Winter Blues

Cures for the Winter Blues: we recommend The Four Seasons Maldives – two scrumptious properties, plus a private island and a private yacht-

There aren’t enough superlatives to fully and accurately describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of the Maldives, the diving and snorkeling are exceptional, fish to table meals, scrumptious spas, it’s a distance, but beyond worth it! I stayed for two weeks and could have easily lounged/snorkeled for an additional week!

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Resort Maldives
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Resort Maldives
Snorkel or dive- this little guy was was in barely 4 feet of water right in front of my beach villa, manta rays hover in deeper seas, turtles may come in close for a peek at your mask!
Ancient Bhutan Kingdom

Brilliant blue skies at dizzying altitudes in the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, explored village by village with Amankora Resorts. Amankora has five lodges spread through the Kingdom and each lodge is a subtle suggestion of the white walled Dzongs. The Bhutanese architecture is very colorful and replicated in farmhouses, temples and local shops. Amankora has kept it clean and simple, why try to compete with the majesty of the Himalayas, the bedecked local homes and the elaborately painted Temples. See my glorious posts on Bhutan;

We are strong Four Seasons supporters all over the world but for warm water and sizzling sun think of the divine Four Seasons Punta Mita, villas, beach cabanas, tequila tasting, warm water – it’s got it all! The recently opened Four Seasons Cabo is an architectural stunner- if you like a desert environment, absolutely isolated experiences, swimmable beaches then this new resort will speak to you. Our clients seeking winter warmth have visited almost every Four Seasons beach resort: Costa Rica, Bora Bora, Nevis and even the beautiful Four Seasons Athens beach resort in summer. Oh and the multiple Hawaiian resorts: Lanai, Maui, Hualalai, and Oahu Ko Olina, so many choices!

Four Seasons Punta Mita

Farther afield: Fiji, many exceptional properties offering so many water activities, the kiddos will be worn out by the daily options! Exceptional deep sea fishing is also very popular in Fiji.

Laucula Island Resort, Fiji

New Zealand and Australia offer summer warmth when we are chilly. Argentina wine tasting, it’s hot there! Spin the globe, follow the sun!

Image result for new zealand

Ring us for Winter Warmth Solutions – Cures for the Winter Blues!

Costa Rica Villa Exclusive

For A Select Few… Within the lush grounds of the Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, this exclusive Villa is a completely private sanctuary of its own – paparazzi‐free. This eight‐bedroom estate – at just over 30,000 square feet – sits on five acres in an isolated peninsula and offers plenty of room to spread out, from the two swimming pools and spa to the theater room and expansive bar/party room. The grounds are dotted with hammocks, chairs and restful areas, perfect for quiet moments taking in 180‐degree sea views and watching monkeys cavort in the trees.

Exterior-Deck-5Each of the bedrooms is an oversize suite, with mesmerizing ocean views. Full time staff of chefs, butlers, waiters, drivers and adventure specialists will customize your stay; guests are offered use of surfboards, paddle‐boards, kayaks, bikes, fishing equipment and the like and have access to the Villa’s spa, gym, golf course and beach club. Our team will ensure that you live the Costa Rican adventure and immerse you in the Costa Rican culture. Walking trails crisscross the estate, leading to stunning viewpoints. Fruit and flowering trees attract monkeys of three species, hummingbirds, butterflies and colorful tropical birds, making for a harmonious setting where the best of Mother Nature meets creature comforts for the 21st century. Custom‐designed wooden sculptures by artist Carlos Valenzuela dot the property, each crafted with trees native to the region.

DESIGN Abraham Valenzuela was the visionary architect behind the creation of the Villa. Striving for a sense of place, he asked “What is this building going to make me feel as I am walking through it?” The answer was a sense of surprise and storytelling.

For the element of surprise, Valenzuela designed the villa so that the guest’s eye is always landing on a point of beauty or art. As one walks through the grand entrance, their eyes are drawn not only to the inside of the house, but to an inner courtyard garden, that then leads to another enticing entrance. Everywhere one turns, there is another elegant hallway leading to a new, artfully designed open space with a dramatic view of nature. Guests pass through custom‐made doorways carved with images of African, Indian and Latin cultures, framed by intricately woven copper pipes. Above are custom‐designed ceilings with hand‐ placed stone patterns inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights” and the famous Papagayo winds. Below are similar swirling patterns on the floors, representing the tree of life that connects the cultures of the guests who pass through the villa.

Mr. Valenzuela has deeply researched and been inspired by the architecture of indigenous cultures around the world and so has incorporated Balinese, Thai, Mayan and local Chorotegan influences in the design of the exquisite Villa. The exterior walls of the villa and spa boast large, custom hieroglyphics derived from Mayan symbols and explaining the origins of air, water, fire and earth.

Positive and life‐affirming symbols, fresh, open spaces, inspiring natural views and an original design make the Villa a welcoming and uniquely memorable place, where guests reconnect with family and friends and feel as if the staff has been friends for many years. It is just that easy, that relaxed and that inspiring.

LOCATION Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo is in the northwest province of Guanacaste along the country’s north Pacific Coast. The peninsula is currently home to the Four Seasons Resort, the Marina Papagayo, private residences, an 18‐hole Arnold Palmer‐designed golf course and the Andaz Hotel by Hyatt (opening in 2014). Guanacaste is home to seven national parks and the famous Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. With its low humidity and abundant sunshine, tropical dry forests and unspoiled beaches, the region is a nature lover’s dream. Much of the land is protected by the government, ensuring against overdevelopment and preserving ancient artifacts and indigenous wildlife.

The Villa is located on its own private peninsula and is only a short golf cart ride to the Golf & Tennis Clubhouse, residents’ Prieta Beach Club, Marina and separately located Four Seasons Resort. Four Seasons Resort operates the golf course and associated clubhouse, including the Caracol steakhouse. There are many swimming beaches on the peninsula, with the full‐serviced Beach Club being the most popular. Adjacent to the house is a private beach, which entails a short, yet adventurous walk.

Location: Peninsula Papagayo is 40 minutes from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR), making arrival into Costa Rica and transportation to the Villa quick and easy. There are many direct flights into the airport; flights are five and a half hours from Newark, just under four hours from Atlanta and three and a half hours from Dallas and Houston. The Villa staff will await your arrival at the airport and make your journey to the villa effortless.

ACCOMMODATIONS The Villa’s eight suites encompass 15 beds allocated as 5 king bed suites, a double queen bed suite, a double king bed suite, and a custom finished bunk room with 4 twins and 2 king beds. All of the eight suites offer oversized televisions, a minibar with morning coffee service, walk‐in closets with Costa Rican hardwood detailing, aromatherapy diffusers and full bathroom suites with tubs and showers finished in onyx, marble and custom tiling. All eight suites are equally generous in their spacious layout.

Main Wing The main wing of the Villa is located in a private section of the villa, accessible by its own entrance, elevator and staircase. The first master suite, and children’s suite are up one flight of stairs, while the penthouse suite is by itself on the third floor.

Masters Suites (2) Located on the second and third floors of the main villa, the Master Suites – offer California king beds; free‐standing bathtubs; a his and hers walk‐in shower with dual heads; imported fixtures, surfaces of marble and onyx and custom‐built furniture; his and hers walk‐in wardrobes with custom Costa Rican hardwoods; an outdoor private terrace connected to a beautiful green space; and breathtaking ocean views.

Both suites have stunning decor surrounded by floor‐to‐ceiling windows showcasing beautiful natural views. Each bathroom is a suite unto itself with sitting areas and outside views from the shower and bath. One has access to a private outdoor shower where marble meets the trees surrounded by Buddha belly bamboo and flowering vines. Second suite’s shower and bath is surrounded by three custom copper fountainheads that gently create a peaceful river sound. Master has a private elevator entrance opening up into an office overlooking the entire estate and the ocean beyond.

Children’s Suite (1) The Children’s Suite, is on the second floor of the main wing, and especially designed with younger guests in mind. There are three custom built‐in bunk beds made up of two king‐size and four twin‐size beds. The suite becomes a playroom where oversized couches are a great place to play video games or watch the latest Hollywood film on a large‐ screen TV. The suite offers two walk‐in closets and a large white marble bathroom with a freestanding bathtub and showers. Views encompass the courtyard and ocean beyond. Four custom wooden cribs and four portable cribs are available to guests.

The Casita is a private two‐story house with two suites. It is connected to the Main Estate via a covered, open walkway, yet feels completely private for honeymooners, older children or a family. An internal staircase connects the two floors, creating a shared family atmosphere.

Casita Suites (2) The outdoor terrace of the Floro suite boasts a unique floating bed, a wonderful place to while away the afternoon floating in the wind and listening to the ocean crashing on the cliff’s edge below. Inside, there is a kitchenette and lounge area. A separate bedroom offers a king‐size bed, an oversize bathroom and a walk‐in closet.

The upper suite exudes a temple‐like ambiance with its ornate light fixtures, imported Balinese wood and hand‐carved accents and freestanding bathtub. The bathroom features his and hers shower heads, a walk‐in wardrobe and a reading area overlooking the garden. The bedroom has a king‐size bed and a private terrace with sweeping jungle and ocean views.

Garden Suites (2) The two garden suites – occupy the lower levels of the home and offer two beds each, quiet garden vistas and peekaboo ocean views. Both suites are accessible by private entrances and are in close proximity to the gym, spa and entertainment bar.

The doors of the Suite open up directly to the plunge pool and Jacuzzi. The suite itself is appointed with two California king beds, a custom bathroom, antique Balinese doors, a freestanding tub and a huge mirrored wardrobe.

The other Suite, located on the same level, offers a slightly more private accommodation. This suite has two standard queen beds, a private foyer, a custom leaf‐imprinted ceiling and a walk‐in wardrobe closet. The views from the second Suite are a bit more dramatic than the first mentioned with the jungle and ocean in the foreground.

Courtyard Suite (1) The courtyard‐view bedroom, is located just off the main entrance and offers a California king bed, a custom bathroom and a walk‐in closet. While equal in size and decor, this suite does not offer the same dramatic views as the other suites.

DINING The Villa’s executive chef provides breakfast, lunch and dinner options each day. His masterful expertise is combined with a culinary creativity that results in varietal, organic, specialized and local gourmet cuisine. Special diets and detox plans are happily honored. He is happy to create menus that will be unique and distinctive each night of the stay, and he is equally enthusiastic about working with the guests to cater to their individual tastes.

As an alternative to the villa, other dining options include:

Caracol: The friendly Caracol steakhouse, located in the Golf Clubhouse, is just a few minutes from the villa. Cocktails are served under the stars or on the terrace in front of wonderful ocean views. Prime cuts of meat, hearty appetizers and home‐style desserts grace the menu.

Di Mare: Fine Italian and seafood dining located within the Four Seasons Resort, with ocean views, indoor seating and outdoor, fully screened, terrace seating. The menu changes daily at the whim of the creative executive chef.

Tico’s Bar: This bar directly off the Four Season Resort’s main lobby offers sushi and light cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Comfortable couches and communal tables offer expansive pool and beach views.

The Dive bar at the Marina Papagayo is a more casual place to grab a meal and admire the mega yachts.

Marea Restaurant at the Prieta Beach Club. This dinner‐only restaurant offers a fine‐ dining option focusing on seafood with a Costa Rican twist.

Also at the Prieta Beach Club, lunch is served either in the sports bar, poolside, or on the beach.

Off‐Site Dining Excursions The Villa staff is happy to arrange one‐of‐a‐kind excursions to local dining spots offering typical Costa Rican fare, such as rice and beans, meat stew, seafood specialties, ceviche and more. Several famous spots are within a 45‐ to 60‐minute drive and could include a visit to a neighboring town.

AMENITIES Villa’s signature is its all‐inclusive experience. The villa is designed to provide guests with everything they want, as well as everything they didn’t know they wanted! The owners and staff are the experts and local residents. They know the area best and want to share their life and traditions with guests.

The property features a spa, yoga platform, two bars, entertainment room with pool table, indoor and outdoor games, infinity‐edge heated swimming pool, heated splash pool, Jacuzzi, home theater with a movie library, gym, in‐house chef, walking trails, bikes, golf carts, and myriad water sports equipment, including stand‐up paddle boards, kayak and surfboards. Guests are urged to relax at the villa in serene peace and quiet or to take off on an adventure in one of the property’s three vehicles. A naturalist guide is available to accompany guests on local tours and the staff is happy to create a unique daily itinerary with many diverse options and activities.

