Harmony Hotel, Nosara

It says something about a town when the chicest hotel around looks like it's straight out of old school Honolulu. But then, anyone who is willing to travel two hours on unpaved roads to get to a sleepy surf town probably doesn't want to stay somewhere with gilded staircases and white linen table cloths anyway.  

With its bamboo bar, mid-century lounge, and kidney-shaped pool, Harmony Hotel is the type of place you can easily imagine Don Draper holing up in for a couple weeks. It has the magical power to conjure the long gone days of the original jet set — you'll want to wrap your head in a floral-print scarf and throw on a matching maillot and giant cat-eye sunglasses immediately. But despite those retro sensibilities, Harmony isn't at all kitchy. In fact, what this pretty hotel on Playa Guoines' main drag offers is a very modern sort of simplicity, the kind that makes you want to quiet down, breathe deep, and re-think the whole way you've been living.

None of the guest rooms have TVs; Instead, most come with a private patio, giant white hammock, and open-air shower. You can hear the calls of howler monkeys from your bed, and if you wander down the little stone pathways that lead to the beach, you'll see so many banana trees and native palms that your city-scrounged eyes will burn from the sight of all that glorious green. And speaking of being green: Harmony excels at it. Not in a crunchy, no toilet paper kind of way — more in a quiet, luxurious way. The straws in the outdoor juice bar may be made of bamboo, and the water in the healing center may be heated by solar panels, but the service and amenities are also top notch. Put another way: You can get an Ayurvedic facial, go to a Reiki workshop, eat a salad made from kale grown in the on-site organic farm, and take a vinyasa yoga class — and then order the dirtiest vodka martini ever and lounge by the pool like a Pan Am-era socialite who just got off her own private jet. Welcome to paradise.