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Tamarindo, Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Review Summary

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Pros

Cons

  • Howler monkeys may wake up guests at sunrise
  • Milk Girls Crossbody Cartons Bag Lady Canvas Hengsong White Bag Bag Messenger Shoulder The hotel has several (adorable) cats on the property (pro for some)
  • The pool is shaded during much of the day
  • Rooms on the lower levels lack natural light
  • Milk Hengsong Bag Canvas White Crossbody Bag Bag Cartons Girls Lady Shoulder Messenger The Four-Bedroom Suite lacks a kitchen
  • No TVs in the rooms (a pro for some)
  • Lots of steep stairs to access the lobby from the pool area

Bottom Line

The laid-back, upper-middle-range, 34-room Hotel Capitan Suizo is one of Tamarindo's most revered properties. Its location at the southernmost end of Tamarindo Beach is more private and less traveled than other parts of the busy stretch of shoreline, making it attractive to well-heeled guests who prefer a quieter vibe as well as the perks of a spa, gourmet restaurant, private pool, and attentive service. The spacious bi-level rooms and Bungalows feature separate living areas and private terraces, some with direct access to the beach, while the jungle-like backdrop of flowering plants, tall palms, and dramatic Guanacaste trees keeps guests in touch with nature, including active families of howler monkeys.

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Scene

An elegantly laid-back beachfront boutique hotel with an eco-friendly vibe, a lively bar and restaurant, and plenty of places to relax

The hotel's title is a fusion of two countries: It is named for "El Capitan," the tiny island just offshore in front of the hotel, and for Switzerland (Suizo in Spanish), the homeland of the owners. The family fell in love with Tamarindo back when it was just a sleepy fishing town, moved from Switzerland to Costa Rica, and after several years of arduous construction, opened the hotel in 1995.

Keeping true to their philosophy to create a place that remained in touch with nature, they built around the old trees, made paths available to wildlife, and vowed to maintain their gardens without pesticides. The natural connection is clear the moment guests enter the lobby. The hotel is set beneath a towering canopy of native trees, and it's not unusual to see families of howler monkeys clamoring through the branches or to bump in to iguanas, skunks, or raccoons while meandering the pathways throughout the grounds.

Despite its wildness, the hotel is also elegant. Spacious jewel-box Bungalows are set among the greenery or steps from the beach while the traditional rooms are arranged in two-story buildings facing the pool and gardens. Airflow is priority, and the rooms are designed with large windows and sliding doors that allow for cross breezes. The overall design of the property is understated and neutral. Furniture was handmade in Costa Rica, sofas are finished in ivory or subdued pastels, and historic photography graces the walls, framed in wood to match the rich color of the furniture.   

Unlike many properties along Tamarindo Beach that cater to budget-oriented surfers simply looking for a place to crash, Hotel Capitan Suizo prioritizes its comfort factor and encourages guests, mostly couples, to linger. At every turn there are inviting places to relax. Cushioned lounge chairs in a serene pale yellow fabric ring the pool and are arranged neatly under the shade of trees along the beach, a group of rope hammocks are strung between trees allowing guests to swing while listening to the sea, and every Black for New Shoulder female Women ladies XXYsm handbag Bag 2018 women bag bag handbags Messenger qF6C7wRx6 holds two teak lounge chairs with ivory cushions and small tables with hurricane lamps. Televisions are purposely excluded from the rooms to encourage guests to get out and enjoy the property.

A European chef leads the hotel's restaurant. Buffet breakfasts are highlighted by fresh fruit and homemade bread while lunches and dinners cater to a variety of tastes, remaining focused on incorporating items that are locally sourced and organic. Sunsets on Tamarindo Beach are not to be missed, especially at low tide when the protruding rocks are awash with surf. In the evenings, the restaurant is adorned with white tablecloths and glows with candlelight, but many guests opt to dine at the bar, sharing bottles of French wine and socializing with other guests.

Location

On the outskirts of Tamarindo, steps from the beach, and an hour's drive from the airport in Liberia

Guests must first drive through the thick of busy, touristy downtown Tamarindo before reaching the Hotel Capitan Suizo. Set at the southernmost point along Playa Tamarindo, where the beach ends at a tumble of rocks, the hotel is pleasantly away from the busiest portions of the beach. Most who venture to the far point of the shoreline are running for exercise or strolling, intent on turning around and heading back. 

The front of the hotel, although not as scenic, is also relatively quiet. Guests arrive at the property via a gravel road that leads to Playa Langosta, a quiet community popular with surfers. Getting to the airport in Liberia takes about one hour and it’s a much longer (four-hour) drive to the airport in San Jose. Guests also have the option to connect to San Jose via a quick shuttle flight from the local airport in Tamarindo.