The home is operated by a Lurton Home System and is a “smart home,” allowing guests to easily operate and control temperature, lights and sound. Antica Farmacista bath products are used in each of the villa’s bedrooms, as well as Italian linens and fine English towels.

Staff The Villa staff is dedicated to creating custom fun‐ and adventure‐filled itineraries for each guest, from individually designed menus to explorations of the jungle and sea to language and cultural immersion.

The Villa manager, along with her husband, oversees the Villa team. They have 20 years of experience living in Costa Rica and will contribute a wealth of knowledge to the guest experience. Her background is as a certified natural healing therapist, yoga and meditation instructor and trainer. His passion is on the water, leading paddle‐board tours, fishing and surfing excursions, and snorkeling adventures. Our executive chef leads the kitchen team. Luis ensures that guests’ every need is attended to with his team of bartenders, wait staff, drivers and housekeepers. Villa staff will also provide, as needed, a spa therapist, yoga instructor, photographer, edited guest photo book or adventure specialist to lead surf, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving or other getaways.

Vehicles Property vehicles, which are open to guest use, include a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and two four‐person golf carts. The villa driver will be happy to accommodate guests in the house Range Rover and Ford Expedition Limited Extended. For bigger groups, the staff will arrange a larger vehicle.

Prieta Beach Club The 6,000‐square‐foot, residents’ Prieta Beach Club is just 10 minutes from the Villa and all guests are afforded access to its two lap pools, two restaurants and poolside and beachfront food and beverage service.

Peninsula Papagayo Marina The deep‐water marina is a routine resting spot for some of the largest mega yachts traveling the Pacific coastline. The Dive Bar is a common place to enjoy pizza and a cocktail while admiring the views. Yachts, sailboats, jet skis and fishing vessels are available for charter.

Villa Spa The spa at the Villa is a destination unto itself. Uniquely located on a floating platform under two 30‐foot waterfalls cascading down from the infinity swimming pool, the spa feels worlds apart from everyday life. Guests feel like they are taking treatments in a dreamy location, tucked away behind a waterfall.

Spa amenities available to all guests include luxurious massage tables, a custom‐made pedicure chair, a private steam room with a copper shower fixture and a cedar sauna room.

Guests arrive at the spa via a private foot path, where they are encouraged to savor the peaceful surroundings. Walls are carved with Maya hieroglyphics depicting positive images of the story of life, water and creation.

Spa services include the following and are offered by a highly trained and registered professional spa staff:

Therapeutic massage: deep tissue, relaxation, hot stone

Skin exfoliation

Body wraps

Aromatherapy steams

Shiatsu and tui nai

Lymphatic drainage

Manicure and pedicure

Detoxification treatments

Custom treatments with essential oil aromatherapy and local organic ingredients 
(coffee, papaya, aloe, lemongrass, coconut and more)

Golf and Tennis Clubhouse 
Villa guests are invited to golf on the Four Season Resort Costa Rica 18‐hole, Arnold Palmer‐designed signature course. There are 6,788 yards of verdant course over 125 acres of diverse terrain. All skill levels will find an appropriate challenge, as well as incredible views at every turn – Pacific Ocean views complement 14 of the 18 holes. The course has been ranked #53 in the world, outside of the United States, by Golf Digest, making it the third highest ranked course in Latin America. 
The tennis courts are minutes from Villa Manzu, adjacent to the Golf Clubhouse and offer both clay and grass courts. Professional instruction is offered for both golf and tennis.

This bayside beach, just a five‐minute drive from the Villa, boasts a long swath of sand and a shallow, calm shore, making it a favorite for wading, stand‐up paddle boarding, snorkeling and swimming. The beach is open to the Costa Rican public, so it’s perfect for people‐watching and immersion in the local culture. 
This private beach fronts the 6,000‐square‐foot members‐only Prieta Beach Club. There is more wave action here, making it popular for swimming, riding the waves and surfing. 
Private Beach 
The Villa does have its own secluded beach for guests only, accessed by a short, yet sometimes steep, hiking trail. It’s a wonderfully private, romantic beach that is a must‐see for all villa guests.

