Concierge.com's insider take:
Hacienda Tamarindo might be one of the last true bargains in the Caribbean. The rambling hilltop hotel is anchored by a centuries-old tamarind tree, whose trunk comes up through the lobby and whose branches shade an alfresco breakfast area. Young, well-traveled types tend to fill the 16 tile-floored rooms, which are upholstered in tropical pastels. Some overlook the Caribbean; others face the lovely swimming pool set among mahogany and coconut trees (where guests can indulge in outdoor massages). Hacienda Tamarindo also manages Casita Linda, a tile-roofed villa with porches on three sides and an outdoor dining area within sight of the island's southern shore. For all guests, the hotel will pack boxed lunches to take to any of the island's beaches, including the nearby Sun Bay Beach.