Our Insiders Reveal the Secrets of Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo

June 5, 2024 by Andy Martell

Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo is the ultimate coastal retreat. This ultra-luxury community boasts one of the most magical landscapes on the planet: a dreamlike 1,400-acre canvas of dry tropical forest surrounded by miles of uncrowded beaches teeming with wildlife.

We recently sat down with Edward Florian, Residence Manager at THE HIVE, and Thomas Freitag, General Manager of Villa Avellana, to uncover the secrets of this stunning natural paradise. Their stunning villas offer uniquely unforgettable ways for your clients to immerse themselves in the abundant wonders of this extraordinary destination.

What are the main advantages of choosing a villa when coming to Costa Rica versus staying at a hotel?

Many villas come with amenities that would come at a premium in hotels. Private pools, game rooms, home theaters, and even personal butlers and chefs are often included in the villa price, whereas hotels might charge extra for similar services or facilities.

If you could describe the property in three words, what would they be?

If I could describe the property in three words, I would choose ‘Sensuous,’ ‘Serene,’ and ‘Splendorous.’ Each word encapsulates the essence of THE HIVE, where guests are enveloped in a sensuous atmosphere, find tranquility amidst nature’s beauty, and revel in the splendor of their surroundings.

Could you tell us about the design of the property and its incredible art collection?

THE HIVE is a gathering place for people and design aficionados. More than 10 countries were visited to source every component for the residence. When combined, these elements seamlessly come together to form a rich tapestry, where individual pieces fade away, and the whole of a unified design aesthetic appears and works. As you wander, you’ll soon find that around every turn is a new discovery, every sightline reveals another secret, and every door leads to another surprise.

Can you describe what a typical day is like for guests staying with you?

Our residence is a gathering place where groups of friends, couples, and multi-generational families come together to reconnect and experience the wonders of Costa Rica. The beauty of THE HIVE is that you can make every experience exactly what you’d like it to be. It can be energetic and buzzy or utterly serene and calm. Whether you want to get your heart pumping or your mind to slow down, there’s an array of features and experiences to satisfy every need.

What is your favorite spot on the property?

Sitting on the terrace sofa, in front of the Peninsula Bay with a cocktail made by our mixologist, sharing this memorable experience with family and friends.

What seasonal aspects should guests keep in mind when planning a trip to your property?

Guanacaste is undoubtedly a privileged land, possessing a mixture of forests, warm beaches, extensive plains, and an impressive volcanic range. This privileged land has dry and wet seasons, each offering magical moments throughout the year.

Some travelers might be wary about visiting during the ‘green season’. Are there any unexpected advantages to planning a trip to Peninsula Papagayo during this time of the year?

The Green Season is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Guanacaste and, in general, Costa Rica. It provides lush and green scenery throughout the territory as well as landscaping with amazing and abundant wildlife. Also, it’s when fewer tourists visit our national parks and beaches, making it the best time to have an intimate and personalized experience.

What special activities and events are happening in the area this summer and fall?

Our guests have full access to the Prieta Beach Club and all of the activities they offer. Here’s a link to their monthly calendar.

How do you feel the property is positioned differently than other villas in the area?

THE HIVE was designed to be a place you can come and stay, and never have to leave. From an infinity pool and outdoor lounge to fitness and games areas, a screening room, spa treatment room, and hammam, the residence offers a comprehensive experience unlike any other villa in the area. While luxury villas are abundant in Peninsula Papagayo, there’s only one HIVE—a place that feels alive and attuned to you and the individual experiences you help create when you visit.

Which type of guest is The Hive right for?

THE HIVE is ideal for luxury travelers seeking unique experiences that cannot be found elsewhere. It caters to families, couples, and adventure enthusiasts who want to explore and experience Guanacaste’s natural and pristine environment in a luxury setting while feeling at home away from home.

Can you describe what a typical day is like for guests staying with you?

A typical day at Villa Avellana begins with waking up in the highest thread count bedding, AC, and the sounds of the waves. Then, opening the automatic blackout blinds to find monkeys in the treetops outside your balcony. Afterward, come downstairs to our breakfast spread with freshly baked sourdough, fresh juices, and a daily special of chilaquiles or eggs as you like.

