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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort
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Reviewed April 1, 2014 via mobile

I am writing this on our last day at the Westin Playa Conchal. Overall this resort was very good, but there were a few big upsets I will explain.

PROS:
Location/grounds- the location of this resort is amazing. Surrounded by nature and wildlife, it doesn't get much better than this. The ocean/beach is beautiful, straight off of a postcard. There is always staff cleaning and maintaining the grounds, rooms were nice and clean too.
Food- overall the food on this resort was great. The Italian restaurant was the best I've ever had. The staff there was excellent as well. The pizza/pasta restaurant by the pool was great. Buffet was good. Only bad food was at the Asain restaurant. I also had a 24hr stomach bug that started in the middle of the night after we ate there, not sure if it's coeincidence or not.
Service: 99% of the employees are very friendly and willing to assist. Angleo at the pool, the entire Fasonella's staff (spelling) and the male water aerobics instructor were all fantastic! Only encountered one or two unfriendly staff members throughout our 5 day stay.
Now for the upsets. There were only two things that really upset me about this resort, but they were severe enough that they would warrant a second-guess at staying here again:
1) The obnoxious, rude, and downright "stalking/harassing" behavior of the vendors on the beach and the hotel PHOTOGRAPHERS at the pool. I understand the beach here is a public beach but the minute you step foot on the sand you are bombarded by vendors. They are so obnoxious we limited our time going to the beach just to avoid them. I understand this is something that is probably out of the Westin's hands but wanted to mention it. Now, for my biggest upset with our stay, that being the photographers at the pool. Not being able to get any peace and relaxation at the beach due to the vendors, I thought 'ok, we will head to the pool'. Wrong again. There are a group of hotel photographers lurking around the pool from the minute it opens until the minute it closes. They will stalk you each and every day, trying to persuade you to get/buy pictures. They do not understand the word "no". One day during my water aerobics class, one of the girls literally manuvered her way in between people to take pictures of us working out. I was appalled! I told her I did not want to be photographed and she got a nasty attitude and actually began mocking me. Several times myself and other guests were rudely asked to move away from the pool island so they could snap pictures of kids playing. Ridiculous. They completely ruined the relaxing environment of the pool area and I am baffled that the Westin allow, let alone operate such a sleazy business and subject their paying guests to such vultures. It is not only inappropriate, but these people are pushy and rude and NEVER leave you alone. For this reason and this reason alone I would stronly re-consider returning to this property.
2) On April 2, 2014 we headed to the buffet for dinner. We were informed when we got there the buffet was not open for the night due to low volume of guests on the property. Really? Isn't this an all-inclusive? Didn't need to be a huge deal but our next step was to call the restaurants to get a dinner reservation, only to find they were all full. So, the resort has such a low volume of guests that the dinner buffet will not be open for the night, yet all the restaurants on campus are full? We found ourselves at a "5-star" all-inclusive with nowhere to eat. FINALLY, after an hour of complaining, someone "cancelled" at the Italian restsurant and we were able to eat there.
3) The pool closes at 6pm. Never heard of anything like this. Not happy about it. 100+ degree weather and the pool closes at 6. No evening swims for us
Not sure if we'd return for the reasons listed above.

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank ld912
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestinConchal, Public Relations Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2014

Dear ld912,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience with us.
It's regrettable that you have felt invaded by photographers, we appreciate that you informed us about this, and we will inform to the Photo Shop to correct this immediately, our mission is that our guests enjoy a beautiful, relaxing and renewal vacation.
We appreciate all your comments and suggestion, for sure will help us to improve in the opportunity areas that you mentioned to offer a better service to our guests.
We hope you can give us the opportunity to have you back to give you a great Westin experience.
Thanks again and best regards,

Zasha Pérez Gallardo
PR Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014

I write with mixed feelings, because there are some nice aspects to this hotel, but I feel that it is overpriced by about a factor of 2. My only other experience at an all-inclusive was in Mexico, where we paid about 1/3 as much as we did for the Westin, and have similar things to say about both experiences (good and bad) despite the significant price difference.

