It’s late February and we’ve just booked a low-key week long break to the Canary isles in March – but less than 24 hours later there’s been a change of plan and we’re instead heading off on a bucket list trip to Costa Rica!
We had left our usual winter trip plans a little late this year; it’s amazing how things come good when all elements of a trip line up. British Airways released some business class reward flights at the very last minute and we found possibly THE most incredible place we have ever stayed on our travels so far.
Step up Three Sixty Boutique Hotel, Ojachal, Costa Rica. Located on the South West coast of Costa Rica with breath taking views of the South Pacific and quite simply the most extraordinary sunsets you will ever see. Three Sixty provided a complete transformation from our usual trips.
Just over a year old Three Sixty is built on a 58-acre trail lined rainforest reserve, with 12 individual villas and the main building taking up less than 8% of the total area. Floating at an altitude of almost 1,000 feet the views of the fractal rainforest canopy and its flora and fauna, palm-lined beaches, distant islands and the endless Pacific Ocean are simply incredible, transporting you to another world. The 300 km coastline view encompasses panoramas from Manuel Antonio to the Osa Peninsula, the migratory route of many species of whales and dolphins.
We arrived around 9pm and were greeted with a warm smile by Rebecca who offered us a refreshing fruit cocktail. There weren’t many guests around and as the place was so peaceful and quiet, we thought we were the only people staying.
Our 24-hour door to door journey from Scotland had taken its toll, with the final 3 ½ hour leg from San Jose Airport well and truly putting us into the exhausted territory. We checked in and headed to our villa to unpack and settle down for the night.
Despite being tired the first impression of our villa was impressive with a large open plan living area and bathroom with separate rain shower cubicle. Furnished with luxury Indonesian furniture, a king size bed and Egyptian cotton towels and linens – we immediately had a sense of luxury and something special.
The villa had the usual amenities you would expect from a luxury hotel, but it was nice to see a Nespresso machine, mini refrigerator, impressive Wi-Fi and importantly a first-class modern remote-controlled air conditioning system. WiFi speed was pretty good at around 7mbps and coverage was excellent throughout complex – so good in fact we had to remind ourselves we were indeed at the top of a rainforest!
We had a sneaky glimpse through the floor to ceiling windows, but it was pitch black outside, so we had to wait until the morning to see whether we had a ‘good’ view. As first nights go, we had a great sleep, but we were both excited with what the morning would bring so keen for dawn to break.
Wow! – I don’t think we will ever experience a more exhilarating first morning.
Waking early to enchanting jungle sounds we drew back the curtains, the views were simply breath taking with butterflies, toucans and parrots to name a few in the trees providing a natural background soundtrack. See for yourself here.
We had caught a glimpse of the main building the night before, but as we made the thirty second walk to breakfast in the Kua Kua Restaurant the beauty of the main building became apparent.
It was simply stunning, made from traditional and modern materials it has open and airy architecture, natural floral walls and vaulted ceilings.
In the centre an enormous fountain fed by natural rainwater reminds you that you are in the middle of a rainforest.
We were greeted by Christina who immediately made us welcome with her incredibly warm and engaging smile. Keeping with the ‘three sixty’ theme, the restaurant offers the concept of a full rotation of cuisine through the seasons – for the time being though we had our sights set on the Banana Bread French toast with maple syrup!
Breakfast was always special with fresh coffee, baked breads / pastries, fruit juice smoothies and some impressive dishes to choose from, including a scrumptious avocado toast and freshly made waffles with friend chicken and syrup!
Yes, that’s what we said. Fried chicken and syrup. See for yourself – a great start to the day. Don’t forget the pancakes too!
The hotel was quiet and peaceful during our stay and when we weren’t out exploring, we simply chilled out by the infinity pool.
The views from the sumptuous padded sun loungers were incredible, and you easily lost yourself in your thoughts as you watched the array of birds soaring above you and looked over the rainforest canopy towards the Pacific Ocean.
The team knew exactly when to bring us an ice bucket with a chilled water bottle or a sneaky afternoon cocktail or beer served up by Eddy. What was even better, was when wee harnessed just enough energy to lift our head off the sun lounger we had to walk no more than 10 steps to reach the Kua Kua for an afternoon snack.
You can choose from the bar Bocas menu or an afternoon lunch menu. We pretty much worked our way through the Bocas menu during our stay. The menus were very reasonable in terms of cost and perfectly sized portions kept us going until early evening dinner.
Don’t forget the desserts!
