Santa Barbara de Heredia, Costa Rica
The jewel in the crown of a coffee estate, this exquisite boutique hotel with a quirky, one–of–a–kind design that is a delight on the eye, is utterly charming and proves that a fine jewel is made complete by its setting.
When the Jampol family decided to build a home on their small coffee finca in the hills outside Heredia, they hired renowned architect Francisco Rojas, who found inspiration in Gaudi's esoteric architectronic style. The result was a voluptuous whitewashed house rising organically from the earth. The orchards and coffee plants have grown out and today only the circular honeymoon suite pokes above the lush greenery, luring guests along the dirt approach road with eager anticipation.
Stepping through the doorway into the main building is a jaw–dropping experience as you stand on a multi–level wrap–around balcony overhanging the soaring atrium lounge. The balcony railings are of polished tree branches; the floor natural flagstone and glistening hardwoods. Modern sculptures, indigenous weavings, and a museum's–worth of pottery and eclectic adornments fill the sun–soaked interior centered on a mushroom–like hearth with a stovepipe chimney reaching up through the roof. A half–moon sofa is a comfy spot to relax by the crackling fire and commune with fellow guests or live–in owners Glenn and Teri Jampol over a glass of wine. Upstairs, an intimate library has a vast collection of art books.
Guests dine family style at a humongous hardwood table––a piece of art in itself––often with the owners for company. Dinners here are a sublime treat using wholesome ingredients fresh from the inn's organic garden. Chef Pedro Alas trained with internationally acclaimed New York chef Ray Bradley before returning home to conjure mouth–watering gourmet dishes with a masterful touch. The nightly set meal might comprise cream of choyote soup, avocado stuffed with sea bass ceviche, hot chocolate mousse cake with blackberry sauce, and estate coffee.
The main building features seven bedrooms (including three junior suites and an astounding Master Suite), plus two villas stud the grounds. Each boasts handcrafted hardwood furnishings and is uniquely and romantically themed. El Cafetal, for example, is adorned with a gracious trompe lóleil of a coffee farm. While each room is a charmer, the bi–level Master Suite is a whimsical, idiosyncratic delight with its oversize soaking tub resembling a natural pool and its two–person shower resembling a jungle cascade. A spiral staircase resembling a tree augers up to a circular bedroom with wrap–around wall of glass and a curtained canopied four–poster perfect for the once–in–a–lifetime honeymoon moment.
At last visit, the hotel was in transformation as Glenn and Teri––accomplished artist and cook, respectively––were converting their own home and art studio into a spa and gourmet restaurant. The hotel has its own stables, and guided horseback trips head into the mountains above the inn. A lovely infinity pool fed by a water–cascade is shaded by towering hardwood trees. The Jampols are proud of their ecological sensitivity and have spared no expense to make Finca Rosa Blanca nature friendly. In fact, this environmentally state–of–the–art gem is one of only a few Costa Rican hotels to earn five leafs in the local Certified Sustainable Tourism program.
Web Address: www.fincarosablanca.com
Total Number of Rooms: 9
Published rates: $200 to $300
Review and photos by Christopher Baker
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