Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas

Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica Book from Book from £300 per night

A retreat of 21 romantic villas, perched high on a hillside with private plunge pools and incredible views of the Guanacaste Coast
This heavenly hideaway, surrounded by forested hills and some of Costa Rica's best beaches, is the stuff tropical dreams are made of. By day the view is mesmerising, but it's the breathtaking sunsets that will stay with you long after you leave. As the last rays disappear below the horizon, an enormous gong reverberates, and flames burst dramatically from the luxurious infinity pool. Overlooking it all is the palapa bar and standout Sentido Norte restaurant, where you can drink sundowners to your heart's content before tucking into creative local cuisine.

Catering exclusively to adults, Casa Chameleon will appeal to both romantics and adventurers. The décor is truly chameleon-esque, encompassing artistic influences and styles from all corners of the globe. In the extremely comfortable ocean-view villas the attention to detail is exquisite; from essential oils to candles to exercise equipment, every need has been anticipated. Should you tire of gazing out to sea, there are plenty of distractions on-site, from yoga classes and private spa treatments to sunset sailing cruises. What's more, the newly built, car-free beach town of Las Catalinas - with its rugged mountain bike trails, beaches and ocean activities - is on your doorstep.

Highs

    • Peaceful hours spent lounging on sunbeds or cooling off in the plunge pool of your private villa
    • Swimming in the spacious zero-edge infinity pool with views that drop away to the ocean
    • We loved the ceviche and avocado appetisers - the chef’s specialty - the perfect accompaniment to a passionfruit mojito sundowner
    • Walking distance to the shops and facilities of beautiful new beach town of Las Catalinas
    • With so many activities on-site or nearby, even adventurous types are unlikely to get bored

Lows

  • The town of Las Catalinas is still being built and there's a significant amount of construction in the area; noise can sometimes be heard but not in the rooms
  • When we visited, the hotel was still very new and lacked landscaping, though this is sure to improve as the gardens mature
  • The choice at mealtimes, especially lunch, is fairly limited and portions tend to be on the smaller side
  • The pool is rather exposed on a windy day when they take down the umbrellas; luckily you have your own private and shady pool to retreat to

Best time to go

There are 2 tropical seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season (Dec-Apr) and the green season (May-Nov). While the dry season is considered high season and is the most popular time to travel, the green season is the secret favourite among locals - flowers are in bloom and the wildlife is more active, especially whales and turtles.

Our top tips

Be sure to wander down the hill to explore Las Catalinas and Playa Danta. Enjoy a relaxed latte, iced coffee or cocktail and - if you look hard enough - you'll probably find enormous battling iguanas and some noisy howler monkeys to entertain you.

Great for...

Honeymoon
Beach
Great Outdoors
Wedding
Eco
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • No children under 16
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Beautifully designed, with luxurious kingsize beds, interiors blend seamlessly with the outside world through a wall of glass that can be completely opened onto your private terrace and salt-water plunge pool. In the bathroom you gaze out to sea from the expansive rainfall shower. Every room is equipped with blue tooth speakers, complimentary insect repellent, candles, yoga mats, flotation devices, coffee, tea, dried fruit and a minibar which includes sun cream and aloe vera. The drinking water comes in tasteful glass bottles as the hotel is working towards becoming plastic-free.

We stayed in one of the splash-out Sunset View Villas, but with such an amazing view from the hotel bar you could happily choose an Ocean View Villa and spend the money saved on cocktails at the sociable palapa. There are also 4 luxurious Suite Villas with a cosy living room area if you're feeling flash and enjoy a little more space to relax.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Sentido Norte, the hotel’s open-air restaurant, is open all day for tasty poolside snacks, light lunches and dinner. There's an impressive selection of vegan and gluten-free options and, wherever possible, products are sourced from local farms and fishermen.

Breakfast is à la carte, and options include smoothies, egg and tortilla dishes like huevos rancheros, pancakes, fruit and granola. We found the homemade tortillas filling and delicious. The All Day Menu offers mostly lighter options and was the least exciting meal of the day. If you're hungry consider the hearty Costa Rican casados - a local speciality - choosing from chicken, fish or vegan varieties.

Freshly caught seafood is the main star of the farm and Ocean-to-Table Dinner Menu. Our waiter recommended an amazing avocado ceviche dish, and the seared 'fish of the day' was excellent. Finish off with the flourless chocolate cake.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down to the local beach, Playa Danta, or ask the concierge to take you there by golf cart (2 minutes)
  • Enjoy an adrenaline-fuelled outing to Rincón de la Vieja - a national park with an active volcano where you can zipline over canyons, rappel down waterfalls, relax in thermal springs and rush down the whitewater river on an inner tube
  • Hire a car and visit some of Guanacaste's fabulous beaches, markets and restaurants at your own pace
  • Take a sunset catamaran sailing trip for snorkelling, whale- and dolphin-watching and bottomless sunset cocktails
  • Explore the local area by stand-up paddleboard, kayak or mountain bike - all are available for rent at Pura Vida Ride in Las Catalinas

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Zip-wiring

Kids

This is an adult-only resort and no children under 16 are permitted.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas