This is a guest post by Anglo-Italian journalist Lorenza Bacino. In August Lorenza, her husband and their two children travelled around Costa Rica in Central America with Hands Up Holidays. This is the last in a series of articles which Lorenza has written for Mums do travel about their experiences there. This post covers the final part of their trip.
‘Xandari Resort and Spa is a convenient hotel either to begin or to end your Costa Rican adventure as it’s so close to the airport at San José, the country’s capital. Yet it is worlds away from the city and is so much more than a hotel. Situated on the hills above the town of Alajuela, and overlooking the Central Valley, its 24 villas are spread over 40 acres of private forest reserve. Here you can wander down trails to waterfalls, go birdwatching, hiking, and just generally commune with the surrounding heavenly nature.
What we really loved here was the artwork. It’s a bit Gaudí actually: colourful and great fun. The resort is the brainchild of a couple, one an architect and the other an artist. Each villa was designed by the Californian architect Sherrill Broudy, and each has a terrace with sweeping views across the landscape. There are fun sculptures in the villas, and also dotted throughout the resort, as well as lots of colourful mosaics and original paintings. These were created by artist Charlene Broudy.
Rooms and suites
Our villa had two doubles and a single bed, a fully-equipped kitchen area, very decent wifi and all of the other mod-cons which we’ve all come to expect of a luxury hotel. But we loved the individual style of the place. Our villa, number 18, had a stained-glass window and vaulted ceiling, reminiscent of a church, but it was bright, flamboyant and stylish. There are various sizes and styles of villa ranging from excellent to super-dooper lovely.
Of the three swimming pools at the resort, the closest to us was secluded, not huge, and more of a lap pool. The children enjoyed that initially, and we could hear them splashing about from our gorgeous apartment.
But soon the golf buggy arrived and they gleefully jumped aboard with their towels around them, and were whisked off to the infinity pool at the edge of the resort. This pool is half-moon shape and has gorgeous views over the valley, with Alajuela in the distance, the mountains behind it surrounded in swirling mists. The jacuzzi was powerful and hot, the children told me, and my husband and I sat and enjoyed the view, watching them diving into the blue.
The trails from the resort vary in length, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours. We enjoyed a shorter walk through some beautiful tall bamboo arching over our heads, and ending up at a pretty waterfall. As everywhere in Costa Rica, we saw many different coloured birds, lizards and butterflies on the way. The resort also has botanical gardens cultivating medicinal plants and an organic garden supplying their kitchen with delicious vegetables.
The spa area is a gorgeous part of the experience. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try it out. Treatments are offered in palm-roofed shelters called jalapas and all have a hot tub and panoramic views of forest and jungle. Lots of different treatments are available and you can even enjoy them as a couple.
The restaurant has a lovely dining terrace, again overlooking the valley, and the staff are extremely kind and helpful, especially if you have children. It was particularly busy on the evening that we ate there, and so they brought a few snacks to keep the wolves at bay, which was greatly appreciated.
Xandari Resort and Spa is such a fun and bright place to stay that you can’t fail to enjoy it there. We particularly loved the individual décor of each area and room, and the more you looked at a piece of furniture or a wall, the more detail was revealed. You never knew what you’d find around the next corner and that was great fun. The children really loved the pools, they loved the trails and the wildlife we saw – and the apartment? Well, they were ready to forego their flight home the next day and just move in permanently!
The price per villa, per night, based on a family of four staying at Xandari Resort and Spa, ranges from USD $299.45 to $508.50 in low season and between $378.55 and $644.10 in high season, including breakfast.’
You can read more about Lorenza’s trip here:
Disclosure: Lorenza’s family trip was organised by Hands Up Holidays with the support of the Costa Rican Tourist Board.