San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

On top of Dominical

Aptly named for its high vantage point, Dominical’s Villas Alturas has developed a reputation among travelers for its tasteful, high-end accommodations, but also for its breathtaking ocean view.

Located atop a mountain and surrounded by jungle, Villas Alturas is not the easiest hotel to reach. But those with the determination (and preferably four-wheel drive) will be rewarded with soaring toucans and migrating whales visible from the hotel pool.

According to hotel operator Cindy Peck, the main goal at Villas Alturas for guests to relax and enjoy nature.

“This is not a real structured place,” Peck said in her Texas lilt. “People tell us much at home they feel. How inviting it is. We bend over backwards to make sure they have a good time.”

The hotel’s seven villas all have kitchens, living rooms and, most importantly, air conditioning. The spacious rooms have modern furnishings and decorations with a little bit of Costa Rican flair.

alturas room

So comfy.

Lindsay Fendt

Bringing the wildlife indoors, Costa Rican art is displayed on the walls in every room. Jaguars, monkeys and plenty of native flowers feature in the paintings of local Russian artist Sasa, who produced every piece of art in the hotel down to the lobby’s funky copper bar.

The large one, two or three bedroom rooms make the hotel ideal for large groups or families. Repeat groups are common, and Peck says guests often rent the entire hotel for events.

One thing the hotel rooms do not have is televisions. “We did that on purpose,” Peck said. “With all this beauty all around you, why would you want to watch TV?”

Instead of kicking back with the television, guests can take advantage of one of Villas Alturas tour options. The hotel has a surf instructor who offers lessons for beginners and surfing expeditions for the more experienced. There is also an on-site masseuse.

Distinguishing it from other luxury hotels in the area is Villas Altura’s deep discounts during the rainy season (green season).  At certain times in the low season rates start at $95 per room without breakfast and $110 with breakfast, and Peck is always posting new promotions on the hotel’s Facebook page.

“It’s almost always beautiful in the mornings, and only rains for two to four hours a day,” Peck said. “The green season is our favorite time of year.”

Going There: Villas Alturas is accessible by a dirt road from the coastal highway past Dominical. If you don’t have a car, the hotel can provide transportation from Dominical for a fee.

High season rates (Dec.-Apr., July-Aug.): $135 (1 bedroom), $210 (2 bedroom), $295 (3 bedroom).

Low season rates (May-Jun., Sept.-Nov.): $108 (1 bedroom), $168 (2 bedrrom), $296 (3 bedroom).

Be sure to check the hotel’s Facebook page or e-mail for monthly promotions and discounts before booking.

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