Four Seasons ‣ Peninsula Papagayo
Located on a hilltop hideaway above the Pacific Ocean, Four Seasons Costa Rica seamlessly enmeshes its modern open-air space into the surrounding tropic landscape, offering a laidback take on luxury that sets it apart from its sister properties.
From the time you enter the main gate of the 1,400 acre estate, it becomes clear that Peninsula Papagayo is a world of its own. It seemed like the winding road leading up to check in just kept going and going, and having drove in from Tamarindo, I was surprised by how different the terrain was. The hotel itself is tucked in amongst the forest line, making it nearly impossible to grasp the expansiveness until you're within the property's walls. It recently underwent two multi-million dollar renovations, timelessly inspired by the surrounding flora and fauna. The property is fresh and chic, yet somehow comfortably informal.
The open-air entry way drops off to a loggia, overlooking the main bar, restaurants, and pools. Though each detail has been meticulously combed over, the mixed woods and stone work are both primitive and sophisticated, lending itself to the relaxed, Pura Vida lifestyle Costa Rica is known for.
Bordered by water on either side, the proper has two semi-private beaches. The rocky activity beach is family-oriented and offers paddle boards, snorkeling and other equipment for rent, whereas the other is a bit easier to swim in, and is lined with cabanas and loungers. Servers encourage rehydration by passing out watermelon juice shooters and baby coconuts, and just as they do at the pools, sunscreen is provided complimentary. The property is also a short drive from beautiful Playa Nacascola, which is the first beach at the entry of the peninsula. All you have to do is request it, and the Four Seasons shuttle will transport you there. The water is full of colorful fish (great for snorkeling!) and it won't take you long to spot monkeys, coatis, and lizards from the shoreline.
While all beaches in Costa Rica must offer access to the public, because of where the Four Seasons is situated in the peninsula, it's about as private as they come. We took these pictures at dusk on a bustling Saturday evening, and we were still the only people on the shoreline.
The hotel features four pools, including adults-only and family-friendly options. The main pool, Bahia, is over ten thousand square feet, has plenty of lounge space, a whirlpool grotto and tasteful, poolside eats.
The Blanca pool overlooks the activities beach and also offers food and beverage service, conveniently located near beachside service.
Follow it around and you'll find the Kids for All Seasons pool, which has a shallow beach entrance, the cutest miniature loungers, and enough games and activities to keep the littles busy while parent's sneak off to enjoy some grown up time at Serena, the property's adults-only option.
Attire: Business Casual | Cuisine: Latin American | Operating Hours: Breakfast Daily 6:00 am–11:00 am Lunch Daily 11:00 am–4:30 pm Dinner Daily 6:00 pm–10:00 pm
An open-air kitchen, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, which is lit primarily by branch strung twinkling lights, making it feel almost like a treehouse - if five star treehouses were a thing. We tried a bunch of things here - the sauce sampler, sweet plantain empanadas, shrimp ceviche, annatto marinated pork ribs, octopus causa, the prime ribeye and tenderloin ---- and quite literally everything was amazing.
2. La Reserva:
Attire: Casual | Rum Bar | Operating Hours: 6:00 pm -10:00 pm
Located off the main lobby, La Reserva offers an extensive selection of Latin American rums, and the opportunity to create your own infused blend.
Attire: Business Casual | Cuisine: Italian | Operating Hours: Dinner Daily 6:00 pm–10:00 pm
This elegant Italian eatery was just renovated in December of 2021. Crowd favorites are the branding acqua pazza, cacciucco, and the risotto al fungi. We enjoyed drinks on the terrace one evening and our server, David, was so attentive. Kennedy loved the mocktail selection (her favorite was the Electric Hibiscus) and I tried the Camino de mulas and the tortuguero, which were both great.
Attire: Casual/Beach Wear | Cuisine: American and Latin | Operating Hours: All Day Dining and Grab and Go
Lobby restaurant offering all day dining and grab and a variety of grab and go options - which sounds blasé, but really, they have everything from burgers, to cheese plates, to sushi and its all reasonably priced.
5. Palapita Tap House:
Attire: Casual/Cocktail | Cuisine: Fusion | Operating Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Take a stroll to the Tennis Centre and you'll find A brewery serving a limited menu inspired by Costa Rican street food. Options include burgers, tacos, chips and dip - and a whole bunch of cervazas.
Attire: Casual/Cocktail | Cuisine: Latin American Steakhouse/Fusion | Operating Hours: Almuerzo 11:00 am - 4 pm, Bar 4 pm - 6 pm, Dinner 6 pm - 10 pm
Located in the newly renovated clubhouse, Nemare uses artisanal ingredients, locally sourced. Nemare offers a six course tasting menu, an array of local and imported steaks, and curated, sophisticated dishes. With options like the blind tasting steak trio and the wagyu stone, I'd classify it as a dining experience. And in my opinion, it has the best cocktail menu on property. We were able to get them to make us drinks from their menu at other venues onsite and each one we tried was unique without being overpowering. Favorites: Romargo, Nimbu, and the Ancho Negroni.
All guest rooms each have private balconies that overlook Culebra Bay, the Gulf of Papagayo or both and come tastefully furnished. There is also a three bedroom Miramar Suite that offers an outdoor living space with panoramic ocean and poolside views, as well as private residences, such as Casa del Cielo, located high up on the hilltop.
The spa is open each day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and has sound therapy and reiki in addition to more customary treatment experiences. In addition, the property offers complimentary activities, such as chocolate rum tastings and guided hikes; as well as access to the Papagayo Explorers Club, where excursions can be purchased for an additional cost. If I ever go back, the number one thing on my list is the chance to swim with spinning dolphin megapods!
Traveling to/from the Resort:
If possible, I suggest renting a car - it opens up your radius of exploration and allows you to go at your own pace. Reservations can be made through most major brands, with pick-up at or close to the Liberia International Airport, which is forty minutes from the property.
If you decide against that, you'll want to arrange private transfer service directly through the resort with advance booking. This includes an air-conditioned luxury SUV, sedan or van, and curb-side check-in at the Resort; as well as pre-order meals and restaurant/spa reservations ready and waiting for you, upon your arrival. Guests who book a private transfer will be met by a Four Seasons representative as they exit Customs. Once you’re at the Resort, a refreshing welcome beverage and a chilled towel await with the Receptionist.
Suggested Minimum Length of Stay: Three nights