Four Seasons just took a very unusual step and announced its rollout of the brand’s first all-inclusive offering. Except that is not really true.
The luxury brand is one of the best-known global names in high-end hotels and resorts, and operates everything from famously iconic city hotel like the George V in Paris and Beverly Wilshire in LA to African safari properties to live aboard dive yachts to modern city hotels in just about every key business market, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and New York. The Four Seasons model is very good, but also very much a la carte, and guests typically pay for every little thing.
But several years ago, Four Seasons experimented with an all-inclusive package called “Have It All” at the brand’s stellar 5-Star ski property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which I just reviewed at length here at Forbes a few weeks ago. I visited during that trial and the product was phenomenal – maybe too phenomenal for the hotel to profit from, as it was not implemented going forward.
What was so good about “Have It All” was that it truly lived up to its name. With the exception of reserve fine wines and champagne, nothing was off limits, from unlimited complimentary spa treatments to après ski sushi and all alcoholic drinks with and without meals.
This is a big departure from most all-inclusives, which rarely deliver what the words “all-inclusive” suggest. Some exclude alcohol. Almost all, even the best, really awesome high-end all-inclusives like Vermont’s 5-star Twin Farms or Colorado’s Dunton Hot Springs, which go over the top on food, top shelf spirits and fine wines, exclude spa treatments. Virtually no all-inclusive resort with golf courses include greens fees, even in hotbeds of lower priced all-inclusive resorts like the Dominican Republic and Mexico. I previously wrote about the 10 Best Truly Luxurious All-Inclusive Resorts in The World here at Forbes.
What Four Seasons is trying again, this time in Costa Rica, defies all those norms. Everything from unlimited spa treatments to rounds on the exceptional Arnold Palmer designed golf course are included, as is all food and beverage, adult and otherwise. Of course, it is not quite free either, given the rates for the package. But having been, I can attest that it is a pretty excellent resort, and if you do not like getting nickel and dimed – and no matter what your budget, few travelers do – this might be the luxury vacation for you.
The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica is the only Forbes Five-Star property in Central America, and just wrapped up a $35 million renovation that among other things redid all the resort restaurants and bars. The hotel is set within Peninsula Papagayo, a 1,400-acre master planned and very eco-conscious resort in Guanacaste, on the country’s north Pacific coast, which in turn just completed an additional $65 million in upgrades, which included linking its 11-miles of coastline continuously. The property boasts incredible surf, a tropical dry forest, world-class tennis and golf, and a litany of nearby eco-adventures.
In addition to the regular hotel rooms, the Four Seasons offers private luxury estate home accommodations, and this is where the new, fully inclusive offering is, catering to families and groups. The estate homes are located in a private gated enclave at the highest point in the resort, and are enormous, ranging from 5,274 to 6,662 square feet. The new program is year-round (except Christmas week) at three homes, including Casa del Cielo, the resort’s largest, which can accommodate 10 adults and 4 children or 8 adults and 6 children with three king beds, two doubles, sofa bed, four bathrooms and a guest cottage. It has features such as outdoor showers, floor-to-ceiling windows, a heated infinity pool and whirlpool, outdoor grill and gazebo, multiple decks with outdoor seating and wraparound bay-to-ocean views. The other units are similarly grand, and all come with private butler and private airport transfers.
The all-inclusive program features all food and beverage, including a fully stocked in-home bar, unlimited spa treatments and fitness classes, and golf on the stunning Palmer-designed Ocean Course – it even includes rental clubs. Estate homes also give special access to Peninsula Papagayo’s members-only private Prieta Bay Beach Club. The package ranges from $17,000 to $37,000 per night with a three-night minimum stay.
“We have created a truly extraordinary and highly personalized experience allowing guests to fully relax, unwind and completely immerse themselves in our enchanting eco-rich paradise,” said Patricia Rodriguez, Chef Concierge (via release). “From the second a guest touches down to the moment they take off, their every wish is made a reality impressing the most discerning traveler.”