Peninsula Papagayo has long been known as Costa Rica’s manicured slice of paradise. Enter its pearly gates and you’ll be privy to 1,400 acres of panoramic views, nature reserves, an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a handful of exclusive developments. When New York City–based design studio Meyer Davis set out to reimagine Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo as part of the property’s latest $35-million USD ($44-million Canadian) renovation, they didn’t have to look far for inspiration. In a North Pacific haven where beachfront yoga classes, howler monkey sightings, and farm-and-sea-to-table feasts are a daily occurrence, indoor-outdoor living is made easy.
“The design features a simple yet bespoke approach within an eclectic arrangement of furnishings that are attributed to the rustic, coastal Central American lifestyle,” says Kristen Cochran, senior designer at Meyer Davis. “This aesthetic came to life by collaborating with a number of local South American and Costa Rican fabricators, manufacturers, suppliers, and artisans in furniture and millwork.”
After closing down for four months to complete the transformation, the property reopened its doors in December 2017, unveiling 182 revamped guest rooms, suites and villas, a redesigned lobby, four new culinary concepts featuring locally-sourced cuisine, and an enhanced pool area with luxury cabanas and amenities. Beyond the Four Seasons, the peninsula as a whole has seen a surge of investment from Miami-based development firm Gencom. So far, more than $100-million has been poured into an enhanced marina, a network of hiking trails, and a newly established bio-diverse corridor with a macaw sanctuary (as per government mandate, 70 per cent of the region must remain a natural).
In a North Pacific haven where beachfront yoga classes, howler monkey sightings, and farm-and-sea-to-table feasts are a daily occurrence, indoor-outdoor living is made easy.
To capture the essence of pura vida that flows through the country, Meyer Davis designed the interiors with a neutral colour palette to juxtapose the vibrant green vegetation and sapphire blue waters. The firm is best known for playing with texture, form, and light to create soothing environments for key hospitality brands such as Auberge Beach Residences, W Hotels, Rosewood Hotels, the Ritz-Carlton, and 1 Hotels. This signature is seen everywhere from the sun-speckled private patios to the open-air lounge spaces punctuated with tactile materials such as rope and stone. To make the Four Seasons’ Papagayo Peninsula location unique and sustainable, the studio filled spaces with reclaimed wood furnishings by local providers Maderas Collective, Simplemente Madera, and Spanish Royal Teak.
“Final touches in the artwork and native accents throughout the property were thoughtfully orchestrated to leave the guest with an experience which is engaging, restorative, and inspirational,” says Cochran in reference to the property’s various art installations, many of which were sourced by Ana Laura Vargas of Project Artwork.
The local experience extends to the property’s new culinary concepts. At Bahia, wood-fired Latin American dishes are given a sophisticated twist, while Pesce serves up freshly caught seafood prepared with an Italian bent. Rum journeys are best enjoyed at La Reserva, the resort’s own cellar-cum-mixology school, where guests are invited to create their own blends and infusions each evening before sunset. But no matter the time of day, a distinctive chorus of gentle waves and swaying palms carries through the property. Stay for a few days and it’ll become beautiful white noise; an idyllic soundtrack to match the essence of indoor-outdoor living on Costa Rica’s pinnacle of leisure.
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