IT BEGINS WITH SCENTED HAND TOWELS
It begins with refreshing, moist hand towels scented with lemon grass and glasses of chilled passion fruit juice upon entering the lobby. A visitor becomes a connoisseur of this refreshing amuse–bouche that teases and soothes the senses. Scented hand towels and exotic juice blends transition the visitor from the tropical humidity of Costa Rica’s lush countryside to an enclave of tranquility that is a Small Distinctive Hotel.
MONTEVERDE BIOLOGICAL RESERVE IS A CLIMATE CHANGE LABORATORY
The structure of the Cloud Forest is a prime example of the symbiotic relationships among nature that preserve our Earth. The density of vegetation growing on top of each other is essential. On one soaring tree alone, the weight of all the plants living on that tree exceeded 200 tons and included 150 species of plants among them 70 species of orchards.
CREAM OF PEJIBAYE: A COSTA RICAN NATIONAL DISH
Costa Ricans enjoy cooked pejibaye as a snack sliced and dipped in mayonnaise and sometimes coated in corn meal and fried. Chef Diego Seitour at Peace Lodge adds thin slices to his incomparable Ceviche Tucurrique of sea bass. Chef Francis Canal Bardot of San Jose’s premiere hotel and restaurant Grano de Oro, features the fruit in its most popular incarnation as cream of pejibaye soup.
SMALL DISTINCTIVE HOTELS OF COSTA RICA TOUCH THE SOUL
Nine boutique hotels, each averaging fewer than 50 rooms, are members of the Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. On a recent trip I had the pleasure of being a guest at five of the hotels. Each is privately owned, several in the second generation, unique in architecture and setting, luxurious with fine dinning and backstories as distinctive as the properties. Yet all this comfort helps others; each property visited touched the soul in unexpected ways.
a small distinctive country
VILLA CALETAS: LUXURY WITH A CONSCIENCE IN COSTA RICA
Villa Caletas is a complex of buildings set among the lush restored mountain landscape. Small Distinctive Hotels are not for the budget traveler, but if seeking bang for the buck, Villa Caletas delivers in spades. While river stone buildings dominate most of the complex, a graceful Victorian glass and wood filigree building with the Mirador Restaurant tops a jungle of exotic plants and expansive window walls that bring the outside indoors.
PEACE, WATERFALLS AND TROUT IN COSTA RICA’S CLOUD FOREST
Our objective for the day was a visit to the privately owned La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge – one of the Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. Florida entrepreneur Lee Banks purchased this property with its five spectacular waterfalls with the intention of preserving its pristine biosphere. Visitors take self-guided tours along several miles of well-designed wooden walkways through the hills, along the La Paz River providing numerous vistas of the spectacular falls.
A STRANGER IN PARADISE: COSTA RICA!
Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica is an internationally recognized hotel collection since 1997. It represents a group of luxury boutique hotels located throughout some of the most diverse and beautiful areas of the country and whose properties are committed to excellence in service, amenities and sustainability. I was fortunate enough to visit a few of those properties and experience, first hand, the very best of Costa Rica – one of the rarest and most exceptional locales in the world.
HOTEL BELMAR AND THE NEW LOOK OF SUCCESS IN COSTA RICA
Under the second generation the past five years, Pedro, Jr, and his sister have renovated the hotel and transformed the original home into the sleek wood and glass nine room Chalet. The Chalet is the center of the hotel’s wellness program, spa services and organic juice and tea bar. The juices are made from fruits and vegetables grown on site.
AN AMUSE-BOUCHE OF SMALL DISTINCTIVE HOTELS COSTA RICA
Nine boutique hotels, each averaging fewer than 50 rooms, are members of the Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. Each is privately owned, several in the second generation, unique in architecture and setting, luxurious with fine dinning and backstories as distinctive as the properties. The amuse-bouche – the tease – is that all this comfort helps others; each property visited touched the human side in unexpected ways.