The name ("Romantic House") says it all: the Spanish colonial–style house has a balustraded veranda upstairs and below, a graceful arcade with views of a crystal-blue kidney-shape pool surrounded by a glorious tropical garden. The young Swiss owners renovated the original rooms and built new ones in separate wings. Everything now is bright, with big bathrooms and shared terraces overlooking the gardens. Eight have air-conditioning and four rely on sea breezes to keep them cool. There's also a two-bedroom, fully equipped and air-conditioned house for rent. The large pool has a huge shelter with hammocks, covered by a soaring thatch roof. A short path through the surrounding forest leads straight to the beach. The hotel now partners with the DelMar surf school to offer surfing packages. The small patio restaurant where the excellent complimentary buffet breakfast is served becomes a truly romantic, candlelit restaurant ($$) at night, when the menu includes such Continental favorites as chicken cordon bleu, beef Stroganoff, a creamy shrimp curry, and daily fish and seafood specials. There's one budget room for $80 in high season.
200 m west of Giardino Tropicale, on left., Nosara, 50206, Costa Rica