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After too many invitations, we finally made it to Costa Rica to check out all of the new swingers and lifestyle friendly resorts everyone has been talking about. Now hold on, just so there are no misunderstandings, the resorts in Costa Rica are not like the resorts many of you are familiar with. The Costa Rica resorts are boutique resorts.  Don’t expect four restaurants, hundreds of rooms, constant entertainment and super luxury accommodations.  But what they lack in big resort amenities, they make up for in so many other ways.  We’ll be telling you about it in this article and a series of related articles.

Our first visit was to Hotel Desire Costa Rica, the sister resort of Copacabana Desire Hotel which we’ll be telling you more about in another article.  Hotel Desire Costa Rica is a boutique all inclusive adult only clothing optional resort overlooking the San Jose Valley just 30 minutes from the San Jose Airport.

This former billionaire’s estate has been transformed into a tranquil, sensuous retreat where you can relax amongst the setting of lush gardens, ponds, and magnificent valley views. The estate founder was an American who during World War II spent time in Brazil spying on the Nazis, and after the war, ended up with the Coca Cola franchise for Brazil.  Needless to say, that made him immensely wealthy, and he chose for one of his homes, of many options throughout the world, what was at the time an isolated ranchero overlooking the historic city of San Jose.

Today Hotel Desire is a majestic private, gated resort that covers six luscious acres of tropical flowers, gardens, trees, ponds and other gracious amenities. The resort feature 22 units with a capacity of 26 to 30 couples with some units having two bedrooms, and some units with two beds that can sleep two couples.  One interesting aspect of this property is that no two rooms are alike and all of the rooms have been the result of the conversion of numerous buildings into hotel room accommodations.  The rooms include fully furnished hotel rooms, studios, suites and villas with one or two bedrooms located in five different building located around the property.

The proprietor, John, is a Canadian who spends half his time running resorts in Costa Rica and Grand Bahamas, while the other half is spent attending to business interests in Toronto. John and his assistant picked us up at the San Jose Airport in a tropical downpour, but managed to maneuver his way through the twisting turning streets of San Jose and the incessant rain, up the hill to the resort in about 30 minutes.

The San Jose Valley, located about 4,000 feet above sea level, boasts a surprisingly mild climate. The resort, located above the valley, is even milder.  Expect temperatures above eighty degrees during the day, and low seventies to high sixties in the evening.  The climate is not nearly as humid as other tropical vacation spots.  When we arrived at the resort, sometime around nine o’clock in the evening, it was refreshingly cool, but not cold enough to need a jacket.

The main building, what used to be the principle residence of the former owner, holds the dining room, bar, kitchen, library, and a number of large suites, many with fabulous views of the valley below.  But what is really amazing is the wood.  From wooden stairs, to hand carved railings, to ornately carved solid wood doors, to built-in custom wood cabins to an actual hand carved replica of the Costa Rica presidential desk, the quality and beauty of the wood construction is a wonder to behold.

When you are not marveling over the scenery and the fine woodwork, take a refreshing dip in one of two swimming pools. Remember, this is a small resort compared to some resorts you may be used to, so don’t expect Olympic pools.  One pool is a lap pool, which is an unusual find for resort properties. One of the pools and half the resort grounds are designated as clothing optional, although during a large group or resort takeover the entire resort becomes clothing optional.  There is also a Jacuzzi on the clothing optional side with another Jacuzzi planned for the other side of the resort. One great idea John has adopted is that of having day beds by the pools, as opposed to the more traditional chez lounges, which just seem to make so much more sense for lazing around the pool (particularly for lifestylers, whose poolside activities many include more than playing with water toys.)

