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The 2,400-acre Papagayo Peninsula is part of a giant, government-backed development project on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. One day it will be peppered with resorts, but for the moment the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo has this shore almost to itself, occupying its finest location.
Years ago this was virgin forest; nowadays howler monkeys steal balls from the Arnold Palmer golf course and iguanas dice with the hotel's immaculate SUVs.
Apparently designed to look like the lip of a terracotta pot, with rooms inspired by the shape of an armadillo, some may quibble with the resort's architectural aesthetic. Nonetheless it is certainly different and successfully blends in with its surroundings. The 181 rooms at this Costa Rica Four Seasons are arranged in three large wings, while the more upscale lodgings and suites are scattered in clusters on the hillside. If staying in the standard rooms, it's worth staying on one of the upper floors, as the views are spectacular.
There are three restaurants overseen by the incredibly attentive staff; nothing is too much trouble. Breakfast is served in the brasserie, lunch either there or by the pool at Congos, and dinner either of these, with the added option of elegant Italian restaurant Mare.
There is plenty to do at the Four Seasons with special programmes for kids. For instance, expeditions to different rainforests give you a chance to see howler monkeys and scarlet macawa, while the resort offers a non-stop flow of activities from Pilates to surfing and white-water rafting. And then there is the diving, which is the finest on Central America's Pacific Coast, with the exception of inaccessible Cocos Island, a few hundred miles offshore.
Why we love it
Diving at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo is simplicity itself. Run by an American family, Diving Safaris is a 15-minute boat ride across the bay, not that you will ever have to visit. At 9 a.m. you leave for a two-tank dive from Playa Blanca, the hotel's own beach, and the team is always on time.
Will, Original Traveller