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Checking Out the 'Whole Foods Hotel' of Costa Rica

February 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM | by | Comments (2)

Here's an instance where our experience of a hotel actually exceeded expectations set by the heavily photoshopped images on its website. We recently spent a couple nights at the Harmony Hotel on Playa Guineas in Nosara Costa Rica, and in our humble opinion, the reality was actually better than the hype. Check out the above photo, with an insert from the Harmony website in the top left corner

Check in / Check out: After a bumpy ride from Tamarindo to Nosara, we were excited to be greeted by smiling faces handing us some sort of tasty refreshing green-colored fruit juice. And at check in, the mood immediately changed from anxious to relaxed, while we sat in the open air lobby enjoying the free wifi and gazing out over the attached pool area. We could have cared less when we were told that our room wouldn't be ready for another hour.

Room Reaction:
Room 12 was a chill casita directly across from the hotel's organic garden project. The room was spacious enough and a huge bonus was the outdoor patio sporting a hammock, two chairs and a table. Don't come here expecting flat screen televisions or high end music systems—you won't even find a clock in the room. Not all of the casitas are located as close to the beach or the bar as ours was, so choose wisely.

Pool:
The pool area is small and jungly, however, there are plenty of lounge chairs and the area gets plenty of sunshine (not to mention being spitting distance from the bar). The pool itself was extremely clean and swimmable, providing an excellent après beach option. We imagine that foliage might be prone to fall in during (and bordering on) the wet season (Late April - November), but during the high season there was not a leaf to be found in the pool.

Grounds:
Earlier, someone had described the entire Nosara area to us as "the Whole Foods of Costa Rica." If you agree with that description, the Harmony Hotel would no doubt be dubbed the Whole Foods Hotel of Costa Rica.

Organic gardens, salt water pool, no red meat or soda on site—not to mention a juice bar, wellness center, and daily yoga.

Sunset:
During our stay sunset and high tide were almost simultaneous. This meant daily sunset surfing the long, ridable, beach break with rights and lefts out the back. If you are up for surfing, the Nosara Surf Shop offers boards for $10 a day, and you can keep your board on your room's back patio. If you aren't gonna surf, just grab a seat on the beach, bring a drink and watch the sun set over the ocean.

Playa Guiones: The Harmony Hotel is situated on Playa Guiones, a 3+ mile stretch of gorgeous beach. Low tide is great for long beach runs/walks, and the beach is actually an easy way to get from point A to point B in Playa Guiones -- as there are no street lights, nightfall means you need to get out a flashlight.

There are also some chill cafes within walking distance from the hotel, but don't expect much to be open late. Most of this sleepy beach town closes down right around 10 PM unless there is live music going on somewhere.

Internet Connect:
The free WiFi worked on all devices. Furthermore, we noticed that during the afternoons, the Juice Bar became like a virtual office. Not that you would want to work too hard while staying so close to the beach!

What We Liked:
Um, almost everything. If you are looking for a chill hotel with incredible beach access that also respects the environment it occupies, you will be happy here.

What We Didn’t Like:
Our one and only complaint was about the nightly noises in our room. The safe chirped if it wasn't completely closed, the ceiling fan rattled throughout the night if it was left on, and the wind kept knocking something into the back door. Strange that in a resort so tranquil these nits would exist, or maybe the fact that the resort was so peaceful exacerbated the nightly casita clamors.

Bottom Line:
We paid $300 a night (during high season), which is definitely higher than most Costa Rican hotels in the area. However, Harmony offered exactly what we expected -- a tropical destination hotel getaway geared towards spending quality, chill time at the beach.

[Photo and Videos: Markj for HotelChatter]

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