Nayara review Costa Rica

First there was Tabacon, then The Springs, and now there is another luxury hotel to choose from in the Arenal Volcano area of Costa Rica: Nayara Hotel, Spa, and Gardens.

It took us a while to get someone into this resort I’m afraid. Nayara has already gotten write-ups in the major travel magazines and even hit a couple “hot list” and “it list” kind of round-ups. And no wonder: it’s in a beautiful setting, with lots of room to spread out, and with a view of the reason why this region is a must-visit on Costa Rica tours: the live volcano dominating the landscape.

You could get a bit of sensory confusion when walking into the lobby here, thinking you’ve landed in tropical Bali instead of tropical Costa Rica. The name and the furnishings are a nod to that far-off island, a trend that has popped up in my visits to resorts in Mexico, Belize, and Colombia as well. The owners are definitely globe-trotters and there’s a bit of Epcot to the decor and cuisine once you wander past the lobby. Chinese lanterns, sushi, and Spanish tapas mix with Chilean wine, and gnocchi with pesto. Honeymooning couples staying here for a week will probably appreciate the variety though—especially since Costa Rica cuisine isn’t known for its variety or pizazz.

There is also variety in the activities, from the full-blown spa on site to local tours in this adventure playground that staffers organize or farm out.

Rooms here are really self-contained casitas, starting at 855 square feet. The best views are from the newest ones with more privacy (but longer walks) on a hillside.

“The style echoes that of the lobby, with vaulted bamboo roofs, curtained hand–crafted four–poster beds with plump down comforters atop shiny hardwood floors, and white linens and orange cushions as counterpoints to the avocado walls. Although not ascetic, the focus is on simplicity and rooms are airy, spacious, and uncluttered.

Each unit boasts a terrace and garden enclosed by thick foliage for privacy and inset with a two–person whirlpool tub. Standard accoutrements include a DVD player, iPod docking station, and Wi–Fi. Outdoor “rainforest” showers let you cleanse naked in nature…”

The shower inside of these puts you on display under glass though, an annoying trend that we hope will go the way of other bad design fads in the near future.

The two-bedroom Springs Villa has its own plunge pool, while the resort has a central pool for all.

See our full, detailed review (by award-winning guidebook writer Christopher Baker) here: Nayara Hotel, Spa, & Gardens in Costa Rica.