JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa
What We Love
- The whopping 23,000-square-foot infinity pool mere steps from the golden sand of Playa Mansita
- On-site spa features an open-air, palapa-topped massage room and a Vichy shower
- Spacious balconies offer breathtaking views of the ocean and tropical flora
- Access to a top-notch golf course as well as a beach club at nearby Playa Avellanas
- Shuttles to popular local beaches and other attractions run regularly
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- Located within Hacienda Pinilla, a residential beach and golf community
- WiFi costs $14 extra per day
- Costa Rica’s dry season lasts from December to April; during the rest of the year it can rain for several hours a day
- The hotel is very family-friendly; there’s a playground, a clubhouse and a JW Adventure kids program that runs activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
From the open-air plazas to the chunky stone walls to the red roof tiles, this resort on the edge of the 4,500-acre Hacienda Pinilla exudes the charm of an old hacienda by the sea. Designed by Costa Rica’s most famous architect, Ronald Zurcher, this 310-unit colonial compound was planned to preserve history and celebrate nature. Windswept palms dot the grounds, tropical dry forest surrounds the property, and the open-air design invites a refreshing ocean breeze.
Bed and Bath
The guestrooms measure 592 square feet, and all come with a view (ocean, garden or pool). Down comforters top the beds, marble glistens in the bathrooms, and 37-inch flat-screen TVs are mounted on the soothing, cream-colored walls. The sizable balconies are perfect for curling up with a good book or simply admiring the resort’s expansive back yard.
The twisting system of oceanfront pools and bridges is among the best in the country, and the poolside Azul Grill serves incredible seafood — most notably the ceviche with lime, orange juice, coriander and onion presented in a coconut. Also recommended is the Asian fusion restaurant Tamarine, and the steakhouse, Sabanero, where a juicy tenderloin paired with a full-bodied red will have you ready to ride a horse across Pinilla, hooting like a Guanacaste cowboy.
How to Get There
On our first trip to Costa Rica we decided to stay on Marriott points for our first 5 days. Upon arrival we realized it was a fairly remote location. No worries...the restaurants on site and staff were great. The beach sunset was one of the best we've ever experienced. In addition, it was one of my wife's favorite pools she has ever been to. It was huge, no reason to get up early to save chairs, choice between sun or shade, and big enough to find secluded spots with no kids. The food, wine, and beer selections were high quality and reasonabily priced.
While we did enjoy the resort, I would recommend renting a car and seeing the area. There is car/bus service available, but I thought it was pricey. Once you are used to the roads, visits to places like Taramindo, Playa Potrero, and Black Stallion are all relatively quick and well worth it.
Just spent 5 nights at the very remote JW Marriott Guanacaste resort. Whoever said it was 7 minutes from Tamarindo is wrong.....you can not even get to the front gate in 7 minutes. It's a good 20 minutes to Tamarindo. Because it is all alone along the coast, Marriott has jacked up the price on everything they can. A bag of pretzels is $9, a Clif bar $9, a hamburger $25. Nothing special about the food either. The Steakhouse could take a lesson from the Outback, and I'm not kidding. It's of course "a la carte" which is code for paying more for less, and steak was lackluster. Service throughout the resort was spotty. For the price of the rooms here, they have a long way to go to be world class. I recommend staying somewhere for half the price and closer to town, where there will be more competition.
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at the J.W. Marriott Guanacaste and were thoroughly delighted with our choice. The resort is located on a large parcel of land called Hacienda Pinilla which requires security access to the property and then a 3 mile drive to the entrance to the hotel. The property is complete with golf course and most of the usual amenities.
The friendly and welcoming staff made our visit so enjoyable. Upon our arrival Jennifer at the front desk set the tone for the outstanding service and attention to every request which carried over to all the staff throughout the resort. Our ocean front room was roomy and perfect for watching sunset each day.
We ate at four different restaurants on the resort and found them all to be excellent but our favorite was the Sabanero Steakhouse where every course was beautifully presented and so tasteful. Late night dessert from the onsite Gelato shop was a great finish to the night..
The staff throughout the resort were so friendly and always willing to help answer any questions. They were all well trained and knowledgeable about their particular area or in the case of food service their foods, drinks menus etc.
In addition to the restaurants we also had Spa treatments which were great as well with one caveat, the massage room could have been darker.
The pool was the largest we have seen in our years of travel and plenty of lounge chairs available. Finally a 30 minute shuttle to another beach side town named Taramindo is worth the trip to have dinner on the beach at Pangas or Lapalapa. So many positive things to say about our stay at the J.W. Marriott but most memorable has to be the friendly and dedicated staff and how they made our visit so enjoyable.
Just a short 7 minute drive from the Tamarindo strip, the JW Marriott is well located on Costa Rica's beautiful West Coast
Located in a resort community in Hacienda Pinilla, the resort felt like a traditional (and enormous) Costa Rican estate. On the Hacienda land there is plenty to do. With 3 miles of the pristine Pacific coast there are several beaches to enjoy along with their local activities indulging 18-hole golf, horse back riding and the wellness Spa.
The JW Marriott Guanacaste typically caters to couples/romantic getaways but during the busy holiday season, it was full of families with children of all ages.
Most of the days spent at the JW Marriott were totally relaxed. We enjoyed their fabulous restaurants, the beachfront sunsets and the larger-than-life pool (the largest in Central America!)
The food and service were also wonderful.
I hope to return one day soon!
To see more photos, check out my Instagram blog @luxe_tourista
This was our first visit to Costa Rica so we stayed here at a trusted, international brand. As a large resort, it doesn’t disappoint: the grounds are gorgeous; the pool, with its serpentine design, offers plenty of room for quiet areas and shade; the staff is courteous and prompt; the rooms are spacious and some offer good views of the pool and ocean; and the food at the various restaurants is good if not perfect.
We generally at two meals a day, offsetting typical resort prices by eating off the menu for breakfast (vs the buffet), and strolling down the beach (about 45 minutes) to Lola’s, a quintessential beach bar on near-empty Avellanas Beach, for tacos a few times during the week. (We also took the free shuttle to the Pinilla Beach Club, which has a nice smaller pool and restaurant, and walked 15 minutes to Lola’s from there).
Clientele here ranges from couples like us (60 years old) to young families; Caravan tour company passengers (older than us); business groups; and a few young couples. If you’re young and looking for excitement, this is not the place. (Head towards Tamarindo instead!). There are tours you can schedule at the property or beforehand through TAM (see the Marriott website) to get off the property. No matter where you go, it’s a journey as the property is fairly isolated on a large parcel of land. However, if you’re looking for a peaceful time with a couple of tours thrown in, this is a great spot.
A few suggestions for the property would be to post evening entertainment for the day somewhere; we often stumbled upon singers, bands and dancers performing for almost no one. If we hadn’t left our room, we wouldn’t have known about them either! Also switching out the vendors in the courtyard might bring more people out in the evenings. Finally, On Demand movies would be a good addition; we were surprised the hotel didn’t have this option.
All in all, though, a lovely spot for a truly relaxing vacation.