At the base of Costa Rica’s grand, most famous volcano, Arenal, about 3.5 hours drive north of the international airport is The Springs Resort and Spa, the newest addition to several hotels and resorts who take advantage of the volcanic thermal springs in the area.  This one stands alone though, like Arenal.  It is literally isolated, a 15 minute bumpy ride off of the main road into the dense, exotic jungle.  When you arrive, it all becomes clear.  What The Springs offers guests is a one of a kind experience—combining ultimate luxury, five-star service and a singularly spectacular location. The Resort is centered on a sprawling elevation that affords breathtaking views of Arenal, the surrounding valley, and neighboring villages.

Disembarking from the hotel’s van, which transported us worlds away from the crowded chaos of the San Jose airport, we were greeted with champagne flutes of freshly squeezed, local juice, while porters efficiently disappeared with our bags to prepare our room.  From the first moment it is apparent that the world-class staff and resort is designed to eradicate any stress and provide in its absence, the deep exhales of relaxation and bliss that only the best of the best can provide.  Our best estimation is that there are about 5 staff members per guest.

The Main lodge of the springs resort is akin to a luxury jungle safari.  Somewhere between a castle and a modern bungalow, it looms majestically, built into a hill that is stepped down with an open-air wall the length of all four floors providing unparalleled views of Arenal and the surrounding environment from any point.

The first floor of The Springs is the grand entrance, housing a boutique shop and multiple sitting areas arranged for different views and privacy.  The second level down was home to the gym, that had everything one would need for a cardio or weights work out and the spa, where you could take a sauna or steam, receive a massage and indulge in any number of signature spa treatments.

Down a few more levels in the grand edifice, and you are rewarded with the first opportunity to truly drink in the experience awaiting you.  Naturally landscaped pools and waterfalls, fed by the hot mineral springs that bubble up under the volcanic soil, stretch out in all directions.  Anchored centrally by a full service bar that you can swim up to while soaking in water, heated to the perfect temperature for lingering over a cocktail.  From this point the grounds open up to you for exploration—cascading, like the water, down the hillside where pools of secluded intimacy await discovery.

There are thermal springs of all temperatures nestled into the exquisitely landscaped indigenous fauna that envelops the entire property.  Your best challenge as guest of The Springs is to discover and experience all the pools and wildlife that abounds, and figure out which spring suits your temperament the best (be it secluded under jungle canopies, opulent under a waterfall, or indulgent by the bar).

If lagoon hopping, and meandering the gorgeous pathways work up your appetite, you’re in luck.  The Springs boasts no less than 4 top-notch restaurants.  Not including the restaurants’ fully stocked offerings, there are 4 separate bars scattered throughout the property, so your every indulgent need is nearly always at arms length.  The accommodating staff will happily cater to your evening’s whim, but with the mouth watering, perfectly balanced plates that grace the menus, it seems best to let the expert chefs be your guide.  New Yorkers often scoff when traveling, inclined to assume we have a monopoly on “best of the best,” but during our stay we sampled a stunning and sumptuous array of fusion cuisine that will surely cause bouts of nostalgic longing while searching menupages.com for a something new on Clinton Street.

When you are ready to relax into the privacy of your own room you will be treated to a continuation of the five star luxury that lead you to your quarters.  Every room has a private terrace with a direct, picture-perfect view of the volcano, hammocks and a table to enjoy the provided Costa Rican coffee. The interior features surround sound stereo hidden behind the wooded walls, a full selection of wines and mini-bar, wifi, a lounge area facing the floor-to-ceiling windows, marble shower and separate tiled Jacuzzi tub and his and hers sinks and accessories.  Last but not least, The Springs spared no expense in furnishing every room with a California king size bed that will draw you into a deep slumber.  We recommend leaving the doors to the terrace open so that you can fall asleep to the jungle symphony outside.

– Jeffery Owens & Ava Fedorov

Photographs by Jeffery Owens and Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative