When the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica opened in 2004, it not only ushered in an unprecedented level of luxury to the Central American country, but also introduced the world to Peninsula Papagayo, a 1,400-acre enclave in its northwest Guanacaste province that is home to 11 miles of dramatic Pacific Ocean coastline, seven pristine beaches, and one of the world’s few dry tropical forests.
For close to a decade, it was the peninsula’s only high-end place to stay, until a surge of development in 2013 with openings like the 153-room Andaz Peninsula, the 30,000-square-foot, eight-room estate Villa Manzu, and Autograph Collection’s El Mangroove, launched the area into the spotlight as the face of the country’s tourism revival.
The Four Seasons will again be at the forefront of the peninsula’s revitalization when it reopens on December 4 following a $35-million overhaul. The redesign, led by New York firm Meyer Davis Studios, will trade in the resort’s colorful, tropical décor for a subdued palette that plays up the natural textures and materials of the surrounding environment.
Stylish rattan furniture, natural wood surfaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows will fill its 181 rooms, suites, and villas, while the 15 one-bedroom hillside Canopy Suites will feature new plunge pools. The resort's five restaurants, including Pesce, its upscale Italian fine dining venue, and Café del Mar, the all-day Mediterranean eatery, will focus on the region’s organic produce, and the new Añejo bar and Library lounge will serve artisanal rum and spirits.
Its renovation is taking place as additions are being made to the isle’s master development led by Miami-based developer, Gencom, which is investing more than $100 million into refurbishing existing infrastructure, including its 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, as well as adding a number of new amenities. The hope, according to Manuel Ardon, chief operating officer of Peninsula Papagayo, is to have the destination be synonymous with the country itself in the minds of travelers. “The enhancements are significant not only to Costa Rica’s flourishing tourism industry, but to the country’s position as a thought-leader in the preservation of native landscape and local culture,” says Ardon.
The reopening of the Four Seasons will be shortly followed by the introduction of an end-to-end network of more than eight miles of nature trails and a Macaw sanctuary set to rehabilitate the species to the area and serve as an education center, along with the restoration of its 180-slip Marina Papagayo, one of Latin America’s two world-class large-yacht marinas, that will include a new restaurant and lounge, gourmet grocery market, and new yacht charter excursions. Despite this and more developments to follow, visitors don’t have to worry about overdevelopment—70 percent of the land must remain undeveloped.
Rooms from $525; fourseasons.com