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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal 4.0

Playa Conchal, Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Direct access to a picturesque stretch of Playa Conchal beach
  • Lagoon-shaped main pool and second adult-only pool (for Royal Beach Club guests)
  • Elegant rooms with separate living areas and large bathrooms 
  • All-inclusive package covers food, drinks, and ample activities
  • Garden-filled grounds where wildlife sightings are common
  • 11 restaurants, including an excellent buffet and a la carte options
  • Five bars, including a buzzing nightclub with an attractive outdoor deck
  • Option to stay in designated family-only or adult-only areas of the property
  • Championship 18-hole golf course, four tennis courts, and 24-hour gym
  • Stunning spa with six treatment rooms and a hair salon
  • Range of indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout and free parking

Cons

  • Few rooms have ocean views
  • Most a la carte restaurants require reservations
  • Sprawling grounds can be a challenge to explore on foot

Bottom Line

The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal is a four-pearl all-inclusive resort located in the northeastern part of Guanacaste. The resort’s 326 guest rooms are understated and contemporary, with many featuring a smart split-level design to separate the bedroom and living area. With 11 restaurants, two enormous pools, access to an idyllic beach, and a nonstop entertainment line-up, there's plenty to keep guests busy. The property’s forested grounds attract wildlife, giving guests a glimpse of the “real” Costa Rica, but ocean views are few and far between. For those who are fans of big, all-inclusive properties, the Westin is a top-notch choice, but it might be worth comparing rates and amenities with the Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica on Playa Matapalo.

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Scene

High-end all-inclusive resort with a lively vibe, fabulous beach, and frequent wildlife sightings

This high-end all-inclusive incorporates modern décor throughout, such as in the breezy, open-air lobby, which has rattan furniture and wooden ceiling fans

The Westin is set amid 2,400 acres of tropical greenery, with coatis, iguanas, and howler monkeys often spotted on the grounds. The property, however, has virtually no ocean views, with almost all guest rooms, restaurants, and other facilities overlooking the grounds. The rambling terrain can also be challenging to explore on foot, and most guests opt to hitch rides on the biodiesel shuttles that circle the property.

From the breezy lobby with its wooden ceiling fans and rattan furniture to the Asian-inspired spa, the resort’s decor is modern. The restaurants, however, are fairly average and -- not surprisingly -- the large property lacks a certain intimacy. 

The resort does an excellent job of catering to couples and families with its Royal Beach Club and Family Club options. Rooms at the Royal Beach Club are restricted to guests over the age of 18, effectively making the Royal Beach Club facilities an adult-only area of the property. Similarly, there’s a special section of the main pool, and certain groups of rooms are designated for Family Club guests. As might be expected for such an upscale property, even the Royal Beach Club area isn’t particularly party-hardy. The atmosphere can get buzzy, but it’s relatively tame and family-friendly by resort standards.  

Location

Scenic location in northeastern Guanacaste, on the sands of Playa Conchal

Map of The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal

The Westin is one of only a handful of properties located on Playa Conchal, which regularly ranks among Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. The beach takes its name from the “conchas” (seashells) that have washed up on the beach and gradually broken down to form its coarse white sands. Its superb turquoise waters are wonderful for snorkeling and swimming.

The Westin is a five-minute drive to the town of Brasilito, a distinctively tico town and a good place to see what Guanacaste looks like beyond the resort. The neighboring beach of Playa Brasilito can be reached in about a 15-minute walk, and Playa Flamingo is a 15-minute drive away. Liberia’s airport is a little over an hour’s drive away.

Rooms

Modern rooms featuring living areas with sofa beds, and private balconies or terraces

The Royal Club Beach Room, furnished with modern decor in a neutral color scheme with colorful elements, includes a small sitting area

The 326 rooms at the Westin Golf Resort & Spa have neutral color schemes, and a mix of dark- and oak-hued wood furniture. Subtle green and blue pillows in the living areas, along with vivid red pieces of artwork in the bedrooms add tasteful pops of color. Standard Rooms have a split-level layout, which separates bedrooms from living areas. All rooms include flat-screen TVs, iHome radios, and free Wi-Fi. Living areas have comfy sofa beds, along with work desks. Rooms also have kitchenette areas with sinks, coffeemakers, minibars, and high-top dining tables.

