Tamarindo, Costa Rica
An exciting remake to this erstwhile mediocre hilltop hotel has infused an exciting new aesthetic, elevating Jardín del Edén to prominence as Tamarindo's chic trend–setter.
Located mid–slope with lovely views towards Playa Grande, this hotel is within a five–minute walk of the beach via its own private pathway. Belying the negative impression gained traversing the denuded and muddy public access road and somewhat nondescript exterior with cramped parking, Jardín del Edén blossoms as you step down into the passageway lobby. The reception lounge behind a wall of glass features dramatic bamboo furnishings and inspired Indonesian art pieces, and extends to a deck overlooking the lush grounds centered on a gorgeous pool, with the ocean in the distance. Those who know the old Jardín del Edén will do a double–take at the classy remodel recently given by youthful new French owner, Nicolas Segonne.
Guest rooms come in various global themes, but are decidedly contemporary. Six Tunisian rooms are done up in cool white and blue, with North African–style brass lanterns. African–themed rooms, with their suitably ebony doors and trim, feature exotic hardwood beds with leopard–skin spreads and giant elephant heads above the headboards. Or choose an Indonesian room with silk spreads and cushions, and cement monkey art pieces, a la Balinese temples. There are also Japanese and Mexican styles. Each one has its own configuration. All rooms are lit by ceiling halogens and have sliding glass doors onto balconies, while the bathrooms are a statement in sophisticated modernity. Standard features include air conditioning, ceiling fans, mini–bar, telephone, safety box, hair dryer, and cable TV. The sole suite is Japanese inspired and has a gorgeous bamboo floor, hanging lanterns, and a huge wooden deck with mimbre (woven rope) sofas. Two fully–equipped villa–apartments offer a self–catering option. A few of the upper–level rooms, including the suite, have ocean views from a furnished balcony.
The twin–level pool is surrounded by a blaze of bougainvillea and is a lush and lovely spot for sunbathing. An upper–level whirlpool spa feeds the lower pool. The thatched open–air bar feels chic New York contemporary. It is the hippest place in Tamarindo for sipping martinis and tropical cocktails in a canopied booth or at the black–marble–topped counter. Peruvian Chef Omar Grados whips up some mean fusion dishes: mussel soup with saffron appetizer, for example, and tenderloin flambé with martini entree, followed by chocolate fondue with thyme and exotic fruits.
All–in–all this is the place to rest your head in Tamarindo if you don't absolutely insist on a room by the beach and at these rates it's a terrific value.
Web Address: www.jardindeleden.com
Total Number of Rooms: 32 rooms, 2 villas
Published rates: $110 to $190 BB
Review and photos by Christopher Baker