Casey El Koury

El Castillo

  • Where:
  • Why:A treat to myself and a break from NYC winter
  • When:February 2017
  • Who:Solo adventuring
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El Castillo Hello, gorgeous.

Hello, gorgeous.

El Castillo Elegant yet rustic and flooded with light.

Elegant yet rustic and flooded with light.

El Castillo The room wasn’t very big, but the bed sure was. King for one? Yes please.

The room wasn’t very big, but the bed sure was. King for one? Yes please.

El Castillo Azul Restaurant. There was always a delicious breeze flowing through this space.

Azul Restaurant. There was always a delicious breeze flowing through this space.

El Castillo Azul bar in the lobby. I loved the Mediterranean style tile-work.

Azul bar in the lobby. I loved the Mediterranean style tile-work.

El Castillo Adventuring to the secluded Isla de Garsa.

Adventuring to the secluded Isla de Garsa.

El Castillo El Castillo peeking out from the mountains.

El Castillo peeking out from the mountains.

El Castillo For all you serial napping folk – this is the serial spot.

For all you serial napping folk – this is the serial spot.

El Castillo One of life’s sweetest pleasures: showering outdoors.

One of life’s sweetest pleasures: showering outdoors.

El Castillo There she is, The Castle herself.

There she is, The Castle herself.

El Castillo Heading to my private balcony for one last sunset.

Heading to my private balcony for one last sunset.

El Castillo Still dreaming about this pool.

Still dreaming about this pool.

Highs & Lows

  • 5-star service. The hotel staff was pleasantly attentive without being overbearing and truly embodied the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle. Every day at sunset, all staff would join guests on the decks and take time to watch the sun go down – a true testament to their team culture.

  • Seriously – the billion dollar views. I’m running out of adjectives. Pair that with your private balcony and prepare to be blissfully overwhelmed.

  • The staff holds a wealth of knowledge for local adventures (both for the adrenaline junkies and the easily entertained) – they will even take care of coordinating all transportation – just go!

  • Lay back and let the spa come to you – massages, body wraps, and Reiki available in your own private cabana.

  • The hotel hosts an annual Turtle Ball, with proceeds benefiting local conservation and biological reserve programs – hospitality at its finest, serving both people and planet.

  • The beach is a short 10-minute walk – not far by any means, but you won’t walk outside and touch the sand.

  • This is definitely a place to visit with your significant other. Traveling solo, I was envious of all the romance! Though so grateful - the hotel and restaurant graciously hosted nine friends from Reserva Playa Tortuga and myself for a dinner party during my stay. It was a perfect evening.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 47/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Luxury boutique

  • Vibe

    Rustic jungle meets classic estate.

  • Location

    Cliffside, in the small village of Ojochal, overlooking the South Pacific. El Castillo is about a four-hour drive south of San Jose. Local-tip: Hop on a 25-minute puddle jumper from San Jose to Quepos (via Sansa Airlines) and drive 45 minutes to El Castillo instead. The hotel is far enough away from the heavier tourist towns to really appreciate the seclusion (Ballena, Uvita, Dominical), but close enough to access their shopping centers and banks if needed.

  • Rooms

    Six total – three ocean view rooms, two ocean view suites, and a garden suite.

  • Music

    Sounds of la jungla – birds, monkeys, locusts, crickets, ocean waves – and every once in a while – some Tico lounge beats.

  • Year Opened

    Originally purchased in 2007, the hotel underwent major renovations and turned over to new owners in 2015.

  • Health & Wellness

    There was an infinity pool and a Jacuzzi, both offering unrivaled sunset views. You can hardly tell where the pool stops and the ocean starts. There isn’t a gym on-site, but you’re in the jungle! You're always just steps away from a waterfall or jungle hike.

  • Restaurant

    Azul Restaurant – open for breakfast (guests only) and open to the public for lunch and dinner. The food was incredible. Mediterranean based, the Chef also boasts specially curated menus throughout the week, like the selection of fresh ceviche and sushi prepared my first night there.

  • Bar

    There is a bar in the main lobby as well as down by the Jacuzzi on the private cabana deck. Locals will frequent the lobby bar, lending to a fun night in. Cocktails are crafted using tropical fruits – my favorite: the love child of dragon fruit x white rum.

  • Minibar

    Mini fridge, stocked with Imperial and other beers, wine, and water. Simple.

  • Children

    Adult only hotel.

  • Price

    Luxuriously priced for the area – well worth it.

  • Website

    Visit website

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