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Nayara Springs 5.0

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Breakfast included in rooms or at Altamira Restaurant in the adjacent Nayara Hotel
  • Bungalows have big decks with private hot springs pools, plus indoor and outdoor showers
  • Rustic-luxe rooms are 1500 square feet; amenities include Bluetooth music players, and espresso machines
  • Romantic bungalow available to rent for catered dinners for two, or cooking classes for many
  • Nightly welcome party/cocktail hour for guests at Amor Sushi in adjacent Nayara Hotel
  • Shares a resident bird-watching guide with Nayara Hotel
  • Nightly live performances by Costa Rican musicians in Amor Loco restaurant
  • Free Wi-Fi, laundry service, and local and international calls from guest rooms
  • Free minibar items (except for the wine and liquor)
  • Free morning yoga classes in the yoga hut
  • Free Spanish lessons
  • No kids allowed (con for some)

Cons

  • Only one room type
  • Rooms have a sliver of a view of the volcano at best
  • No rainforest trails
  • No kids allowed

Bottom Line

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.

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Scene

A strictly adult-only haven for honeymooning couples and celebrities seeking privacy, Nayara Springs is filled with North American pleasure travelers luxuriating by the pool, in the spa or restaurant, or in the privacy of their secluded bungalows.

Nayara Springs opened in late 2013, and is the adult-only counterpoint to the Nayara Hotel next door. While all of the 16 units here are 1,500-square-foot Villas, there are several room categories at the Nayara Hotel, which means prices there are a bit lower -- and unlike Nayara Springs, the Nayara Hotel has terrific volcano views. But for those seeking the ultimate in pampering and romance, Nayara Springs is the area's top option. 

Guests, mostly American, revel in luxury by the pool or in Amor Loco restaurant, or wander slowly among the rainforest trees to large bungalows screened off from each other by sloping paths and carefully placed vegetation. Since Nayara Springs is an adult-only property, you won't see anyone under 15 anywhere, and the level of privacy here is even greater than on the other side of the bridge at Nayara Hotel. Many of the guests spend much their time in their lavish rooms, but will often pop across the bridge over the gorge to Nayara Hotel to enjoy the somewhat more raucous common areas there.

Nayara Springs and Nayara Hotel are both the usual go-to spots for celebrities, and guests have included Hollywood actors, race car drivers, NBA players, and famous musicians.

Location

About a 10- to 15 minute-drive north of La Fortuna, but most guests rarely leave except for adventure excursions 

Map of Nayara Springs

The hotel sits near the end of a spur off the main road out of La Fortuna, about 10 to 15 minutes north of town. It's just north of the volcano, and is surrounded by rainforest, cow pastures, and several other hotels. The hotel is far enough from town to avoid the backpacker crowds while being convenient for those with their own transportation should they need to get supplies, arrange adventure tours, or soak in more local culture, but guests tend to spend most of their time on the Nayara properties. To get to Nayara Springs, guests go to the main Nayara Hotel entrance and lobby, have a valet park their car in the Nayara Hotel parking lot, and then have a staff member drive them in a golf cart through the Nayara Hotel property, over the long bridge across the gorge to the Nayara Springs side, before checking in at the small reception area above the pool and Amor Loco restaurant.

Rooms

Rooms are rustic-luxe (emphasis on luxe) open-plan bungalows that come with private hot springs plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers, and an extraordinary level of attention to comfort.

Nayara Springs and its sister property, Nayara Hotel, are the subject of much envious talk from other local hoteliers because of the capital the owners can afford to put into the property. That lavish attention to detail is perhaps most evident in the Villas, the only room type at Nayara Spring. These 16 1,500-square-foot bungalows are secluded hideaways thanks to screens of vegetation and an ingenious use of sloped paths. In their rooms, guests enjoy free laundry pickup, service, and drop-off; free local and international calls; a free, generously stocked minibar (except for the wine and liquor, which must be paid for); an indoor and outdoor shower; his and hers bathroom sinks (the bathrooms are 500 square feet alone); and nightly turndown service. Perhaps the biggest draw is the massive deck with day bed and a plunge pool fed by natural hot springs. Even the towels reflect the attention to detail. Costa Rican cleaning staff commonly form guest towels into fanciful shapes, even at budget hotels, but the Nayara staff go a step further, adding plastic googly eyes and rose petals instead of more easily obtained local flora. Unlike most properties in the area, rooms do not prioritize a view of the Arenal volcano -- guests will catch a sliver of the peak at most from their bungalows.

Features

Nayara Springs takes all the features of its elder sister and adds a no-kids stipulation to ensure privacy, quiet, and all the elements guests need for a romantic getaway.

Nayara Springs takes the original property's reputation for romance and takes it a step further, forbidding kids 14 and under from stepping foot over the bridge, and adding extra elements geared toward couples, such as the "romantic bungalow" that can be rented out for catered dinners for two, or the nightly live performances at the Middle Eastern-themed Amor Loco restaurant. The hotel staff will also go out of their way to help men propose to their girlfriends -- the staff once went behind the La Fortuna waterfall and (with permission) buried a small treasure chest with an engagement ring in it. 

Even though many guests prefer to enjoy the private hot springs pools in the Villas, there is also a chic infinity-edge pool for all guests overlooking the rainforest. Lunch is served on an adjacent terrace, and guests can enjoy dinner at Amor Loco, which has sultry style incorporating purple velvet button armchairs and an onyx bar. The upscale menu includes local and international influences (think fishes, steaks, and pastas). The extensive breakfast is free and can be enjoyed in-room or at Altamira Restaurant at adjacent Nayara Hotel. Other options next door include a sushi restaurant and a wine bar. 

The spa incorporates natural ingredients in its treatments, such as coffee beans from a nearby farm and volcanic mud. Couples treatments are (of course) on offer and there are palapas that are open to the rainforest. 

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Address

4 miles west from la Fortuna Town, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela 21007, Costa Rica

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