“A pair of spacious, minimalist houses (each sleeping 8) on a superb surfing beach in the quiet southern reaches of the Nicoya Peninsula”
The 2 4-bedroom houses - Sandy Lane and Beachwood - are both cleverly designed to continue the feeling of space you experience out on the waves. The scale is enormous: the open-plan sitting/dining rooms and kitchens flow in one huge uninterrupted cavern of pale grey concrete floors and sandy yellow walls, brightened with grey-green striped fabric (which doesn’t get damp, so you can lounge around in beachwear). Surrounding each house is a private terrace with an infinity pool, a dining area, daybeds and loungers; beyond, a gate leads directly to the beach.
Sandy Lane has 2 bedrooms downstairs, which lead off the main room (though they feel very private) and share a long bathroom with an immense shower. There’s a kingsize bed in one and twin beds in the other; both are light and bright, with white bed linen and woven wicker furniture. Upstairs, the master bedroom is truly spectacular. It occupies the entire upper floor, with a kingsize bed, a large sitting area, and the same floor-to-ceiling louvre doors to bring in views of the surf. The bathroom is, predictably, huge, with a massive shower and a separate toilet area. Outside, there’s a separate suite with a kingsize bed, its own bathroom and wide doors that open directly onto the infinity pool - ideal for friends or grandparents.
We have yet to see Beachwood next door, which has been built since our last visit and sits slightly closer to the ocean, but it’s similar to Sandy Lane in terms of style and features. Its lofty single-storey layout encompasses 2 master bedrooms with kingsize beds and custom-designed sliding doors opening onto the beachfront infinity pool, plus 2 garden-facing bedrooms (one with a queensize bed, the other with twin beds which can be combined to form a kingsize double). All have full ensuite bathrooms.
Both houses are minimalist, modern and very comfortable, with big wardrobes, mosquito nets, thick white towels and stereo systems with iPod docks. All beds have air-conditioning units above them, but you probably won’t need them as so much air flows through. Note that there are no hairdryers or bathrobes, and you’ll need to bring your own toiletries: only soap is provided.
Both houses are well set-up for self-catering, with everything you could possibly need to cook in the stylish open-plan kitchens. In Sandy Lane, chocolate-brown polished counters are brightened with contemporary green ceramics and glasses; in Beachwood, warm-hued wooden units sit next to exposed stone walls and stools made from tree trunks. There’s a gas cooker with a big oven in each, plus a microwave, a toaster, a blender, a coffee machine, a huge fridge and plenty of pots, pans and utensils.
There’s a grocery store just across the street for supplies. Ugo, your manager, can also arrange for local fishermen to come to the houses with their catch, so that you can select grey snappers and lobsters for dinner (delicious cooked on the barbecues outside, which come complete with a sink area to make food preparation easy). There’s a market every Saturday afternoon at the Crossroads (where the main road you arrived on meets the beach road running from Santa Teresa to Malpais), and there are 4 supermarkets nearby, as well as a bank with an ATM.
Most people go out for dinner, though. Florblanca is just 800m away, serving excellent food, and there are a couple of gourmet restaurants nearby. Or, for a more local flavour, eat delicious Costa Rican food at Piedra Mar in Malpais - a shack right on the oceanfront. Also recommended in Malpais is Mary’s, a good local restaurant run by Costa Ricans, which serves a great dinner.
Most luxuriously, Ugo can arrange a private chef for the week, so that you won’t have to worry about cooking at all. One of his specialities is tuna tartare (more details on request).
Children will adore The Beach Estates - the surroundings are wild and magical, and the pools and beach will provide endless entertainment. The houses are both very spacious and nothing feels too precious, but they're not really suitable for kids under 2 (you'd have to provide your own cot, and there's no stairgate in Sandy Lane). We rate them for a large family or group gathering, and the amount of space gives teenagers privacy too.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Both houses sleep up to 8 in 4 double bedrooms. Sandy Lane has one twin room and 3 double rooms, including a separate suite in the garden. Single-storey Beachwood has 3 double rooms, and one room which can be made up as a twin or a double. No extra beds are available and no cot is provided, but you could bring your own.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
The sleek kitchens are fully equipped; you can book a private chef if you don't want to cook, and there are 4 supermarkets plus a grocery store nearby. You can walk to many recommended restaurants. Children will love the fact that you can request visits from local fishermen with their catch of the day, including live lobster.
Keep small children to the ground floor only in Sandy Lane, as the upper-floor windows only have slender safety wires. Also, swimming at the beach can be dangerous when the tide is turning - ask Ugo for a tide table. The pools aren't fenced.