My husband and I spent our honeymoon for 7 nights at the Westin Playa Conchal and it was worth every penny. We considered the Hilton Papagayo but decided to go with the Westin at the last minute and I think we made the right decision. We had no idea that the package we bought through American Airlines was the adults only or Royal Beach Club as it is known at the resort. Getting to the resort took about one hour and we used the taxi service at the hotel called Servicios Rizo SA whose service was very professional and prompt. The driver was waiting for us at the airport when we got through immigration and took us to the resort safely in a cool air-conditioned van. The private cab service for two was at a cost of $90 each way ... Not bad for a one hour ride. When we arrived at the resort we were shuttled to a private check-in and presented with a nice cold mojito which was much appreciated as the weather was very hot (felt like 100). Check-in was a breeze and within 5 minutes we were provided with the keys to our room and a brief overview of the property and were told that our bags will be delivered to the room. As we walked out of the lounge onto the resort you can't help but be in awe at the beauty of the property. Lush green trees every where and the air is filled with the sounds of many species of birds.
The room we got was a junior one-bedroom suite which was quite large and very comfortable. Don't bother asking for any special treatment or upgrades because it's your honeymoon - half the people there are on their honeymoon! There is a concierge posted at the building from 7am to 10pm everyday and they are there to serve you. The two guys at our building were Eliele and Jonathan. Super friendly and always willing to lend a hand. Balcony was great to hang on mornings to bird watch but be warned ... do not take your breakfast outside because there are birds just waiting for the opportunity to get a bite of that toast with or without your consent.
There a two pools on the resort; one is known as the public pool which is open to everyone and the other is the one for adults only and is primarily for the guests of the Royal Beach Club. It was nice to have the pool pretty much to ourselves and there were swim-up bars at both pools. There was also a hot-tub at the Royal Beach Club pool which we thoroughly enjoyed. We have been to some resorts where the pools weren't very deep but the ones here were nice depth and heated. Concierge service at the pool was great.
The beach was just outside the resort and very accessible and clean. There were vendors outside the resort hanging out but as soon as they realized that you were not interested in any of their services or merchandise, they pretty much left you alone for your entire stay. Sand was clean and many shells on the beach along with lost of mobile shellfish. The water is very warm and transparent, however, the current is very strong so most people stay very close to the shore. There are the vendors with jet-skis and this can get a little annoying.
The food. Overall the food was good but not the greatest you will ever have at an all-inclusive. There are several places to dine including room-service and where you go greatly depends on availability. Fortunately we were able to get reservations at the specialty restaurants we wanted and visited all of them with the exception of one - Las Candelas. Here is tip for you – MAKE YOUR DINNER RESERVATIONS UPON ARRIVAL. This is probably the most important thing you need to do. There are limited seats and they go quickly. If you don’t make those reservations you will be eating at the buffet more times than you would like. Our favorite restaurants were Meditera (Mediterranean), Faisinella (Italian) and Cauri (French). These were the three top places to dine and are more formal that the others. The buffet offers a wide variety for both breakfast and dinner and all expect one morning we ate the buffet. Room service is good but the wait time is unusually long, most times it takes at least one hour for your order. So here’s another tip for you – If you would like to have breakfast delivered to your room place the order the night before. We had lunch several times at Caracola which is the restaurant next to the beach and you should definitely try their desserts. Some of our favorites; the Tuna Tartar and Mussels at Meditera, the lamb shank at Faisinella and the Sardine appetizers at Cauri. Like most other reviewers, we strongly suggest skipping the dining experience at Bamboo.
We took two trips; one was a visit to Tamarindo and the other was a one-day activities tour. Having lived on an island many years ago, the visit to Tamarindo was not as great as many people made it out to be and quite frankly over-rated. The cab service dropped us at the end of the beach town and we spent three hours in town bored because there are maybe four blocks of one road of shopping and since the town is tourism-based, prices are steep. Inhaling the dust from the unpaved roads in 100 degree weather was not my idea of a vacation either. We did take the Mega Combo tour with Swiss Travel which is located on-site at the hotel. We opted not to go with everybody’s favorite tour guide Erick Garcia. At first we thought we were getting deal because just before you enter the beach, at the stall for the kayaks and bikes, there are tours being sold for a much higher price than Erick. For the same tour we took through Swiss Travel (which is endorsed by the resort) which includes zip-lines, water slide, horse-back riding, lunch, mud bath, hot springs and transportation, the stall at the beach entrance charges $185 per person and then you go outside and Erick quotes you a price of $135 per person. Well for the same $135 per person you get the tour through the resort if you took the time to look. No basis to judge the guy on the beach but we both had a great time and our tour guide (Junior) was hilarious. Good job Junior.
Our honeymoon was not without some drama. On our way back to the airport, we forgot our back-pack in the taxi and only realized the mistake twenty minutes after. Luckily an airport employee understood our problem and called the hotel, got in touch with the on-site taxi service which then called the driver and told him that we had left our bag in the bus. The driver returned the back-pack to us at the airport and we were eternally grateful. This is what we have come to expect of the people of Costa Rica even though we were only there for one week – honesty. In most other places we would not have been able to get back our property but luckily we did – thank you Miguel D!
As good as this story of our honeymoon sounds, there is a sad ending. On the last day, which was Monday August 13th 2012, we made a quick visit to the hot-tub before we checked out of the resort. In our haste we must have forgotten our camera around that pool area and only realized that we didn’t have it three days later while unpacking. We called the hotel several times to see if someone had found it and turned it in to the resort. It was a silver Sony DSC-W690 16.1 megapixel camera in a black nylon case with a gray cord attached to the camera. That camera contains all of our honeymoon pictures and meant a lot to us. The camera is the model at this url (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+DSC-W690+16.1-Megapixel+Digital+Camera+-+Silver/4997303.p?id=1218595786414&skuId=4997303) Given the honesty that we experienced while in Cost Rica we were very disappointed to learn that nobody turned in our camera. We are not interested in getting the camera back …. Only the pictures. There are the only pictures we have of our honeymoon and we are heartbroken that someone has it and did not give it to the hotel.
To the person that kept our camera – we hope misfortune follows you all the days of your life and you lose one item every year that means something to you. We also hope something happens to you so that you can never steal from anyone again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Westin Playa Conchal is an All Inclusive eco-friendly retreat, located between the exotic forests and unspoiled beaches of the North Pacific Riviera of Costa Rica. Our secluded vacation spot is a perfect balance between unrivaled luxury and local culture, giving our guests an unforgettable vacation experience. Our All Inclusive experience includes all meals, drinks, use of our fitness center and kids club as well as entertainment options including non motorized water sports, daily activities and nightly events. The resort also offers an adult only all exclusive experience at the Royal Beach Club where guests have access to a private pool with concierge service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal Hotel Playa Conchal
- The Westin Resort And Spa, Playa Conchal