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JW Marriott Guanacaste, Arenal & Peace Lodge trip report

JW Marriott Guanacaste, Arenal & Peace Lodge trip report

May 25th, 2010, 05:49 PM
  #1  
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JW Marriott Guanacaste, Arenal & Peace Lodge trip report

Spent 3 nights at JW Marriott Guanacaste & was impressed. I loved the style of the property, the location, pool and the staff was great. Even though their beach is very rocky I still liked the seclusion of it & you could walk down the beach a bit to swim. The only thing lacking was any type of entertainment/activities in the evening. I thought instead of offering dance & Spanish lessons in the afternoon maybe having them in the early evening would get more participation. They have a lovely courtyard area which would be perfect for a guitar player or something similar after dinner.
From the JW we headed over to the Arenal Kioro for 2 nights. I really like this hotel & the view is spectacular. I am very glad however that the volcano waited until after we left before erupting. I would have been a bit panicked to see/hear that from our room.
We spent one day at The Springs Resort & I couldn't get over how amazing it is. The springs were wonderful, had a delicious lunch, great massage & the rooms are beautiful.
Next stop--The Peace Lodge. I'll be back shortly to finish my report....
petite43 is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 10:41 PM
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Looking forward to more of your report!!
MichelleY is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 04:12 AM
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The drive to the Peace Lodge was a bit of an adventure. We were told it would take almost 4 hours to get there from Arenal because the roads that had been damaged by the earthquake were still not repaired. This was the first time our driver had traveled this route so once we passed the SJO airport & he started flagging people down for directions we knew we were in trouble. The drive itself wasn't bad & we finally arrived after 3 1/2 hours. Funny thing was, the owner pulled up at the same time & told us if we had taken the "closed" road we would have made it there in 1 1/2 hours! Apparently the road has been repaired but not opened officially yet. I like adventure so I would've chosen that option if given a choice but we had arrived safely so I have no complaints. After years of reading the reviews of The Peace Lodge I was very excited to finally be there myself. We didn't arrive until 7:45pm so it was dark & we couldn't see anything. I liked the room we were given-it had a waterfall in the bathroom but I felt like I was in Disneyworld or in a scene from the Flintstones. I loved the restaurant & we had a delicious dinner. After dinner we toured the frog houses which was fun. Since we were leaving at 9am I was up & about at 5:30. I walked the waterfall trails which were beautiful, checked out the monkeys, birds, watched the hummingbirds for a while in the garden and then had breakfast. Overall, I liked it but would probably not return. I think it's a terrific property for people who want to see nature but not necessarily live with it as you do at places like BDC. I prefer to see the critters doing what they do out in a natural environment rather than in a cage or house...it had more of a zoo/museum feel to it.

*Worth mentioning*
When staying at the JW if you walk down the beach to Playa Avellanas you can eat at Lola's..but they're closed on Mondays

JW offers a shuttle to Tamarindo for $5pp each way

The evacuation plan for an eruption at Arenal according to our guide is - RUN, RUN REAL FAST!

Never mind the high priced dinners at the hotels...our best meal was at a soda on our way to Arenal -$10

This trip was combo business/pleasure which is why I only stayed 1 night at the Peace Lodge. I wish I had more time to explore there a little more.

Had a wonderful week!!
petite43 is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Hi Petite43,

Glad you had a great time in CR!

We have 5 days planned at the JW in Feb. and I have a couple of questions about your stay. You mention you were in CR for business and pleasure - was this the business part? It seems like they get convention/incentive groups fairly often and I know there is a tour group that takes a block of rooms pretty much every night. Do you have status at Marriott and, if so, did you receive any sort of room upgrade? Hubby is Marriott Plat and we are using points for our stay, but I am hoping they might give us a bit of a room upgrade. If they don't no big deal. I am still happy with the free room.

Also, if you were not there for business, did you plan any local activities while there, and if so what were they and did you enjoy them?

Thanks for any additional info you can provide!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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Sounds fun, petite! How many of the waterfalls were back open at the Peace Lodge? Could you still see the earthquake damage?
volcanogirl is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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volcanogirl: You could still see the earthquake damage along the trails and they are working on repairs. I didn't hike the entire trail so I'm not sure about the amount of waterfalls. After I started hiking alone at 5:30am with nothing but my camera & saw all the workers there I realized it wasn't such a wise decision so I turned back. I think it was about half way through where men were working on what looked like a building. They were welding & pouring cement so I'm not sure if I could have gotten past them even if I had wanted to.

happycheesehead: I did not go with a group to the JW, I work for a travel company so I thought spending 3 nights of my vacation there would be a good way to see it. I did do a site inspection so I saw each room category. With the exception of the suites all the rooms are the same...the only difference is the view. I think the grounds are so pretty that even if you wound up with a ground level room it still has a nice pool/garden view. That part of our trip was strictly for working on our tans so the only activity I did at the hotel was horseback riding which was great. If you don't mind a long drive the Mega Combo tour is a great full day tour where you get to experience a lot in one place. It includes horseback riding, zip line, hot springs, mud bath, lunch, a water slide & is really a lot of fun. There are other ziplines closer and if you like sailing there are some boats that leave from Tamarindo.

If you have any other questions just let me know.
petite43 is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 02:52 AM
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Thanks for the update, p - wow, I can't believe they were out working so early!
volcanogirl is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 04:23 AM
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Thanks for a great trip report. Informative and concise. . .that last one always eludes me.

Glad, too, that you missed the eruptions. Would've been a little too much adventure.

Thanks for posting. . .I always enjoy your posts.
shillmac is offline  
Jun 15th, 2010, 09:13 PM
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Hello I just had a ? About your 3 1/2 HR ride from Arenal. I'm doing the same ride in reverse. I'm landing at 9:30 am an plan on driving to La Paz. Do the waterfall hike and make it to La Fotuna by nitefall. The tour Co. Rep said as of 6/14/10 that the earthquake damaged road thru San Miguel route# 140 is not repaired. Which means I would have to double back to Alajuela. Then to San Ramon an up the 142. Did the owner of La Paz mean the road thru San Miguel or a different route. Thanks for any feedback
badbob90713 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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Sorry but I don't know which route he was referring to. Since we had a driver this trip I didn't pay much attention to the directions.
petite43 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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Well thanks for the reply anyway. I will be doing a fairly agressive self driving tour on my first trip to CR and the road info is kind of scetchy at best. Your story kind of did not jive with my other info. No worries though being lost in paradise is alot better than knowing the way to work with my eyes closed.LOL I cant wait to get there and be able to share my story with all you nice people. I have really enjoyed reading these post an gathering info for my trip. Thanks again
badbob90713 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2010, 03:44 AM
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I like your attitude and agree about being lost in paradise! Some of our best adventures started because we were lost
Have a great trip & I'll be looking forward to your trip report.
petite43 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Petite 43 - I was not sure how to send you a question so thought I would try this forum. I see from an older post that you stayed at Las Tortugas and your husband surfed. If we are not surfers would we still enjoy the beach there and be able to go in the water? Thanks
sbhask is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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Hi sbhask: I think Playa Grande is a great beach even if you're not a surfer. I've never seen it crowded & love exploring the rocks & tide pools during low tide. We were there a few times & were always able to go swimming (I'm not a surfer) & I've always felt comfortable enough to let my children swim. When are you traveling?

If you have any other questions just let me know!
petite43 is offline  
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