Nestled in a location that is second to none, where the Gulf of Papagayo meets the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay, Andaz Costa Rica Resort At Peninsula Papagayo extends over a vast hillside (call for a golf cart if the uphill hike in the heat becomes too much) with breathtaking views over the ocean and the mountainous behind.
Set into the tropical hills overlooking the ocean and marina below, this impressive hotel offers a full five-star experience with warm and friendly service from its staff and the local wildlife. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort offers unrivaled ocean views, gorgeous infinity pools, a wellness-focused spa, funky Costa Rican restaurants, abundant wildlife, and even a boat ride to their amazing beach club.
Wherever you decide to stay, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more. You also get your usual Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, loyalty points, and status benefits when you book with our concierge.
The best airport to fly into is Guanacaste Airport in Liberia (full name Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport). This is the second largest international airport in Costa Rica, the other being San Jose. Liberia Airport is then a short 20-minute scenic drive to the resort, whereas if you fly into San Jose, it’s more like a four-hour drive.
The dry season in Costa Rica runs from December through to April. This is when the weather is at the hottest and, of course, driest! It’s also peak time, so expect prices to be higher and the resort to be at its busiest. This may suit you well, but we found the tail end of the wet season a magical time to visit. We visited in mid-October when everything was green and in bloom. We saw very little rain, less than an hour in a couple of days, so for us, it was more than worth it to appreciate the stunning greenery.
The Andaz lies tucked on the tropical hillside of the Peninsula Papagayo with breathtaking ocean views, which take in the Marina Papagayo below and the vast Bay of Culebra.
The gated community of Peninsula Papagayo is home to three exclusive resorts, residences, and a private club, the marina, a host of restaurants both in the resorts themselves and several independent too, the 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, a nature center and an adventure tour company.
There’s a lovely relationship between the establishments here, the hotels talk about each other’s restaurants, and they even provide complimentary travel anywhere on the Peninsula. We loved this. Often when you stay in a resort, you can feel limited to just that hotel, if you’re lucky, maybe a sister hotel. Here you can explore further yet in the utmost comfort with your driver delivering and collecting you, pausing only to point out wildlife on route!
Style & Character
You get your first taste of the charm that is the Andaz Resort Costa Rica when you pull up outside the main reception. Your attention is torn between your first glimpse of the ocean and the fabulous bright purple VW Camper Van that proudly welcomes you.
The ocean view wins but not before you smile at the pure fun of this place. Heading towards the check-in space, tree-lined infinity pools flank your path, and you reach an epic curved roof-topped open lobby.
They don’t like to call this reception. Instead, it’s their lounge, and appropriately you are shown to cozy seating areas, instead of standing at a desk, where you can relax from your journey and begin to fully take in the panoramic ocean views.
The resort is designed by iconic Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher, who is currently designing a collection of luxury Residences for the resort as well as a tremendous renovation of one of the restaurants.
As well as reflecting the Andaz brand and striving for perfect harmony with its surroundings, the resort uses shapes of cocoons and shells in its key buildings. These are then also used as motifs and displayed around the resort and on each guest building; great fun to try and spot them all!
Conservation and sustainability are important here, and this is evident throughout the resort. All the water bottles are metal, not plastic, and there are signs saying to request when you would like a turndown service and towels changed to minimize environmental impact.
They also showcase local culture throughout the resort. Much of the artwork displayed is proudly locally produced. We loved the large driftwood sculpture that hangs above the beds, made locally in Costa Rica. There is also an enormous multi-colored mural that lines the wall under the main pools. As you descend to the beach, you can’t miss it. It’s so perfectly Andaz and so perfectly Costa Rica, too, a sheer delight!
Service & Facilities
You are really spoilt with ways to fill your time at the Andaz Resort Costa Rica. The biggest decision first is whether to relax; on one of three beaches, by one of four freeform pools (one with a beach-style shallow entrance, one adult-only, and I think all infinity!), with a wellness treatment at the spa (while the kids are at Cambi, the kids club of course!) or whether to get active at the fitness center, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, play a round of golf, a game of tennis, deep sea fishing, take a surf lesson or explore on an electric bike! Phew!
At some point in your activities, you are, no doubt, going to want to head to the beach. There are two beaches right by the resort itself, just meander down the tropical plant-lined paths and head down the wooden walkway, and you will arrive on the beaches of Culebra Bay.
The real treat, however, awaits a short boat ride away. Hop on board, and you are taken 10 minutes across the ocean to the Andaz Beach Club set upon Playa Nacascolo. This delightful space is the home of all those water sports. Under the trees are set many loungers and day beds. There’s a kid’s playpark along with a huge selection of sand toys, and when you’re worn out from all the activity, just recline back on a hammock and catch some rays! The Beach Club has a wonderful chilled vibe and is fully staffed, too, so you are served food and drink by your lounger. This is also the home of one of the Andaz restaurants, the Beach House.
