W Resort ‣ Reserva Conchal
Located in the Guancaste Province, W Costa Rica blends lush tropics with modern exoticism, offering a one of a kind swank within the 2,300 acre resort of Reserve Conchal.
The hotel itself is nestled deep in the rainforest, surrounded almost entirely by mangroves. It's a seamless, yet trendy oasis just an hour drive from LIR (Liberia International Airport), making it a great choice for US travelers from the southeast, craving a quick trip out of dodge.
Once you come through The Living Room, you're welcomed to an open air space overlooking W Hotel's signature pool space, the WET Deck. The interior architecture was modeled off of the Bursera Simaruba trees lining the drive in, lending itself to the climate-positive vibrancy that sets Costa Rica in a class alone.
From the main building, it's just a quick stroll or cart ride down to Zona Azul; the W's semi-private on-site beach club at Playa Conchal. The curved harbor is situated at the base of rocky headline, engulfing guests with white sugar sand, crystal clear water, and a verdant mountainside as far as the eye can see.
While the club garners a good crowd from lunchtime on, I found that their semi-private beach was nearly vacant in the mornings... So, if you're like me and prefer to start your day off with a quiet boost of Vitamin-D, this is the place to do it.
There are two pools on site - the expansive WET Deck, adjacent to the entry way and the forest infinity pool at Zona Azul.
The Wet Deck offers poolside eats, cabanas, lounge chairs, an edgeless hot tub, and a sunken Wet Bar, artfully decorated in patterns that mimic La Carreta Típica oxcarts.
And while the larger pool has space for everyone, the forest infinity-edge at Zona Azul is smaller, secluded, and more exclusive. The small line of cabanas stretch out just feet from the beach club's restaurant and onsite spa, adjacent to a sandy enclave, making it the perfect spot for their South Beach style pool parties, which have live DJ's almost every day.
There are five dining options on-site, so if you opt-in on Marriot's All-Inclusive Option, the variety and value is hard to beat.
1.Latitud 10 Norte:
Attire: Formal | Cuisine: Chef's Table/Fusion | Operating Hours: Dinner
An elevated 7-course dining experience, offering fusion dishes inspired by Latin American cuisine. Led by Executive Chef Julio Valdivia, the restaurant provides a rotating dinner menu as unique as its surroundings. The venue itself is small and intimate, making it a perfect choice for a romantic date night. The night we went, most of the courses were seafood based, so make sure to check the offerings in advance if you're traveling with picky eaters.
2. Cocina de Mercada:
Attire: Casual | Cuisine: International/American | Operating Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
(International/American) Located off the main lobby, Cocina de Mercado is an open-market concept, akin to a high-end food hall, offering a wide-range of cuisines sure to satisfy any palette. Seriously - they have everything from freshly pressed juices to pizza.
3. Zona Azul Beach Club:
Attire: Casual/Beach Wear | Cuisine: International | Operating Hours: 10am - 6pm
For a small, poolside restaurant, the menu offerings are expansive and thoughtfully crafted. Our host, Carlos, pulled out all the stops, making it such a special experience for us.
4. Wet Deck:
Attire: Casual/Beach Wear | Cuisine: American | Operating Hours: 10am - Sunset
(American) Though the bar opens at 10 AM, food service runs from 11:30 am to sunset, and provides all the fixings you'd expect at a high-end, poolside bar.
5. The Living Room:
Attire: Casual/Cocktail | Cuisine: Fusion | Operating Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Providing slightly more of a "night-out" vibe than Cocina, The Living Room overlooks the Wet Deck and surrounding forest. This venue offers an expansive tapas and main course menu, to be enjoyed underneath its canopy of recycled glass bottles, which are inspired by the tails of Talamanca hummingbirds. Be sure to check it out at night when its all lit up! (And try the octopus! I consider myself a sort of tentacle connoisseur and it was amongst the best I've ever had).
The tower guest rooms have private balconies and wet bars, and the upgraded suites are each equip with private plunge pools. There are also the The Tree House Suites, situated amongst the mangrove canopy, The Extreme WOW Suite, and a brand new five bedroom private villa. Furnishings throughout are bold, colorful, and vibrant, exuding the signature Pura Vida lifestyle of Guanacaste.
The AWAY Spa is full service, so in addition to facials and massages, you can also get your hair or nails done before a night out. In my experience, it wasn't too busy - I had to change our appointment time more than once and they were able to accommodate it. Plus, we had the locker rooms and private soaking pool to ourselves before and after our treatments. We got the couple's massage and I actually fell asleep it was so relaxing!
Also, as a guest of the W Costa Rica, you can access the driving range, putting green, and 18 hole Reserva Conchal golf course.
Traveling to/from the Resort:
If possible, I suggest renting a car - it opens up your radius of exploration and allows you to go at your own pace. Plus, the valet and self-parking are complimentary and reservations can be made through most major brands, with pick-up at or close to the Liberia International Airport.
If you decide against that, you'll want to arrange transportation directly through the resort with advance booking. It's 55 USD each way from Tamarindo Airport and 135 USD each way from Liberia International Airport. You also have the option of flying into San Jose, which is five hours away, then taking a domestic flight into Tamarindo.
Distance from Local Attractions:
Liberia International Aiport: One hour
San Jose: Five hours
Tamarindo: Thirty Minutes
Suggested Minimum Length of Stay: Three nights
Reserva Conchal, Guanacaste Province, 506.2654.3600, wcostarica.com