My daughter visited in March, 2021. The room was perfect...a welcome place to nap after hours in the sun. The pool was magical...we spent a lot of time quietly on the edge of the pool watching the birds and the ocean. The food was really good. We went into Tamarindo twice for dinner, but otherwise enjoyed the meals on the property.
BUT IT WAS THE PEOPLE!!! that made this trip. The staff here was so warm and inviting and kind and funny and helpful. I get teary thinking about it. We made true connections here and can't wait to come back. Thank you, thank you!
We felt safe here during the pandemic. The resort is located within a nice gated private community, Hacienda Pinilla. For a short stay you could enjoy the resort and Pinilla w/out the need of a car rental. I am glad we had a car. We did not mind the $30 daily resort fee, bc we took advantage of plenty of the offerings: bikes, a guided nature walk, excellent yoga, a mixology class, a little beach bonfire of toasted marshmallows. We paid reasonable fees at Pinilla to use the very nice practice range at the golf course, and tennis courts. Pinilla also has horse stables and market. The property has a beautiful old Spanish colonial feel while still providing comfort. The showpiece is the pool area. They claim the pool is the largest in Central America, and it has an excellent design with intimacy and great lounge chair access. The grounds have lush vegetation, beautiful mood lighting and music. Our room was comfortable and we enjoyed being able to walk directly out our patio to the beach. The service was fantastic and everyone had a welcome attitude. Everyone was great, but particularly exceptional: Anthony, Alfredo, Dennis, Sergio, Olguin, Marcia, and Adriana. The food was ofcourse overpriced, but good, and only disappointed a few times. Since the occupancy was low, there was generally only one restaurant option per meal, so that was disappointing, but understandable. We were glad we had a car to drive to local restaurants since so many restaurants were closed.
We stayed at the Jw for a few nights with a group and the hotel was mostly what you would expect: very modern architecture, good music etc. The rooms were absolutely gorgeous, room service people very friendly and food was ok , we love it .
The best moment was when we found Pininos Adventures; Carlos helped us to arrange some funny and safe excursion as Atv beach tour, palo verde boat trip ( my favorite tour) and buena vista combo trip, so we love to recommend for any tour while you are at Tamarindo beach, they were so nice people and professional , we felt safe the whole Time .
Worst service I’ve ever received, At any Marriott brand, EVERY. As a titanium member I stayed over 100 nights last year because of work. Even the low-end brands of the Marriott chain are better than this property. I have been using Marriott for over a decade for my business, and I have lifetime status. I find this hotel to be an anomaly, and doesn’t go along with the quality I usually expect & receive from Marriott. On top of all of this, I’ve never been to Costa Rica, and it was my 40th birthday trip. So I was pretty bummed with the horrible experience we received.
The few positives-
The pool is nice, large, and has a decent amount of seating. There is a size small infinity pool portion, and another portion which is more kid-based so there is a divider to have some adult time. The pool is very cold and not heated so I did not enjoy that, I did make use out of the hot tub.
The rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. They have a bug screen so when you sit on your porch you’re not getting annihilated by mosquitoes. Housekeeping is good and is probably the only good service on the property.
If you can actually manage to get food at this resort, which almost sounds comical, the food is pretty tasty.
Where can I start. It’s impossible to get a dinner reservation because they overbooked themselves for how many people they’re actually allowed to have in their restaurants. We couldn’t even get takeout. There’s no level of accountability on the servers to get you what you need,get it in a timely manner, and do it with a friendly attitude. Every day, every meal, was a chore, and took twice as long as necessary.
Even when we did make reservations, twice when we showed up, They couldn’t find our reservation. Once they accommodated us & the other time they wouldnt seat us. I ended up having an argument with the hostess who barely spoke English. I told her the girl at the front desk‘s name who made us the reservation, and told her to call up there because the girl would remember me. She wouldn’t do it and said there was nothing she could do.
Also there was supposed to be a dedicated person sitting in the lobby taking reservations for every meal breakfast lunch and dinner. Half the time she was not there because she was working half days in the restaurant, making it increasingly more difficult to get any reservations. If you tried to call from your room to book reservations, you either got disconnected transferred or hung up on.
I would avoid this resort at all costs. The property has the opportunity to be a really great hotel but it’s not run right. Covid it is not an excuse, because I have traveled all during Covid, For work and for personal, And the other Marriotts are doing an exceptional job at managing the restrictions. For instance, I was at the Solaz in Cabo in July for my 10th wedding anniversary. It was the best vacation I’ve ever had, and they had every covid restriction. There were hiccups, but you would never know because they were insignificant, due to the exceptional staff.
My husband even got sick in the car ride up to the hotel because of all the gigantic potholes, but, that’s not something that will affect many other guests.
Marriot please save this costa rican property or close it down. You’re doing a disservice to your brand.
First, the positives: the property is beautiful. The grounds and rooms are very nice, and the location is good. The Beach Club at Hacienda Pinilla (the development where the hotel is located) is a must-do - the beach is larger and more swimmable and there is a nice lunch spot. Good for surfing and boogie boards. The property is pretty isolated - it's not the easiest thing to eat off-property, but I would rent a car (be prepared for rough roads) and hit Lola's, Il Rustico, Villa Deveena and Mundo Milo. The food on property is average - not bad, but not great. There are four restaurants; we were there over New Year's and it was a challenge to get a reservation due to limited seating due to Covid (I guess; one time we were told there was no room in one of the restaurants and there literally was not one soul there). I called to make a reservation once and they said someone will call you back, but no one every did - you had to be very proactive. Hit a grocery store before you arrive and get basics, wine, etc - it will save you significant $. It's good for families - saw tons of kids, etc.
Now for the negatives. I'm a rewards member and travel frequently at Marriott properties, and really wanted to have a good experience and write a good review. The staff is friendly (as are most Costa Ricans, in my experience), but the service - particularly at the pool - was just terrible. 90 minute waits for a burger, ignored drink orders, 50 minutes for room service coffee, etc. I literally don't think a server ever came by voluntarily in a one week stay - we always had to request. It was far faster to just go to the bar or restaurant yourself. The hotel had just opened about six weeks ago (due to a Covid closing) so I don't know if they were unprepared or understaffed or both, but it was really bad (at least from an American perspective with an expectation that, at a relatively expensive resort, servers would bring food, menus, drinks, etc.) I complained mid-week and at check-out and staff (including managers) were very apologetic but it didn't change anything. I have pretty high standards, but we talked to several people with similar experiences - in fact, one couple checked out mid-week, it was so bad.
The resort is trying to make everyone comfortable with Covid - you are required to wear a mask in public places, and we complied as did most people. The bellmen (particularly Carlos) are very aggressive in enforcing, even saying things to children walking with parents, people in the process of putting on masks as they enter the hotel - it was very off-putting and overly rigid (the public spaces are largely outdoor and it was very easy to social distance). All the saunas, etc. are closed.
In short, I wouldn't hesitate to go, but want to set expectations. If you go during a peak time, expect bad service and eat off property as much as you can. Hopefully some of the feedback from myself and numerous others will result in improvements.