The good:

- Beautiful grounds with abundant wildlife
- Privacy
- Good activity variety for kids and adults (Paola in the Activities Center deserves special recognition)
- Nice, walkable, relatively quiet (for a resort) beach
- Buffet was quite good, as was the pizza restaurant
- Service is very good (with a few exceptions)
- Clean, and minimal bugs in the room considering the climate

The bad:

- Terrible value for the money - I can't see why this is priced so much higher than the competitors
- Umbrellas were frequently unavailable at the beach, and the gentleman couldn't explain why (turns out that it was too windy 2 out of 3 days we were there for umbrellas, which means almost no shade on the beach)
- Man putting chairs on the beach (they're not there already - you have to ask) was clearly annoyed at our daily request for chairs
- Reservation system is awful: You will either be eating at the buffet or room service on the day you arrive, so just get over it -- a very poor welcome; additionally, we called a few minutes past 8 a.m. (the time when the sweaty masses may call for reservations), and each time only very early or very late times were available at all of the restaurants
- Food in the sit-down restaurants was hit or miss, as was service (we were in and out the Asian restaurant in 40 minutes for 2 courses, but dining at the Mediterranean restaurant took 2 hours for 2 courses)
- Lack of vegetarian options, especially at some of the sit-down restaurants (maybe you can call ahead or ask for special options, but it's vacation, and this was not an issue elsewhere in CR)
- Lack of local foods - who goes to CR to eat Italian food, for example?
- Wine and liquor is bargain-bin-level (to be expected at a $100/night all-inclusive, but here???); from other reviews, there is a by-the-bottle wine list, but we were never offered this and had no idea
- It took 25 minutes for a pick-up when we were leaving, during which time we stood ready with our bags in 36-degree temperatures in the sun, being frustrated -- a very poor farewell experience

If you want to be in Costa Rica, stay at a true Tica hotel. If you want an all-inclusive (although after two experiences, I'm not quite sure why), go to Mexico and save a bundle of money. If you want to spent the money that this hotel asks, you can do far better, in Costa Rica or elsewhere.

Room Tip: Ask for a view of the lagoon, but note that some rooms are a 10-minute walk away from almost everything.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jasonrsa034
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestinConchal, Public Relations Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2014

Dear jasonrsa034,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience with us.
It is regrettable that your stay with us was not completely satisfactory. One of the major purposes of online reviews is to highlight areas for improvement and your feedback provides our hotel with valuable information that we can review to improve on for the future. Thank you for all your constructive comments, for sure will help us to check the opportunity areas that we have to offer our guests a beautiful experience.
Hope you give us the opportunity to have you back and offer you an amazing and renewal vacation.
Best regards,

