If there was ever a hotel designed with me in mind, it would have to be the swish Nayara Resort! The only thing I could change about staying here would have to be that I could stay longer! I have to admit that when Luis, our travel planner from Costa Rica Expeditions first suggested this place to us, we weren’t too sure but as we wanted some relaxation time built into our Itenary it was a no brainer. Being a huge fan of small boutique style hotels, which show individuality, meant this place was a swish winner for me. The word swish means different things to us all but for me it was real relaxed perfection. Not only was it a stylish, peaceful oasis of calm but it also had access to all the activities and experiences one would ever want to do, not to mention the spa, an Espresso bar to cater to my coffee addiction and numerous outstanding noshing establishments!
A SUPER SWISH STAY AT CENTRAL AMERICA’s No. 1 LUX RESORT
The hotel is a collaboration between Colombian born Leo Ghitis and architect Angelo Zaragovia. We bumped into Angelo on a number of occasions enjoying a drink and some food at his beloved Amore Loco bar (more on this gem later!). Nayara has scored up many design awards in its years of existence. The villas showcase teak, cristobal and other hardwoods which are completed by bamboo ceilings. The four poster king beds with netting all around with marble floor bathrooms containing folk-inspired ceramic soap and shampoo dispensers sitting proud on the dual vanity area and extending into the outdoor and indoor shower areas
THE NAYARA RESORT SPA & GARDENS
Nayara overlooks the majestic Arenal volcano and is encircled by beautiful tropical gardens and lush forest. If like us you are arriving from Monteverde, you will most probably be travelling via Arenal. The land transfer is only 15 minutes from the lake. Before any confusion arises (as it did with me!!), I just want to make it clear that the Nayara Resort Spa and Gardens is the original family friendly resort built in 2008 with extra casitas added in 2010, but in the last couple of years, it has opened an adults only sister hotel in the same location called Nayara Springs. As both hotels overlap with their location, you can visit, eat and drink between both if you are a couple staying at the Nayara Resort. A 250 foot bridge was built high over the canopies in order to provide the privacy of both areas and not to disturb any flora or fauna in the area. Both areas have been tastefully done so as to blend seamlessly with sign posts separating the adult only quiet areas of Nayara Springs.
The Fish Pond
The Casita Deluxe
Our Casita Deluxe complete with sweeping views of the volcano from our outdoor terrace. There are also Rain Forest Villas’s on offer, which are open from each angle, providing unparalleled views of the surroundings with the added bonus of a larger Jacuzzi.
A golf buggy escort to the room
Because an indoor shower just isn’t enough!
Welcome to adults only divinity!!
We were actually booked into stay at The Nayara Resort Spa and Gardens due to availability but we were given the option of sampling one of the vacant Nayara Springs Villas for a night. Villa 14 if you have the choice is the one which feels the most remote and private giving it that exclusive edge and all the Nayara Springs villas come with a personal host to take care of your ever need.
One of two vanity areas
The outdoor space
The plunge pools are heated by natural mineral springs from the volcano.
As I mentioned, Nayara Springs makes up the adults-only portion to Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens.
Access is via a 250 foot-long footbridge, made of recycled plastic and spans a thickly wooded creek. Nayara Springs specializes in seclusion, therefore a great hit with honeymooners. Golf carts quietly hum along the stone pathways, through landscaping that explodes with heliconia, orchids and red ginger plants.
All accommodation is discretely concealed in between the foliage accessible from stone lined walkways
You can arrange for a private chef’s dinner, or even turn the yoga pavilion into a wedding venue. The villas not only have a dedicated check-in and concierge service (in whose open-air office a scaly-breasted hummingbird flitted around an orchid right next to me), but a range of free amenities, from laundry to international calls.
Considering its remote location, between the capital, San José and the Nicaragua border to the north, Nayara is not the first place you would imagine there to be fine dining, let alone 3 different restaurants offering this.
The Altamira Restaurant
- International and Costa Rican Cuisine served all day
- Upscale casual dining
- Great for the whole family with laid back atmosphere
- Largest breakfast spread on the resort and serves best Gluten Free options such as breads, pastries and cakes
- Open air seating with live band on selected evenings
- Fantastic vantage point for the volcano
- Specialties – Costa Rican Ceviche, Hibiscus Margeritas and Tres Leches
- Asian and Latin food specialities
- Family friendly
- Good for lunches and dinners with indoor and outdoor seating
- Great vantage point for Arenal Volcano
- Specialities – Citrus Gambas Ceviche, Sake and Roasted Pineapple Yakatori
- Wine and tapas
- Great for pre-dinner noshing
- Family friendly as non-alcoholic beverages are served
- Specialities – mixed olives, Chateaux Michelle Riesling, Coconut Flan
We experienced drinks and tapas here with compliments of the hotel manager. It was a lovely evening hosted by the hotel management and a great opportunity to try the bars signature wines and tapas.
You can even purchase a wine credit card to allow you to sample different volumes of wines from the cellars and the value is deducted from your credit!
