This is a gorgeous hotel. It’s right on the beach. It has various restaurants and a huge pool. Basically everything you’d expect from a JW. So here are my tip/cons/pros.
The transportation is rough. If you don’t have a rental maybe take the shuttle to tamarindo (I thinks it’s $20pp) and rent a motorcycle for $55 a day or a golf cart. We rented a car but walked left off the beach and down to Lola’s, it went dark and the tide came in. We couldn’t walk back. figured we could call a cab or Uber. Well it’s not that easy in the area. Had to negotiate with the owner of Lola’s to have one of his employees drop us off for $30!
The spa is large but I thought the amenities were lacking. They had separate facilities for men/women which is standard but I wasn’t aware of any Co ed areas (aside from the room if you were to have a couples treatment). We ended up having a massage on the beach in Tamarindo. There are tons of people set up all up and down the beach. Google el be and start there. They charge 30-$40 for an hour and it was divine.
The activities the hotel offers you need to reserve!!
Take the bike tour the hotel offers preferably the first morning you’re there: Ronald is the guide. It’s awesome. He takes you to a beautiful beach and takes pics for you. You may want to know the beach’s fb how to get there as it’s a great alternative to the rocky stretch the hotel sits on.
The cooking class the hotel offers I wouldn’t plan my day around. The one I took was ceviche. Idk how it would even qualify as a class as we didn’t even know the recipe! That said they did give us ceviche and smoothies. Both were great. So if you’re hanging at the hotel and you’re free when it’s happening, go for it.
The marshmallows at sunset on the beach were super cool and memorable. Bring your own chocolate and graham crackers if you want a s’mores.
I really wish they had cabanas or beds…. Some sort of shade set up on the beach. Usually beach front properties better utilize their frontage for their guests. In this case it was just bean bag type of seats with not a scrap of shade. Kinda of a shame.
The breakfast buffet wasn’t bad but def wasn’t my fave. You’re best to order off the menu. Because of our breakfast experience we chose not to eat in the other restaurants on property. Instead we drove down the street to a place called The Cactus. I will tell you it was the best meal we had while in Costa Rica. I can’t recommend it enough. You can thank me later ;)
They don’t have smart TVs and the channels are mainly in Spanish. Something to note if you’re traveling with people who like to watch some programming before bed or whatever.
The rooms are clean and the beds and pillows are super comfortable. Seriously you won’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
Sum it up; you really can’t go wrong at a JW. Have fun.
A big beautiful resort
Jan 29, 2023
The JW Marriott is a big resort. The pool area is the highlight of the property and has plenty of space and chairs available. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable. The breakfast buffet is fantastic with way too many choices. The dinner choices, however are a little limited - the Italian restaurant was closed while we were there and the Sand Bar buffet was disappointing. The Tamarine Asian restaurant was fantastic.
Not bad but not great
Jan 28, 2023
If you are looking for fun and excitement, this resort is NOT for you.
If you want strictly r&r, this will fit the bill. The resort is quiet, with demographic mainly 40+, couples and some families.
Things to note:
- this resort is about 1.5 hours away from Liberia Airport
- located about 30-35 min from Tamarindo, driving time
- remote location, nothing convenient around
- it is a fair distance from hotel driveway to the exit gate (the resort is contained within a compound) , 7-10 minute drive or about a 5 mile walk (would not advise walking after sunset - you won't be able to see anything)
- shuttle service is available by an outside company called GO Vision (located on the resort in a separate office). There is a fee for the shuttle service.
Shuttle runs on a specific schedule (designated drop-off /pick up times).
- more traditional in decor, some may consider it outdated
- although rooms/bathrooms are lacking in design, the hotel is extremely well maintained and very clean (this helped make the stay more enjoyable)
- the hotel grounds are well kept, very clean as well
- beds were comfortable, pillows were not
- clean resort
- beautiful sunset views from the beach or ocean facing rooms
- plenty of pool space
- friendly staff
- inconvenient location
(you're essentially confined to the resort/compound unless you take the shuttle, private transfer or rent a car to leave the compound)
- limited restaurant options (only 2, requires reservations)
- too far from excursions (unless you're okay with spending majority of the day in vehicle to get to and fro)
- restaurants were average (not terrible food but not anything special, definitely not worth the $ they charge)
- wouldn't recommend the steak from their steak restaurant
- service was slow at the restaurants (they were understaffed/new)
- hotel room rate is overpriced for what they offer (which is very little)
- shuttle fees add up really quickly
($40 USD per person, round trip to main drop-off/pick up spot in Tamarindo before certain time slot. After 9:30pm shuttle service still runs but fees are higher)
- we had and issue with theft (housekeeping during our stay was not trustworthy), very disappointing!
We would not recommend this resort to others that are looking for a memorable experience.
We spent more time (and lots of $) leaving the resort daily to go into Tamarindo for dinners.
This was our first (and last) stay at this JW.
We will not return here if we visit CR again.
Also, be sure to double check the charges before checking out and paying. We noticed extra charges for line items that we did not consume and had to ask them to remove.
Perfect for R&R
(Farmingdale, New Jersey)
Jan 24, 2023
Had a wonderful relaxing stay for a week at this resort/spa including massages, walks on the beach and lounging by the pool. This is NOT the place to come for your first (possibly only) visit to Costa Rica as it is quite remote. We have been to CR several times and were looking for just R&R and it was perfect for that. As others have stated: the resort is beautiful, rooms nice size, extremely friendly and helpful staff (even though it seemed that 3/4 of them had "in training" on their nametag), well maintained, clean. But it is 1.5 hours from the airport and 30 minutes from Tamarindo, the closest town with restaurants/shops. We used the hotel shuttle and it was fine, but of course you are bound by their schedule going and coming. The dining options are limited at the resort but we made do. Hint: eat anything but the steak at the steakhouse and you'll be happy with it. The hamburger, fish and chicken were very good.
As a Marriott lifetime Platinum member, we had included breakfast in a separate restaurant which was delightful and relaxing. The main breakfast menu is a zoo, with a lovely young lady at the door who moves in only first gear, creating a needless long wait.
Great spa experience ... wonderful massage in a beautiful facility although inexplicably they have female attendants working the men's locker room.
Special shoutout to supervisor Adriana, server German, and pool attendant Bryan, whose big smiles, greeting us by name and eagerness to help in any way made our stay extra special and reminded us of what true hospitality is. Pura Vida!
Overall, it was a perfect stay for what we wanted, and CR in January guarantees perfect weather.
JW MARRIOTT GUANACASTE
Jan 16, 2023
Its OK> One time to visit. Expensive. Drinks are very expensive. Food is Ok. Service is slow. Beach is rocky. Only best part is you can enjoy sunset sitting in your balcony, if you have west sided ocean front room.