Nalu — Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Thanks to a heady combination of good weather, calming thickets of foliage and a lively and colourful community centred on nature and the beach, Costa Rica is having something of a moment right now, and a long overdue one, if you ask us.
The newly opened Nalu (apparently a Hawaiian word for ‘wave’) capitalises on all these assets, with a town setting that barely intrudes on the lush landscaping that insulates its three beach-side two- and three-bedroom saltwater pool villas.
Whether outdoor showers, or oversized daybed hammocks in the garden, every aspect of the hotel conspires to pull guests out into the open. Ever concerned with environmental concerns, Studio Saxe positioned each villas just so to catch cross-breezes flowing through the tall sliding windows, whilst deep-set teak overhangs provide shelter from the elements, and ceiling fans and clerestories circulate keep internal temperatures down.
The hotel is deliberately self-contained, the public facilities limited mainly to a yoga pavilion – which also doubles as the staging grounds for muai thai, boxing and jujitsu lessons – and a children’s zone. There is no restaurant, a drawback which is overcome either by the fully stocked kitchen in each villa, or a jaunt into town.