Zasha Pérez Gallardo
PR Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014

We were part of a group that was organized by others, as it was a work related trip. We had never been to Costa Rica & didn't know what to expect. Initially, I was skeptical, afraid even. I kept telling myself, it's Central America and all sorts of things go through your mind, is it safe? ; what will the food be like? ; and the people?; will the resort be nice? ;.....and on went my fears! I almost didn't go at one point! Well, I am glad I cast aside my fears & went to one of the most beautiful places on earth! The first thing I noticed, (and that started at the airport), was how clean everything was. We just kept saying "wow"! I don't even know where to start, as I need so many adjectives to describe the country & its people, especially the people we met at the resort. It's a very large resort but getting around is sooo easy. There are always little mini vehicles with the nicest drivers who will take you anywhere on the resort you need to go. We walked most of the time because it gave us time to admire the property and all the animals which are so unique. The grounds are beautifully manicured, with gorgeous flowers & trees, and everywhere you walk you will want to take pictures. There is also a very nice golf course there, but we didn’t avail of it, as we are not golfers, but for those who are, you would certainly enjoy it!! If you can speak Spanish, even a few words, please try. They so love it when you know a few words. My partner can speak Spanish, so we had a lot of fun with the staff. I have to talk about the staff first because they make your trip what it becomes! They are such awesome people & The Westin I am sure realizes what amazing people they have! I guess everyone who goes to a resort ends up with a few special staff members who stand out for them! For us we have to praise first of all, Alejandra Obando who was our hostess at the buffet for breakfast & at some of the restaurants for lunch or supper! She is a beautiful person inside and out & treated us fabulously. She was very polite and enjoyed our practicing our Spanish on her! Amazing girl. We miss you! Then there was Sergio, who restocked our mini bar each day. Fabulous guy, very attentive to our needs & very welcoming and friendly. On two occasions, he was kind enough to leave us champagne for the end of our day! How very thoughtful of him! What a nice feeling to come "home" to chilled champagne!! And we enjoyed our champagne in our gorgeous junior suite which was kept super clean & tidy by our wonderful maid Delcy B. ! Another amazing woman who was very kind & friendly and welcoming. We felt like we were coming home when we stepped inside the Westin. Also, we need to talk about Michael who was a fabulous server & treated us so well. We ate at the French restaurant one night & he treated us like royalty! At our group dinner he also treated us "above & beyond". So thanks to all those wonderful people we just mentioned as well as all the others who helped make our trip awesome. The resort itself was stunningly beautiful. The food was excellent! The grounds were beautiful and the pool amazing. What I really liked as well was the climate! I know that sounds funny, but the air was amazing, it wasn't humid at all but a nice dry air that felt marvelous on your body, unlike some of the Caribbean countries where it is very humid and you feel sweaty & tired all day! We were on the Pacific which was awesome! The beach was beautiful, but it's not really part of the resort. You have access to it, but it's a public beach. We didn't spend much time on the beach, but if you go there, go to the beach, because it's all little shells which is beyond beautiful. There are vendors on the beach but they don't hassle you like in some other places. They are very nice people. There are shops on the resort as well as a little market with local products. That is where we met Ronald, another amazing person who made our stay such a great time. Very nice man indeed. If you go there, buy some of his products! He has beautiful things there. During the days we spent our time at the pool area & all staff there were very friendly & nice, no trouble to get drinks brought to you. We didn’t go to the spa but one of the ladies came by the pool are and gave me a 5 minute mini-massage, which was awesome! The restaurants were fabulous! The food is really good and well prepared. Lots to choose from. Everyone likes different things to drink when on vacation, but we drank the sparkling wine all week & it was a great choice! The suites were very unique; individual little houses with 8 suites in each! If you like wildlife, then you'll have a ball!! There are little wildlife creatures everywhere but they don't bother you! They're beautiful! We also opted for the photo shoot while we were there, something we'd never done in our lives. It was a lot of fun & we have some really nice pics of ourselves that you'd otherwise never get on vacation. Thanks Luisa for making that such an event for us and giving us some awesome pictures we will have forever! I recommend this resort to anyone & everyone! I would go back in a heartbeat! We will definitely go back ourselves in the near future. It's a win-win! So thanks to The Westin and your wonderful staff for making our stay beyond anything we could imagine!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank SFowler13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestinConchal, Public Relations Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2014

Dear SFowler13,
Sazha, thank you for sharing your wonderful Westin experience. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed your stay and I truly appreciate you taking the time to recognize it.
So glad to know that you enjoyed the wildlife of our beautiful country and lived new and beautiful experiences.Your feedback gives us a wonderful chance to celebrate with our team members! When your travels bring you back to Guanacaste, we look forward to welcoming you back to our resort.
Warm regards from Costa Rica,

Zasha Pérez Gallardo
PR Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014 via mobile

I was pleasantly surprised with the level of service at this hotel. The staff for the most part seemed to genuinely care and go out of their way to serve you. Nelson, a concierge at the beach club, was exceptional.

The facilities were nice, though a little tired. An upgrade to the Beach Club (which strangely isn't on the beach) is a must if you want a relaxing vacation. The kids aren't what makes the main pool less pleasant, it's the hammered adults reliving Spring Break '88. Not the vibe we were going for.

My wife became very sick on the 4th day, landing her in a Hospital in Liberia with severe dehydration. So that was fun. Hard to know when or how it happened but we ate on the whole time. Sounds like an ongoing problem.

Ultimately, if you are searching for a higher-end vacation, the Four Seasons is the way to go. I simply cannot recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank GRScott12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestinConchal, Public Relations Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2014

Dear GRScott12,
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.
It is regrettable that your vacation with us didn't meet your expectations, even with the Upgrade to Royal Beach Club, as well, we hope your wife feel better now about her dehydration. Here in tropical weather with high sun, it's very important that our guests take advantage of the all inclusive to keep hydrated, the high temperatures of Guanacaste force you to drink a lot of water if you live here, and even more if you're not used to this kind of weather.
Thanks for your kind comments about the staff and Nelson, we're glad to know that you felt comfortable in that aspect of your visit.
Best regards,

