This review is posted by a savvy and frequent international traveller. My recent trip to Costa Rica (CR) marks my 110th international trip. Our stay at Pranamar was the most beautiful and relaxing vacation ever! If I had to describe our stay in one word, that word would be ‘perfect’. Where do I begin? [note to self - open thesauraus here; I’m going to need it]
I found out about Pranamar via an online article about yoga retreats in CR; when I checked out the hotel’s web site, I was mesmerized. Rarely does a hotel surpass the hype on their web site – Pranamar breaks this rule; it is truly stunning!!
My contact began with a phone call to Larissa (handles reservations); friendly & knowledgeable. After that, our communications where via e-mail (I’m the pesky type that asks lots of questions). With a tight connection in San Jose, we weren’t sure if we would make our flight to Tambor (airport closest to hotel), but Larissa took care of everything. She had a driver, Alex, waiting for us in San Jose to transfer us to the smaller airport (for Nature Air flight); if we missed our flight (which we did not), the driver was prepared to drive us 1.5 hours to the ferry. Alex took us to Nature Air’s terminal (about 20 min drive), walked us to the Nature Air counter, and did not leave us until he had confirmed all was OK with our flight to Tambor; now THAT'S service! Upon our arrival in Tambor, another driver, Jose, gave us a friendly welcome and whisked us to Pranamar (50 min drive).
We stayed in one of the two oceanfront villas (#2); it was spectacular. Two floors: living room, full kitchen, bathroom (with the most a-MAZ-ing walk-in shower) and deck on the first floor; bedroom with 2 twin beds, bedroom with king bed, bathroom, and deck (with hammock – favorite spot for the week) on the second floor. Less than 100 yards from the ocean. A/C is provide in the bedrooms, but we chose not to use it the 7 days we were at Pranamar; wanted to (1) ‘go native’ and (2) enjoy the comforting sounds of nature (ocean surf, frogs, birds, etc). There are also 3 bungalows (2 garden, 1 oceanfront; all one floor) and 4 poolside villas, each with a living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 decks (note: Villa #3 is poolside, but also has a view of the ocean). We love that Pranamar is small; not some huge, impersonal resort.
I’ve been a devoted yoga student for the last 10 years, and a yoga teacher for the last 1.5 years, so yoga was one of the reasons I chose Pranamar. Nancy, their resident yoga teacher is one of the best I have ever experienced! Blending philosophy, chanting and asana, along with the ocean view from the open yoga shala, her classes were challenging for the body and nourishing for the soul. When she brought her harmonium to class on the second day, I knew she was something special:) Namaste, Nancy!!
You can be as active as you want, or just unplug and unwind. We did a little of both. When we weren’t relaxing in the hammock, or walking the beach (practically deserted in August), we rented an ATV for half-a-day and explored the surrounding area, went on a zip-line tour (brothers-in-law, Carlos and Selmen made this experience so much fun), took a surfing lesson (instructor Ismael rocks!) and walked from one end of Santa Teresa to the other (just a tiny surfing village). Our favorite evening activity was sitting on the beach and watching the sunset.
The hotel’s restaurant, Buddha Eyes, was an epicurean find. Fresh ingredients, delicious food, hearty portions and friendly service are a powerful combination. Breakfast is included with the room rate (plenty of variety); we worked our way through the smoothie menu in the afternoons, and dinner each night offered 3-4 appetizers, 4-6 entrees, and 2-4 dessserts. We only had lunch one day (we were always full from breakfast), and it was equally delicious.
The service from the staff was flawless. Everyone greets you by name every time they see you; all questions were answered quickly; any wish was their command. Even small ‘issues’ were resolved quickly (need a hair dyer? delivered in 5 min. microwave broken? replaced in 2 hours).
We booked massages on our last day. Sebastian is THE BOMB!! His massage style is deep (at my request), slow and methodical. Staff will set up the massage wherever you want (on the deck of your villa, inside the villa, etc), but opt to have your massage in the little massage shack at the entrance to the beach area. Between Sebastian’s style and the sound of the ocean surf, I actually forgot where I was; each time Sebastian would move to another part of my body, it would bring me back to reality, and I would think “Oh, I’m still on the massage table??” Afterwards, my husband commented that we should have booked massages for the first day, because it would have helped us to get into the relaxed/chill mode much quicker; note to self - remember this tip for our next visit.
There are no TVs at Pranamar, which we surprisingly liked. There is free wi-fi in the restaurant area, so we were able to keep up with daily news and those occasional pesky e-mails. For entertainment, we watched movies on our iPads. How am I going to re-create the sound of the ocean surf and the gentle blowing breeze the next time I use my iPad during a layover at whatever airport?
For anyone headed to Pranamar, I do have one recommendation. Due to the fact the hotel is a one-hour (hot) walk from town, consider renting a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle, an ATV (can rent them from the hotel or in Santa Teresa) or a bike (in Santa Teresa), so you’ll have transportation if you want to explore. While the hotel does offer transportation, it gets expensive if you want to use it daily.
In all my travels, I have only cried once when I had to leave a place that touched my soul; and that place was Rome (Italy). The day we left Pranamar, I stood on the upper deck of our villa and cried for the second time. We are already planning to return in 2013 …
Thank you to the owners and staff of Pranamar Villas; you made us feel like members of a very special family. Pura Vida!
- Also Known As:
- Pranamar Villas And Yoga Retreat Hotel Santa Teresa
- Pranamar Villas And Yoga Retreat Hotel
- Pranamar Villas And Yoga Retreat Costa Rica/Santa Teresa
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Costa Rica’s Premier Ocean Front HotelPranamar Ocean Front Villas and Yoga Retreat, an intimate, consciously designed oceanfront hotel recently built on the spectacular beach of Playa Santa Teresa, offers guests tropical beauty and nature in an exotic and friendly ambience. Along with world-class surfing and our top-quality Yoga classes, numerous activities and adventures await you.Immerse yourself in the beauty and ease into nature’s rhythm as Pranamar’s experienced and caring staff take care of all the details, making sure your vacation is perfect.Our hotel offers a variety of accommodations to fit your needs and desires: our luxurious two-storey villas built around a free-form saltwater pool have private lounging areas, tropical gardens and boast spectacular views, while the ecologically-constructed bungalows offer tropical simplicity with sea breezes, spacious decks and views of the ocean.Pranamar’s beautifully designed open-air restaurant and tea lounge specializes in healthy, delicious cuisine using organic fruits and vegetables, local fresh fish, seafood and organic meats.We invite you to step into the rhythm of nature, breath in the energy of the sea and discover... PRANAMAR!!! ... more less
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