2017 was so very many things, fast, intense, crazy, fun, exhausting, invigorating- just about every emotion- name it, I pretty much experienced it in 2017.  I couldn’t have planned it better than how I got to wrap it up in Costa Rica.

When you travel as much as I do, you start to notice certain things, you learn a lesson with each trip. You learn where to go, who to trust, you have better insight into where the best experiences are, the best travel tools, the companies and brands to trust with your travel itinerary, be it airlines or hotels. I had already developed a fondness for the Andaz brand after my stay at the Andaz Singapore, but after this trip I think it’s official, I’m hooked.

So how did this all happen? Well, to be honest, as Christmas approached, it hit me that I had no real plans. As it had worked out this year, there was not to be a full scale family get together and there were no travel plans in sight. I was pretty much resolved to having a very quiet restful Christmas break with the hubby, trying to stay warm indoors and maybe making a lot of phone calls to friends and family.

And then a surprise in my inbox, the opportunity for travel and more importantly to shine some light on a very important cause. The opportunity was in the form of a sponsored visit to the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica and the good cause was that this was all a part of ANDAZ commitment to supporting the fight against AIDS. The Andaz brand is in the business of hospitality and experiences and they decided to use that platform to curate experiences with (RED) to support the fight against AIDS. One such experience offered at the Andaz Papagayo (also see West Hollywood, Mayakoba, Maui, Scottsdale) are unique poolside (RED) cabanas (designed with the local aesthetic  in mind) and  where you not only get to relax in style (with food, drinks and personalized service) but you also get to feel good doing so. 30% of the profits from renting these specifically designed cabanas will be donated to HIV/AIDS research.

I wanted to make the most of this experience and decided to spend a lot of time not only in the Cabana but also talking to the staff who are almost exclusively local to Costa Rica and the area. I wanted to hear their stories, find out about their lives, what after hours were like for them, what food they thought I should eat, just real conversations on a people level. No meal or drink was complete without a chat and a nod to local Costa Rican customs. From refrescos (fruit smoothies) and guaros (local liquor) to ceviches and tostones all served with a backdrop of white face monkeys scramblings across the trees or cheerfully howling in the evenings. And I think this is why staying at an Andaz feels less like a hotel and like a culturally immersive visit.

But above all, what really matters to me and should matter to us all when we travel is that at its core, travel is not just about sights and foods, it is about people. And I loved that there is no superficial separation between staff and guests – of course, if you want privacy and separation, you can get that- they happily oblige, but if you really want to have conversations and learn more, the Andaz team and all the staff were so genuinely concerned and involved. They know how to reach their guests at a personal level so that you feel like you made some new friends, people you would chat with between activities- even over the course of my short stay, it felt not only like they knew who I was, but I felt very comfortable with most everyone.

When you’re surrounded by this kind of care- you can’t help but feel good and you can’t help but see that this is a brand that is about that extra step. You see it in the staff, in the hotels multi-layered colorful and exuberant design, in their programs (there was so very much to do each day- on and off resort) and so on. You really believe that they do these things to further a world of understanding, that they are seeking to build bridges between people, places and cultures and they do it so very beautifully.

There’ll be more on my stay in Costa Rica- so stay tuned.

To book an Andaz Stay: click here.

To book a RED cabana: click here.




  1. Cli-an

    February 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm Reply

    Hello! Nice pictures!!! Nice outfit!

    Just wondering are you still selling the vintage Chanel bag on Poshmark? I am really interested in buying it! Thank you!

    1. simplycyn

      February 10, 2018 at 11:40 am Reply

      Yes I am. Sorry, haven’t logged in to poshmark in while. I will do so now.

  2. Yalana Allen

    January 16, 2018 at 11:35 am Reply

    That yellow dress is gorg!!!! I love the color on your skin.

  3. Bianca

    January 16, 2018 at 5:30 am Reply

    These shots are just beautiful! Yellow look so beautiful on you.

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