“An elegant boutique hotel spread between two breath-taking locations, both with perfect views of Arenal volcano from its villas”
It’s the quality of the rooms that makes Nayara so special. Each of the casitas is secluded among the lush gardens so you get a sense of utter privacy; it’s perfect for a romantic escape. Choose between staying at the main hotel, or in one of Nayara Springs' villas, located 200m away across a ravine.
Rooms in the main hotel are divided into 2 categories according to their size and luxuriousness. The more indulgent option is the octagonal Nayara Suite, while the Casita Deluxe is more modest (though still very comfortable). A panoramic window fills one wall, with sliding doors opening onto a generous wooden deck facing the volcano. It’s a tremendous view: you really can gaze at Arenal from your bed. All offer similar décor and a splendid amount of space: a huge main area, with polished hard wood floors and a cane-lined pitched roof. Each room is dominated by a four-poster kingsize bed, surrounded by gauzy white curtains, and this together with elegant loungers on the balcony gives a modern take on a Dutch East Indies feel. Plus each of these rooms has its own double Jacuzzi outside, so you can sip a sundowner as you watch the smoke rise from Arenal.
Behind the bed, a tall partition wall conceals an enormous wardrobe, with a minibar, a safe and a coffee machine, and the bathroom area. There’s a slick contemporary shower room with a drenching rainhead shower and a door to a little private patio where there’s a hot outdoor shower. There are simple toiletries, a hairdryer and a generous pile of towels.
Those in Nayara Springs, perched above the forest cliff, will be staying in a Springs Villa. This location (accessed by a pedestrian bridge across the ravine) has its own adults-only pool, restaurant, bar, yoga pavilion and high-end spa, creating a honeymoon haven atmosphere. The 16 Springs Villas are hidden among the trees and each comes with a wooden four-poster bed, a pool fed by hot spring water, a garden with an outdoor shower and a jaw-dropping view; décor is very similar to that of the main hotel casitas.
All rooms are well-equipped for entertainment, with a widescreen plasma TV, a DVD player and an iPod docking station. Add free WiFi, air-conditioning and room service and you have all the elements of a luxurious hotel, for a reasonable price.
Nayara’s restaurant, Altamira, is a wonderfully airy pavilion with a high pitched palm-lined roof and open-sides which allow the warm breezes to waft through the room. Chairs are straight-backed wicker, with saffron cushions tied on with bows, giving sophistication to an otherwise pleasantly informal setting. Tables outside have a view of the volcano and the colourful tropical gardens.
Breakfast is a relaxed buffet affair; dishes are regularly topped up by the attentive staff. Help yourself to fresh orange juice, fresh fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple and watermelon) or the delicious vegetable melange for those who want a savoury start to the day. Hot dishes keep scrambled eggs and pancakes warm, plus there’s ham, homemade breads and jams. Coffee is constantly on offer, though tea is a simple bag in a cup.
Lunch is Costa Rican dishes, alongside more international fare. If you’re out exploring, staff can make you a picnic. Dinner is more formal; tables are candlelit with pretty arrangements of fresh flowers. It’s the perfect setting for the exotic dishes of plantain ceviche and Mahi Mahi in tangy sauces. The food is simple and will appeal to all tastes, though there's a definite Costa Rican influence. Charming and attentive staff give genuinely warm, personal service.
For lighter meals the hotel also has a wine bar, Nostalgia, which offers a selection of wine-friendly tapas - the perfect accompaniment to the Spanish and South American wines available from the state-of-the-art Italian self-service dispenser. There’s also a pool bar which serves cocktails as well as light meals and snacks throughout the day.
Since our visit Nayara has added Sushi Amor. As the name suggests, this restaurant-cum-lounge serves sushi, but with a Latin twist. With vivid shades of blue and red this is a relaxing contemporary space where you can dine and (of course) take in those stunning volcano views.
Nayara Springs’ guests have access to these restaurants, though breakfast is served in their restaurant, Amor Loco, which also serves dinner. The evening menu features a mix of dishes, from chicken curry, to black-ink spaghetti, and lobster tail. On this side of the ravine, lunch is served at the pool bar, so you can tuck in to your burger or quesadilla on the terrace overlooking the forest. Guests from the main hotel are able to eat here with a reservation only.
There are plenty of restaurants in La Fortuna if you fancy the bright lights of the tourist town. For the most elegant try the Tabacón hotel’s restaurant. For lunch, enjoy great views from the Observatory Lodge, a smart modern on the upper flanks of the Chato (flat) volcano, right next to Arenal. It serves local ingredients with international style.
The main hotel is aimed more at couples, but children over 2 are welcome in the here; Nayara Springs is adults only.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Nayara Suite can fit 1 extra bed and the Casita Deluxe can fit 2. Children under 6 stay at no extra charge. Children cannot be accommodated in the Springs Villas.