W Costa Rica, Reserva Conchal
Imagine a place where the jungle meets the beach, with stunning views of cloud topped volcanoes in the distance and tightly woven trees as far as the eye can see. Now put a visually enticing, modern hotel with sleek lines and a design aesthetic that is uniquely its own, yet fits effortlessly within the landscape, enhancing the beauty around it. Add in an attentive, über friendly staff, gourmet dining, craft cocktails and a list of daily activities a mile long, on top of 150 beautiful guest rooms that boast all the amenities you can dream of. A property that is nestled in the jungle and mangroves, where you’ll see and experience flora and fauna you’ve likely never seen outside of a zoo. Welcome, you’ve arrived at the W Costa Rica, Reserva Conchal.
Perfect for couples, singles and families alike, the W has something for everyone. With it’s “Detox, Retox, Repeat” motto, guests can participate in one of their many group workouts in the morning—whether it’s a hike up the nearby mountain, water aerobics set to high energy hit music, or yoga in their glass studio that is indoors but makes you feel as though you’re outside—and then sip cocktails at the beach club in the afternoon. W Costa Rica is the perfect place for those who live by the mantra “Work hard, play hard”—encouraging guests who still like to take care of their bodies to let loose and have a little fun on their vacation.
Having just celebrated it’s first birthday on November 28th, my arrival on December 1st was the perfect time to check out this brand new property after it’s had some time to work out the kinks of being new. This property definitely wowed me—which is difficult to do these days. I’m happy to report that this is now one of my favorite properties, and already can’t wait for my return. Below is a detailed account of what guests arriving at W Costa Rica Reserva Conchal can expect during their stay:
Situated just one hour south of Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, the W is easy to get to and only a 5.5 hour flight from Los Angeles. In less than half a day, you’ll be in a place that doesn’t feel anything like home, yet has all the comforts of home that you’re accustomed to.
The entrance to the property is grand and well-manicured; guests eyes are immediately drawn to the iconic red W sign out front, then your car is ushered past the guard shack and onto a tree-lined, paver stone road that winds down into the jungle for a few miles, finally arriving at a red circular porte-cochère. Valet attendants are patiently waiting out front, where they take your keys and your bags and escort you to the check-in area, which is located past a sleek hallway with water cascading down the walls.
Check-in is easy and fast—they take your credit card and passport and give a brief explanation of the property, then bring you back to the porte-cochère, where you’ll be whisked away by a staff member in a golf cart, who will carry your bags and personally escort you to your room.
Bonvoy Elite members can choose from a welcome gift of points, free breakfast, or a W Costa Rica Hat.
The guest rooms are visually appealing, fun and insanely well-appointed. Rich wooden accents, coupled with bright pops of color on an elaborate accent wall combine with modern, simple lines to create a surprisingly tasteful, exciting decor.
As a Titanium Elite member, we were upgraded from the baseline Fabulous Escape guest room that we booked on points to a Spectacular Ocean Escape room, which had one king bed with an ocean view and a balcony. All guest rooms have balconies though, and the property was thoughtfully laid out in a manner that allows a majority of the rooms to have a full or partial ocean view. Some of the suites even have private plunge pools.
Our spacious room had a large King bed, lounge area, giant bathroom, mini bar and balcony. The large bed, with white linens and colorful accent pillows, was flanked by two side tables, each with touch lamps and dual power outlets that each have two USB ports. A mini bar and coffee maker has a menu that reads “Every Thing You Want to Eat & Drink”, promoting their “Anything, Anywhere” motto where you can order just about anything you want, at whatever time of day or night you want it.
The long galley-like bathroom has a toilet room at the end, then a vanity area with a plush stool and lighted mirror, and dual sinks that continue on to a walk-in shower with not one but two rain head showers. Huge nano doors either close off the elements while still providing unmarked views or open up completely to offer a seamless transition from indoor to out. The shower door even opens up so you can feel as though you are showering outside.
You’ll find the iconic “W” accents that you’re used to—the steamer is labeled with “Smooth Operator”, the water has a tag that reads “Drink Up, Tomalo” and the mini bar treats are situated atop a surfboard that has been affixed atop the fridge so that it looks as if it’s floating in thin air.
Nestled perfectly in between the mangroves and the Pacific Ocean, the design of the property takes advantage of its stunning surroundings. You literally feel as if you are staying in the middle of the jungle (because, well, you are), and can constantly hear the crashing of waves, chirping of birds, and chatter of monkeys as they swing from limb to limb in the trees.