Wine Paired Dinner
- A 5 course dinner with 5 glasses of carefully chosen wine
- Adult only experience
- Specialities – Green Mussels, Malamado Malbec, Chocolate Lava Soufflé
Kali Kali Pool Bar
- Serving casual, poolside snacks
- Family friendly and situated near the family pool area and Jacuzzis
- Specialities – Hamburgers, Pina Coladas, Caramel Flan
- Private table set up on your terrace with all the romantic touches
- Couples only experience
- Choose from an exclusive menu to get you in the mood for amore
- Specialities – Beef medallions, Luigi Bosca Malbec, Chocolate fondant
However with all the dining options and as beautiful as our Casita was, we wanted to get out and dine at one of the other options at Nayara and take in the ambiance of this rainforest spot.
- Fine dining establishment and one of my faves!
- Adults only, located in Nayara Springs
- Super classy cabaret meets Lebanese ambience with live music
- Gourmet meals with international stylish middle-eastern inspired décor with onyx bar top
- Specialities (In my opinion) – Marlin, Fish of the day, Strawberry Margaritas, Chocolate volcano
The romantic vibe of Nayara Springs promoted the name for Amor Loco where at night live musicians perform on a small stage. Our favourites were Arkot duo. Angelo Zaragovia sourced the world, everywhere from Poland, to Bali and Egypt, to come up with the restaurant’s cabaret-meets-Middle East décor.
Amor Loco -Terrace by the Pool
- Casual adults only dining located in Nayara Springs
- Seating beside terrace overlooking the lap pool with cooling breeze from the pool
- Serving light, healthy meals
- Specialities – fresh pressed juices, smoothies, salads and fish or veggie tacos
- Adults only as located in Nayara Springs
- A la carte breakfast
- Dinners and lunches
- Pizza oven
- Adjacent to adults only pool bar area
- Specialities – Italian dishes and Pizza cooked in open oven
Booking a dining time slot is always recommended to guarantee your preferences as restaurants can be quite busy in high season (Nov-April)
The Espresso Bar – Mi Cafecito
Now if all the dining options are not enough, much to my absolute delight, there’s an espresso bar. Now everyone who knows me, knows I am a coffee buff and my favourite well, 100% Arabica grown in the Terrazu region of Costa Rica. The bar is a fantastic chilled out place to relax, read the umpteen books and magazines on offer, play a game of pool or take a Barista class as we did with the resident Baristas Fransua and Diane. And yes of course we came away with some of those tasty coffee beans roasted and ground on site! This was really a fantastic experience, learning about the history of coffee form the picking, harvesting, roasting, grinding, packages, the different grades and then the barista skills!
PERFECTION IS NOT WITHOUT A SPA
Well I guess some of you lux fiends will be thinking, Spa thoughts. Worry not, there is a Spa and well what an award winning Spa it is! It is located at the entrance to the footbridge so can be reached easily from either end of the Nayara Resort. There are the usual exquisite treatments on offer but I would particularly recommend the hot stone massages and you may want to try out the couples experiences which are done in tandem. The rooms open up onto the woods surrounding Nayara and provide you with all the Zen you could ever need.
Post-treatment relaxing in a secluded rainforest jacuzzi
GYM & YOGA SPACES
If you fancy a work-out (not sure why or how you could ever think of such dirty thoughts at Nayara) there is of course a state of the art gym and a yoga centre where you can enjoy scheduled classes
We even spotted a sloth outside the yoga pavilion
RELAX AT THE RANCHO PURA VIDA
Now if you ever do fancy leaving the swish Nayara and experiencing the locality, there are a number of group and private tours available, which can be booked via the concierge or personal host. If you read my last post, you will know that we opted for the 1968 trail volcano hike.
Again being hot on conservation and sustainability, the fact that this place ticks all these boxes for me also is a real bonus! Nayara has a strong commitment to sustainability with its own policies on water and energy conservation and flora and fauna. The resort sources only local people to work at at the resort, thereby giving something back to the community.
Nayara’s Mission Statement is:
‘To conduct our business with integrity; to be respectful of the values and principles of our employees and guests; to protect the environment and to create trust and good will in our community’
Nayara’s boutique sells local crafts made by the Malecus people, one of the few remaining indigenous people in Costa Rica. The stools at Amor Loco have elements of covered stools which have been made by the Malecus people.
Be sure to try out the local culture and foods and support the local farmers.
If you would like to read more on Nayara’s sustainability policies, mosey on over to their website
Sheer and Swish Unadulterated Perfection for:
Nayara Springs Romantic breaks, Honeymoons Special occasions, relaxation and Spa Breaks, fine dining experiences, Coffee enthusiasts, experiencing all the activities in Arenal with a lux base.
Nayara Spa and garden Resort Family friendly areas, good dining options, good base for exploring surrounding area, close to La Fortuna town.
Nayara Spa and Garden Resort & Nayara Springs
02 Road 21007
Provincia de Alajuela
Tel +506 2479 16 (Nayara Spa and Garden Resort)
Tel +506 8883322961 (Nayara Springs)
Well, tell me what you thought of my review on the swish Nayara Resort. Have you booked your stay or planning to book one? Always happy to chat if you fancy it, leave comments below please.
Want to know more about Costa Rica? Be sure to peruse the rest of my Pura Vida Series.
Until the next time…
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