Having been named one of Lonely Planet’s countries to travel to in 2020, Costa Rica is once again enjoying a moment the international spotlight. There are a lot of elements that make this pint-sized Latin American haven a favourite for those seeking a taste of the region including unique wildlife experiences, striking tropical scenery, the warmth of the friendly locals and finally, the outstanding quality of luxury hotels. Costa Rica’s top accommodation ranges from high-class luxury resorts to boutique wildlife lodges tucked away in the forest, the unifying characteristic being the effortless charm of the laid-back design. With Costa Rica’s balmy tropical heat bearing down on guests particularly during the touristic high season, it is a blissful treat to be able to cool off in a stunning swimming pool often throughout your luxury retreat.
Here are our favourite luxury hotels in Costa Rica with pool views to remember…
Origins Lodge, Bijagua Mountains
Close to the border with neighbouring Nicaragua, Origins Lodge is an ultra-exclusive property tucked away in the verdant vegetation of the Bijagua Mountains, a zone of lesser touristic saturation than many of Costa Rica’s more well-known destinations. This cosy lodge overlooks miles of unspoiled forest and also offers guests 180-degree views of Lake Nicaragua across the border from the highest points in the property, including the stunning infinity pool. Each private lodge is superbly well-equipped and, at more than 100 square metres each, offers plenty of space to relax. Enjoy a wide variety of nature and adventure activities in the region such as guided excursions to the Tenorio Volcano National Park, before returning to the luxurious poolside to watch the sun go down with an elegantly crafted cocktail in hand.
Kurá Design Villas, Uvita
Perhaps home to the sexiest infinity pool in the whole of Central America, yet alone just Costa Rica, the Kurá Design Villas in Uvita, on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, are the epitome of minimalist modern cool. Perched high in the forested hills overlooking the ‘Whale’s Tail’ of the fascinating Marino Ballena National Park, this boutique complex of sleek, angular private villas offers guests all the privacy of a stand-alone home with the facilities of a top-level boutique hotel. The hotel restaurant serves a fresh and colourful cuisine inspired by the bounty of the ocean and the rainforest, whilst the Spa, rooftop terrace and pool deck provide travellers with the perfect cosy spaces to wind down in the sun. The shimmering mirror-effect infinity pool with sweeping vistas of the Pacific is really the standout feature of this space-age style luxury retreat. We recommend taking plenty of pictures during sunrise and sunset when the fiery hues of the sky are reflected across the pool surface. It looks as wonderful in person as it does on Instagram.
El Mangroove, Papagayo
Situated within walking distance of some of Guanacaste’s idyllic sandy beaches, El Mangroove is a contemporary boutique property fusing the sustainability principles of an eco-resort with the design sensibility of a cosmopolitan art-hotel. Characterised by angular constructions and a neutral colour palette that blends into its surroundings, El Mangroove offers a sophisticated aesthetic in a region of spectacular natural beauty. The central feature of the hotel’s common spaces is the dark-stone outdoor pool. Surrounded by decadent loungers and Bali-beds, this luxurious pool provides guests with the perfect place to relax and unwind in the sea breeze.
Pacuare Lodge, Siquirres
One of National Geographic’s exquisite Unique Lodges of the World, this secluded property is accessed mainly by rafting in and out along the scenic Pacuare river through isolated rainforests in Costa Rica’s southern central valleys. Elegantly designed suites and bungalows put guests in perfect harmony with nature with upgraded categories offering private spring-fed plunge pools, indoor/outdoor showers and private decks with quirky lounge chairs. The lodge’s newest addition is the stylish infinity pool orientated toward the rushing waters of the Pacuare river that runs adjacent to the property. This tastefully designed leisure feature is cleaned using natural products and is chemical-free so as to protect the unique biodiversity of the local forest and water systems. Truly one of Costa Rica’s most outstanding hotel experiences, look no further than Pacuare for an adventurous brand of ultimate luxury.
Amor Arenal, La Fortuna
One of the newest luxury hotels on the scene in the popular Arenal region, Amor Arenal offers cosy private bungalows shrouded in tropical forest with views to the nearby conical peak of the Arenal Volcano. With an earthy, eco-chic style, the hotel effortlessly blends modern design principles with the highest-quality local materials to create an authentically Costa Rican atmosphere, where guests feel truly immersed in their tropical environment. One of the hotel’s standout features is the main pool with a stylish swim-up bar. Geothermal volcanic springs also feed multiple hot pools on the property where guests can enjoy a spa-like experience in the open air in total privacy, away from the overcrowded thermal springs complexes of nearby La Fortuna. Contemporary, bold and exotic – Amor Arenal is the perfect choice for those looking for an intimate tropical escape.
Makanda by the Sea, Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, with the surge of Costa Rican tourism giving rise to a boom in sub-standard hotels and tacky tourist shops in some parts of Quepos. Despite these changes, Manuel Antonio remains one of the most picturesque and exciting parts of Costa Rica’s stunning Pacific Coast to explore – offering a vibrant cocktail of adventure, nature activities and beautiful coastline. For those seeking a more exclusive experience of this dynamic area, we suggest the sleek adults only Makanda by the Sea, boasting two luxurious pool complexes overlooking the surrounding rainforest and offering sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean down below. Located in a unique biodiversity corridor, guests of Makanda can expect to share their relaxation time in the pool with the local exotic parrots, vocal toucans and playful monkeys that skip through the forest canopy above.
Simon Williams is Director of Humboldt Travel. Humboldt Travel is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America.