Marble bathrooms have the chain’s white tea aloe-scented Heavenly Bath products. Water closets as well as showers with rainfall heads are set behind pairs of frosted glass doors. Rooms also have furnished balconies or terraces, some of which are fully enclosed, making them more like additional sitting areas. Most rooms have views of the property’s green grounds, with few ocean-view rooms available.

Royal Beach Club Rooms have a more traditional layout, but they still feature small sitting areas with sofa beds. These rooms include concierge services, minibars with premium liquors, and other perks. Family Suites offer kid-friendly extras like small bathrobes and slippers, and kids’ bath products. Luxury Villa Suites include bathrooms with whirlpools, in addition to separate dining and living areas. 

Features

Loads of entertainment and activities, two beautiful free-form pools, and direct beach access 

The hotel sits directly on Playa Conchal, one of the few hotels located on the beach in the area; the sand is full of crushed seashells, but there is plenty of space to lounge

The Westin’s main pool is a sprawling, lagoon-shaped oasis, surrounded by a stone deck and lush greenery. This free-form pool includes a swim-up bar with submerged seating, as well as little plant “islands” dotted throughout its waters. The pool is surrounded by beige lounge chairs shaded by beach umbrellas. There’s also a special seating area for Family Club guests. An activity tent alongside the pool features a life-size chess set, a ping-pong table, and billiards.

The resort’s second pool is reserved for Royal Beach Club guests, and therefore serves as an adult-only pool. The lagoon-shaped design and blossoming surroundings are similar to the main pool, with zero-entry edges creating a beachy effect. An attractive wooden bridge arches across the center of the pool, and there’s a swim-up bar with submerged seating. In addition to the same lounge chairs and umbrellas found at the main pool, the Royal Beach Club also features Bali beds with thatched roofs.

The resort backs onto a wide stretch of Playa Conchal, which is bordered by a tangle of forest. The beach sand is comprised of crushed seashells, and stretches for two-and-a-half miles. The Westin is one of only a few hotels located on the beach, leaving ample space for guests to lounge.

The swish spa has a dramatic entryway with a long pond at its center, as well as a gorgeous open-air whirlpool. The spa’s zen-style interior also features couples’ rooms, men’s and women’s relaxation areas, as well as a hair salon.

Along with meals and drinks, the Westin’s all-inclusive packages includes daily activities and nightly entertainment, ranging from dance lessons to ping-pong tournaments. There’s a cute kids’ club adjacent to the Family Club check-in, which houses a plastic outdoor play area in addition to some craft tables and video game consoles inside. The 24-hour fitness center has bright, floor-to-ceiling windows and a good range of equipment. Fitness classes such as yoga and spinning regularly take place here.

There’s a compact shopping area with a few different shops, most of which are focused on beachwear, jewelry and souvenirs. The resort also has a Robert Trent Jones II-designed 18-hole par 72 championship golf course and pro shop, as well as four lighted tennis courts.

Free parking is offered on-site, and there’s free Wi-Fi throughout. Nine meeting rooms of varying sizes are available, or events can also be hosted outside in the gardens or on the beach. The resort offers wedding planning services as well. 

Food

Full range of restaurants with a variety of cuisine -- most requiring reservations

A range of dining options include Faisanela, which serves Italian cuisine in a rounded space with a vaulted ceiling and striking chandelier centerpiece

The Westin has 11 restaurants, with cuisines ranging from Latin American to Asian. Many of the restaurants, such as Manglar, have a contemporary, romantic atmosphere, but there are also casual, poolside dining possibilities. The main buffet restaurant, Mitra, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant is quite lovely, with white pillars and wooden ceilings, as well as pretty surrounding ponds. In addition to a mix of international and local choices, Mitra has themed buffets and a live grilling station.  

Other notable restaurants include the airy lobby bar and bistro, Cauri, which has impressive views over the surrounding golf course and countryside. The Italian restaurant, Faisanela, has a rounded layout and a vaulted ceiling with a glittering chandelier as its striking centerpiece. The food quality is average across the board, and most restaurants require reservations to be made days in advance. We noticed during our visit (and many guests have also noted) that, oddly, the restaurants are often only half full with diners.

The resort also has five bars, including a theater bar where evening performances take place; and a nightclub with a big outdoor deck that features an eye-catching water fountain and great views of the resort’s landscaped grounds. Room service is included in the resort’s all-inclusive package.

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Address

Playa Conchal, Bahia Brasilito, Playa Conchal, Province of Guanacaste 232-5150, Costa Rica

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