The resort layout provides for a number of areas for people to gather, including the pools, activity rooms, outdoor barbeque areas, sundecks and patios. As the resort was not busy when we where there (being low season) most of these areas were not in use, but when the resort is full there are plenty of places for people to gather for cocktails, barbeques, or just relaxing with a cup of coffee and a good book.  The resort is large enough that if you need some quite time, you can easily find a grassy hill under a shade tree, where you can re-energize.  Of course, for those who need to work up a sweat there is the gym (with plans for remodeling), the tennis court, soccer field, or just walking the trails around the resort.  The main bar is open until late at night, with other “satellite” bars open depending upon the crowd.

The main house features Temptation Restaurant and Bar. The menu is comprehensive, and all the food is prepared to order.  Menu items include international favorites, such as Caesar Salad, and local fare, such as chicken with beans and rice, and plantains.  We only spent two days at the resort but all food we ate was well prepared, quantities were more than generous and service was attentive.  The chicken and avocado sandwich was particularly good.

The accommodations were clean and reasonable. They are not five star qualities, but then this resort doesn’t market itself as a five star resort.  Based on the price the resort charges, we feel the accommodations were of a reasonable standard.  But of course, as previously mentioned, no two rooms at this resort are the same, so making generalizations is difficult.  Wireless internet access was free, and the connections were excellent.

One thing Hotel Desire Costa Rica shares with the other resorts we visited were the flora and fauna. Much of Costa Rica is tropical rain forest.  That means in the rainy season, about nine months out of the year, it rains a little each day (and on some days, a lot).  It also means that anything and everything seems to grow well.  John has made an effort to improve the natural landscape at the resort, with many special gardens featuring different varieties of plants and flowers.  Naturally, the resort is a haven for butterflies, dragonflies and birds.  We were particularly impressed by all of the edible fruits on the grounds.  Oranges, mangoes, bananas and even a version of Asian Breadfruit that was wonderful!

Hotel Desire is well situated for those who intend on exploring the natural wonders of Costa Rica. The resort is located in the vicinity are the Poas Volcano and Arenal Volcano, as well as the La Paz Waterfall.  Or you can explore the historic city of San Jose.  Other activities include coffee plantation tours, zip lining through the forest canopy, horseback riding and ATVing.

As mentioned, half the resort is clothing optional (that’s about three acres of property), and the other half is not, although the entire resort is clothing optional when there is a takeover.  The clothing optional side is also lifestyle friendly.  There aren’t too many rules here, and as long as you’re not offending other guests, you can probably do most anything you like. Also, because the resort is so large, and even at full capacity you wouldn’t find more than 50 or 60 guests, it’s not too difficult to find a spot where you and your partner can engage in fulfilling your fantasies.

Remember, this resort is not a large resort with a huge entertainment and service staff. You may have to wander up to the main bar to get a drink and you won’t find hot chicks and muscled guys holding shooter contests at the pool, and you won’t find hot DJs spinning tunes around the pool or at the disco (right now, there is no disco, but again for takeovers, the staff will set up music and a dance area.)  And as you can imagine, at a small resort with limited staff you are not going to get the service levels of those big resorts that have 24 hour room service and dozens of staff members running around taking care of the needs of resort guests.  All that being said, the staff were friendly and seemed to do their best to be helpful.

We would rate this resort as great for nudists, if all you are interested in doing is running around naked and entertainment isn’t high on your list of requirements. If you are in the lifestyle and you need a crowd to play with, you could be disappointed.  However, John is going to designate a certain number of weeks each year as lifestyle weeks, with the idea being to get the resort full or close to being full, those weeks.  That way there will be people to play with when you get there. 
Or the other option would be to put together a group of friends.  If you’ve got a group, give us a call and we’ll help you put your group together and make all of the arrangement for you.  If you don’t have a group, keep your eyes on our news updates because we intend to schedule two or three Costa Rica trips each year.

Remember, this resort is a basic resort with standardly hotel rooms, pools, a bar, a restaurant and very nice grounds.  Don’t expect the amenities and services of a large resort.  If you do, you’ll be disappointed.

For more information on this hotel, including pictures, go to Desire Hotel Costa Rica.

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