Nayara Springs Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Luxurious in every way, the 16-room, adult-only resort Nayara Springs is the top resort in the area for couples seeking romance and privacy -- but who can do without volcano views. Large, rustic-luxe rooms have a bevy of free amenities (free minibar items, free international calls) and gadgets (Bluetooth music players, espresso machines), all of which you pay for in the room rate. Its nearest competitor is the Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, which happens to be its family-friendly sister property next door (volcano views are on offer there). The hotel is only a 15-minute ride into the town of La Fortuna, but most guests seem to spend the majority of their time on the property.
Tulemar Bungalows & Villas Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Tulemar Bungalow & Villas manages to combine the privacy of bungalow living and the convenience of full hotel services, without any sense of pretension. There are 45 luxury residences spread out on a 33-acre resort that includes private access to Tulemar Beach, which has one of the only beach-facing restaurants in Manuel Antonio. Rooms range from homey, but older, Bungalows with floor-to-ceiling windows to over-the-top Casa Las Nubes with gasp-inducing architecture and a semi-indoor infinity-edge pool. All units come with free Wi-Fi and a personal concierge. Buena Vista del Sol serves up food and drinks near one of the four infinity-edge pools, but breakfast isn't included with the price of a room. There's an air of seclusion on the property, but it's still conveniently located near a grocery store and laundromat.
Gaia Hotel And Reserve Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Tucked away on a 14-acre nature reserve, Gaia is an adults-only hotel that gives guests a perfect blend of attentive, personalized service and utter privacy on a quiet property. With only 29 rooms -- all with huge, very comfortable beds -- guests will feel like they have the place to themselves.
Villa Buena Onda Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This seven-room, upscale, all-inclusive boutique hotel is set on a hillside overlooking the region's dry forest and distant ocean. Villa Buena Onda's hushed, retreat-like vibe stems from the fact that it caters to adults only. The decor is stylish with lots of white seating and colorful contemporary art, while the pool serves as the social center, a place for guests to lounge, drink in hand, and take in the views. While the hotel is not on the beach, guests can catch a free five-minute shuttle ride to Playa del Coco and other nearby beaches.
Makanda by the Sea Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Makanda by the Sea is an upscale and romantic boutique hotel (no kids under 16 allowed) nestled into the hills of Manuel Antonio. Many of the 12 Villas and Studios are currently under construction, so there's a fair bit of noise and some of them haven't been updated yet. Villa 12 is the newest and most luxurious unit, with a private infinity-edge pool, two bedrooms, and a modern kitchen. All of the rooms have ocean views and come with a free daily delivered breakfast.
La Mansion Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
La Mansion Inn is an upper-middle-range boutique hotel that's a hit with honeymooners and offers decor and features not usually found in Manuel Antonio. The owner was a friend of famous undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau and the underwater theme is evident in the lobby aquariums. Rooms are spacious and pleasant, with ample natural light and flat-screen TVs. The dimly lit and ambient Bat Cave bar is built into a natural cave. Outside, the Terrace Restaurant and pool offers panoramic, uninterrupted views of both Manuel Antonio Beach and the harbor. Kids under the age of 12 are discouraged from staying.
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa is a small, upscale property that's a strong contender for most romantic in Manuel Antonio. All of the rooms are suites and include jetted tubs, ocean views, and minibars. Issimos Restaurant serves a free, luxe breakfast buffet and Italian favorites for lunch and dinner, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The pool is on the small side, but it's open 24 hours and there's an adjacent bar for sunset cocktails. Kids under the age of 16 aren't allowed.
Hotel Punta Islita Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Situated in a lush, remote location, the Punta Islita offers guests ample opportunity to be alone. After enjoying the stunning infinity pool, the tasty cuisine at 1492 Restaurant or a treatment at the beautiful spa, couples can retreat to one of the Casitas or Suites, which have private Jacuzzis or plunge pools, king canopy beds, and big hammocks on terraces overlooking the beautiful grounds and the ocean.
Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas Rating: 4.0 Pearls
A serene, wellness-focused 31-room boutique retreat on the outskirts of bustling Tamarindo, Cala Luna has an organic, beachy ambience. A large pool, lounge, and restaurant serve as the hotel's social center while an intimate spa and yoga pavilion are tucked away in the jungle-like surroundings. Couples hide out in upscale, bungalow-style rooms with vaulted ceilings and spacious baths while families prefer the two- and three-bedroom villas with private pools. The hotel’s wellness focus is emphasized by daily yoga classes and a restaurant that uses organic and sustainable food sources, some from the on-site garden. While not located on the ocean, a five-minute walk along a landscaped path leads guests to a secluded beach, although it is rocky and not suitable for swimming, especially at low tide.