Hotel Casa Chameleon Mal Pais
What We Love
- All villas have private balconies with infinity pools overlooking the ocean
- Stunning dark wood and brightly colored decor includes four-poster beds, exotic South Asian art and animal print pillows and throw rugs
- Wine and from-scratch gourmet cuisine (think grilled shrimp with tender mahi mahi, a tropical salad tossed in rosemary goat cheese vinaigrette) in the open-air restaurant
- Villas have two powerful rain showers (one indoor, one outdoor)
What To Know
- The resort is big on romance: Children 17 and under are not permitted and there are no TVs, phones, WiFi in the villas
- If you're renting a car for the transfer, it's recommended to have one with four-wheel-drive to climb the steep driveway
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
- A 13 percent room tax per night will be collected by Jetsetter at checkout
- Adults Only
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Like a passport full of stamps, the curiosities collected during the owner’s far-flung travels tell a tale and lend an exotic air to design-forward digs blending dark tropical hardwoods with bright fabrics. While statues of Hindu deities and outlandish lampshades abound, Costa Rican craftsmanship is also on display in the hardwood pool bar built by local artisans.
Bed and Bath
Spacious bedrooms drip with bric-a-brac and style; all feature four-poster beds, exotic South Asian art and animal print pillows and throw rugs. Balancing out the wilder elements is a tasteful array of contemporary hardwood furnishings atop travertine and natural stone flooring. Vaulted ceilings are finished in teak, and fold-away glass doors open to enormous patios offering private infinity pools. In the bathrooms two powerful rain showers (one indoor, one outdoor) warm guests to the core, and the Aromas para el Alma bath products are local and organic.
Guests enjoy mouthwatering, from-scratch meals on private balconies or at the romantic, open-concept restaurant, where executive chef, Pabrö, whips up dishes that fuse modern culinary concepts and indigenous recipes. Items of note include enormous grilled shrimp with tender mahi mahi, a tropical salad tossed in rosemary goat cheese vinaigrette, and a luscious tres leches with strawberries and cream for dessert. Downstairs, a bamboo and hardwood cocktail lounge overlooks an inviting sapphire pool surrounded by tropical foliage — the perfect spot for enjoying a guaro sour as the orange sun dips beneath the Pacific.
In the Area
In freewheeling Mal País, a seemingly infinite stretch of rock and white sand beach on the remote Nicoya Peninsula, the inhabitants are serious about community and sustainability. Saturday afternoons are reserved for the beachfront farmers market, to which locals bring fresh fruits, veggies, instruments, pets and toothy smiles. The tastiest restaurants include the sky-high surf ’n’ turf spot Brisas del Mar (order the tenderloin) and a beachfront Mexican delight, Habaneros. Breakfast burritos at Playa Carmen’s The Bakery fuel perfect days of surfing, sea kayaking and snorkeling at a hidden cove locals refer to as the Secret Beach.
How to Get There
We spent ten days here in November and it was truly amazing. The place is up a hill so away from the hustle and bustle of Santa Teresa and has perfect views on the jungle and ocean. Everything was top notch: the rooms, which come with their own plunge pool and are very spacious, the service, the food - everything was clean and delicious. The whole ambiance is true “Pura Vida”. Great place to start little tours around the jungle or just be lazy on the beach, go surfing, do yoga, and watch the sunset. A special shout out to both Jairo and Steven who really know how to make you feel at home! Sad to be leaving the little piece of paradise.
We were here during the rainy season yet found ample opportunity to explore the area. The hotel is quaint and private. The staff is excellent and friendly. We found the food to be excellent and did not get tired of the menu the entire week we were there. We ate breakfast and dinner there with lunch being reserved for a break during our outings. The staff was great setting us up with whatever we needed and were very accommodating. Our day trips were via ATV and several town were accessible, even in the rainy season. We absolutely played hard and rested well.
Because I always feel I have to be objective during my reviews, I will say that the internet was limited. We always seemed to have social media available. Only the first and last day did we have the ability to do any search online. Once we were in town we could easily get on to WiFi and look up what we felt we needed to find. That being said, when it was brought up to the staff they were excellent in troubleshooting the issue.
Overall it was an excellent vacation in a great setting. The staff whom we saw every day made our stay at Casa Chameleon feel like a home away from home.
This place is breathtaking. Literally like something out of a movie with very pleasant staff and a 5 star restaurant. Our interaction with the staff started before our trip there where they were very helpful with providing us information on activities and excursions we could book and transportation information.
Travel to the Hotel: We let them plan all of our travel to the hotel (highly recommend that as renting a car is not a good idea (steep hills where a 4x4 is needed, gas is expensive, the roads are dirt with pot holes, there's no real speed limits/road signs/rules of the road, and the trip from San Jose would take 5.5 hrs and include a ferry ride). We ended up using a courier plane service booked for us by the hotel which was very fast (20 minute flight from San Jose to Tambor) and then a driver who took us from Tambor to the hotel (45 minute drive).
Excursions & Services: Every single excursion service they used was 5 star. We went on an amazing nature hike (JC's Journey's....you can find my review on that as well), booked an in room deep tissue Swedish massage (best massage I've ever had in my life...this lady massaged my ears and scalp for crying out loud!) overlooking our dip pool and surrounded by the sounds of nature, and a morning horseback ride on the beach.
The Staff: Noeila, Brenda, and Katherine were all very friendly and extremely helpful in booking our room, excursions, making changes, making reservations at the restaurant, giving us information. Hydell makes the best drinks (he's the mixologist in the restaurant).
The Restaurant: Honestly that food is five stars. We had sea bass that was caught that day, super fresh tuna sashimi, amazing desserts, amazing cocktails (shout out to Hydell)...everything is literally so flavorful and fresh.
Accommodations: We LOVED our private dip pool. The indoor and outdoor shower that we could use were so nice. It was beautiful to take showers outdoors surrounded by nature. The hammock by the pool, and the ability to close the villa off at night or when out was wonderful as well as the ability to have an open air villa...everything was so well thought of. It was our own private oasis with sounds of nature, animals, birds, monkeys and beautiful vegetation and foliage everywhere. Also incredible views of the ocean and fresh air scented with the sweet salty scent of the sea....there really is nothing better. The whole hotel is so quiet and peaceful...it really creates a romantic atmosphere for you and your partner. We definitely reconnected here.
Summary: We might possible never find another hotel this magical ever again. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we most definitely would book there again without question or hesitation whenever we are in the area or decide to make a romantic trip back to reconnect with one another.