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Following fast on the heels of the recent official opening of the Andaz Maui, Hyatt has announced that it would be opening the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica on December 20, 2013, become the brand’s first property in central America. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but this resort may be the catalyst to change that!
Until now, Andaz has been more of a city brand, with properties in New York, LA, San Diego, London, Shanghai, Amsterdam and more, but after the Maui resort, this will be the second Andaz property to open as a beach resort destination – which is good for those of us who like to use our points for exotic getaways and time at the beach.
The property is located on a 2,223-acre planned development site that covers two peninsulas along the Papagayo Gulf in Costa Rica’s Bay of Culebra. The resort itself is on a 28-acre area adjacent to Marina Papagayo, and will feature 153 guestrooms (of which 21 will be luxury suites), 8,200 square feet of meeting space, and a variety of amenities including three themed restaurants, a marina bar, ocean activities, and a spa and fitness center.
The international airport in Liberia (LIR) is a 20-minute drive away, and there are frequent connections to San Jose (the country’s capital) and the US. American Airlines flies direct from Miami and Dallas Fort Worth, and Delta flies from Atlanta. United has direct flights from Houston and Newark, while US Airways has one weekly flight from Charlotte. San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) has regular connections to several gateway cities in the US, Europe and Latin America.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the Marina Papagayo has 180 boat slips and offers a full menu of boating services for the yachting community including sport fishing. Golfers can hit the 18-hole Arnold Palmer championship golf course on the development.
Along with what look like they’ll be breathtaking surroundings the Andaz Papagayo is being designed with a distinctly Latin American aesthetic conceived by native Costa Rican architect Ronald Zurcher whose overriding idea is to reflect the surrounding natural environment and create welcoming spaces based on the shapes of cocoons and shells among its facilities.
The decor of the 153 guestrooms is meant to blend contemporary design with touches of local character including woven textiles, solid wood fixtures, and carved artifacts, all while featuring Andaz’s signature modern conveniences such as complimentary WiFi, a 40-inch flatscreen TV, cable and satellite TV channels, complimentary non-alcoholic minibar and floor-to-ceiling windows. Relax King provide an extra special touch in the form of a spacious balcony overlooking the jungle with a walk-in rain shower opening up onto it.
The Andaz Suite is a corner room with over 1,000 square feet of space, and opens up onto a balcony overlooking where the waters of Culebra Bay meet the forest. An extra-large bathroom includes a soaking tub and separate oversized walk-in rain shower. Four of the 21 suites will feature plunge pools, and the Presidential Suite will offer a private, full-size private pool.
The Andaz Papagayo has a fitness center with state-of-the-art cardio and training equipment overseen by certified trainers, who also host full training sessions outdoors. Afterwards, guests can enjoy a relaxing treatment at the 11,000 square-foot spa – with 7 indoor and 2 outdoor rooms – or sit in the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. Water sports include: snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, kite surfing and jet skiing, or two swimming pools offer space to simply enjoy the sun.
There will be three restaurants onsite, with a focus on Costa Rican cuisine and culture and a farm-to-table philosophy that will incorporate local ingredients.
I’m personally a fan of the Andaz brand – I’ve enjoyed several of their properties, I like the laidback contemporary vibe, amenities like free WiFi, and the fact that many of them allow you to pull very good value from Hyatt points if you choose to redeem them for stays, so I’m excited to check out this new property as well as the one in Maui to see how the brand’s expansion into beach destinations will play out.
Getting Free Nights With Credit Cards and Points
Currently taking reservations from January 3, 2014 onwards, room rates start at $550 per night in January for a Standard King room. As part of the Hyatt Gold Passport, this will be a Category 6 hotel and will require 22,000 Gold Passport points for a free night.
There is also a resort fee of 10% of the room rate that includes: Scheduled transportation within Peninsula Papagayo to Beach Club and Golf Course, bottled still water throughout the resort (at pools, beach and Lounge), use of water sports equipment at the activity beach; stand up paddle, kayak, skim boards, snorkling gear, gym amenities (towels, waters, attendant), pool amenities (towels, insect repellent, F&B amenities, water), daily newspaper with breakfast, valet parking, Cambi – Kid’s club and children facilities.
Hyatt currently has a Visa card that offers two free nights at any Hyatt property after $1,000 spent within 3 months, $75 annual fee and Hyatt is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, the points program of the Chase Ink Plus/ Bold (both offering 50,000 point sign-up bonuses after $5,000 spent within 3 months, $95 annual fee waived the first year) and the Sapphire Preferred (40,000 point sign-up bonus after $3,000 spent within 3 months, $95 annual fee waived the first year.)
For my prior reviews of Andaz properties and more background on the brand, read these posts below: