Nayara Resorts has become synonymous with excellence in hospitality, luxury, amenities, and breathtaking natural beauty. Unsurprisingly, the dining experience at all six resorts plays a pivotal role in upholding this stellar reputation. Across the resorts, award-winning restaurants have set new standards for culinary excellence in their respective regions and countries.
Executive Chef William Weiss, who hails from the picturesque Alsace region of France and has trained at Michelin-starred establishments in France and Monaco leads this culinary expedition. Chef Weiss boasts a rich culinary pedigree that spans the globe and includes stints at renowned luxury properties such as the St-Regis in Australia, Shangri-La in Bora Bora, and a remarkable nine-year collaboration with the prestigious Michel Reybier Hospitality group in Switzerland. Currently based near Nayara’s three Costa Rican properties, Chef Weiss continues to redefine the dining experience across the Nayara portfolio, drawing the attention of other world class chefs. We sat down with him to gain insights into Chef Weiss’s inspiration.
“We have so many different fine dining restaurants across the Nayara Resorts that we have a global approach and global vision towards cuisine.”
Q: How does it feel transitioning from the Swiss Alps to the rainforests of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano region?
Chef Weiss: “I was expecting more rain from the rainforest actually – that surprised me in a good way. (laugh) It feels alright here because I know what to expect, and I’m working with a great team. The supply chain (in a jungle, an island off the coast of Panama or far in the Pacific off Chile, or the driest desert in the world) is challenging so you have to be very resourceful and help train the suppliers to get the quality you want to get. But that is an interesting part of the job as well. Quite satisfying to be part of it. (These areas are) growing up quickly and every year more are coming with a higher standard and expectation for quality. So we need to stay at the highest standards for our European, North American, and worldwide guests.”
The supply chain challenge is vividly exemplified at Nayara Hangaroa on Chile’s Easter Island, where supplies arrive once every three to four weeks. “You really have to be resourceful with what you grow locally,” Chef Weiss notes, referencing the locally sourced ingredients, including vegetables and Pacific fish, that contribute to the restaurant’s unique offerings.
Q: What is the overall culinary approach at Nayara Resorts?
Chef Weiss: We have so many different restaurants that we have a global approach and global vision towards cuisine. Our goal is to offer all our guests could want on property – with both local/typical and international food. We are showing we can do something different – something unique and special.”
Q: I’ve noticed a strong emphasis on local products across the properties. Why is that important?
Chef Weiss: “While we have different concepts in (each of our) hotels, we wanted to have fine dining with a local twist: bringing something different and showcasing what we can do with local products in a unique way.”
A perfect example of this value and creative focus is the 7-course tasting menu at Nayara Springs’ fine dining restaurant, Amor Loco. “Every course has a dish and ingredients from different regions – introducing ingredients even some of our locals have never tasted, while also bringing in high-end plating and unusual concepts.”
Q: How do you describe your cooking style?
Chef Weiss: “At home I (tend to) cook quick and delicious. But at work, I like details, good ingredients, and great flavors. I believe in very straightforward cooking. Like if you are going to use an ingredient, don’t just give a “hint” of something, go bold and let the true flavor come through. And when we create dishes, we like things that may look very simple, and know that we think about things very technically.”
Q: You mentioned a commitment to the local communities. Can you elaborate?
Chef Weiss: “A big part of our identity (and commitment) is to be part of the local community and help our neighbors. We hire locally, we train locally, we source locally, and we all grow together to the next level. That is important to our owners and to me and my teams.”
A Different Take on Cuisine Than All-Inclusive Resorts:
Q: What can guests expect when dining at Nayara?
Chef Weiss: “(I) want our guests to enjoy the diversity we have (created) at the hotels: bringing together local and international cuisine for a perfect pairing – be that local seafood caught fresh each morning or locally-grown organic vegetables to wine tastings of locally harvested varietals. (In my opinion) no other hotel brings this combination of cuisine and experience together at the level we do at Nayara Resorts. Because it’s not just the food, it’s the entire experience and the “why” around what we do. We want to give a personalized experience that isn’t what you would expect from these regions or even these countries.“
Chef Weiss: “We want our guests to savor the diversity we offer at our hotels—bringing together local and international cuisine for a perfect pairing. At Nayara Resorts, we believe no other hotel combines cuisine and experience at our level. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the entire experience, the fine dining, and the ‘why’ behind what we do. We aim to provide a personalized experience that defies expectations, whether you’re in these regions or even these countries.”
“No other hotel brings this combination of cuisine and experience together at the level we do at Nayara Resorts.”
A Sampling of Cuisine Options Across the Nayara Resorts:
As Chef Weiss described, there is a vast array of both internationally-inspired and locally-focused dining options and on-site restaurants across the Nayara Resorts portfolio to tantalize all types of food lovers. Here are just a few culinary highlights to whet your appetite:
Amor Loco – Nayara Springs, Costa Rica:
A journey across Costa Rica in one meal, with a seven-course exploration of the seven regions of the country. For this adult-only resort, Chef Weiss has developed a unique experience that marries quintessentially Tico products (including some unique even to locals) with international techniques and presentation. As noted on the hotel’s website, here you can “discover some of the most emblematic local products through an innovative, precise, and sensitive signature cuisine, with French and Japanese techniques adapted to the local gastronomy.”
Ayla – Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica
Imagine dining at a signature Mediterranean restaurant with Middle East flair in the canopy of the Costa Rican rainforest. In this elegant, fine dining experience, guests can partake in uniquely-paired culinary offerings while overlooking the majestic Arenal Volcano National Park. Think of it as our take on a treehouse restaurant. The resort also has private dining and a la carte dining experiences available.
Elephant House – Nayara Bocas del Toro, Panama
At this luxury all-inclusive resort, guests have a wide variety of incredible restaurants. Still, one to definitely add to the top of the list is the Elephant House, housed in a 100+-year-old Balinese building shipped over specifically for this magical dining experience. In what the team describes as “bocaterian” cuisine, diners can feast on locally sourced fresh seafood while watching some of the ocean’s most dramatic creatures swim by.
Quincho & Ckelar – Nayara Alto Atacama, Chile
Surrounded by dramatic rock outcroppings and vast vistas, Atacama offers numerous uniquely Chilean dining options from renowned chefs of the region. At Quincho, pictured above, we offer a typical Atacamenian BBQ twice a week that features locally-sourced grilled meats and vegetables.
At Ckelar, our fine dining establishment, the cuisine is centered on an Andean experience:
Our gastronomy is deeply connected to the surroundings as most of our vegetables come from our Andean Garden. See these vegetables in action in our asparagus salad with orange wedges, green apple infused with ayrampo, goat cheese marinated in muña muña, and carob vinaigrette.
And, of course, no Chilean dining experience would be complete without a pairing of incredible locally sourced fine wines.
At Nayara Resorts’ six properties, culinary excellence knows no bounds, and every meal promises a remarkable blend of global inspiration and local creativity.
We thank Executive Chef Weiss for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us, and if you’d like to learn more about Nayara Resorts and the many experiences found here, you can reach out to our team on our homepage.