“A comfortable and colourful villa and spa resort, set on a seemingly endless stretch of Pacific beach”
The 20 rooms are designed in the distinctive style of architect and former owner Sherrill Broudy: dynamic open-plan spaces, flooded with light and colour. High curved ceilings create a soothing feeling, and walls are adorned with unique paintings that reflect the tropical world outside. The overall effect is warm, welcoming and very individual: the antithesis of bland hotel rooms!
There are 5 grades, starting with Garden Bungalows which, although lovely, don't have sea views. We'd definitely recommend splashing out on one of the beachfront options - of these, Beachfront Bungalows are the smallest, though they’re already huge. Beachfront Villas are even larger, and the Deluxe Beachfront Villas feature private plunge pools.
As well as comfortable kingsize beds (or 2 doubles), each room has 1 or 2 built-in sofabeds (ideal for children), desk space, and books and magazines to peruse. Lighting is excellent and candles are provided, too - both for atmosphere, and in case of power cuts! Thoughtful details include fresh fruit and flowers when you arrive, and complimentary snacks, coffee and soft drinks in the minibar.
Bathrooms are generous (most with 2 sinks); we loved the wonderful curved shower areas with mosaicked tiles and views to private gardens. There’s air-conditioning, plus fans, bathrobes, hairdryers, iPod docks, umbrellas, blinds for shutting out the early morning light, even torches for walking around the gardens at night. Best of all? Your private terrace - a good outdoor space with 2 recliners, a table, outside lights and, in most cases, a perfect view of the surf.
Alma del Pacifico also owns several 3-bedroom self-catering villas and condos, located 1.5 miles from the resort and useful for families or groups. They’re set on a ridge, with excellent kitchens, breathtaking views, private balconies or verandas, and infinity pools in the villas. Guests get access to the resort’s facilities, but you’d need a car; enquire for details if these are of interest.
All meals are eaten in the airy open-sided restaurant (open 6.30am to 10pm daily), with its traditional palm-thatched roof and great views of the surf crashing to shore. Generous space between the tables ensures that each group feels private, and the friendly English-speaking staff make you feel like nothing is too much trouble. There are sweet flower arrangements throughout and, once the sun sets, the tables are lit by candles and the gardens beyond illuminated by torches; it’s a very romantic place to eat.
A continental breakfast is included in the tariff, with freshly squeezed juice, coffee or tea, a platter of seasonal fruit, and a choice of breads and preserves. Hot menu options (extra charge) include omelettes, pancakes and a Tico-style local breakfast with gallo pinto, fried plantains and tortillas.
The lunch and dinner menus offer international and Costa Rican cuisine, with an emphasis on sustainable seafood and healthy, local ingredients (much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown in the colourful on-site gardens). There’s a good selection of sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta dishes - particularly recommended are the mahi-mahi, which is grilled to perfection, and the Tico Tacos.
There’s a limited wine list and some specialty drinks; try the Monkey Tree or Guaro Sour. Snacks are available all day (the guacamole is excellent), and there’s a beach bar for those who don’t want to move too far from their lounger.
If you want to eat out, there are a few restaurants within immediate reach in Esterillos Oeste, and one on the way to Parrita. The built-up (and sleazy) town of Jacó is just 25 minutes away and has lots of interesting restaurants: reception can arrange taxis. Very close (you can walk along the sand) is quaint Hotel Pelican, and there’s a good pizzeria on the beach itself.
The resort is well-suited to family travel, and children of all ages are welcome; they stay free up to the age of 12. Rooms have sofabeds and plenty of space (they can sleep up to 5), and cots are available. Kids will love the pool, beach and nearby activities such as surfing, horse-riding and zip-lining.
Note that babysitting is not available and there are no bathtubs.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
All rooms have either 1 kingsize bed or 2 double beds, plus a built-in sofabed. Beachfront Villas and Deluxe Beachfront Villas have 2 sofabeds, plus space for an additional rollaway bed if required. Some of the Deluxe Beachfront Villas have separate living rooms and bedrooms - good for parents who want some privacy!
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day, and there's a kids' menu.
Please note the beach has strong currents at low tide, which could be dangerous for anyone; pay close attention to the tide charts provided in your room.