For a real spot of relaxation, the Onda Spa is a calm, relaxing sanctuary. We arrived at the beautiful main spa check-in and were then slowly led past a collection of luxury huts set around jungle pathways. Like most things at the Andaz Costa Rica, the spa is located to make the most of the views. The very highest point of the resort is an open-air treatment space which would be just incredible to start the day with morning yoga or wind down with a soothing massage.
There are both inside and outdoor treatment rooms, but whichever suits you and your treatment, the ocean view is just incredible and becomes a real part of your time here, adding a wonderful natural element to your experience. The spa has a strong wellness component, and your therapist takes you through a journey that begins with selecting an intention for your treatment, a really personal way to make your time here special and memorable. Our couple’s Sound Healing experience was a truly nurturing time that was soothing and deeply relaxing, a really precious time together, and such a unique way to feel totally connected to this incredible setting.
The service at the Andaz was consistently excellent, as you would hope if you’d stayed at an Andaz before (we love the one in London). The resort has a fresh, young spirit, the colorful décor lifting everyone and generating a sense of fun and laughter. Not for a second does this undermine the standards, though. It’s a 5-star hotel, and the efficiency, friendliness, and professionalism are exacting throughout.
There are 153 spacious rooms (including 21 suites), and the resort manages to maintain a charming boutique feel, perhaps partly due to its hillside location. Nothing feels too spread out or far apart. All the rooms have large furnished balconies, rainfall showers, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The usual facilities and amenities that you would expect are provided, plus some thoughtful extras too. There are complimentary his and hers hats and complimentary flip flops in snazzy Andaz colors, and the mini-bar contains complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. The guest rooms are all the same size, but each change in category improves your view. I would absolutely recommend the Bay View rooms, this view is awe-inspiring, and you simply need to be able to spend as much time as possible admiring it!
Our room was gorgeous, with natural colors and materials used throughout, but the uplifting burst of color continued with some fabulous wooden lizards on the wall that don’t let you forget that you are in beautiful Costa Rica. The room was open plan in design with the beds at one end of the room and a clever room divider acting as both your television stand on one side, your wardrobe and storage on the other, and a dining nook at the far end.
Our shower was special too, entirely indoors but with a floor-to-ceiling window with a sliding glass door, which means in total privacy, you can enjoy the ocean views looking across the balcony while you cleanse. I also loved the pebble effect floor that continues throughout the shower, across the sink area, and into the toilet, using the flooring to separate the bathroom zone from the open plan room layout.
We adored our room, and the two double-bed layouts worked perfectly for a family. Upgrading to an Andaz Suite does give you the bonus of a stunning deep soaking tub with a view or a plunge pool, or even better, both!
The Andaz Suites, as well as being larger than the guest rooms, also have larger terraces; make sure you opt for the View option to maximize the wow factor of those panoramic ocean views. The Andaz Large Suite gives you more space still, and you can connect to a room, too, so you have a two-bedroom suite, perfect for a traveling family. There’s also a Presidential Suite for the ultimate luxury experience. This is worth considering if you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to spread out and make the most of every minute spent in paradise.
Food & Drink
There are four excellent dining establishments in Andaz Costa Rica. The main restaurant where breakfast is served is the Latin American restaurant Rio Bhongo. The positioning of this restaurant is genius. You overlook three of the swimming pools and have stunning ocean views too. The breakfast is a very generous hot and cold buffet. They explain everything the first day, but you tour the different stations, helping yourself to cold treats and being served hot items while they keep you topped up with tea and coffee. The juice bar and fruit station were one of my favorites, everything was so fresh, and it was great fun sampling all the exotic fruits too. My children adored the choice of pastries and breads and the hot station had a great mix of classic and local dishes, which changed a little each day so you could always try something new. We returned here for a delicious dinner too, where the lights of the pool and the marina below give a relaxed, romantic air while you tuck into a Latin American feast.
On another evening, we headed to the gorgeous Chao Pescao for a great combo of tapas and Latin-inspired cocktails. The place had a buzzing atmosphere, definitely thanks in part to the excellent live music.
We couldn’t visit the seafood-restaurant Ostra during our stay as this is the restaurant currently undergoing a transformation. The concept sounds amazing, with a journey through your evening approach, which moves you from welcome drinks to live culinary stations, through to the main event, where you tuck into the fresh seafood cuisine in stunning surroundings. A fabulous excuse for a return visit at least!
Finally, the Beach House is super convenient when you’re at the Beach Club and fancy a locally-inspired taco or burger, you can be served right to your lounger, or there’s a spacious open-air restaurant at the top of the Beach Club too.
We had a wonderful and very memorable stay at the Andaz Resort Costa Rica. The excellent facilities were a big part of that. I’m still dreaming of bathing in their infinity pools shaded by jicaro trees and framed by views of the cobalt blue bay.
But the resort is so much more than just the facilities, it’s a beautiful part of its environment, and we really felt this. The wildlife is nurtured and respected, even down to the low lighting in the evenings, so as not to disturb the animals. It’s things like this and its wonderful employees that make Andaz Costa Rica so very special.
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