Exotic luxury on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast
134 Rooms / 20 Suites
Editor's Note: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo will be closed through December 2017 for renovations. The $35 million project will introduce redesigned rooms, new restaurants featuring locally sourced organic foods and an enhanced signature pool area with brand-new luxury cabanas, amenities and programming.
There aren’t many tropical resorts where you can balance downward dog atop a stand-up paddleboard, grind cacao in a traditional chocolate making class, get wrapped in therapeutic volcanic mud, and top it all off with dinner at a Latin-inspired fish house. But at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, all that (and a whole lot more) is on the daily agenda.
This hilltop hideaway melds posh amenities and accommodations with an exotic tropical backdrop and warm, professional service. The open-air entryway of the contemporary, relaxed lobby provides a heightened sensory fusion — ocean breezes, chirping parrots and bellowing howler monkeys make the bright interior come alive with jungle spirit.
The resort inhabits a coveted piece of the Peninsula Papagayo in northwestern Costa Rica. Poised on an isthmus, flanked by two private golden-sand beaches, the resort spans more than 2,300-acres acres of rich tropical dry forest and sparkling Pacific coastline. Local architect Ronald Zürcher’s vision was to create an ultra-luxe resort accentuating the area’s inherent beauty. Well-appointed villas stretch across the landscape, blending with nature, never imposing upon it. Earth-tone rooftops speckle the trees, woven together by discrete pathways veiled by verdant landscaping incorporating indigenous flora and fauna.
Inside the 45-acre property, décor details work to capture Costa Rica’s lifeblood. A subtle fire and water theme creates a distinct color palette, mixing warm earthy hues with rich crimsons, corals and dazzling teals that mirror the cerulean waters of the ocean. Natural materials reflect the environment, with bamboo furnishings and tropical hardwood and stone finishes. Transitions to the external setting are fluid, as the airy rooms and ocean views embody the country’s celebrated indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
Following an extensive renovation in 2014, the 154 tropical-chic guest rooms and suites are brighter than ever, with loads of natural light spilling through bamboo shutters and oversized windows. Disappearing glass doors dissolve barriers between inside and out, allowing you to choose as much (or as little) proximity to nature as desired. While suites are worth the upgrade (particularly the spectacular Canopy Plunge Pool Suites with private infinity-edge pools), all rooms offer jungle, ocean or combination views, ideal for spotting monkeys, manakins and more. Typical Four Season touches of luxury include marble baths, feathery down bedding, flat-screen LCD televisions and in-room entertainment systems.
With so much to do at the resort, it’s almost surprising guests venture off property to experience the adventurous surroundings (almost). Individualized itineraries are popular, and you can choose from surf trips to legendary Witch’s Rock, stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayak excursions, cooking classes, invigorating nature hikes, nocturnal wildlife tours or a game of golf on the scenic course designed by Arnold Palmer. Wellness enthusiasts will enjoy five tennis courts, four swimming pools, a cutting-edge fitness center and a sprawling spa that incorporates indigenous healing techniques.
Five restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, but Sol y Sombra, a Latin inspired rotisserie/fish house has the region’s first ceviche bar and is a must-visit. There’s also Cena Sociale, a fine-dining Italian bistro and wine bar, and the open-air Tico’s lounge with a light bites menu and coffee bar. Each restaurant has a Latin-inspired focus, with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Seafood is always off-the-boat fresh and dishes made with more exotic ingredients (think fresh hearts of palm and coconut meat) make for unique dining experiences.