San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Manuel Antonio hotel dresses all in white

The color white can be used to evoke a sense of soothing, peace, purity or calm. White is wedding dresses, doves, freshly fallen snow and the pope’s cassock.

White is also the Suu, a new hotel built on a hill that slopes down toward the beach in Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast. From the exterior walls to the bed comforters to the chairs in the Gusto restaurant, the Suu is blanketed in white.

“White is a color that creates relaxation,” said Suu CEO Cenk Kinay. “The world moves at a pace that is fast and blurring. But on vacation, people look to get away from that. When they are here, the white relaxes them and slows things down. At first it is a little distracting, but once you get used to it, you just relax.”

Adjusting to the white is a bit disorienting at first. The staff is clothed in white, the couches in the rooms are white, the curtains, the desks, the television frames, all white. Once you are in a room with the door shut, you are in a cave of white, as if a blizzard passed through and dusted the inside of your room while failing to cause any dip in the temperature.

Suu MA

Pool and hot tub area. Photo courtesy of Suu Hotels

But beyond the thin satin curtains opposite the large white bed, glass sliding doors provide a window back into color. When the curtains and doors are opened, in pour the vibrant hues and sounds of nature: the jungle, ocean and wildlife for which Manuel Antonio is famous.

From the balcony of each of the Suu’s 28 rooms and suites, guests get a view of lush jungle, rife with tittering white-faced capuchin monkeys and roaring howler monkeys. Beyond the treetops, the blue Pacific shimmers in the sunlight.

Add that’s just the balcony. The white rooms feature large, welcoming beds, desk and work areas, flat-screen televisions, couch and lounge areas and large bathrooms, some with spacious hydro-massage bathtubs.

Alongside the inviting pool and hot tub area featuring comfy beach chairs and two poolside canopy beds is the Gusto restaurant and lounge. The elevated restaurant offers a lovely panoramic view of jungle and ocean. At mealtime, chef Marco Cueva melds spicy dishes from his native Peru with a smattering of other regional influences. Cueva’s four-course “fusion cuisine” platters lend themselves beautifully to a romantic candlelit evening or a relaxed family dinner in the thick of the tropics.

While guests could be perfectly content spending the entire day at the hotel, the Suu has packages and activities to provide guests the full-on Manuel Antonio experience. The array of daily activities offered is staggering: tours of Manuel Antonio National Park, deep-sea fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, scuba diving, surfing lessons, ATV tours, Spanish lessons, ziplining, bungee jumping, hiking, dolphin-watching, kayaking, mangrove boat tours, snorkeling, parasailing, catamaran cruises or picnics in the forest.

“We want to give our guests the option to do everything they want to do while in Costa Rica,” said Teresa Alfonso, Suu vice president. “There are options for the adventurer type, the nature lover, the fisherman and for people who just want to come and relax by the pool.”

During a recent visit by The Tico Times, the Suu arranged a morning tour of the national park and a boat tour among the mangroves. Both were rich in natural beauty and wildlife.

After an active morning tour, a massage at the Suu’s spa is just the thing. Guests can choose from relaxing, hot stone, Swedish, deep-tissue and reflexology massages. Scrubs and exfoliation rubs are also offered, as are facials, manicures and pedicures.

“We know that vacations here are maybe the highlight of the year for guests who come to visit,” Kinay said. “We want to make sure that every need is met, every meal is great, and the service from the time they arrive to the time they leave is perfect. Vacation is a time to relax, and we want to make sure that happens here.”

Going There: The Suu Manuel Antonio is off the main Quepos-Manuel Antonio road, about 300 meters downhill from La Mansión Inn.

High-season rates are $275 for superior rooms with queen bed; $325 for deluxe rooms with king and sofa beds; $375 for junior suites with king and sofa beds, living area and bathtub; and $900 for the presidential suite with three bedrooms, full kitchen, living room, 3.5 baths and Jacuzzi. Breakfast is included in most rates. Other meals in the hotel’s restaurant range from $25 to $30 per person. Prices do not include tax.

For information, call 2777-7373 in Costa Rica or 1-877-252-0988 in the U.S. and Canada, or visit

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