My wife and friends of ours visited Westin Playa Conchal and just loved our stay here. I am structuring my review based on the following dimensions:
Hotel Facilities and Condition
Lobby – our first impression of the hotel was great. It’s a beautiful, well-detailed reception with rustic fans, marble and an excellent use of mahogany wood. There is tons of seating from outdoor furniture to latin-esque coffee tables and couches. There is also a bar and a restaurant.
Swimming Pool – the swimming pool is quite large with a swim-up bar, kid’s pool, basketball and volleyball net. The water is warm but not warm enough in my opinion and the integrated hot tub is just a few degrees warmer than the pool. They boast having the largest pool in Central America, not sure why this matters but it is a sizable pool. Be aware that if you want a good seat by the pool and shade you better drop off your towel to secure the chairs by 9 am or else you’ll be relegated to the back.
Bars – there are a number of bars including the lobby, swimming pool, disco, and some other restaurants. There is no bar on the beach. The only thing I really drank there were virgin pina coladas and Pepsis so better see other reviews for bars. My friends who did order wine found the replenishing of empty glasses quite slow and thin so something to note.
Restaurants – all the restaurants from menus to design were immaculate! See below for more info on food.
Rooms – we all agreed the rooms were impressive with marble floors, a daily mini kitchen with drinks, beautiful bathroom and a chic elevated bedroom area.
Wi-Fi – You can pay $13 every day for Wi-Fi in your room or get it free in the lobby, just have to bring your own connected device. I would rate the connection as excellent.
Size – the hotel is quite expansive with a number of facilities. There are a number of shuttles pickup trucks with converted truck beds into couches that pass throughout the grounds always willing to offer a ride. You will indeed require a ride, at least sometimes, especially going to the lobby as it is an arduous incline walk and is dark at night. You’ll find a number of other reasons like rushing for dinner appointments, sun and heat fatigue, etc.
Shops – the hotel rents out space for some nice little shops including a great Costa Rican coffee shop. Note the prices at the clothing stores are quite high so try not to forget anything. There are also some artisan merchants selling Costa Rican artifacts and souvenirs. We bought a beautiful rosewood bowl from them for $30.
Onsite wildlife - be prepared to see vultures, iguanas, raccoon, monkeys, exotic birds, herons, swans and coatis.
At our arrival we were welcomed with delicious mojitos, a warm welcome, and easy and quick check-in. The lobby staff were great for the most part with an earnest attempt to aide in a situation, provide helpful information or even take pictures. The shuttle staff were always enthusiastic about providing a lift whether short or long. The bar staff were as efficient as possible in making our drinks but be prepared to wait in some cases as line-ups build. The restaurant staff including hostess, servers, bus boys and food preparers were exceptional and conversational. If I rated the service at the hotel I would give it 4.5 to 5 stars.
Breakfast - the food was nothing short of amazing and equivalent to 4 star dining and sometimes higher (based on Toronto restaurant standards)! The morning buffet is pretty elaborate with a selection of breads, eggs, meats and the freshest local fruits and juices.
Lunch – for lunch there are a few options including the buffet with more lunch-style foods like tortillas, fish, hamburgers and the sort. Also, there is a pizza restaurant that made good pizzas, pastas and desserts. Caracola is a great spot too, try the ‘Especial’ which is a Costa Rican cuisine.
A la carte restaurants – there are French, Italian, Mediterranean, Latin and Asian restaurants that are all better than each other, so hard to pick a favorite! Advice: book all a la cartes restaurants as soon as you can if even you are not a 100% sure you’ll want to go as they’ll get booked quickly.
Room Service – room service is included at no cost and is decent. I say decent only because the food will not as hot or fresh as the restaurants.
Sands – the sands are white sands (maybe a little beige at times) but soft on the feet so no need for sand shoes. In fact, the roughest sands are at the beach entrance. You’d be well advised to continue left about 500m and on to get the best sands, most private area of the beach and least noisiest part.
Water – well, it’s the Pacific so expect it to be salty. The water is somewhat clear but don’t expect to see the seabed from the top, still it is amazing. The waves have a little bit of an undertow so I wouldn’t recommend babies or young children swim the ocean.
The best part of Costa Rica is indeed its eco-tourism and there is certainly no shortage of options. Here are the excursions we decided on. (Note: Arenal was prominently recommended but required a 4 hour drive each way plus almost 8 hours onsite so we decided against it for this trip, maybe next time).
Erik Garcia – As recommended by many TripAdvisors reviewers we met with Erik. You should know there are largely two options for excursions at the hotel including Swiss Tours (endorsed by Westin) and Erik and his crew whose unofficial office is the other side of the entrance of the beach. We chose Erik for the Palo Verde and Ziplinig excursions and Swiss Tours for the Sunset Tour. Swiss Tours will claim they are better for insurance reasons, service and being better than Erik. That is simply not true! We found Erik cheaper, offered better service and more informative than Swiss Tours. Also the Palo Verde tour he’ll send you on will allow for feeding of alligators and monkeys in the boat (both are very safe!). Go with Erik and his crew over Swiss Tours.
Sunset Tour – the tour was on a catamaran with snorkeling, unlimited drinks, and beautiful sunset deep in the Pacific. We also got to see Nicaragua in the distance. The crew were great and led by a tourism expert.
Palo Verde – definitely our favorite part. It’s about a 45 minute drive to the river and on the way we got to see the real Costa Rica – small towns, cute bungalow homes, highway passing cows and some volcanoes. The tour itself comprised of river boat traveling in dirty river with crocodiles, herons, egrets, monkeys, and other animals lurking. The coolest part was feeding bananas to monkeys off our heads and hands. One bold monkey even stole a banana out of our backpack. As for feeding the crocodile our boat leader fed one with some chicken meat. That was quite cool. You can see these in video form from Erik.
Ziplining – if you haven’t been definitely go…it’s wild!
- 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