Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher drew inspiration from butterfly wings and the backs of armadillos in designing the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, set on a steep hillside between two Pacific beaches. Its 145 rooms and suites are outfitted with indigenous hardwood and stone, sliding louvered doors, verandas, and a palette of deep reds, browns, and yellows; most have plunge pools. Before the resort opened in 2004, getting to this pristine but remote promontory in the northwest of Guanacaste required chartering a plane or navigating bone-rattling potholed roads. Now, major airlines fly direct from the United States to the airport, and newly paved byways make the 29-mile trip from there to the hotel considerably smoother. Conscious of the area’s physical splendor, the resort does what it can to minimize its impact. Arnold Palmer created a golf course lauded by Audubon International for its eco-sensitive design; black and gray water is recycled; and during construction, the habitats of local species were left intact.