You don’t have to look further than JW Marriott Guanacaste to see why Costa Rica means “rich coast.” Tucked into Hacienda Pinilla, a private residential estate on the north Pacific coast near Tamarindo, and perched on the secluded Mansita Beach, it is also an easy drive to fishing villages, cattle farms and sugarcane plantations.
All of the guest rooms are identical in size (556 square feet), design and amenities but vary according to view: garden, pool, ocean or oceanfront. We say our oceanfront room No. 326 is perfect for families with two double beds, a spacious bathroom with a soaking tub, separate shower and vanity, and a generous balcony with sweeping views across the resort’s manicured lawns to Mansita Beach. On the other hand, the 20 One-Bedroom Suites are more than double the size of the guest rooms and have a living room separate from the bedroom. Junior Suite No. 424 is our top pick as it is set on a corner with a view of the beach from one balcony and the Pacific Ocean from the other. The one-bedroom Presidential Suite is like a luxury apartment with a large living and dining room opening to a plunge pool and direct access to the beach. We loved the hacienda-style décor throughout the resort with its calm, neutral colors, cool tiled floors and natural timbers.
Note: The resort has 25 connecting rooms, and private butler service is available on request. Luxury travel advisors can contact Director of Sales and Marketing Mayra Galeana ([email protected]; 011-506-2201-5318) or Senior Travel Sales Manager Alejandro Sancho ([email protected]; 011-506-2681-2000) with questions and requests.
With limited off-site dining options, JW Marriott Guanacaste goes all out on the food front with four top-notch restaurants. Sabanero (named after Costa Rica’s traditional cowboy) is a showcase for local and imported steaks. Mansita has an international menu, while Tamarine is Asian fusion. Reserve a table on Tamarine’s open-air terrace, with views to the main pool, and order a Tamarine Splash made with mandarin vodka, tamarindo (an exotic local fruit) and peach juice. Seafood-inspired Azul Grill overlooks the beach. Tip: Make sure that you order the Costa Rican ceviche. Hint: The staff can arrange a private table on Mansita Beach for a romantic dinner under the stars. Reserve at least a day in advance. For larger parties, contact Director of Food and Beverage Frederic Cappello ([email protected]rriott.com; 011-506-2681-2004).
The spa includes 18 treatment rooms: 10 on the upper floor, including two with a larger garden terrace used for wet treatments and rituals, and eight on the lower floor, including two couples’ rooms with private gardens, two with ceiling-mounted Vichy showers and four individual palapas (outdoor pavilions). A signature treatment is the 90-minute Guanacaste Ritual, which starts with a herbal body wrap followed by a soak in a hydrotherapy hot tub and a sleep-inducing massage. We recommend top therapist Marsenette Leal for this and other massage treatments. Note: The outdoor post-treatment terrace is a wonderful place to relax afterward. Apart from parent-supervised manicures and pedicures, there are no treatments for children under 18. Yoga, meditation and Pilates classes are available on request. The spa is very popular with guests, so book in advance.
Both the men’s and women’s spa areas have a sauna, steam room and pool. However, the ladies’ section is larger and can accommodate wedding groups for tailored treatments; these must be booked well in advance. Contact Spa Manager Nathalie Tosso ([email protected] hotels.com; 011-506-2681-2203) for information.
Golfers have access to Hacienda Pinilla’s 18-hole ocean-side course. Guests also have access to the private beach club on neighboring Avellanas Beach (within walking distance from the resort along the beach) and the Langosta Beach Club in nearby Tamarindo. Tours from horseback riding to zip-lining above the canopy of a forest can also be booked with the local Swiss Travel tour company via Head Concierge Christy Titles ([email protected]; 011-506-2681-2000). Note: The resort doesn’t allow pets.
The best time to visit is the dry season between December and April. Book three to six months ahead, and up to a year for Christmas and New Year’s, which is the busiest period. The green (rainy) season is May to November with the heaviest rainfall in September and October. Liberia International Airport—with direct flights from Miami, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Newark, Chicago, Minneapolis and Charlotte—is an hour by car. Guests can also arrive by helicopter; there’s a helipad next to the resort.
|JW Marriott Guanacaste is close to such worldclass beaches as Tamarindo, Langosta and Avellanas.|