Great Escapes July/August 2014: Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica
For the design of Villa Manzu, the Costa Rican architect Abraham Valenzuela conceived a 33,000-square-foot structure that allows the beholder—from any spot, inside or out—to gaze upon a work of art or beauty. Ceilings fashioned from hand-laid stone feature patterns reminiscent of the night sky; copper and wood accents hail from local sources and from India and Bali; and the jewel box of a spa sits underneath a 30-foot waterfall that spills from a glass-tiled infinity pool. Each of the eight bedrooms is different, but all have en suite bathrooms. A wine expert, an executive chef, and yoga and surfing instructors are among the attentive staff. The villa, completed last year, sits on 5 oceanfront acres within the Peninsula Papagayo resort community, and guests have access to a residents-only beach club as well as golf at the nearby Four Seasons and activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and zip-lining.