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Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Amazing adventures await at Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Enjoy spacious accommodations alongside the beach. Positioned on the least populated province of Guanacaste, offers a calm, serene, ambient retreat. The landscape of Guanacaste itself ranges from grassy savannahs to tropical dry forest to volcanic mountain ranges.

Four-Seasons-Resort-Costa-Rica-By-Zurcher-Arquitectos-02-759x427 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica / Zürcher Arquitectos

© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Since opening in 2004, The Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo has ranked consistently as a top resort by several notable publications such as Travel & Leisure, Gallivanter’s Guide and Forbes Magazine. Situated at the end of a remote peninsula, the resort lies in a diverse coastal forest landscape. Tucked between two pristine beaches and coastal forest hillsides.

To discover the spirit of the Resort’s surroundings within a dry tropical forest on the rugged Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher, who designed both the Resort’s masterplan and its architecture, studied the landscape, local flora and fauna, and the region’s pre-Columbian history.

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

“Nature is the most real and authentic treasure of the country,” Zürcher says of his vision for the Resort. “In this rugged, thickly forested terrain, with a climate of sun and rain, heat and breezes, it seemed we could provide a way of living and building that grows out of the place rather than being imposed on it. To do this we looked around us, remembered the people who came before, and listened to the wildlife that have been here all along.”

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Set on an isthmus framed by two beaches, the Resort was designed with four distinct components: the main facilities which lie between the two beaches; free-standing suites farther to the west; five privately owned homes scattered beyond the suites; and Residence Club units to the north-east of the main Resort. Because the site is so remote, labourers to assist with construction had to be found at some distance, and half the workers were housed in a specially built compound nearby. To provide for what amounted to the population of a village, everything was brought in, including the 500 tons of rice consumed by workers during construction.

The crew worked to fulfill Zürcher’s vision of a Resort in tune with the landscape. Some aspects of his design were even inspired by wildlife. According to Zürcher, the decision to use the subtle protecting shape of the armadillo for roofs came early in the design process.

Four-Seasons-Resort-Costa-Rica-By-Zurcher-Arquitectos-08-759x759 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica / Zürcher Arquitectos

© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica


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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Turtle shells also provided an alternative model for designing roof forms. Zürcher says a turtle shell shape gave form to the roofs of the three guest room blocks at the Resort. “They are broader and more readily adapted to sheltering a long form.”

In contrast to the cocooning shell form of the armadillo and turtle-inspired roofs, the butterfly roofs of the Resort’s main buildings seem to hover, and because they open out, they bring the outside in.

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

The structure of the principal buildings recalls trees that reach for light and create layers of habitat beneath the forest canopy. The complexity of textures, patterns and angles, and the way the buildings are penetrable by breezes and sunlight, is meant to suggest the character of the tropical forest.

In design details, forest-like qualities suggest dappled light filtering through leaves and vines and reflecting off variegated surfaces. The twisting vines in the lush forest and roots of the mangrove are mimicked in railings found throughout Resort buildings. For unique door handles, Zürcher Arquitectos selected a guayabo tree branch and commissioned a metalwork artisan to reproduce it.

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Culturally, the peninsula is part of the Gran Nicoya area, which reflects the influence of Mayans to the north and Incas to the south. Zürcher conceived of the Resort’s main structure as a curving vessel whose design recalls geometric motifs on certain pre-Columbian ceramic pots. The parallel between pot and building is abstract, a suggestion.

This kind of subtle reference to a source – be it tree, animal or pot – is typical of Zürcher’s design approach. For example, the geology of the Papagayo area owes much to its volcanic past. With this in mind, the Spa at Four Seasons Costa Rica is conceived around the theme of fire and water, evoking memories of molten rock cooled by the sea. The elevator is a stone-clad column surrounded by light and enveloped by the sound of rippling water.

Everywhere you look at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, you’ll see nods to the natural world surrounding the Resort.

