Archive for the ‘eco-hotel’ Category

A Modern Safari Fit for a King or Queen

The latest Netflix series on our minds (and ‘recently watched’ lists) has without a doubt renewed an interest in the royals and their connection to Africa. andBeyond has created a safari to give guests a taste of the royal treatment…

Kenya and The Crown

cottars-1920s-camp

Cottars 1920s Camp

Home of the classic safari, Kenya has an undeniable connection to Britain’s colonial era with its historical aura of elegance and grandeur. In fact, as documented in the recent television series, it was in Kenya that Queen Elizabeth first received the news of the death of her father, King George, and of her ascension to the throne. Inspired by this and the many other connections between the royal family and this former colonial stronghold, andBeyond has created a modern safari fit for a queen called Kenya and the Crown.

kenya-safari-masai-mara-tours

Lunch with the Masai Mara

This grand itinerary visits places made famous by explorers and royals of old, including special touches like vintage vehicles, which will take the intrepid traveler on a journey far back in time.  andBeyond, one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, has designed personalized high-end tours in 15 countries in Africa, five in Asia, and four in South America. The company also owns and operates 31 extraordinary safari lodges and camps, which positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land . Taking exceptional care of its guests in order to make a difference; its commitment to sustainable responsible travel, conservation and community empowerment has been globally recognized with multiple awards over the years.

kenya-masai-safari-tours-migration

A Kenyan Migration Adventure

Highlights of the itinerary:

  • Stay in the famous Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, host to characters such as Theodore Roosevelt on his epic 1909 safari Walk in the footsteps of legends on an historical tour of Nairobi, visiting sites such as the Railway Museum and Karen Blixen’s home.
  • Relax in the lovingly maintained colonial mansion of Giraffe Manor.
  • Experience the wilderness of Tsavo from the luxury private camp inspired by none other than the honorable Denys Finch-Hatton of ‘Out of Africa’ fame.
  • Feel the thrill of walking where the Tsavo man-eating lions once roamed.
  • Ride in a Vintage 1928 International SS motor Truck as driven by Robert Redford in the film ‘Out of Africa.’
  • Explore the Masai Mara celebrating the era of classic luxury at Cottar’s 1920 which is reminiscent of the 1920s.
  • Enjoy a Heliflip to Lake Rutundu for a champagne breakfast where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.
  • The obviously excellent photographic opportunities throughout this historical journey.
luxury-africa-safrai-kenya-lewa-downs

The luxurious accommodations of Lewa Downs

Rates:

  • January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017    
  • Starting from $19,551 USD per person sharing
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights

Make the Most of the Adventure:

Guests can add to this Kenyan adventure by hopping across the border to Uganda, putting them within reach of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of tracking Gorillas and taking them to the end of the ‘Lunatic Line’ in Kampala.

Complement the Northern section by spending a few nights on Lake Victoria – andBeyond’s travel experts can tailor-make the itinerary.

Specially Created for:

  • History buffs
  • Romance
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Avid photographers

A Luxurious Kenyan Safari fit for a King or Queen

Best Destinations for Ecotourism

Montserrat Volcano

Montserrat Volcano

Ecotourism is no longer trend that started in the 90’s to describe responsible travel to largely untouched areas. Now, it has largely realized its aim by creating an industry of conservation that offers clear benefits to the local community.  Recently, it’s become even more popular as traveler demand has driven a desire for destinations that are eco-friendly and modeled after sustainable practices. Plus, there’s nature and for those who can afford it, they want to escape. These destinations also often offer a bit more in terms of cultural activities and a means to learn more about the soul enriching ways of a local community.

With this in mind, we’re featuring three destinations that inspire: Montserrat, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica –  with unspoiled beaches, uninhabited areas, and archeological sites that can only be accessed by hiking, biking or kayaking.

Lime Tree Cottage 1

Lime Tree Cottage – Montserrat

MONTSERRAT

With its mountainous terrain, hiking the trails on Montserrat is the best way to see the untouched areas of the island. Additionally, diving excursions allow visitors the unique opportunity to see beautiful volcanic rock formations and vibrant marine life that now thrives after the 1995 eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano.

Montserrat’s villas offer prime accommodations for couples, families, friends and even colleagues who long for an affordable upmarket Caribbean getaway with all the amenities of home. The secluded destination provide visitors with the ideal opportunity to experience a traditional Caribbean vacation in tranquil surroundings and away from large chain resorts, crowded beaches and traffic-jammed streets.

Most of the villas offer airport and ferry transfers, car rentals, stocked kitchens, housekeepers, baby-sitting services, cooks, and  villa-specific organized activities during your stay.

http://www.visitmontserrat.com/villas/

Rates start @USD $1,000/per week

From mid-April through mid-November for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa with a housekeeper, swimming pool, wet bar, wireless internet, washer and dryer. These villas are perfect for visitors looking to immerse in Montserrat’s volcano-viewing experience (considered a modern-day Pompeii), rich Irish heritage, bird-watching, hiking trails, aquatic adventures and more.

