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All-Inclusive Beach Luxury at the Westin Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

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Choosing Costa Rica as a tropical holiday destination is good way to guarantee a happy family or couples vacation. In fact, Costa Rica ranks among the happiest countries in the world, per the Happy Planet Index. Unlike many of its neighbors, this small Central American country has managed to exist and prosper as a base for wellness, adventuring and pura vida – pure life appreciation. The Westin Playa Conchal Golf & Spa Resort, provides an excellent location to experience the peace and happiness of the pura vida lifestyle.

Rainbow over the beautiful beach at Westin Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Rainbow over the beautiful beach at Westin Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Location

Set on 2,400 acres of luxurious reserve in the northwestern Guanacaste region, the resort rests between jungle forests and the warm blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Westin Playa Conchal is an easy one-hour drive from the international Liberia airport. On the highway to the resort you'll pass farms and ranches, lush forested hills, and small local towns. Drive past the large gatehouse and up the manicured grounds that lead to the grand, open-air lobby building with views towards the ocean.

Westin Playa Conchal guest houses (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Westin Playa Conchal guest houses (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Family Junior Suite Rooms

The spacious guest rooms are located in two-story, four-plex units that feature super-comfy Westin Heavenly Beds, sitting area, and spacious veranda. For the kiddies, there are child-sized bathrobe and slippers, and video games on request. A personal Family Club service helps you organize your stay.

The resort is very spread out, and while many of the services and amenities are easily accessible by walking, you may want to call a complimentary club car to get to farther destinations or restaurants if your wee ones tire easily. If you travel to the Westin Playa Conchal in low season (June to October), you may feel like you have the resort to yourself, since many units will likely be unoccupied. The off-season atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful.

All-Inclusive

The Westin Playa Conchal is Starwood Group's first all-inclusive resort. Food, drink and activities are included in the price of the stay, with children under 12 billed at a separate rate. (Children over 12 are charged as adults.) The all-inclusive aspect gives peace of mind to vacationers since the resort is set apart from any local towns, and grocery-shopping would be difficult. Families don't have to worry about food preparation, or finding a place to eat. Choose from a wide variety of casual and more formal dining options, almost on a whim.

Traditional Costa Rican specialties: beef, fried plantain, gallo pinto (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Traditional Costa Rican specialties: beef, fried plantain, gallo pinto (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Lots of Dining Choices

The eight restaurants at Westin Playa Conchal range from the casual pool-side Caracola Restaurant, with excellent grilled fish tacos and roast beef sandwiches, to the formal dining experience of Las Candelas's Latin fusion menu, or Faisanella's Northern Italian cuisine. It isn't possible to go hungry with so many dining options within close distance of a pool, beach or walking path.

The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is found at Mitra Restaurant, which includes two built-to-order omelet stations, hot breakfast items (pancakes and french toast), and local specialties. Be sure to try the delicious braised beef with tortillas and gallo pinto (black beans and rice). You can also enjoy fruit and baked goods, and at least six varieties of fresh-squeezed juices.

Pool fun for everyone at Westin Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Pool fun for everyone at Westin Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Family Activities

Westin Playa Conchal offers a wide variety of family-friendly activities to keep everyone happy and occupied. Enrolling in the Family Club allows a separate check-in to start, and if your kids are younger (under 12) and you're looking for some couple time, enroll the children in the Westin Kids Club. You can access separate, organized children's and family activities, including a private area of the Main Pool, preferential reservations at some resort restaurants, kids' beach and pool amenities, and all-day assistance from the Family Concierge. Older children have the freedom to roam in a safe environment at the resort, once they've figured out where everything is, of course.

Coatis roam the Westin Playa Conchal grounds, but don't feed the animals! (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Coatis roam the Westin Playa Conchal grounds, but don't feed the animals! (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Wildlife

Located within a natural reserve, the Westin Playa Conchal is neighbors with many local animals. You will hear (and may be lucky enough to see) howler monkeys, toucans, parrots, iguanas, and the resident rodents, the pizote. Also known as coati or coatimundi, these cute, white-nosed creatures roam the grounds freely during the day, and are often looking for food from restaurant tables. They make great photo models, but may get a little hissy when approached, especially if they're with their young. They don't pose a danger, however, and kids will delight in seeing them everywhere around the resort.

Don't miss the spectacular sunset at Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Don't miss the spectacular sunset at Playa Conchal (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Other Activities at Westin Playa Conchal

Water lovers will love the large swimming pool complex with hot tubs and a swim-up bar near the main restaurant facilities and the Playa Conchal beach. Borrow large pool towels with your guest card and settle down in the comfortable lounge chairs near the pool, or head out to the white-sand beach and warm, azure waters of the ocean. The surf is mild and the swimming is glorious here, as is the beach walking in search of nearby howler monkeys. The beach is particularly spectacular at sunset, and after it gets a bit dark, you may be lucky enough to find yourself surrounded by the bluish-green light of marine phosphorescence in the water.

The calm waters at Westin Playa Conchal are perfect for sea kayaking, snorkeling or diving off a Marlin del Rey catamaran. Seeing underwater life of angelfish, eels, octopus and stingrays, up close is worth heading out for a morning snorkel tour. The Swiss Travel Costa Rica company has a desk set up on the resort beach, should you wish to book eco-adventures like zip-lining, canyoning, kayaking or fishing tours.

Golf is a big part of this resort (it's in the name), and the 18-hole, par 71 Robert Trent Jones Golf Course was designed to challenge and impress as much as the gorgeous landscape in which it's located.

The Westin Playa Conchal offers a relaxing and luxurious introduction to Costa Rica, its friendly people, and the addictive concept of pura vida.

A Note from The Curious Travel Mama: My visit to the Westin Playa Conchal was partially sponsored by the resort. As always, my opinions are honest and my own.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons (ages 17 and 19). She started travelling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about family travel and about educating children through the travel experience. She is the author of the thetravellingmom.ca, and contributes to many online and print media publications. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom.

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