Four-Seasons-Resort-Costa-Rica-By-Zurcher-Arquitectos-17-759x535 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica / Zürcher Arquitectos

© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Four Seasons:

The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Papagayo Peninsula has a beautiful location set on a private peninsula with the Papagayo gulf to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other. On either side are two sandy beaches, between which the majority of the accommodation is nestled, while the suites and residences cling to the hillside for uninterrupted views over the ocean or gulf The resort was designed by Costa Rica’s most acclaimed architect Ronald Zurcher to blend seamlessly with its setting and taking inspiration from Costa Rica’s natural beauty and has recently been given a contemporary make-over, evident in the fresh bright fabrics in the rooms and suites and modern furniture in the Sol y Sombra restaurant inspired by Latin American street cafes and bars.

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Papagayo Peninsula is without a doubt Costa Rica’s stand-out resort offering a warm ‘Tico’ welcome from its predominantly Costa Rican staff as well as outstanding facilities. At the resort there is a choice of dining options which include Latin-American cuisine, a steakhouse, Italian kitchen and a couple of more casual options. Guests of the Four Seasons have signing privileges at the Prieta Beach Club where there are various pools, a large sandy surfing beach and two restaurants and can book the restaurants at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort .

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

The Kids for All Seasons Kids Club has extensive indoor and outdoor play areas including a shallow outdoor pool and offers a fun daily educational program for 4 – 12 year olds. Teens can hang out at the Tuanis teen center. The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Papagayo Peninsula offers some of the best resort facilities in Costa Rica with three swimming pools, a health spa and gym, 18 hole championship Arnold Palmer designed golf course, five tennis courts (four har-tru and one grass) and tennis programme operated by the Peter Burwash and two large sandy beaches with complimentary watersports such as kayaking, stand up paddle boards and snorkelling equipment. Tropic Surf experienced instructors organise surfing lessons for all abilities and ages. Within a couple of hours from the hotel there are several canopy zipline companies, surfing, rafting, horseback riding, nature reserves and the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park with mud baths, hot springs and adventure activities.

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

“The Four Seasons has secured its reputation as one of the most luxurious hotels in Costa Rica with newly decorated rooms, a remodeled lobby, spa, and restaurants, and the addition of several luxury retail boutiques. Despite the rejuvenation, it’s the unparalleled service and secluded location on a narrow isthmus that make this resort one of a kind. Cradled between two golden-sand beaches and surrounded by jungle, there’s an ocean view from just about anywhere on the property. Service, provided by a cream-of-the-crop, bilingual staff, is faultless. Expect to find your bags unpacked by housekeeping and to be addressed by name by the valet welcoming you “home.” Tropical-styled rooms have king-size beds, marble baths, and screened-in living-room terraces. With roofs designed after turtle shells, the villas have private plunge pools, two or three bedrooms, and full kitchens (personal chef available). From the rooms, a bridge arches over the main pool to three restaurants: Cena Sociale (Italian kitchen and wine bar), Sol y Sombra (Latin cuisine), and Tico’s Lounge (light fare). The 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course has breathtaking views and is home to the dinner-only Caracol Steakhouse, highlighting local oysters, duck with truffle butter, and perhaps the best steak you’ll ever have. It’s worth the wildly expensive price tag, but the rest of the hotel’s food can be disappointing considering the sky-high prices. Hiking, tennis, kayaking, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding are a few activities that will help you justify that Swedish massage.” – FODOR’S REVIEW / Fodor’s Hotel Awards 

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© Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Project Data:

Project name: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
Location: Liberia Guanaste 26Km al Norte del Doit Centre, Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Coordinates: 10.633083, -85.675402
Type: Resort
Accommodations/Hotel Size:

  • Luxury hotel with 202 units. 5 star resort, 1 presidential suite, 20 time-sharing residences, 20 private residences, 15 executive suites, 6 one bedroom suites, 3 two-bedroom suites, 121 king size bedrooms, 16 double bedrooms, 4 estate lots.

Project Area: 50,000 sqm
Construction Year: 2001
Status: Built
Cost: $35 million
Completion Date/Year: 2004
Visit Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica’s website: here


  • 2014 – Fodor’s Hotel Awards – Category: Beach Getaways – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Architects: Zürcher Arquitectos – Santa Ana. De la Cruz Roja, 500 metros al norte, San José, Costa Rica
Design: Ronald Zürcher
Text Description: © Courtesy of Zürcher Arquitectos, Four Seasons
Images: © Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

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