After breakfast, check in with your private concierge to see if you’re up for planned activities like surfing or ziplining, or just relax by the pool with cocktails and coconuts until retreating to our private spa for a relaxing massage.

If you are up for an afternoon outing, we call the boat over right in front of our beach. Our activity guide and lifeguard will assist in loading the party onboard our dedicated 42’ motor yacht, equipped with all the toys and top-of-the-line fishing equipment. Once onboard, guests are in the hands of our amazing crew and waited on with their favorite drink and snacks by one of our service people.

After a sunset only seen in the movies or postcards, we light up the beach with tiki torches and citronella for a private beach dinner. Complete with Argentine asado, a Latin guitarist, and fine wines paired with our Wagyu beef.

Perhaps after the kids are put to bed, the parents sneak back down to the bar to enjoy a nightcap and indulge in one of our finest Nicaraguan cigars purchased directly from the farm.

When they’ve enjoyed their last sip of tasting a new mezcal, scotch, or fine rum, they retreat to the bedroom to lay down in a king bed and watch a movie on the projector until they’ve wound down and drifted peacefully off to sleep.

What is dining like?

Dining is casual and varied as we love to play with different flavors from international cuisine. Menus are tailored to our guests’ preferences. We have five separate dining venues and two outdoor cooking areas, which allow us to deliver unique dining experiences throughout the stay. Whether it be five-course meals, family style, or served directly off the grill, one thing that never changes is our fresh, local, and organic ingredients prepared with love and ingenuity by our dedicated chef team.

What are some unique guest experiences that your team can arrange?

Our team works with the best providers in the country, offering the most exhilarating and trusted experiences. In the past, we have arranged helicopter tours over inaccessible volcanoes to iridescent waterfalls and sloth sanctuaries, followed by whitewater rafting while monkeys and rare birds watch from the shoreline.

Could you share some of the more unusual or interesting guest requests that you’ve successfully fulfilled?

At a client’s request to enjoy an ice bath, instead of suggesting he travel to the Four Seasons Spa, we invested in our own custom ice bath and got it delivered and installed the day before his arrival.

What seasonal aspects should guests keep in mind when planning a trip to your property?

During the North American winter, we experience blue skies, tropical heat, and near-perfect weather. That’s the peak high season!

In the North American summertime, we enjoy a little cloud coverage, dramatic sunsets, “cooler” weather, and the occasional rainfall, which makes our vegetation and flowering trees exceptionally beautiful. The ocean is typically clear and warm, the waves are excellent, and the crowds have diminished, making this season a favorite among locals.

We typically have the largest rainfalls in September and October, so rain lovers may find themselves in a paradise completely alone! Consider that hotels and developers generally have closure dates during these months to handle renovations and staff vacations, so some amenities may not be available, such as beach clubs, kids’ clubs, and some peninsula-operated tours.

How do you feel the property is positioned differently than other villas in the area?

No other villa offers as much as we do—we’re crazy, and it won’t last forever at our current pricing. Absolutely everything is included in our offering; we don’t have add-ons or a check-out bill that needs reviewing at the end of a stay. From babysitters to boats, fine dining to cooking classes, massages, game rooms, ocean equipment to board games, we have everything a guest could want, and when we don’t have it, we get it!

While our 10-bedroom, 33,000-square-foot villa is meticulously designed and decorated, our full-time staff are the key difference makers, according to our guests’ feedback. We really care and go over the top to make sure our guests are exceptionally well cared for. Also, our location is just so private and exclusive, with our 300 feet of beachfront tucked away at the end of the beach with no neighbors.

How does your team get to know guests to better understand their interests and preferences?

Sergio, our Guest Experience Manager, and I work with our guests in advance via call to first understand the trip’s main objectives and who the key decision-makers are. We ask that each family fill out an online preference form, which helps our team track diet restrictions, favorite foods, desired activities, and special requests. After that, we follow up with another meeting or email correspondence, as the guests prefer.

Which type of guest is Villa Avellana right for?

The guests who book Villa Avellana want the best in travel and are unwilling to compromise. They appreciate personalized service, flexibility, and access to everything while having a support team anticipate what they need before considering it.

Our guests want the best for their loved ones and themselves while requiring a high level of trust in us to handle their unique needs and utmost discretion. Our attentive and personable staff and over-the-top value are what keep them coming back.

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