Best Hotels in Costa Rica
Healthy lifestyle expert Diana Stobo created The Retreat to combat the stress of daily life.
After a mere 30-minute drive from San José International Airport and almost a mile downhill on a very private road, you will feel that you have reached heaven or at least that you are sitting on top of the world — we will leave it to your imagination. A wild valley, completely green in the rainy season, literally stretches at your feet all the way to the Pacific.
Since there are only nine rooms (with two under construction), you are ensured that the beautiful grounds will not be crowded. Each room is unique and varies in size, colors and view. The colors are bright and will induce, as you enter, peace of mind. The only downside are the bathrooms which are small, except in the suite. The main building encompasses two living rooms tastefully decorated; indoor and outdoor (our favorite) dining rooms; a dark blue-bottom swimming pool bordered by a waterfall on one end, long enough so that you can do laps. The Jacuzzi nearby is perfect for watching the sunset, or in the rainy season (May to November) to gaze at the afternoon clouds rolling in. Don't be scared of them: they add to the seclusion of the place. Since you have made the trip to disconnect from your busy and hectic world, these light white cotton balls floating around are just so perfect! Yes, you have to understand that you don't come to The Retreat to play tourist, but to actually 'retreat'.
You will not visit Costa Rica while you are there, but you will visit the yoga room, either for yoga classes, meditation or cooking classes, as well as the spa for various treatments, the hills of the property for a brave walk, as they are very steep, and your room to relax some more. We ventured out one day, and the only thing we wanted to do is to turn the car around and go back to the hotel. The Internet can be sketchy, so your connection to the outside world will be limited. Remember you are here to RELAX and more importantly to rejuvenate.
This doesn't happen just from the activities mentioned above but also from the pièce de rèsistance, "the kitchen." Completely open, it invites you to see the chef and his team cook using Diana Stobo's principles: raw food. She started her studies with classic hotel training from the prestigious Cornel University, where she graduated with a masters in hotel restaurant management with emphasis on food, and she continued with a "Raw Foods Masters" with Doctor Gabriel Cousens at Tree of Life. The chefs rotate so the menu is ever changing, composed with only fresh and organic vegetables and fruits, many of them grown on the property. When fish appears, it is wild and locally caught, eggs are from local roaming chickens and sometimes lamb will be served; it too is local. If you are not used to eating raw and vegetarian, you will be surprised of how good it tastes. And remember, everything that is in your dish is healthy, from the main ingredient to its companions, the spices, herbs, salt and sweetener.
Once you pass through the doors of the retreat you will be pampered 24 hours a day by a very attentive staff, all ears to your every need. The only problem you will have is leaving. But there is compensation. You will feel as if you are a new person and you will probably approach life in a different manner, one that is healthier mentally and physically. Just a little a reminder: good food is the way to go to stay healthy! If you are in the search of this, The Retreat is the perfect place. Atenas, where the hotel is located, has been awarded the title of "best weather in the world." Start packing...
The retreat is an all-inclusive boutique hotel, and offers daily and 3- 5- or 7-day packages. It is also a great place to get married, as you can "own" the hotel for the wedding party.