Costa Rica

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Nayara Springs

PlusPicks

Romantic, peaceful, jungle setting

600 Metros Noreste La Fortuna de San Carlos 866-311-1197 www.arenalnayara.com

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At a Glance

Set at the base of the Arenal Volcano, this secluded, adults-only lodge offers quiet, natural surroundings and excellent service.

Indagare Loves

  • The open-air spa pavilions, which allow guests to relax to the sounds of birds and the occasional rain shower
  • Complimentary amenities like room service breakfast (served on one’s private patio), laundry and the minibar
  • The nest-like loungers at the pool

Review

Set deep in the jungle canopy, the peaceful Nayara Springs hotel sits in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano, which soars 5,000 feet high and dominates the skyline. While it was once the most active volcano in Costa Rica, the now relatively quiet landmark is one of the main reasons to visit the area and provides a constant reminder of the contrasting beauty and power of nature.

Guests arrive at Nayara Spa & Gardens, the Springs’ sister hotel, before taking a golf cart up the hill and across a bridge to the more exclusive resort (just a two-minute walk away). Nayara Springs is geared towards couples and families with older children (kids under 18 are not allowed), and the serene atmosphere is immediately felt. The hotel boasts 16 villas, each with a private garden, an outdoor shower and a terrace with a Jacuzzi (fed by natural hot springs). Each room also features air conditioning, a TV and there is WiFi throughout the entire property.

Because of Nayara’s jungle setting, birds can be heard from almost anywhere on the property, providing a welcome soundtrack to your stay. Most of the activities engage the environment including the volcano tour or horseback ride to La Fortuna waterfall; the spa features dozens of delightful treatments that incorporate local traditions and ingredients, like the volcanic mud massage. Aside from the spa, wellness-seekers can enjoy daily yoga lessons, the resort’s small but well-equipped gym or afternoons spent leisurely by the pool.

While the resort emanates a soothing vibe, the décor provides a punch of color and personality. The villas feature an eclectic mish-mash of décor, with zebra-print footstools, crystal chandeliers and vibrant woven hammocks adding flair to the charming resort. The Springs’ restaurant, Amor Loco, is decorated with plush purple chairs and Moroccan-inspired side tables and features live music nightly. But dining options are not limited to the one restaurant, as guests can dine at any of the three restaurants at the Spa & Gardens. Sushi Amor serves Japanese fare in a vibrant space, Altamira focuses on traditional Costa Rican dishes and Nostalgia Wine & Tapas Bar offers an extensive list of Latin American and Spanish wines.

Who Should Stay

It’s not as over-the-top luxury as the Four Seasons, but Nayara is unique in that it offers a magical experience for those looking to embrace their surroundings and the local culture. It is a great option for couples seeking a boutique experience, alone time and excellent service.

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One Comment

  1. Indagare
    11:32 am | July 21, 2013

    From Indagare member Paula R.:
    “Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the hotel minivan picked us up and escorted us to the hotel. After the two-hour drive we were greeted by the friendliest staff, who brought us to our beautiful villa where we spent the next few days. The villa was spectacular – from the view of the Arenal Volcano and the rainforest, to the marble bathroom with his and hers areas, vanities and another shower outside, every inch of the residence was exquisite. Our private garden outside added to the allure of the place.

    “On our first night, we grabbed drinks at the wine bar and mingled with the other guests. The bar was cozy and welcoming, and the service was impeccable; we were given several wines to taste and experience. After a glass or two, we went to dinner and it was truly delicious.

    “On the second day, we woke up to a delicious buffet breakfast. Afterwards, we went on a wonderful all-day tour of the nearby Tabacon Hot Springs, which the concierge arranged for us. As an extra treat, we were then taken to the base of the volcano, which was a unique and thrilling experience. That night we went back to the hotel for dinner, and when my husband mentioned to the chef that I was a vegetarian, they went out of their way to make delicious small plates for me. My husband feasted on appetizers and succulent main dishes. When the chef found out my other dietary particularity – I am a “choco-holic” – he prepared the most divine chocolate desserts. It was a real treat.

    “The next day the hotel arranged for us to go hiking in the rainforest, along hanging bridges and hidden trails. We also took a one-hour tour through the woods. It was fascinating to see all the birds and wildlife up close, and it was a total workout that we thoroughly enjoyed.”

    Upon returning to the hotel we headed to the spa to lounge and get pampered. The spa is nestled into the rainforest, providing the most peaceful feeling. Treatment rooms open to your own private part of the rainforest, encouraging you to feel surrounded by nature and to enjoy hearing the birds singing. I had a facial followed by a massage, and afterwards felt totally rejuvenated.

    Overall, it was a wonderful getaway. The Nayara truly lived up to all of our expectations and offered us a very special weekend.

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