Las Catalinas, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
With an impressive zero-edge infinity pool and a dedicated focus on wellness, relaxation and adventure, the adult only Casa Chameleon has put the new up and coming town of Las Catalinas on the map as a premiere luxury destination in the popular Guanacaste province of Costa Rica.
Sitting on top of a hill along the Pacific coast, this hotel boasts some of the most stunning ocean views in the country. Though confusion is the initial reaction upon arriving at Casa Chameleon due to the cramped driveway and abrupt turn, all that goes away as soon as you step into the lobby with its inviting design and sophisticated beach décor.
From the lobby is a short path to the rooms, pool, and restaurant where breathtaking panoramic ocean views greet you. To the north lies Las Catalinas town, Playa Danta, and Dantita. To the south are the beaches of Prieta and Pan de Azucar plus many lush bays stretching for miles down the coast. Ahead are the Las Catalinas islands, known for excellent scuba diving and fishing.
Location is the highlight of Casa Chameleon as it arguably has the most ocean views of any hotel in Costa Rica but the infinity pool strongly competes for that spot as well. The impressive zero-edge infinity pool is cleverly positioned in front of the restaurant and wraps around to the side so there are ocean views from every angle. The pool faces west, allowing breathtaking sunsets to light up the sky every evening. With an attentive staff, excellent sunset bar, and spacious sitting areas, it is hard to imagine a more romantic and intimate pool in Guanacaste.
The 21 villas sitting throughout the hill all offer equally commanding ocean views. The villas separate into 3 different locations: to the South looking at Sugar Beach and Penca, to the west facing the Catalinas Islands, or higher on the hillside to the west. Since every single villa has their own private infinity plunge pool, the hardest decision most couples will have during their stay at Casa Chameleon is which pool to enjoy that day.
The villa has a modern minimalist design with a welcoming summer feel. As the bed faces out towards the pool, the ocean will be the first thing you see every morning. All rooms have air conditioning, a fan, and a mosquito net so if you want to feel the ocean breeze, you can open the doors and sleep comfortably in the large king size bed.
The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a large sliding door and also has wood and glass doors with views of the pool and ocean.
The private plunge pool area has been thoughtfully designed, leaving enough room for a couple of pool chairs, a sofa, and small table. As wellness is part of the hotel's philosophy, you will find yoga mats and weights in a basket by the pool.
One thing for guests to keep in mind is that the Las Catalinas area is new—there will be construction going on and the town is small. From the sunset villas, you may be able to hear or see the construction of nearby houses, diminishing the privacy and ambiance a bit.
The dining experience at the on-site restaurant, Sentido Norte, is as you would expect from a luxury boutique hotel. The executive chef, Jose Lopez, designed a menu focused on using healthy local products in their Costa Rican fusion cuisine such as tapa de dulce (harvested sugar cane) and chayote, a type of squash. Everything from the romantic ambiance and warm design of the open-air restaurant to the brightly colored cocktails incorporates the best of Costa Rica ingredients.
For breakfast, we recommend a hearty bowl of oats, yogurt, and almond milk or the authentic Costa Rican breakfast, gallo pinto. Lunch has a typical menu of burgers, tacos, and salads but dinner is the highlight at this restaurant. Despite having a somewhat small menu, the diversity of flavors and textures is what makes dining at Sentido Norte a gourmet experience. All the dishes use fresh and responsible ingredients and have a beautiful presentation.
Besides digging in their savory dishes, having a drink by the infinity pool or floating in the private plunge pool, there are a myriad of activities to do in the Las Catalinas area on water and land. Casa Chameleon has a large fitness area and yoga center on top of the restaurant, they offer in-room spa and salon services, and the concierge can book tours for you.
Though there is no direct path from the hotel to the beach, complimentary shuttle service is available to and from the hotel to Las Catalinas town where you can rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards and jet skis.
Casa Chameleon certainly caters towards couples and romantic getaways but it is also the perfect vacation spot for anyone looking for a luxury beach escape in a non-touristic area of Costa Rica. You will fall head over heels for this boutique hotel with panoramic ocean views, a majestic infinity pool, and mouthwatering restaurant.
Web Address: www.casachameleonhotels.com/las-catalinas/
Total number of rooms: 21 Villas
Published Rates: $300-800 including breakfast but not taxes
Review and photos by Samantha Wei.