FOUR SEASONS RESORT While the Four Seasons staff operates some of the facilities on the peninsula, the Four Seasons Resort is a separate entity; Villa guests are not granted free access to the hotel. Dinner reservations at Di Mare or the adjoining Tico Bar, both within the hotel, can be easily arranged.

GROUP FUNCTIONS Any size group will feel comfortable at the Villa, watching food prepared in the open kitchen, enjoying a cocktail at one of the several open‐air bars or meandering between terraces and strolling across the lawn. Functions are available for groups of up to 60, including fully catered five‐star food service.

Weddings are particularly memorable here at the villa, with a ceremony location just a short walk from the residence on a private peninsula with 180‐degree Pacific views. The wedding will take place under a romantic canopy before guests are led back to the villa by torchlight and firefly‐lit trees. A decadent reception follows, with creative, gourmet food service, live music and dancing and specially designed events. Guests may retire to the villa’s eight private suites when ready, while a private section of the villa is reserved as an exclusive honeymoon suite complete with a romantic, already drawn bath and a couple’s massage, perfect for transitioning the newlyweds into a relaxing and fun‐filled honeymoon.

Corporate events, incentive trips and meetings are also available and easily pulled together at the comfortable, peaceful and full‐service villa.

EXCURSIONS The Villa is equipped with all of the toys guests could want, from water‐sports equipment to vehicles for excursions. The villa’s naturalist guide is available to lead myriad adventures to experience the culture and fun that defines Costa Rica.

Boat & Car Trips Guests may ask the Villa staff to arrange a boat excursion to one of the many lovely private beaches in the area. During the boat ride to these special spots, there are opportunities to search for local marine life, such as turtles, whales and dolphins. Upon arrival at the secluded beach, the staff is happy to spread out a picnic lunch or BBQ feast for guests.

On land, guests are offered use of the villa vehicles for exploration of nearby towns, souvenir shops, restaurants and more remote surfing destinations.

Additional Excursions The sky’s the limit. Whatever guests want to see in Costa Rica, the Villa staff can arrange, all accompanied by a professional English‐ and Spanish‐speaking guide. Ideas include:

Road trips to surfing towns, private beaches, volcanoes and San Jose

Private helicopter charters

Mountain bike tours

River rafting

ATV tours



World‐class sport fishing for marlin, sailfish, mackerel and tuna

Surfing with a pro guide

Sunset sails

Jet skiing

Wake boarding


Marine life tours

Off‐road 4×4 driving

Nicaragua tour

Horseback riding

Monteverde Cloud Forest, with 400 bird species and 5 species of cat

Natural hot springs

Zip‐line jungle canopy tours

Peninsula Papagayo experiences little rain and consistent heat from November to April, and a wet season from late May to November. The hot, dry climate makes tropical dry forests the province’s natural vegetation type. The average temperature is over 85 degrees year‐round, peaking in the spring. During the green season, rains usually pass over in the late afternoons, leaving the mornings full of sunshine, a fresh temperature and a green landscape. The aptly named green season hosts the best fishing, surfing, and water conditions. 
No matter what seasons one visits in, there are spectacular advantages. The dry season provides plenty of sunshine, while the green season boasts kaleidoscopic arrays of color, rich fragrances and hills carpeted in lush greens.

Water temperatures peak in the range of 82°F to 86°F around mid May and are at their lowest in early February, in the range of 77°F to 84°F. Year‐round warm sea temperatures mean that a rash vest and board shorts should be fine for surfing at any time of year.

Costa Rica boasts world‐class surfing with some of the best breaks near the Papagayo Peninsula. Resident surf guide and coach Chris Celiceo will track wind, swell and tide to plan a perfect surf itinerary for both accomplished and beginner surfers.

HOSPITAL CIMA Hospital is located just 20 minutes from the villa, offering 24‐hour emergency care. CIMA Guanacaste is a branch of the larger care facility located in San Jose. CIMA is a private care facility that is operated by Hospital Consortium International, a company based in Dallas, Texas, which operates the largest chain of private hospitals in Latin America.