We have been lucky to stay at both the W Reserva Conchal and the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica! Each resort has its pros and cons. In this post, we compare Marriott’s W Reserva Conchal to Hyatt’s Andaz Papagayo to assess which one is a better use of points based on our experience and what each resort offers.
We will compare each one based on:
- The room
- Resort amenities
- The beach
- Food and beverage
- Perks for loyalty members
Below is a quick overview of each resort:
- Program: Marriott Bonvoy
- Marriott Category 7: 50,000-70,000 points based on Marriott’s current award chart (changing after March 2022)
- Marriott Points Valuation : 0.8 cents per point
- Price of base room: ~$500USD during a popular but not peak time
- Location: Located in Guanacaste, about 45 minutes from LIR – Daniel Oduber Liberia International Airport.
- Number of rooms: 6 floors ; 150 rooms
- Pets Allowed: Yes; 2 pets 22 kg max per room with USD 100 cleaning fee plus USD 25 per night
- Program: World of Hyatt
- Category 5: 17,000-23,000 points
- Hyatt Points Valuation : 1.7 cents per point
- Price of base room: ~ $550USD during a popular but not peak time
- Location: Located in Guanacaste, about 30 minutes from LIR – Daniel Oduber Liberia International Airport.
- Number of rooms: 152 rooms, including 21 suites
- Pets Allowed: Guests may have two dogs stay in their guestroom provided their combined weight does not exceed 75 pounds. Extra charges apply. A $282.50 one-time fee includes use of bedding, meal containers, water, pet food and a deep clean upon departure.
1. The room:
W Reserva Conchal: We stayed in a Spectacular Ocean Escape, Guest room, 1 King, Ocean view, Balcony. We used a Marriott Suite Night Award to upgrade to this room.
Things we loved about the room:
- The large outdoor terrace with a view of the ocean, forest and sunset.
- The bathroom was massive and had a large shower, a view and windows that opened.
- A very comfortable bed for good sleep quality.
- The funky and unique décor/design.
- The bed faced outwards which we prefer over facing a television.
- The room’s location made it quiet as it was away from the main resort area. We were in the building furthest away from the lobby.
- The toiletries were great; same ones as the W Punta de Mita.
Things that we didn’t love about the room:
- The room did not have screens and due to the langostas (large crickets that emerged at night and randomly landed on you and the balcony), we didn’t get to enjoy our balcony as much as we would have liked.
- The lighting in the room was difficulty to figure out and there wasn’t a night light for the bathroom.
- There wasn’t a ceiling fan.
Andaz Papagayo: We stayed in a King Bed Bay View room. We paid to upgrade to this room from a base room.
Things we loved about the room:
- The large outdoor terrace with a view of the ocean, forest and sunrise.
- The terrace also had shade/privacy blinds similar to a screen that could be used during day and night.
- The large shower with good water pressure and window that opened for indoor/outdoor experience.
- The room layout was spacious and had a nice design.
- The bed and linens were very comfortable (Andaz has some of our favorite beds).
- The room was near the outdoor gym.
- The furnishings were less funky than the W but were nice and suited the environment.
- The room had a ceiling fan.
- The lighting was super easy to use and very functional.
Things that we didn’t love about the room:
- The bathroom was nice but it felt as though it lacked privacy from the rest of the room.
- The mini fridge did not keep things cold.
The Winner: Andaz Mayakoba
It is almost a tie between both hotels and each room has things we love but overall, the room at the Andaz Mayakoba was more comfortable. If we could pick and choose the best things about each room, it might be the best hotel room ever. Being able to use the outdoor space during the day and evening was very important to us but you can’t beat the view at the W Reserva Conchal.
2. Resort Amenities:
W Reserva Conchal: The W Reserva Concha has 2 pools (one for adults only), a spa, a fitness center, beach cabanas (for rent), lounge chairs by the beach, a kids club, a golf course, complimentary outdoor activities (stand-up paddleboard, kayak, boogie boards, bikes, etc).
Andaz Papagayo: The Andaz Papagayo has two pools (one for adults only), a spa, an indoor fitness center and an outdoor fitness center, lounge chairs by the beach, a kids club, a golf course, complimentary water activities (stand-up paddleboard, kayak, boogie boards, bikes, etc), a beach club accessible by boat or shuttle.
The Winner: It’s a tie.
We enjoyed the amenities at both resorts equally but did enjoy the Andaz Beach Club because it had games. We liked the pools better at the Andaz but the W had fewer beach chairs and the setting was not as private.
3. The beach:
W Reserva Conchal: The W Reserva Conchal has a Pacific Ocean beach. It is a stunning beach where you can walk, swim, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard. The sand is also quite soft and light-colored, the water is very clear and was a decent temperature. Playa Conchal is a clean and pristine beach that was never too crowded; it is one of the nicest beaches we have seen in Costa Rica so far. The only downside are the jetskis that speed by most of the day, as well as some vendors that offer your products and services (massage, tours, etc.).
Andaz Papagayo: The Andaz Papagayo has three Pacific Ocean beaches: one by the resort, one a short walk from the resort, and one at the beach club. The beaches are smaller and have darker sand but the water is very clear and the two near the resort have calm water. You can swim, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard at two of the beaches. The beaches are not as stunning at the one at the W Reserva Conchal but we enjoyed all of them and found reviews to be a little harsh. Like at the W, this beach has jetskis that can be loud and vendors too.
