily be $100 for the family for little food and a round of 4 frozen drinks (no alcohol) for the kids was about $30. Needless to say, they only got one round. Dinners in Tamarindo were between $120-$150 to feed our family. At the JW, we ate at the steak house only. $130 may seem reasonable, but that was with 3 kids meals (about $11 each) and non alcoholic drinks. Could easily be over $200 at any of the other restaurents I am sure. Ice cream dessert was $9 each in any of the JW restaurants and they gave you 1 little scoop. Spending $50 on 5 ice creams would only happen once! Kids love ice cream, but you need to draw the line somewhere! This was the only thing that really irritated us during the entire stay.

Snacks/drinks...be prepared to spend big time. After one day of realizing this, we drove to Tamarindo and went to the supermarket. Not a dive at all. In fact very nice. We bought all the drinks and snacks for 2-3 days for about $40. Would have been 5x more at the hotel I am sure.

Toilet Paper...razor thin. What a shame for a JW!

We flew out of Liberia an easy 1.5hr ride. All in all a great trip.

If you are looking for a value with many things for your kids to do, you may be dissappointed. I would suspect if we paid for the hotel, it would have been over $400 a night for this holiday week. We easily spent $325/day on food $75 for breakfast, about $100 for lunch and drinks, $150 for dinner. Glad we came. Our family is not one to return to the same destination as we love trying new places and seeing new things each year. That does not mean your family should not try this property. The only other Marriot that I felt was as nice was in Kauia, Hawaii. I have been to Costa Rica many times for business, but never with the family. The kids had fun seeing how a different part of the world lives and the drives/views were great. Our family needs a car which is why we rented one. We like coming and going and not relying on shuttles (which they do have for a small price. $5/pp each way to town times 5 people = $50 and we went every day....$250 for the 5 days if we did not have our own car!

If you are looking for peace and quiet, in an elegant place with a stunning pool and beach only a few feet apart, and price is not an issue you will be excited to be staying at this JW. If you are looking for pool activities, a festive pool atmosphere, things for kids to do and true value this could be a challenge. $15 per day wireless internet is ridiculous in this day and age...should be built in to room cost or raise room cost so we do not feel like they have to hit you for every nickel.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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8  Thank EBPNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2011

Dear Guest,

We appreciate you have taken the time to write this detailed review

I am sorry to learn that you and your family did not enjoy as much as you (and us) would like to and we offer our apologies for any issue experienced during your stay.

We have added Volleyball as well as other activities in our daily program

Thank you for your comments and feedback

Best Regards,

Melissa Barrantes
Executive Assistant to the General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2011

Read trip advisor reviews, which are usually reliable, but this hotel experience was a poor one. Very disappointed with staff responses to problems. Was there with my boss and other people I work with. We were all unhappy for one reason or another. Troubles included, over charges, poor Internet connections, slow services in eating places, and rooms not as promised.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank Gagegage1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your feedback as it helps us to improve our services

Our internet speed is 7 MB

Cordially,

Melissa Barrantes
Executive Assistant to the General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2011

We stayed from 12/29 to 1/3 with two children ages 7 and 10. To get to the resort, you need to drive on a dirt road for a few km but it was fun! Check in was nice with cool towels and drinks offered upon arrival. Resort is big but yet we never felt crowded. We had a ground floor room that was very nicely appointed and clean. the grounds are well maintained and staff provides excellent service. Lounged by pool, beach and watched beautiful sunsets. About 30 minute drive to Tamarindo which has many good places to eat (Nibbina was awesome!) but a bit divey of a town overall. Went on a ATV ride thru Pinella (also very good) and visited Avenellas (sp?) beach - about 10 minutes by car from resort which had a real surfer feel to the beach! Overall, the resort is a bit "sterile" lacking in local color but hey, you can drive to get the local color and vibe you want and come back to a very nice place.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank RMTCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM_JWGuanacaste, Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Guanacaste Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review!

We all are glad to know you feel comfortable and received an excellent service from our staff

Best Regards,

Melissa Barrantes
Executive Assistant to the 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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