There’s been a whole lot of buzz surrounding the newest property to rest its perch on the north western coast of Costa Rica in years: Andaz Peninsula Papagayo. For many years (10 to be exact), the Four Seasons Costa Rica has been the de facto choice for families seeking a more active but not so rustic vacation in the tropics. The arrival of Andaz (and to be proper, Hyatt, as Andaz is Hyatt’s luxury boutique brand of hotels), a 153-room hilltop resort that blends right into its natural surroundings, has given its neighbor some healthy competition since it opened last Fall.
In fact, this fresh-faced family-oriented property has, in some ways, already raised the bar after being recently listed in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 Hot List for Best New Family Friendly Hotels in the World. Yes, world.
In Andaz signature fashion, every detail – from the bathroom’s pebbled floor to the cocktail menu – is locally inspired. For the Peninsula Papagayo property, Andaz handpicked local iconic architect Ronald Zürcher who designed the natural and organic layout. Public spaces, adorned with local stones and handcrafted driftwood, were designed to make guests feel like the resort is as much indoors as outdoors.
Zürcher, who also designed the neighboring Four Seasons, brought in unique touches to this Andaz property such as the expert mixologists at Chao Pescao (we love the open terrace bar) and the not-so-discreet purple Volkswagen van (offering complimentary transportation to the marina and nearby restaurants) that make Andaz a hipper lodging option.
Every furniture, textile, art piece and accessory in the guest rooms and suites, inspired by the short stories of Costa Rican writer Rima de Vallbona, were hand-crafted by local artisans and manufacturers. The walls themselves are adorned with the Costa Rican and Latin American artwork by Cecilia Paredes, Adela Marin Villegas, and Karen Clachar.
All of the 21 lavish suites include floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking turquoise Culebra Bay or the tropical forest, spacious balconies, and walk-in rain showers. For our upcoming visit, we have our eye on any of the four Andaz Large Suites, corner suites that feature a living room, dining area and a spacious balcony with a private plunge pool.
What excites us the most about this new property are the indoor-outdoor bathrooms which were recently selected as one of CNN Travel’s 10 of the World’s Splashiest Hotel Bathrooms. With a walk-in rain shower that opens to the balcony and brings in the warm Costa Rican air, there is no turning back. If you are of a bath person, there are soaking tubs in each of the suites (the Presidential Suite includes an outdoor soaking tub on the balcony).
Before you step into the tub or shower, however, we recommend taking advantage of the many complimentary on-site activities such as kayaking, nature trails, paddleboarding and snorkeling. Don’t worry if you forgot your flip flops or hat: there are two complimentary sets in your room to borrow. Thirsty? No problem. Enjoy one of the many non-alcoholic mini bar items while surfing on free wi-fi (just watch out that the cute but curious howler monkeys who like to hang out at the resort don’t snatch one of your drinks – they have been known to have sticky fingers). There’s also a kids club with lots of activities to entertain your 4-12 year olds, and an Arnold Palmer Golf course.
After you hit the mini bar, treat your taste buds af any one of the three restaurants on property: Chao Pescao (small plates and fun cocktails), Río Bhongo (open-air, poolside restaurant with a focus on Latin fare) and Ostra (a more intimate setting serving Costa Rican seafood). We hear the rum, pineapple and coconut milk cocktail at Chao Pescao is a must. We are game to do a taste test!
With all the local food you’ll be sampling, you may guilt yourself into going to the 24-hour fitness center, steam room or pool. Better yet, pamper yourself at the Onda Spa in one of the nine spa rooms or three outdoor rooms.
There is a true sense of authenticity and a connectedness to the local environment and culture here. That combined with the laid-back luxury style of Andaz, makes this resort a winner in our books. Little convincing is needed on our part – especially with winter on our tails – to motivate ourselves to hop on a plane ride (only 5 hours away from JFK and then a 25 minute drive once you land to the hotel!) to a tropical paradise where the average temperature doesn’t go below 75 degrees. Who’s with us?
Take advantage of our partnership with Classic Travel, who offers these exclusive Virtuoso amenities at Andaz, including:
- Daily breakfast for 2
- $50 resort credit
- Complimentary welcome amenity
- Upgrade based on availability at time of arrival
- Early check in and late check-out based on availability
Check here for availability and rates.
Photos courtesy of Andaz Peninsula Papagayo
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Final de la Ruta 253,
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Why book Virtuoso?
- Personalized travel assistance
- 24/7 online booking
- Special rates & exclusive offers
- Guaranteed Room upgrade*
- Complimentary full American breakfast
- Early check-in, Late check-out*
- Exclusive on-site amenities (varies by hotel)
- * based on availability on time of arrival