Destination: Costa Rica
Four Seasons Costa Rica
Vibe: relaxed, adventurous, luxurious
At a Glance: An equally wonderful place for couples or families, this resort is perfect for someone looking for a mixture of adventure and relaxation with five-star service, top food, and luxurious surroundings.
Located on the Papagayo Peninsula on the northwest tip of Costa Rica, the Four Seasons offers a perfect balance between down time and action. Even at capacity, the resort never feels overrun or crowded. There are 120 guest rooms in three four-story buildings clustered around the center of the resort where the large pools, beaches and reception are located. All three room categories are the same size (600 square feet), but the better rooms are on higher floors with sweeping views. There are also beautiful treetop suites nestled in the jungle and large multiple bedroom estates to choose from. In terms of activities, the resort offers an Arnold Palmer 18-hole golf course, spa and fitness facilities, tennis courts and five restaurants to choose from.
The Four Seasons is an extremely socially and environmentally conscious resort and programs to benefit the community as well as the environment are a major part of its philosophy. The 18-hole golf course is an eco-friendly course where each tree is cataloged by GPS. For those who enjoy giving back, the resort offers an array of social programs that encourage guests to interact with locals in need. The Backpack Buddy program allows families to fill up a backpack with school supplies that they think local students will find useful and bring it with them to the resort for delivery. The Support a Family program also allows guests to fully engage with a local family in need. A full-day or half-day can be spent with a family to help them purchase supplies they are in need of, as well as spend some downtime or a meal together. The staff at the Four Seasons can customize almost anything from a private cookout on the beach to a romantic dinner under the stars at the golf club.
There are a few other properties in this part of Costa Rica, but thanks to the peninsula’s size (more than 2000 acres), it’s easy to forget the presence of other condos or beach clubs while staying at the Four Seasons. The resort is a half-hour’s drive from the Liberia Airport (San Jose Airport is over a four-hour drive from the resort), but there is no need to rent a car. If you do want to explore beyond the resort, the concierge can help you book a car for the day. A great half- or full-day trip is Tamarindo, a groovy surf town two hours south of Papagayo. Depending on the waves, you can take surf lessons and enjoy the laid-back local scene. Another regional bestseller is taking a jungle canopy tour, which is not for the faint-of-heart or those with vertigo.
WHO SHOULD NOT STAY: Someone looking for a rustic Costa Rican experience. While there are plenty of local influences throughout, the property is grand, sophisticated and polished. If you prefer small and boutique, this is not for you.
- 30-minute drive from Liberia Airport
- Community service options allow guests to interact and give back to the region
- Varied room categories accommodates families and couples alike
ROOMS TO GET: Large Families: Private Casa de la Luna Estate sits at the end of the peninsula, with four large bedrooms (each with its own bathroom), a full service kitchen, and private pool and Jacuzzi. The resorts top accommodation is Villa Casa del Mar. It is located next to the Casa de la Luna but boasts five bedrooms rather than four, and has an infinity pool with stunning views. Both villas are a 10-minute golf cart ride from the main resort area, so if you prefer to be in walking distance but still have the advantage of privacy and space, the Miramar Suite is the next-best option. It overlooks the beach cove below and out towards the ocean, and its infinity pool and large garden area make it a good choice for families with small children. There are three bedrooms (two of which connect) and the master bedroom occupies its own building. The large private pool is not long enough for laps, but there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor space for a family of six to eight to enjoy.
Families with young children: Many of the villas at the resort are designed with outdoor walkways connecting the rooms so are not ideal for young children. Connecting rooms in Buildings #3 or #4 are wonderful options as they are close to the main area and offer spacious rooms with screened-in terraces. The best villa options for families are the Pacifico two-bedroom and three-bedroom resort residences. They are completely indoors and offer a kitchen, indoor and outdoor living area, grill and washer/dryer.
Families with older children: Perfect for families with older children or couples are the Canopy Premier three-bedroom Plunge-Pool Suites or the two-bedroom and three-bedroom Residence Villas that allow for privacy but still have shared common areas. The Residence Villas offer some of the best views on the property.
Couples: The treehouse-style one-bedroom Canopy suites offer just the right amount of privacy and space for couples. Although there is an adults-only quiet pool by the beach, for those traveling without families, try to book suites with private plunge pools for the utmost privacy. Another wonderful option for couples are the Cielo or Las Brisas rooms in Building #2 which over looks the Pacific side. It is not ideal for families, because of the absence of connecting rooms.
TIP: Make sure to bring bug spray and sunscreen. Prices in the gift shop are pretty outrageous; try not to plan on buying it upon arrival.
Read a review of Tabacon Spa Resort, which is nestled in the lush rainforest near the Arenal Volcano.
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