San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bahía del Sol Makes You Wish for a Longer Stay

As we sat next to our stationary bus on the side of the Inter-American Highway, waiting for traffic police to clear the remnants of a messy collision, we lamented the fact that our invitation to spend the day and night at Playa Potrero’s Bahía del Sol was fast turning into just a night’s stay. Selfish, I know.

By the time we arrived at the bus stop in Flamingo, some two miles south of Potrero on the northern Pacific coast, the driver, as suspected, had long given up hope of our arrival and had returned empty-handed to the beachfront boutique hotel.

We decided to walk the two miles on the beach and make the most of what was left of the fading daylight. With our backs to the high-rise apartment blocks of Flamingo, we followed the curved beach round to Playa Potrero, passing the odd shack-cum-bar, where barefooted customers sat in silence, drinks in hand, enjoying a remarkable view of the bay, flanked by the lush foliage of the surrounding cliffs.

The two-mile stretch of hot gold sand pricked with palms and tickled by soft surf was deserted, save for two roaming horses and a couple of fishermen waist-high in the water, trying their luck with hand lines.

The hotel’s beachfront entrance was not noticeable from a distance. In fact, it wasn’t noticeable until we were standing directly in front of it and caught sight of lounge chairs under palm-shaded umbrellas and a pool with a swim-up bar.

Part of the hotel’s attraction is that it succeeds in providing high luxury while retaining a sense of unity with its surroundings, with palm trees and tropical plants camouflaging much of the hotel brickwork. North American influences fuse seamlessly with homegrown Tico touches and provide guests the best of both worlds.

The restaurant, under a thatch roof and looking directly out to the ocean, offers “creative tropical cuisine,” such as tataki-style tuna with eggplant purée and tempura shrimp, or puff pastry-wrapped lobster tail with asparagus, sweet corn mousse and chive sauce. Meals can also be served beachside, should the mood take you.

In keeping with its boutique theme, each of the hotel’s suites has its own unique style and layout, but all are bright and breezy with tile floors, high ceilings and cushions galore.

On arrival, guests will find the minibar stocked with beer, wine, spirits and snacks to help ease them into holiday mode.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that room renovations were under way during our stay, so be sure to check before booking that all work has been completed, or at least is far enough away from your room that you won’t be disturbed.

Trained masseuses are on hand to provide relaxing treatments at the hotel’s spa, while those looking for action can take advantage of a variety of adventure tour packages offered, including river rafting, sunset sailing, horseback riding and scuba diving.

Weddings are also popular at the resort, where newlyweds are known to stay on long after their guests have left, to take advantage of the idyllic honeymoon setting.

The hotel is centrally located near several beaches, including Tamarindo to the south and Playas del Coco to the north, while the international airport in Liberia, capital of the northwestern Guanacaste province, is a 45-minute drive away.

Low-season rates, including breakfast but not taxes, range from $140 for a standard room to $275 for the new King Sun Suite, with private hot tub, ocean views and poolside entrance. Through Dec. 23, guests who pay for three nights get a fourth night free.

For information and reservations, call 2654-4671 in Costa Rica or 1-866-223-2463 in the U.S. or Canada, or visit

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