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JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa 4.5

Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beautiful guest rooms have large bathrooms with separate bathtubs
  • Stunning infinity pool is the biggest in Central America
  • Direct access to scenic Playa Mansita
  • Five quality restaurants, including a buffet and a rustic steakhouse
  • Serene spa with indoor and outdoor treatment rooms
  • Big fitness center with a great range of Technogym equipment
  • Kids’ club with free supervised activities
  • Business facilities include practical meeting rooms and a business center
  • Free Wi-Fi in common areas
  • Free self-parking

Cons

  • Beach is small and rocky
  • Few attractions in the immediate area
  • Daily fee for in-room Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa is a four-and-a-half pearl hotel located on Playa Mansita beach. The resort’s 310 guest rooms are subtly luxurious, offering marble bathrooms and roomy private balconies or terraces. Excellent on-site amenities include a sprawling infinity pool, an array of first-rate dining options, a swanky spa and fitness center, along with access to pretty (if tiny) Playa Mansita. The property earns top marks in all areas, but everything, from the restaurants to the minibars, is expensive. Travelers may want to compare rates and amenities with the equally fabulous Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

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Scene

Upmarket, hacienda-inspired resort well-suited to both couples and families

This upmarket, colonial-style property is built to resemble a hacienda, with red roof tiles, open courtyards, and stonework detailing

The JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort is a romantic, colonial-style property built around an outstanding infinity pool. Set within the posh gated community of Hacienda Pinilla, the resort has a remote, windswept feel, with tropical dry forest surrounding the borders of the property. The resort's building is designed to resemble an old-fashioned hacienda, with red roof tiles, sunny open courtyards, breezy corridors, and stonework detailing giving it a distinctive, timeless charm.

Guests are mainly affluent Westerners of all ages. The property’s intimate, peaceful ambiance holds plenty of appeal for couples, but the resort caters equally well to families. There’s a colorful little kids’ club with a playground, and adjoining guest rooms are available. The shallow pool at Azul Grill is a good place for little ones to swim within eye-sight while their parents dine. 

Location

Secluded beachfront location on the outskirts of Tamarindo

Map of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa

The Marriott is located on Mansita Beach, in the southwestern part of Guanacaste. Part of Hacienda Pinilla, a 4,500-acre residential community, the property offers easy access to the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course, an 18-hole, par-72 course. 

There’s not much of anything accessible on foot, so guests who want to explore the area will need a rental car. It’s a 30-minute drive to the nightlife and shopping of Tamarindo, or less-developed Playa Avellanas is a five-minute drive away. Rincon de la Vieja National Park can be reached in two-and-a-half hours by car, and it’s around 90 minutes to Liberia’s airport.

Rooms

Elegant guest rooms with private balconies or terraces plus bathrooms with huge separate tubs.

The elegant Deluxe Room Ocean Front Accessible King Bed is decorated with terra-cotta floor tiles and soothing earth-toned linens

Guest rooms at the Marriott are inviting and refined, decorated with terra-cotta floor tiles and earth-toned linens. Beds fitted with white down comforters have grand head boards. Small sitting areas with comfy armchairs, ottomans, and side tables are set beside floor-to-ceiling windows. Walls feature colorful local artwork and vintage photos. Wi-Fi is available for a daily fee, and all rooms have iPod docks and work desks. Large wooden bureaus set across from beds hold 37-inch flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers. Minibars, which are tucked inside cabinets, are well-stocked but high-priced. 

Good-sized balconies or terraces have views of the gardens, ocean, or pool. Each is furnished with a cushy outdoor sofa plus a pair of wooden chairs and a table. Big, marble bathrooms have glass-doored showers and separate soaking tubs, along with toilets in separate vestibules. All bathrooms are outfitted with bath products by Aromatherapy Associates and magnifying mirrors. Vanities are stocked with free bottles of water, while pairs of soft bath robes hang on wall-mounted hooks. 

One-Bedroom Suites add a half-bathroom, plus separate living areas with sofa beds. There’s also a Presidential Suite with a dining area, a plunge pool, and a whirlpool. 

Features

Central America’s largest infinity pool and access to Playa Mansita beach

Guests have access to the picturesque stretch of Playa Mansita beach, which is somewhat small and rocky

The showpiece of the Marriott Guanacaste is its spectacular, 25,000-square-foot infinity pool. This sparkling pool seems to twist and curve endlessly through perfectly-manicured lawns dotted with palm trees. Lime-green loungers line the edge of the pool, while arched wooden bridges span across its length here and there. A pair of round, separate hot tubs bookend two corners of the pool area. There’s also a shallower pool set just in front of Azul Grill, which is treated as an unofficial kids’ pool.

More lime-green loungers and striped beach umbrellas are clustered on the sands of Playa Mansita, which lies directly in front of the pool. While picturesque, this stretch of beachfront is quite small and extremely rocky

The hotel’s swish spa features outdoor, thatched-roof treatment huts and a lovely garden-view relaxation area. It also has an attractive sundeck with a plunge pool and a bubbling fountain, plus indoor treatment rooms, some of which have private outdoor hot tubs. The spa offers an extensive range of services, from facials and body wraps to couples’ massages and paraffin hand treatments. The adjacent, 24-hour fitness center features modern, Technogym equipment, including treadmills, steppers, and weight-lifting machines, along with free fitness classes. 

The simple business center has a few PCs and a printer, with low partitions providing privacy for each computer station. There are also five flexible meeting rooms, the largest of which can accommodate over 500 guests. Wedding planning services are available. 

The cute kids’ club offers free, supervised activities for children aged 4 to 12. Shuttle service to Tamarindo can be arranged for a surcharge. Wi-Fi is free in the common areas, but there’s a daily fee to access it in guest rooms. Free self-parking is offered on-site, or valet parking is available for an extra charge. 

Food

A handful of quality restaurants

Mansita restaurant, the hotel’s main buffet restaurant, serves quality fare for all three meals in a pleasant space

The hotel’s main buffet restaurant, Mansita, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (expect to pay for all meals). Its airy interior features wood beamed ceilings, stonework accent walls, and rustic chandeliers. It also has a pleasant outdoor terrace overlooking the pool. 

Small, breezy, and furnished almost head-to-toe in wood, Azul Grill serves up a wonderful seafood-focused menu with views of the pool and coastline. Azul Bar offers drink service on the opposite side of the pool. The pool area also includes a tiny stand that serves fresh juices and fruits.  

Nau Lobby Bar is a tad stuffy with its structured furniture and dark color scheme, but it has a nice balcony overlooking the pool. The Asian fusion restaurant, Tamarine, is also quite formal yet intimate. Sabanero is a steakhouse, which features black-and-white photos of horses and other decor inspired by Guanacaste’s cowboy culture. There’s also Waves Cream, a modest cafe with counter-style seating, which offers ice cream, milk shakes, and coffee. Room service is available 24/7. The food is good across the board at all restaurants, but they’re high-priced. 

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Things You Should Know About JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa

Address

Hacienda Pinilla, Playa Avellanas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Phone

5 (062) 681-2000

Room Types

  • Deluxe Garden View Guest Room
  • Deluxe Ocean Front Guest Room
  • Deluxe Ocean View Guest Room
  • Deluxe Pool View Guest Room
  • One Bedroom Suite, Garden View
  • One Bedroom Suite, Ocean Front
  • One Bedroom Suite, Ocean View
  • Presidential Suite

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