Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Peninsula location with gorgeous ocean views and a design that incorporates local flavor
The Four Seasons is located on the isthmus at the tip of the Peninsula Papagayo, an exclusive hideaway in northwest Guanacaste that's home to 15 miles of coastline, tropical forests, and diverse wildlife. And since it's on an isthmus, sandwiched between two beaches, the views are phenomenal: Most rooms at the resort have at least a partial view of the blue ocean or bay.
The remote location is beautiful, but it's also, well, remote. Though the concierge can arrange any number of outdoor excursions -- horseback riding, zip-lining, volcano hikes -- some guests are content to never leave the property. Fortunately, the design of the resort is distinctly inspired by the Costa Rica location, so all guests can experience at least some aspects of the country's local charm. The open-air lobby has square stone columns, beamed wood ceilings, and a tinkling fountain, while rooms are decorated with bamboo, rich wood, and stone. Suites have undulating roofs inspired by armadillo shells, and are perched in the hills amid the trees; the hotel likens them to luxury tree houses.
The location and the design would be enough, in itself, to make the Four Seasons noteworthy, but it's the addition of the brand's typical doting service that truly makes it five-pearl. At both beaches, for example, the hotel provides water, towel and sunscreen stations, Evian spritzes, and afternoon popsicles.
In northwest Guanacaste, on Peninsula Papagayo
The Four Seasons is located on Peninsula Papagayo in Guanacaste, a dry, sparsely populated area of the country that's known for its beautiful beaches (including ones where sea turtles nest), surfing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and its string of large resorts. The region is home to seven national parks, including Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, where visitors can hike past boiling mud pots and smoking fissures. Guanacaste has a lower elevation than other areas of the country and an arid climate, so there are no rain forests here, but the dry tropical forests are still wildlife rich: Visitors can spot howler monkeys, sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys, and iguanas.
The majority of the Four Seasons' 155 rooms are located in one of three four-story buildings and face either the bay or the Pacific Ocean. They all have wood floors and detailing, rattan furniture, and marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. The highlight, though, just might be the balconies -- most of which have at least partial bay or ocean views, and sliding doors that guests can leave open to bring the outdoors, in.
Suites -- described by the hotel as luxury tree houses -- are perched in the hills and have extra-large terraces, some with plunge pools.
All rooms include:
Everything you'd expect at a luxury resort, including three lovely pools and a first-rate spa
The resort's three pools are located behind the main building, surrounded with plenty of brown cushioned loungers and umbrellas and flanked by beaches on either side. The largest pool, Ticos pool, is on the top level and has a bridge connecting one side to the other. Blanca Pool, the second-largest pool, downstairs to the left, overlooks Playa Blanca, and the Quiet Pool, downstairs to the right, overlooks Playa Virador. The pool area is perfectly lovely, with stone walls and lots of palm trees, although it's not as large or impressive as the JW Marriott's.
Two excellent beaches flanking the resort
Playa Virador faces the Pacific Ocean, and tends to be quieter than the Playa Blanca. Expect beautiful white (and some gray) sand, and, in the evening, beautiful sunsets. The waves are gentle enough for safe swimming, although jellyfish can occasionally be a problem. There's drink service, but no food service -- you'll have to sit at a table behind the beach if you want to eat.
Playa Blanca faces the bay, and is the busier beach, with food and drink service directly to the lounge chairs, a water trampoline, and an activities desk where guests can rent water sports equipment (including kayaks, paddleboats, and Hobie cats). There's also a wooden boat filled with ice where the fresh "catch of the day" is displayed at 11 a.m.; guests can pick out a fish and have the chef cook it for them.
An 18-hole course designed by Arnold Palmer
The Four Seasons' par-72 championship course, designed by pro golfer Arnold Palmer, has panoramic ocean views from several of its holes, and the surrounding forests are rich with wildlife (including both howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys). It's a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, meaning its construction was, and its operation is, more environmentally sensitive than your typical golf course.
Both a kids' club and a teen center -- available for free
The Kids For all Seasons kids' club, for children ages four to 12, is equipped with numerous toys, games, puzzles, a TV and video game controllers, computers, and -- in an outdoor area -- ping pong, foosball, air hockey, and a kiddie pool. Four Seasons staff supervise the play area and the excursions, which include sand castle building and soccer.
The Tuanis Teen Center is equipped with a long row of computers and video game consoles, a large flat-screen TV and DVDs, foosball, a pool table, and an outdoor court where basketball or volleyball can be played.
Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms -- decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone -- and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site. Those who do choose to explore beyond Peninsula Papagayo should note that the roads in Guanacaste are in poor condition.
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