Zasha Pérez Gallardo
PR Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2014

I just got back from a week's stay at Westin with my husband and sons, 14 & 9. We have gone to Bahamas, Punta Cana, Jamaica & Cancun to name a few of the all inclusive we can compare to. I've had this place on my sights since it was a Paradisius and & we visited one. Westin didn't disappoint.
Many families some there with parents on business & most for pleasure. We saw folks with infants to many with kids our age. There is a kids club we didn't check out. There is also Royal Beach Club for adults which we didn't see. There is a Family Concierge side of pool and not. There are a few extra amenities, but not sure of the cost. May be good if you have littler kids. We spent our time with other families through our boys and will say our comments represent the same they all experienced.
Food is very good - better than others. Place caters to almost all Americans or Canadians were DR has more European clientele and food fits to their taste better. We ate and drank everything and no one got sick in our group or any others. Can be tough to get a reservation for sit down places - have to ask early and book through week. Everywhere we ate was good. Happy to order room service or go to buffet as much as sit down restaurants - no quality difference to us. Service good in all the restaurants too.
Pool was great - even on a full spring break week could get chairs (not as easy at other resorts, but at Westin no problem at all). Pool bar great & fast service. Watch out if you eat at your lounge chairs as the animals will come right up to you - they can smell the pizza!
Room was nice sized and is a triangle shape of sorts. Pull out coach worked out great. Drinks in frig every day (water, beer, pop), but never really cold. Just cool. It was fine though. Many people comment about bathroom & doors. True - but it is like a T where at the ends are toilet (with a door) on right and shower on left( with a door) and then long part is sink and closet. No door to it. You could be on bed and see people come out of shower. Not a big deal to us - just didn't have kids sit on the bed :) Closet is a bit small for 4 for a week of clothes. I brought many dry cleaning hangers which proved helpful. Room gets a bit stuffy since it isn't opened up (warm) but air conditioner worked great. I just brought room fresheners for around room & worked well. Good wifi in room. Is $15 a day, but we used SPG points and comped the week which I appreciated. Room service always about 30 min or 45 if at like 6-7 pm. They don't come back for dishes unless you call and you clearly can't put outside your room.
We stayed in 4040 block which was a great location by buffet, pool and beach. Some of the buildings are farther out just fair warning. There is wifi by pool for free too. You can wear shorts to dinner everywhere - just not bathing suits, et al. In DR, you had to wear pants or they wouldn't let you in to eat so I appreciated it being more casual here.
Bring sunscreen - sun is strong. Never feels hot with breeze and no humidity. There isn't a hot tub. Pool has nice shallow areas for little ones, 2 basketball hoops, volleyball net. Activities area has ping pong, billiards, board games, books, tennis racquets - very well stocked. They do activities at various hours. Not as loud and publicized like other resorts I have been too, but you are well informed enough if you want to do them, you can.
First time at resort we didn't use the spa. As others noted, we went to Gigi on the beach for $20/hour. I went almost every day. It was awesome. There are many people who give massages - just walk out of the Westin area onto the beach. People who did use the spa we talked to said great things about it. The beach is not fine sand - little more granular. I always walk barefoot on beaches but saw my kids feet torn up so I wore flips flops to the water's edge. There many a jelly fish all over but they don't seem to sting. They are on beach (I stepped on one and no issues). I swam in water & used Westin boogie boards which was awesome! Current not bad. No seaweed or anything which is nice. It is a public beach so you do see folks from the town around. Not bothersome or crowded, but just fyi.
We did ATVs thru resort and thru beach (Erik). Both were supposed to be 90 min, but only went 60. Costa Rica has its own way it tells time I think. We took a fishing tour which was not good (booked outside the resort) but I blame fisherman not the booking company. Erik is a good person and rectified our concerns with fishing trip (not Westin issue). We booked a full day zip lining, hot spring, boat tour thru Westin & was great. Long day (6 hours on bus), but we thought it was worth it. If you book through Westin, you can charge to room & they are licenses/bonded. Through folks on the beach, you are using locals and you have to pay cash so consider that with how much money you want to bring. Every place around the country takes US currency. Pura Vida! Thank you Westin for great memories!

Room Tip: Ask for as close to the pool as possible :)
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank lahelsel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestinConchal, Public Relations Manager at The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2014

Dear lahelsel,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience with us.
We're glad to know that all your family had a great time in our resort and enjoyed all the services and facilities of our resort, the culinary offer, the pool, the rooms and the staff, we're happy that your visit meet your expectations.
We will be waiting for your next visit.
Warm regards from Costa Rica,

Zasha Pérez Gallardo
PR Manager

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