Costa Rica Travel – On the northwest coast of Costa Rica sits the idyllic 1,400-acre retreat known as Peninsula Papagayo. The moment you pass through the gates of this private enclave you are greeted with soaring palm trees and enthralling vistas of beckoning blue water—a grand entrance that’s apropos for this magnificent destination. About 10 minutes later down a winding road through an Arnold Palmer–designed golf course and past grand homes of varying architecture, you, at last, reach Four Seasons Costa Rica, the only Forbes five-star hotel in Central America.
The resort recently underwent a $35 million renovation and reopened this past December to unveil its transformation. The big reveal includes 182 reimagined accommodations, a redesigned lobby, four new dining concepts, and an enhanced pool area. “All I can say is wow!” exclaims Jennifer Weiss, a luxury travel advisor for the Virtuoso-certified agency Travel Edge. “[Four Seasons] took a property that always had the two best beaches and location in Guanacaste and refreshed it in a way that is jaw-droppingly beautiful.” And wow, indeed, because to help with the revamp the brand brought in Meyer Davis Design Studio to seamlessly blend the peninsula’s lush tropical landscape with the property’s indoor-outdoor spaces. Using a natural color palette, local artisan pieces, and tactile textures, the NYC-based firm managed to capture sun-drenched luxury in an uncontrived fashion.
And Four Seasons Costa Rica truly is in one of the best spots possible. Bordered by water on either side, all rooms have either a view of the Culebra Bay or Gulf of Papagayo (some even have vistas of both) and a private balcony to take it all in from. But if we’re going to talk about the grandness of this dazzling resort, then the three-bedroom Miramar Suite is certainly one worth marveling at. An outdoor living space offers panoramic ocean vistas and overlooks the infinity pool that sits on an expansive deck. On that same terrace is an alfresco dining area that’s perfect for either a luminous lunch or star-lit dinner. But if you’re really looking to splurge, see if one of the private residences is available to book, particularly Casa del Cielo. Located on the highest hilltop on the grounds, it offers similar features as the Miramar Suite, but with far more space, added privacy, and unbeatable views of both sides of the peninsula.
And because of its prime location the resort offers two separate beaches to relax at. One is more family-oriented, acting as a playground for non-motorized water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking. The other, past three different pools, is made for relaxation, with dozens of loungers and cabanas spread across the golden sand. Staffers even walk around to pass out watermelon juice shooters and baby coconuts to help sunbathers rehydrate. But when you’re not lazing around or spending time at the spa, the property also offers a bevy of complimentary activities—such as guided hikes, cooking classes, and chocolate rum tastings—to fill your day (fitness programs are available at a supplementary cost). When that’s not enough, hotel guests also have access to the Papagayo Explorers Club. Here, adventurists have the opportunity to go on a variety of adrenaline-inducing excursions, all led by expert guides. Think outrigger canoeing, mountain biking, and swimming with spinning dolphin megapods (that means up to 5,000 of these astounding creatures).
After working up an appetite, there are four different venues to choose from to satiate any hunger pangs. Bahia offers all-day dining (of note for the breakfast buffet is the smoothie bar) in the form of Latin American fare while steakhouse Caracol serves lunch and dinner to fulfill any carnivore’s cravings. But if you’re in search of Italian cuisine, head over to Pesce. The dinner-only restaurant has a particularly sexy ambience, and if you really want to up the romance factor, ask for a table on the deck, where small light bulbs are laced through the roof like something straight out of a fantasy Pinterest board. Whichever option you go with, just make sure to grab a sunset tipple at Añejo, enjoy the live music, and learn what pura vida is all about.
By Christina Liao, Forbes.com