The Winner: W Reserva Conchal
The beach at the W Reserva Conchal is nicer and feels more natural.
4. Food and Beverage:
W Reserva Conchal: We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the W Reserva Conchal. Overall, we enjoyed the food, some things more than others. The full buffet breakfast for Titanium members was amazing and we looked forward to it each morning! They had local specialties like plantains, pinto gallo, and ropa vieja, fresh fruit, pastries (including, amazing cinnamon buns), yogurts, an egg station and everything else you expect from a breakfast buffet.
The W Reserva Conchal has the following restaurants:
- Cocina de Mercado for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Latitud 10° Norte, a fine dining dinner restaurant.
- Zona Azul Beach club from 10:00-18:00. We had lunch here and enjoyed the ceviche and patacones but found the portions inconsistent. The highly recommend the patacones as they were really unique and well executed.
- The living room for lunch and dinner. We had happy hour cocktails and appetizers here for dinner and enjoyed it. It was much more low-key than the two other dinner restaurants that require reservations.
- The Wet Deck from 11:30-18:00.
Andaz Papagayo: We had lunch, and dinner at the Andaz Papagayo. Overall, we enjoyed the food, some things more than others. We would have loved to still have Hyatt status to get complimentary breakfast but that was not the case this year and so we will omit breakfast from our rating.
The Andaz Papagayo has the following restaurants:
- Rio Bhongo for breakfast lunch and dinner. We had lunch here and enjoyed our pizza and wings, even if we are a little embarrassed to admit we had this to eat! The wings were tossed with a spicy tamarind sauce and the pizza had beef tenderloin, jalapenos, pineapple and chimichurri, which sounded unique and interesting!
- Ostra for dinner. We did not get to have dinner here but the menu has a nice selection of ceviches if you want to share a few appetizers.
- Chao Pescao for small plates and bar. We had dinner here and enjoyed the food, drinks, and atmosphere very much. We ordered three dishes and it was way too much; good thing we didn’t listen to them when they told us to order 4!
- The Andaz Beach Club. We had a beer here but it was too windy to eat here and the menu didn’t have much that appealed to us.
The winner: Andaz Papagayo
We don’t usually eat all our meals on resort and love to explore the local food scene but if we had to pick one, we’d have to choose the Andaz Papagayo. The Andaz Papagayo has more variety and we found the value to also be slightly better than the W Reserva Conchal. We also enjoyed driving to the Four Seasons tennis center to have Papagayo Brewing beers and tacos and recommend this as a lunch or light dinner option (more information about the Papagayo Tap Room at the Four Seasons).
W Reserva Conchal: We spent lots of time relaxing at the W Reserva Conchal in addition to using our rental car to explore the surrounding areas (Brasilito, Potrero, Flamingo, Las Colinas, Tamarindo). W hotels are known for their party vibe but this was the quietest one we have ever stayed at.
Andaz Papagayo: People go to the Andaz Mayakoba more or less to stay on the resort the entire time. We ventured off to Coco once and explored the resort grounds.
The winner: W Reserva Conchal
This is tough! We have to choose the W Reserva Conchal because of the beach, resort grounds, and accessibility to explore off the resort. We love the setting at the Andaz Papagayo too but there were fewer options to explore off the resort.
6. Perks for loyalty members:
W Reserva Conchal: We visited as Marriott Titanium. We were able to apply a Suite Night Award for a room upgrade. We received complimentary breakfast for the full buffet. We had to pay the daily resort fee for our stay.
Andaz Papagayo: We visited as Explorists and were not entitled to any perks. However, this is a great resort to visit as a Hyatt Globalist; you get free breakfast, the resort fee is waived, and you are eligible for room upgrades. Non-elite members booking a stay using points also don’t pay a resort fee.
The winner: Andaz Papagayo
We are very happy with our stay at the W Reserva Conchal as Marriott Titanium members but having Hyatt Globalist status and using it at the Andaz Papagayo is perceived to be better valued because the resort fee is waived for points bookings. As much as we enjoyed our stay at the W Reserva Conchal, we do not support some of their business practices and find they go against the Marriott Bonvoy program policies. For example, our upgrade cleared and they tried to downgrade us so we had to show them the screenshot to get our upgrade back. Also, the booking policy changed after we booked using points: if we didn’t show up for our reservation during a peak time, we would be refunded points and charged the current nightly rate (~ $1,000USD). It also was concerning when the second email we received asking us to agree to this policy was quoting a much higher charge for not showing up than the first. This policy only applies to peak times thankfully!
As you can see, the W Reserva Conchal and Andaz Papagayo both offer pros and cons depending on what you are looking for. We enjoyed our stay at each one and found them both to be outstanding resorts to enjoy what Costa Rica has to offer. Both are suitable for families and those traveling without kids. If you are planning to spend all your time at the resort, the Andaz Papagayo might be the better choice because you have access to the Papagayo Peninsula, including the restaurants at the Four Seasons and there it is less easy to explore off the resort. Both resorts are pretty upscale but low key too and so you can be casual and not have to dress up too much (no dress codes).
Which resort do you want to stay at? Have you stayed at either of these resorts?