Spider and Howler monkeys can be found in the trees adjacent to the guest rooms; if you’re spending any time on your private balcony, you’ll likely find one. I must’ve seen 20 of them the first morning I was there. Get up early (like 30 mins after sunrise) if you want your best chance of seeing them.
You’re also virtually guaranteed to see coati walking around the property as well. We had one pesky little guy that was at breakfast on our last day, who was bold enough to jump on the tables searching for food. It’s a fairly amusing sight to see because the staff members will then come around and use a spray water bottle to give him a quick shot of water, like a squirt gun. The water obviously doesn’t hurt the coati but helps keep them away from guests and their food, since that’s what they’re after (and since people are dumb enough to feed them, which keeps them coming back).
The property is also fairly expansive, requiring a golf cart to get back and forth to some places, but also not so big that it feels daunting. There’s the lobby, main dining room, porte-cochère and main pool right in the center, with various buildings for guest rooms tucked away in different areas around it. The spa is set a few hundred yards away, surrounded by jungle so you feel as though you are someplace far away. Then the pool club is down by the beach, which is still walking distance but far enough that most will require a golf cart. Though quiet during the day, the beach pool turns into a club at night, which is a good reason for it to be set away from the guest rooms.
They have five dining options: upscale fine dining at Latitud 10° Norte, casual meals at Cocina de Mercado, beachside dining at the WET® Deck and Zona Azul, and snacks and cocktails at Living Room.
Latitud 10° Norte is on par with any Michelin starred restaurant and creatively boasts Costa Rican and Thai fusion dishes that have complex flavor palettes and craft cocktails. Get the som tam octopus or guana tom soup to start and the short rib for a main. Save room for dessert though because their arroz con leche and gianduja deserts are insane. Grab cocktails before dinner in the Living Room bar.
Cocina de Mercado is where guests can grab breakfast from an impressive buffet that has everything from traditional Costa Rican dishes to fruits, pastries, and traditional American breakfast items. They serve casual comfort food dishes for lunch and dinner.
If you’ve snagged a good spot in a lounge chair at either the WET® Deck or Zona Azul, you can eat tasty dishes poolside and sip on fun, fruity drinks served in pineapples.
In addition to well-appointed rooms, the property offers a variety of different amenities and activities for guests to enjoy. There’s a fitness center that offers group classes daily, like aqua fit, "board to stretch", and bootcamp. At check-in, guests are provided with a calendar showing the week’s activities—everything from hikes and yoga to cocktail making classes and Tiki Tuesdays.
Their AWAY® spa has quiet treatment rooms set in the jungle away from the hustle and bustle of the main part of the property, where you can listen to the birds chirp while getting a soothing massage. They offer everything from facials and pedicures to body wraps and massages. They even have a unique champagne bar where guests can sip on bubbly while they get pampered.
They also have a fully equipped FIT® gym, so you can stay on track with their “Detox, Retox, Repeat” motto. Get your workout in by using their cardio equipment or weights, or join any one of their lively, fun group classes, which are offered at different times throughout the day. If getting your sweat on outdoors isn't your thing, guests can try their hand at indoor or pilates in an air-conditioned studio with large windows that make you feel as though you are outside, while protecting you from the elements (and bugs!).
If you’re a golfer, you can play at the Westin next door, which is the W’s sister property. W staff members will happily give you a ride in a golf cart to get there, and the cost for 18 holes is about $150 per person.
There’s even a game room, open to guests aged 4 to 12, where children can connect with other kids, learn and have fun while mom and dad lounge at the pool.
Prior to arriving at the W Reserva Conchal, my husband and I were a bit underwhelmed with Costa Rican properties in general. We had stayed at a different hotel that’s also under the Marriott umbrella, but weren’t entirely thrilled. We didn’t love the property and although it was also new and ranked pretty high in traveler reviews, it was lacking in a number of ways and we both agreed it was not a place we would return to. Chalking it up to some of the constraints often encountered in lesser-developed countries, we just assumed that was par for the course and didn’t have high expectations of our next resort.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure I should say that it’s difficult to wow us these days. I don’t say this to brag but to provide some context: my husband and me have done a fair bit of traveling around the world, and we’ve been lucky enough to stay at some pretty incredible five star resorts. So it really does take a unique property to wow us. And the W Costa Rica Reserva Conchal, surprisingly, was one of them.
I was completely “Wowed” (pun intended), not only by their Wow Suite but also the property in general (next time I’ll be booking that beautiful Wow Suite, for sure). From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with pleasant surprises at every turn. The rooms were fantastic, the food was insanely good, and the amenities were aplenty. I am already trying to figure out a date for my return. This resort is a must-see.
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