The Hidden Jewel + 4 Hot Resort Season Picks
Hey, I'm Andrea, I write a bunch of the blog content around here, and I'm also a travel writer. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Tom and Ingrid's Costa Rican property, The Hidden Jewel, and here's an overview of my experience. Plus, a couple of CF products you're gonna want in your carry-on if you're hitting a hot spot this Winter.
Last Summer I was looking for a spot to visit in the new year to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. His only request: somewhere he could surf. We were starting to panic in August when we still hadn’t booked a place when one rainy day we got an email from Ingrid and Tom. They were now renting their new property in Costa Rica. A quick scroll through the Airbnb listing and I was on it. I texted them, “We’ll book! Right now!” Another text went to my sister and brother-in-law, “We’re going to Costa Rica in January and staying at this amazing house - you in?”
On arriving in Costa Rica in early January of this year, we rented a car and drove to the property. We followed Tom’s local guide, Nick, up a winding dirt road, past a steel gate stencilled with butterflies. Climbing the steep hill in our 4x4, we rounded the corner and were struck with awe; the modern white house sat still and quiet atop an expansive jungle.
Tom and Ingrid (if you’re new here they are the co-owners of Clementine Fields) have been big fans of Costa Rica, specifically Sámara for a few years. Tom told me on their visits they fantasized that someday they too would own something there. When an opportunity arose for them to make their dream come true, they jumped on it, purchasing a private plot of land surrounded by lush jungle, with a view of the ocean, and minutes to town.
They worked closely with a local architect, Lay Ling Agüero Ching, who realized everything on their wish list for the house: shaded outdoor space by the pool, an outdoor breakfast bar, an outdoor shower. Ching incorporated the natural slope of the land into a two-level dwelling. They also made use of local materials, including turning a fallen tree on the property into a gorgeous hardwood dining table and benches, coffee table, and breakfast stools.
The private pool is definitely a house highlight. I’m known as a shade-seeker, but nearly every day around 4pm my husband, sister and brother in law and I would make some cocktails (rum and ginger beer with fresh pineapple was a big hit) and lounge around the pool taking in the wild jungle soundtrack and watching the sunset. We couldn’t get over how cool, clear and fresh the water in the pool was, all thanks to the mineral filtration system. Sitting on a pool noodle we could watch the hummingbirds and butterflies in the surrounding flowers, literally so close we could hear the buzz of the hummingbird's wings. At the risk of sounding cheesy, my heart felt so full of joy and delight in these moments. I asked Tom about it and if the addition of the wildlife-attracting plants was intentional and he said yes, he’d asked a local landscaper for exactly that.
This is one of the things that makes this place so especially enjoyable: every detail has been thought through to thrill and delight guests. Nothing felt phoney or done for show, but all for the pure enjoyment of the house and to maximize the beautiful and wild jungle surroundings.
Sámara is a short drive away and we took daily trips to the little beach town to stock up on fresh fruit, seafood, and drinks. We also did a couple of road trips to nearby beaches: one to Nosara to check out this incredible restaurant on the beach called La Luna, and another to Punta Islita where we popped into the Cocos Beachclub to grab a snack while the guys boogie-boarded in the waves.
Though I’m usually afraid of getting too much sun and don’t do very well in the humidity, I fell in love with Guanacaste Province, the people, the beaches, and even the hot hot heat.
It’s easily one of the best vacations I’ve ever had and so much of that was due to the intentional design of this very special property and the thoughtfulness of Tom and Ingrid. I truly can’t recommend The Hidden Jewel enough. (Follow me on Instagram @helloandreavictory for more posts on my trip to Costa Rica).
You can book this incredible spot here. (Friends of Clementine Fields get 10% off if you book and travel in 2020!)
Additionally, before I left, I stocked up on a couple of products from Clementine Fields on Ingrid’s recommendation and used them throughout my trip. Here they are in their elements. If you’re heading to a hot spot this year, these four items you’re gonna wanna pack:
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented and Water Resistant - Lip & Cheek Stain in Cherry
Some ladies have their mascara, for me my desert island pick is lipstick. I've always got a berry or pink in my pocket and touch up constantly. For hot and humid temps, when sweat slides down your sides, and the heat makes makeup (even lipstick) feel impossible, a light stain is perfect. I used this one every day and went about my adventures, confident I'd still look polished (albeit a bit "dewy) in all the pics. Buy it here.
SW Basics Peppermint Water
Taking this along was Ingrid's idea, she suggested I keep it in the fridge and spritz when I got too warm. What an amazing idea! A cold blast of this midday was instantly refreshing. I brought it home and popped it in my fridge for post-workout spritz. Buy it here.
LaSpa Naturals SPF50 Ultra Sun Stick
When it's over 30ºC and the sun sits high in a cloudless sky all day long, even hiding out in the shade requires sun protection. Though I'd slather SPF 50 all over every morning and limited how many minutes I spent under the full blaze, I was so happy to have this stick to grab when I worried my nose, forehead, collarbones, and hands had enough. It's a pale tint as well, so it worked well with my pale skin. Buy it here.
Suntegrity Vanish Makeup & Sunscreen Cleansing Oil
So much sweat and sunscreen meant the end of every day I needed a pretty good scrub to feel fresh and clean for the evening. I'm glad I had this cleansing oil to help remove the sticky layers of SPF. Pair it with a scrubby washcloth and gently wipe skin to keep it feeling and looking fresh. Buy it here.