In late September, I had the fortunate opportunity to return to Costa Rica and visit the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal for the first time. Costa Rica means “rich coast” in Spanish, and it certainly is rich in plant and animal life, as well as having some of the friendliest people in the world.
The resort is in Guanacaste province, which is situated on the north Pacific coast of this diverse country, so we flew into Liberia Airport. Arriving there is easy and the modern facility buzzes with activity as visitors arrive from all over the world. Our transfer driver knew some English and was very pleasant during our hour-long drive to the W Costa Rica. We drove in and out of torrential downpours, but we knew we’d encounter rain this time of year. Fall is the “green season,” a.k.a. rainy!
The one-year-old W Costa Rica hotel nestles within the pristine Reserva Conchal nature preserve. Built as architectural interpretations of the local landscape and culture, the modern resort blends into the forested area cascading down toward the brown-sugar-sand beach. The hotel offers upscale amenities and ambiance that we were well-pleased with. Friendly staff whisks you to your resort destination in small golf carts on command, which was a nice feature since the compound is quite hilly.
The colorful indoor/outdoor Living Room (hotel lobby) is visually vibrant. The focal point is a stunning illuminated tree rising above the lovely tropical wood bar. The custom light fixture contains 9,000 colored glass beer bottles.
Just off the Living Room, the inviting Cocina de Mercado offers buffet-style Latin and Mediterranean fare, as well as grab-and-go options. The restaurant has a glass surround and views of the patio and pool beyond.
Our room, located up a hill in a multi-story building, had modern styling and bright pops of color contrasting with the rich tropical woods of the paneling and flooring. A small “surfboard” bar displayed a few minibar items, and conveniently, coffee service and a mini-fridge.
The large bathroom with two sinks and plenty of counter space was nice; however, lighting could have been better over the dressing vanity area. The shower made up for any deficiencies, though! It featured dual rain showerheads and a sliding door to the outside balcony overlooking the forest. If modesty prevails, there’s a roller shade to pull down for complete privacy.
For early risers like myself, the sights and sounds of predawn are an amazing experience. Each morning at first light, I made coffee and sat outside on the balcony listening to the haunting cries of howler monkeys in the distance and the constant hum of insects nearby.
On my first morning, I took a 5:30 am adventure walk and was not disappointed. As I ambled along the paved roadway trimmed with native landscaping, a white-tailed deer scampered in front of me, startling me fully awake. Further up the road, I found an over-turned rhinoceros beetle, so I decided to right him with my foot to see if he was alive. He was very much alive – and a “small” specimen according to my Costa Rican friends!
The Wet Deck pool area off the Living Room was very nice with strategically placed shade umbrellas. Water aerobics started at 11 am and the loud music was too much for us, so we ventured to the “quiet” pool down toward the beach. The long, narrow pool is a good bit away from the main area and surrounded by luxurious Bali bed loungers. The atmosphere was much calmer there.
The beach at Playa Conchal is beautiful; however, you won’t see aqua-colored water here. The Pacific Ocean is very different than the Caribbean and the sand is dense. Playa Conchal is a long beach and is walkable, depending on the tide.
We enjoyed gourmet dinners of Costa Rican/Thai fusion at Latitude 10 Norte. Thailand shares the tenth degree of latitude with Costa Rica, hence the name. Quality and service proved excellent and we ended our meal with a fabulous signature dessert.
W Costa Rica also offers a small Spa called “Away.” I sampled a mini massage, delivered expertly by my diminutive therapist. The unique cocoon-shaped outlet offers typical spa and salon services.
A variety of excursions are available from the resort from high adrenaline ATV and Jet Skiing to cultural and chilled sightseeing. We took a sunset catamaran trip with the “Lazy Lizard” sailing and snorkeling outfit one afternoon. It was an overcast day with some rather high swells and after a while, several of our sailing mates were seasick. Thankfully, my husband and I have pretty good sea legs and never had an issue, but I felt for those who didn’t fare as well. The scenery was spectacular, with a craggy coastline and rock formations in the sea. The crew served lunch along with beer and tropical punch drinks. Snorkel gear was available for those that wished to partake. Unfortunately, as we motored back, the cloud cover and approaching thunderstorms fouled our sunset plans.
Departing was sweet sorrow, and the smiling Costa Rican staffers that served us so heartily were sad to see us go as well. Our experience at the W Costa Rica Reserva Conchal was great and I’d not hesitate to recommend the resort for those traveling to the Guanacaste region. The hotel offers several room types and package plans, including all-inclusive. The food and service were very good with variety and excellent quality, compared to some other local inclusive hotels.
If you enjoyed this post, please read these other articles about Costa Rica on our blog:
Barbi Partlow is a specialist at designing exotic luxury vacations. When not planning travel for her clients, she is active with missions and healing ministry in her church. She enjoys reading, outdoor activities, acting in community theatre, and cats!