This resort is a little out of the way. It is 20 minutes from Tamarindo where you can shop, get groceries, and grab some food. It wasn't a problem for us. The road is pretty bad going in but welcome to Costa Rica. We were fortunate to see monkeys swinging above the road some days and had to stop for a mother and baby crossing the road.
- Check-in - greeted with drinks and towels for our hands. Relaxing set up - different from your usual check-in area. Free water bottles as gifts. Check-in guy was okay, could have been more personable (same with check-out)
- grounds and resort itself is beautiful. The beach is smaller and not the best for swimming but it is right there for you. If you are adventurous, you can turn left, cross the rocks and round the corner for yet another beach to walk. The pool is really nice and apparently the biggest in Central America. Towels available at pool and drinks. A cute little Rum Bar near the steak house. Enjoyed the bartender and he took great photos! I did not take part in any onsite recreational activities and you do pay for them in your resort fee. I saw people watching a movie outside some nights. Live music in the lobby area on the weekends and some small vendors. An ice cream shop is also on site. Very yummy and expensive.
- Food - because of our Platinum status, breakfasts were included. They were amazing - even gluten free and non-dairy options. For kids, there were cereals, pancakes (certain days), eggs, lots of breads, etc. Sitting upstairs overlooking the pool was relaxing while we had our coffee to start. We didn't eat many meals there because we like to take drives and explore the culture. However, what we did find eating away from the resort was not much different price-wise than at the resort. We only ate twice at the Italian restaurant nearest to the beach. Gorgeous to watch the sunset from here and decent prices. There was also a burger place and steak house. Besides front desk guys, ALL staff was above friendly and accommodating. We needed a couple of things for the room and we had assistance quickly.
- Accommodations - we had a suite on floor 5 (corner room). Amazing!! Huge room/s
with comfortable furniture, fridge, walk-in closet, gorgeous huge bathroom, nice balcony with also comfy furniture and fan. Great view of pool and ocean - couldn't see anyone beside us but heard them outside every now and then. Still very private. The gym was adequate for what we needed with cold cloths, towels, yoga mats, TV, cleaning wipes, and music. The store on site was actually quite good. There was nice clothing, hats, sunscreen, souvenirs, snacks, etc. Well stocked. Found souvenirs here that we could not find anywhere else.
Overall - depends on the type of traveller you are. If you plan on staying there the whole time without renting a car, then you can take a shuttle/bus I am sure into Tamarindo or take part in some tours. There were walking trails, and horse-back riding however on site. Renting a car is pretty much a necessity in Costa Rica as it is large and it is great to explore. If you want to sit at a resort and do nothing, no point going to Costa Rica. There is just too much too explore, so you might as well go to the Domincan.
Yes this property's location is a bit out there, but the resort itself is excellent and the staff and service top notch. A previous review complained about the hour trip from Liberia, but we drove 4 hours from San Jose due to airline availability, The roads aren't bad until the last 5 or 10 minutes before entering the Hacienda property. The food was very good and yes we were able to get authentic Costa Rican food at a couple of the restaurants including the steakhouse. The food prices definitely aren't cheap, but not that bad considering that you are indeed a captive audience at a JW. The Peruvian ceviche at the pool bar was the best ceviche that I've ever had- both flavor and presentation. The beach is rocky but has a suitable sandy entrance area. The 2 mile beach walk(perhaps less) walk north to Lola's during low tide is great and worth it when you get there. We also heard, but didn't , the beach club restaurant about half way there. We had a an issue with our room at one time and we got great support and response from Jesus, Lidia and Dawar(?), along with the manager Anthony. Our housekeeper Jacqueline Quesada did a great job. The gym was above expectations for a hotel facility with barbells,plates, and dead lift pads along with the normal machines and cardio equipment. Melissa in the coffee/ice cream shop embodies the pura vida of Costa Rica.
The property itself as well as its associates were phenomenal. The grounds were beautiful and the beach access was like a dream. However, the location of the property itself was not close to many tours and the transportation options were limited to using the company that partnered with the hotel. The tour company offered packages that cost more than what was offered online by the same companies. There wasn't an easy way to explore Costa Rica as we had hoped. In addition, we were very disappointed by the lack of Costa Rica cuisine offered at the hotel. Almost every other region of the world was represented - Asian, Italian, American, but no Costa Rican food! Or even Latin American food! We came to Costa Rica to explore the land and partake in the food and culture. The resort at times felt like a prison that would cost $40 to leave each time and come back roundtrip (as there are two of us at $20 per person.) Granted it was an exquisitely beautiful prison right on the beach with gorgeous sunsets. The hotel gym was great- clean and well equipped but always had CNN on the television. We are on vacation in Costa Rica, so we had hoped for soccer or some Costa Rica tv. At times it felt like we never left the States. Other than the void of Costa Rican food and the difficulty to leave to go on any excursions outside of the hotel, the place itself was gorgeous and well maintained. The staff was very friendly and perfectly exhibited the Costa Rica philosophy of Pura Vida. The four stars are purely for the staff and the hotel property with the amazing pool overlooking the ocean. The remote location is nice at times, but more transportation choices should be available. Especially if guests have to look elsewhere for meals native to the country.
Pros: This resort is beautiful. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Everything was clean and in good condition. The gym was huge and well maintained. The pool area is huge and one part of it is beach adjacent.
Cons: This resort is remote, about 25-30min away from everything. This is a Marriott so the prices are marked up ($40 sunscreen etc). I didn’t have good experiences at their restaurants which is also a theme for Marriott. Orders were incorrect multiple times at different restaurants and if you have a food allergy I would check everything before you dig in because you might die here.
FYI: There is a little grocery store in town ( you can get there on the shuttle for $20 roundtrip per person) which is worth hitting up in the beginning of your stay to stock your room with whatever you need. They had all kinds of alcohol, mixers, sunscreen, toiletries etc all for reasonable prices.
I didn’t check out the spa but it’s supposed to be great.
We spent a few days in the JW Marriot during our travels in Costa Rica.
The Ressort it Self is built in Hazienda Style and has a lot of Charme.
Our room was spacious and very nice with all amenities needed.
Recommendations for improvements would be a modern air condition which is not that noisy while operating as well as a new shower. In a 5 star Hotel you would expect a rain shower concept which is not given in the rooms and the water pressure is quite low.
The pool area and all other common areas are really nice and well maintained.
Also the spa area is beautiful the prices however are definitely exaggerated.
An improvement recommendation would be to modernize the Gym and to offer more yoga or also Pilates classes. The one we attended was good but the air conditioning in the really nice yoga hat is not at all appropriate for a yoga class.
A highlight of the stay was definitely the friendliness of the staff and the great food. Especially the steak restaurant offers excellent food - also fish options.
However the price level in the Restaurants Is quite high.
All in all a great place to stay especially in low season.