  • 10-minute walk to Tamarindo
  • 15-minute drive to the Tamarindo Airport
  • 30-minute drive to Playa Grande
  • 30-minute drive to Playa Avellana
  • 30-minute drive to Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course
  • 70-minute drive to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, Liberia
  • Two-hour drive to Palo Verde National Park
  • Two-hour, 30-minute drive to Rincon de la Vieja National Park
  • Four-hour drive to Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose
  • Four-hour drive to Arenal Volcano National Park

Rooms

A collection of spacious guest rooms and freestanding Bungalows with private terraces and modern amenities, some with beachfront access

The hotel features 22 Superior Rooms set in two-story buildings as well as eight freestanding Bungalows, two Beachfront Garden Rooms, a Beachfront Suite, and a Four-Bedroom Suite. All classes of accommodation are decorated in similar style with terra-cotta tile or polished concrete flooring, locally made teakwood furnishings, and framed photographs that depict the history of Costa Rica.

Rooms located on the ground floor do not receive as much natural sunlight or air circulation as the second-floor rooms, meaning guests are more likely to use the air-conditioning. Rooms on the second floor also have the advantage of being at the level of the tree canopy, allowing guests to be close to wildlife.

The rooms feature bi-level layouts with beds on the upper level and the living area with sofa bed on the lower level where glass doors open to patios or crescent-shaped balconies equipped with two cushioned lounge chairs. Bathrooms are finished in either gray tile or blue polished concrete. They feature single vanities, and stall showers.

Bungalows are freestanding studio-like structures with vaulted ceilings with exposed beams are set among the greenery of the property; most are close to the pool and two offer direct access to the beach. The Bungalows feature wrap-around covered terraces furnished with lounge chairs, cafe tables, and hammocks. Walls of glass slide back to reveal the interior space, which includes a living area with two chairs and a sofa bed and an elevated sleeping area. The spacious bathrooms include Parfois Lalala Golden Women Women Lalala Bag Parfois Parfois Golden Bag Cross Cross drFrSq. A back door opens to an outdoor shower, hidden by a curvy wall and shaded by towering palms. Both rooms and Bungalows have large closets with safes and extra bedding, desks, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges. All units feature king-size canopy beds with tied-back mosquito netting and tiny reading lamps tucked above the headboards. Telephones, vintage style clock radios, and the purposeful lack of televisions complete the look.

The Four-Bedroom Suite, located on the second floor of the main building, features a master bedroom with a king-size bed and huge bathroom with a jetted tub, one bedroom with a queen-size bed, and two additional bedrooms with two twin beds. The apartment is centered around a spacious living and dining area with vaulted ceilings and oversized sofas, although it lacks a kitchen. A huge terrace is accessed from the living room and two of the bedrooms. Furnished with lounge chairs and a hammock, it hovers over the lobby and looks directly into the tree canopy and out over the grounds of the hotel.

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A huge swimming pool, an open-air restaurant and bar, a small spa, and ample beachfront games and water sports

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At the center of the hotel, among towering Guanacaste trees and a jungle of vines and greenery, is a shimmering free-form pool ringed with a generous amount of lounge chairs with pale yellow cushions. The shaded area is ideal for lounging, especially for those who prefer to be within easy reach of the bar and restaurant, but it is just one of many places to relax at the hotel. 

Beyond the protective wall that separates the pool and restaurant from the beach is a shaded area of sand with rows of lounge chairs facing the ocean as well as an outdoor games area with a ping-pong table, a billiards table, hammocks, a small bar, and an outdoor massage platform set beneath a billowy white tent. A gentle slope leads to the soft sands of Playa Tamarindo and yet another row of lounge chairs. Guests have free use of boogie boards. Guests can also rent surf boards and kayaks, ideal for taking afternoon trips toward Isla Capitan, an uninhabited islanbud offshore that's popular with experienced surfers.

Spa

An intimate spa offering massage treatments in the jungle-like gardens or under a palm roof tent close to the ocean

Winding paths lead through the property's gardens to a the Aromas del Mar Spa, a small building with an alfresco bamboo-screened treatment room that can be used for single or couples massages. A small waiting area backed by a wall of glowing candles allows guests to relax and sip fruit infused water or tea before or after treatments. A long hall lined with horizontal bamboo stretches past other treatment rooms used for facials and body scrubs toward the ocean where massage tables are arranged on a wood platform beneath a palm roof white tent, allowing guests to enjoy massages within earshot of the crashing surf.

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Address

2 miles from the local airport in Tamarindo, Tamarindo 22-50309, Costa Rica

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