Tamarindo, Costa Rica
In the heart of rapidly evolving Playa Langosta, a 10–minute walk from the beach, this charming hotel offers a colorful and relaxing ambience, with a magnificent pool and fine restaurant.
Despite its landlocked location enclosed by a wall and unpaved dirt road, Cala Luna pervades a sophisticated beach resort feel that impresses immediately upon arrival. Splashed top to bottom in ice cream pastels––papaya, mango, pineapple––the mood is suitably tropical. Glazed treetrunks support the lobby's angled beamed ceiling, beneath which arriving guests can settle into a huge L–shaped, soft–cushioned, sofa.
This space opens rearward to a lush landscaped garden inset with a freeform pool framed with hibiscus and bougainvillea in every shade of lipstick. Papaya–toned lounge chairs splash the sundeck with yet another colorful counterpoint. To one side, the open–air Cala Morsca restaurant echoes the theme, with treetrunk supports, a roof of thatch, and yellow walls and tablecloths set with fresh floral displays. The flicker of candles by night sets the right romantic tone. Here, Chef Louis Briseño delivers consistently tasty gourmet fare using local ingredients––call it Costa Rican nouvelle. A starter of asparagus with olives and anis followed by fish ragú with jumbo shrimp and plantain typifies the adventurous menu.
Guest rooms have been toned down after a recent makeover that has notched up the sophistication level. While retaining sponge–washed walls in gold–ocher and flame orange, spreads and drapes are now of a more soothing white cotton, while decorative Guatemalan fabrics provide tasteful splashes of additional color. Two queens or a king–size bed are standard, and all villas have TVs and CD players.
Mexican tiles help keep things cool underfoot. Exquisite bathrooms feature marble–topped his and her sinks, plus two–person sunken tubs perfectly suited for lovers to wallow together. Larger parties might opt for spacious two– or three–bedroom villas. Echoing the rooms in style, these units also have fully–equipped kitchens (even microwave ovens and cappuccino machines are standard, as are washing machines) plus their own pools in otherwise sparse gardens.
The hotel's facilities include a boutique and tour desk. Horseback rides, fishing trips, and bicycle and watersports equipment rental are offered, as are in–room massage and babysitting.
Though this hotel would be enhanced by a beachfront setting, this is the best hotel in the region and the sands are a pleasant stroll away via a short path across the street.
Web Address: www.calaluna.com
Total Number of Rooms: 20 rooms, 21 villas
Published rates: $185 to $470
Review and photos by Christopher Baker
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