When deciding on where to have this spoilt brat bonanza, Charles, my husband, and I, focused on going to a Central American country. We wanted beaches and some epic background scenery and the opportunity to engage in some wildlife activity if the mood so took us (spoiler: it didn’t). We flitted between going to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, which all seemed to offer similar fantasy holiday options, but settled on Costa Rica in the end, based on the raving recommendation of some friends who are cooler than us.
But first off, we were introduced to what we came to appreciate as the International Honeymooners Welcome, from our lovely friends (anyone who scatters rose petals in your bath, is surely a friend – note: I was not in bath at time of scattering) at The Rosewood London hotel, where we spent a divine two nights after le Wedding. It was, fabulous.
They embossed our initials on our pillow cases and robes, they proffered glasses of champagne at every turn. There were rose petals, which Charles efficiently pushed off the bed with a “what’s this rubbish on here?” – the romance! They also offered an elaborate mini bar of snacks and many soft drinks gratis, which I always find to be a mark of a truly classy establishment. If you’re paying luxury room rates, the least they can do is provide free orange juice.
Anyway, here is the first of the International Honeymooners Welcome (note chocolate cake and red berries, plus champagne, bouquet brides own):
Once we’d drunk all the champagne at the Rosewood London, we headed off to Costa Rica. We flew into Liberia airport which is inland to the Northern Pacific coast, as we wanted to travel through the Guanacaste peninsula, which is a pretty well-trodden route for sexy gorgeous beaches. We had thought about going inland to the interior – where you’ll find rainforests and waterfalls galore, but on this trip we decided to stick to the coast. We were there for just under two weeks and in that time scale I feel you’ve got to choose one or the other – it’s a pretty big country and basically no motorways, so getting around takes a while. Driving here though, is actually pretty easy. Make sure you rent a 4x4 as the roads can be a pretty rocky in parts. If you’re not a confident driver, you soon will be! But aside from the odd slightly tense moment, because the roads are all single carriageways (and there are only about four of them), it makes it a lot easier that coming out onto a strange motorway system.
From the airport, our first stop at the Andaz Papagayo, was around a half an hour drive away. The scenery is big and beautiful in front of you looms the lush vista of the National parks (Santa Rosa and Guanacaste) which creates an epic boarder before you get to Nicaragua. The Andaz sits on the Papagayo peninsula, in a sort of manicured heaven where there is also a Four Seasons hotel, the Prieta private beach club and a Marina with a few restaurants lining the harbour. It met our spoilt-brat expectations and then some.
We also experienced our second International Honeymooners Welcome (note heart shaped chocolate cake this time):
There are 153 rooms at the Andaz, two pools (one family, one for adults only – bliss), three restaurants (one more of a late night tapas joint, one high class posh dining, and an easy casual low key third – which we loved- have the Casada – the traditional Costa Rican dinner of rice, plantains, fish or meat, beans and vegetables) and two secluded beaches (one entirely untouched – so no sun loungers or watersports).
We were there in high season, and half the time you had the pool to yourself, the beach was quiet, yet busy enough for adequate people watching. It was tranquil bliss. On the second beach, there are loungers and nice waiters bringing you drinks and snacks, and even sun tan lotion at all points around the resort. We spent a lot of time on this beach. Charles sits in the shade, and because they have left alone the mish-mash of trees here, it was perfect. You can also hire snorkels for free, book to go kayaking and jet-skiing (not free). The stripey beach towels are also VERY chic.
View over the family pool and the bay:
View from my sun lounger (sea: very warm and gentle)
Charles on his sun lounger in the shade
Beach selfie: note chic towel
They let you borrow their chic beach baskets. Mine was orange:
The breakfast was outstanding. Potentially best luxury buffet I’ve ever had. Here is my fruit plate:
As if I only ate fruit for breakfast! Here is my expertly curated guacamole and salsa on toast with bacon. Several American tourists in the queue behind me later copied this look. It was, delicious.
For the full honeymoon-treatment, one must appear bridal at all points. My Des Mademoiselles dress was perfect for this:
After a blissful few days lounging around here (they offer trips off into the rainforests and national parks if one is so inclined (I was more inclined on reclining on their deliciously comfortable squidgy cushion things by the pool), we headed down the coast. We stopped by the beaches at Playa Hermosa (fab for easy, safe swimming) and the beautiful Sugar Beach (a very pretty bay, again very safe for swimming). There are many beaches and small resort towns along the way, it would be wonderful to have lots of time to stop and explore them all, but we went down the most Southern tip to Santa Teresa, an epic surfer’s paradise of a beach, where the dusty bars and restaurants are full of some of the most lithe, sun kissed and good looking people I’ve ever seen. Obvs we fitted right in. Here’s Mr Harris on the beach:
We stayed at the beautiful Florblanca, one of the town’s original boutique luxury resorts, which is nestled right at the end of the road which runs all the way along the town just behind the beach. I was a little sad to realise that this would be our final International Honeymooners Welcome:
The resort is comprised of only thirteen private villas (ranging from one room, to two, plus their deluxe Villas and Honeymoon villas which offer more space and even fancier surroundings). We stayed in a one room villa and it was bliss. They are half open air, so you can lounge (in your lounge) in a hammock with the rainforest surrounding you. The bathroom is also outside, with blissful leaf shaped baths and rainshowers. There is also a spa, and Nectar restaurant which offers classic Costa Rican fare as well as Asian influenced dishes (Japanese food is big on Santa Teresa, along the main road go to Kantana for amazing fare. There are also juice bars, and hipster burger joints. It’s a #eatclean paradise).
The yummy pool nestled in the trees:
At the beach in front of the resort you can dip your toes in, but it’s much safer and less rockier to walk along the beach for when you want a little dip. The waves here are mega, so you can’t really swim, but it is safe at the right time to go into the water – just be careful to not go too deep (unless you’ve got your surfboard!)
You can borrow surfboards at Florblanca for free:
The breakfast was yummy. I was really into this fresh pineapple juice (the pineapples in Costa Rica are out of control):
Along the trees by the beach they have scattered cosy seats, as well as this hammock sofa, which was ideal for watching the sunset:
That time I made Charles do a selfie on the beach:
I have never felt more relaxed or pleasingly secluded from the world. As the resort is small you feel like you have the run of the place to yourself most of the time, the staff are lovely and helpful. They offer very good yoga lessons every day (extra, but worth it) as well as other trips to the surrounding areas. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Liberia airport – which given that the roads are pretty empty and the route as straight forward as they get – it really isn’t a bad trip. I would definitely return. It’s such a gorgeous country, very laid back, the people are lovely and chilled out and the sun shines hard. What more could you want?