|The Interior Courtyard of the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa // (c) 2011 JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa|
The Tico Times, San Jose, Costa Rica, July 15, 2011
By Will Ferguson
July 15--At the end of a long, bumpy road, a small slice of paradise awaits visitors to Costa Rica's northwestern Guanacaste province.
Since opening two years ago (TT, April 24, 2009), the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa has settled luxuriously into its corner of the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort and Residential Community, a few kilometers south of the beach town of Tamarindo. Perched on a beautiful stretch of pristine oceanfront, the resort is gorgeously designed, with long residential wings that gracefully encircle the inviting waters of its massive pool.
Upon passing through the resort's elegantly carved front entryway, guests are greeted with a panorama of the ocean in the distance. Powerful waves slap the white sand of Playa Mansita, while guests lounge on the shore or enjoy the view from one of the resort's many restaurants.
The hotel has everything a high-end resort should, and then some. The tastefully furnished, air-conditioned rooms come equipped with one king or two double beds, a bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and a balcony with a view sure to relax guests. The resort has 310 rooms, including 20 suites and a presidential suite that gives justice to its name. Located away from the main building, the suite has a large, spacious living room overlooking the ocean, which is literally right in the backyard, as well as a full kitchen, personal hot tub and two bedrooms. The master bedroom is absolutely decadent, with a king-size bed, huge walk-in closet and luxurious bathroom.
In addition to lavish accommodations for adult guests, the resort also provides for children. JW Adventures offers kids ages 7 and up a fun, safe, educational environment. The bilingual staff arranges weekly activities that exercise both the mind and bodies of young guests.
"I love working with the kids," said JW Adventures employee Nathalie Tosso. "The focus is not just to play; it is educational. We study Costa Rica, the environment and other things in an engaging way."
Use of the center is free of charge for guests. Children under age 7 must be accompanied by a parent.
As for dining options, the resort's four restaurants offer guests a wide variety. After a stroll along the beach, there is nothing better than lobster for lunch. Stop by the oceanfront Azul Pool Grill for a variety of Mediterranean and seafood dishes. The Mansita Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers an array of international cuisine and boasts an award-winning breakfast buffet. Although the buffet is good, keep in mind that it is not complimentary, costing $25 per person.
For guests interested in a fine cut of red meat, the Sabanero Steakhouse is open for dinner and offers high-quality international and domestic beef cuts. And, for the seafood-minded, Tamarine offers a variety of sushi and Asian cuisine. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner to experience what the hotel claims is a truly unique Asian dining experience.
Another highlight of the JW Marriott is the extremely luxurious and immensely relaxing spa. A stone path leads to the facility, where guests are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled appointments to enjoy the sauna and a relaxing dip in a cool blue pool. Swedish, deep-tissue and hot-stone massages and an aromatherapy ritual are just a few of the treatments offered here.
For guests feeling more active, the resort is literally surrounded by an endless variety of outdoor activities. The Hacienda Pinilla property includes three beaches, Mansita, Langosta and Avellanas, offering an array of water sports opportunities such as snorkeling, sportfishing and surfing. On almost every beach, surfers can be seen tearing up the waves. Rivers, lakes and a wildlife refuge surround beautifully designed residential developments on a property comprised of extensive dry tropical forest. A plethora of birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals call the area home. Guests can explore the natural beauty on a horseback tour or a stroll along the beaches. And for golfers, Hacienda Pinilla is home to a world-class par-72 course consisting of 7,300 yards of green.
From Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, capital of Guanacaste province, drive two kilometers to the main road and turn right. Continue through the towns of Guardia, Comunidad, Palmira, Filadelfia and Belen. At Belen, turn right at the gas station and continue, passing through Santa Ana and Huacas. Once in Huacas, turn left and continue to the town of Villarreal, where you will see signs for Hacienda Pinilla. At the entrance to the property, the guard will direct you to the JW Marriott. The drive is approximately 50 km (one hour).
Guest rooms start at $215 a night. Special packages are available, such as the Escape! Spa Package ($255 to $485) including a deluxe garden-view room, daily buffet breakfast for two and one daily spa treatment of the guest's choice.
For information and reservations, call 2681-1200 or visit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjojw-jw-marriott-guanacaste-resort-and-spa.