Yesterday Brattcat left a comment asking a question about how I and local Costa Ricans feel about large resorts such as this. (Brattcat often leaves great comments.) I am an American, so I will not try to speak for Costa Ricans, although I read the English language Costa Rican newspapers which contain articles reflecting local sentiments. Here is my perspective on Tico views and on my own opinion.
My perception is that Costa Ricans are very supportive of the development of quality tourism facilities such as the J.W. Marriott. The President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, came to the Marriott for its grand opening and spoke glowingly about its benefits. I doubt he would have done that if public opinion were not supportive.
Tourism is Costa Rica's number one industry, particularly eco-tourism. The public is aware of the benefits of tourism in bringing jobs and tax revenues for needed infrastructure. Although Costa Rica has been rated as the happiest nation on earth and it is certainly the most democratic and prosperous country in Central America, it is still a developing nation. Tourist communities such as Tamarindo (and I am sure Hacienda Pinilla and the J.W. Marriott will be the same) have been shown to be big sources of revenue to local governments, far exceeding what the local governments spend in the tourist communiities.
The public attitude in support of tourism and an international outlook is reflected by the fact that Costa Rica is the only nation on earth to have approved a free trade treaty by a vote of the people! In highly democratic Costa Rica, a nationwide referendum was held on whether to ratify the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), znd it passed. Do you think that could happen in your country?
There does appear to be resentment among Costa Ricans that many of the construction jobs are filled by workers from Nicaragua, and some estimates are that there are up to 1 million unauthorized Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, with a population of only about 4 million.
There is a feeling that there was too much growth, too fast, but density and height controls imposed near the beaches last year does try to ensure responsible, quality development.
Here are my own views. I think it is a benefit for tourism in Tamarindo that there is a new J.W. Marriott nearby. It helps reinforce the image of the area as a locale suitable for high end resorts and vacations. The number of tourists coming to Costa Rica, particularly to Guanacaste, has been increasing at a much faster rate than the construction of new hotel rooms. This means that even as hotel rooms are added, there should still be plenty of business for people like me who rent out condos for tourists.
By the way, the government has gotten wise to the fact that so many people stay in condos when the come to Costa Rica that it repealed the bed tax levied on hotels guests and replaced it with a tax that the airlines must collect as part of the ticket price when people fly into the country. That way, everyone pays the tax, even if they are staying in a condo rather than a hotel.
The J.W. Marriott name and image should make it easier for others, such as condo owners like me, to rent out our condos, even though the hotel is also a competitor for tourist rentals. The Marriott will add to the visibility of our area. For example, I have already secured a rental for one of my condos for next spring because the guests will be attending a conference at the J.W. Marriott, and they have booked my condo to stay in Tamarindo after their conference is over.
I should add that I like Marriott hotels. My wife and I own 4 weeks in a Marriott time share and we stay in Marriotts frequently.