A gin and tonic cost around $10, a very enjoyable bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was $26, and bottle of Corona beer was $7. Bocas ranged from $11 for fish tempura to $15 for a homemade burger. All very reasonable and tasty too!
In recent years our trips have gradually become more active and wildlife focused so where better to take it to a new level than Costa Rica with its abundance of wildlife. Look out for our other blog on this soon!
With Playa Tortuga on our doorstep, Marina Ballena National Park close by and a local horse-riding tour this was the perfect place to explore.
We had had mixed information before we arrived at the hotel over how easy it was to explore the area on foot direct from the hotel. Some reviews said you could, and others were clear that it was impossible to walk anywhere, and you needed a car.
The hotel team were a little surprised at our exploits, indeed possibly thinking we were a little crazy, however, provided you’re relatively fit, avoid the hottest part of the day, take a water bottle and don’t mind a few more challenging inclines there is a 5km / 1hr 15mins circular route direct from the hotel front door.
Halfway round there is a great pit stop at Restaurante Citrus where you’ll find a cool beer (or two) the perfect thirst quencher, ever!
We were a little apprehensive at first setting out to explore an unknown area, but we felt safe and comfortable exploring on our own on foot. You’ll experience some amazing vistas as you descend the tracks as well as some interesting bird life.
The locals had been performing rain dances during our stay as they were going through a very dry spell for the time of year. It meant that the dirt tracks up from the main Route 34 to the hotel were very dry and dusty; top tip is to take walking poles to help you keep a sure footing.
If you’re up for the challenge the last 100 metre climb to the front of the hotel is one to burn off some of the banana bread french toast calories – alternatively a golf buggy is normally on hand if you’ve ran out of energy!
Special mention to Jose from guest services, who was always on hand to offer us his personal insight into potential trips and wildlife in the area. A very guest focused individual who had a very natural way of engaging and making guests feel at ease – a real credit to the Three Sixty team.
Our villa was one of the best placed to enjoy the sunsets with the terrace offering an outstanding level of privacy and a feeling of being the only couple for miles around. Whether we had chosen a lazy day by the pool or had been out exploring the Costa Rican wildlife we always found ourselves on our terrace enjoying the mesmerising and ever-changing sunsets.
This was a real special part of our trip as we relaxed with music playing. Not too loud though that it drowned out the jungle noise but just enough to create a chilled feeling as we watched the sun gradually disappear over the horizon. Even when the sun had disappeared it was amazing how the sky kept cycling through its kaleidoscope of colours and the jungle sounds began to change as night set in.
Before we forget, depending on where your villa faces, make sure you manage at least one early rise to catch the dawn from the main building – we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise sipping a Nespresso in the main building – a perfect start to the day.
Evenings at Three Sixty were very relaxed with a very intriguing dining menu to choose from including shrimp ceviche, octopus toast, a fresh fish main course, yellow curry and beef tenderloin.
Chef Nelson Spichiger sources his fresh ingredients locally, visiting local produce markets and fishermen each morning. The result is some very fresh and vibrant dishes.
All dishes were exceptional and served with a real attention to detail complemented by first-class table service from the waiting staff. A special mention to Fauricio who was so passionate and enthusiastic about what he did; he and Erica were so attentive and genuinely made our dining experiences more enjoyable.
Again, dishes were very reasonable with starters ranging between $12 and $18 and main courses around $21 to $25.
If you’re lucky to be there for as long as we were Chef Nelson may offer to rustle up some specials for you. Don’t forget if you’ve had an active day and want a lazy night you can always order in room service from the Bocas menu to enjoy on your secluded terrace.
We really can’t thank Amalia and her team enough; from our contact before we arrived to the experience during our stay Amalia and her team made us very welcome and genuinely provided us with a very personal, intimate and relaxing stay complemented by a very high-class level of service. We would have to say that the entire team at Hotel Three Sixty has set the level of service benchmark for others to aspire to.
Costa Rica was on our bucket list before now and with so much to see and do it is certainly high up on our list for a second visit very soon – hopefully capturing a glimpse of the elusive Perezoso (or Sloth) next time round.
Hotel Three Sixty was an incredibly ambitious and innovative concept. A special mention to the team behind it who have created an architectural masterpiece uniquely and sympathetically nestled into the Costa Rican landscape.
More than likely Hotel Three Sixty will feature on our itinerary when we return as we’re looking forward to seeing the next stage of their eco-village plan fall into place.
Pura Vida as they say in Costa Rica.