Argyle Waterfall_Main Ridge Rainforest

Argyle Waterfall – Trinidad & Tobago

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Unlike its Caribbean counterparts, Trinidad & Tobago’s biodiversity is most similar to that of Venezuela. The best way to see its local flora and fauna is by hiking through its many trails, especially the Northern Mountain Range of Trinidad that was once attached to South America and the Main Ridge Rainforest in Tobago, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere. The underwater scenery in Tobago is just as spectacular as it boasts more than 300 different species of coral, especially the largest brain coral in the world.

brain coral - credit Oswin Browne.jpg

Brain Coral (c) Oswin Browne

Acajou Hotel, Trinidad

This small, eco-friendly, family run hotel is situated in a little fishing village called Grande Riviere located on the beautiful and dramatic northern Coast of Trinidad. Flanked by the wide expanse of vegetation on the steep hills of the Northern range, Acajou (the French for ‘tropical wood’) offers travelers the opportunity to be one with nature, view it’s beauty in its simple majesty, rest to the soothing rhythms of the ocean, meditate on its treasures or simply have a unique candlelight dinner. The hotel is built as a group of traditional cottages nestled between the beach, a crystal clear river and mountains covered by lush rainforest. Influenced by Indonesian, Polynesian and Japanese architecture, the cabins are made of local and imported woods, including bamboo and are designed to create a feeling of complete privacy.

www.acajoutrinidad.com or call 868.670.3771

Asa Wright Nature Center Lodge, Trinidad

The original estate house of the former coffee-cocoa-citrus plantation has been beautifully remodeled over the years as a comfortable headquarters where guests gather to watch the incredible bird-life from the fabled verandah. Your observation time there is punctuated by a high tea in the afternoon and ends with a traditional complimentary rum punch cocktail as the sun sets over the Arima Valley. This main house and its several cottages nestled nearby in the lush flower-filled grounds are your home for one of the world’s best birding adventures. Not your classic Caribbean resort, the Centre’s “swimming pool” is a natural grotto on a free-running rain forest stream where guests can relax and escape from the tropical heat. All of the cottages feature rooms with private verandahs and guests can also retreat to their private oasis to observe the brilliantly colored birds found on the Centre grounds.

www.asawright.org

Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Ecolodge, Tobago

Located on the island of Tobago, this small yet intimate lodge is equipped with ten rooms, two of which are executive suites. Each has been tastefully furnished with private balcony. The design of the building has been carefully chosen to facilitate natural lights and air currents. Low wattage bulbs and solar lighting are also used throughout the grounds.  Conservation of water is of great importance given that the property uses rain and spring fed systems and successful practices have included short flushing toilets, rationalized washing and towel changes only when indicated by guests. To further maintain its natural ambiance smooth faced clay blocks and tile are used while furniture and other fixtures are all made from locally manufactured products. The lodge is situated on the edge of Tobago’s forest-the oldest in the western hemisphere. It is surrounded by bamboo groves, fresh water springs, exotic flowers and wildlife.

www.cuffieriver.com or call 868.660.0505

Footprints Eco Resort and Spa, Tobago

This 62-acre property is a designated nature preserve with hiking and bird watching trails galore. With the use of materials such as teak, wallaba slabs, and native recycled hardwood the resort has maximized the consumption of local, yet natural building materials. All rooms are equipped with solar water heaters, gas stoves and photovoltaic lighting. The hotel grows fresh organic herbs and vegetables throughout the property and prepares breads, ice creams, cakes, sauces, and even condiments, fresh daily. Surrounded by the virtually untouched Culloden Reef that begins a few feet from the shoreline of the property and is available for guests to snorkel and scuba dive, the resort offers the comfort of a modern hotel in a purely natural setting.

http://footprintsecoresort.com 

Footprints also makes properties as environmentally sensitive, and in connection with our environment, as possible by:

• Using traditional architecture, and reclaimed, recycled and local materials to a maximum

• Waste management  for grey water, runoff water, sewerage waste, and solid waste

• Fresh water conservation measures including sea water pools

• Kitchen waste and yard waste composting to reduce solid waste and provide organic fertilizer for gardens

• In-house organic garden produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, chicken, and honey for restaurant use to reduce food miles

• Bird and butterfly gardens with local wildflowers, fruit, food, and forest trees to attract wildlife and support the recovery of beneficial insects, such as butterflies and honeybees

• Support for local fishermen and farmers by showcasing local ingredients and traditional cuisine.

As they say, “Food shares the story of our culture through a medium that everyone can enjoy.”

Kariwak Holistic Haven Hotel, Tobago

A holistic haven and hotel, Kariwak Village has carved a distinctive niche with its award winning 2 acre garden bursting with tropical shrubs, foliage and flowering trees filled with bird song, dominated by the thatched roof ajoupa and its teak floor … the venue for Tai Chi, yoga, gentle stretching exercises, Buddhist meditation sessions and similar holistic activities. The Kariwak kitchen is supplied with abundant fresh herbs from the garden, those same herbs are lovingly transformed into delicious Caribbean meals which are served with a friendly smile in the open air restaurant.

www.kariwak.com or call 868.639.8442

Diving in Costa Rica

Diving in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s ecotourism is one that enthusiasts cannot miss, featuring lush forests, thriving ecosystems and breathtaking waterfalls only accessible by foot. Just like Montserrat, Costa Rica has underwater volcanic rock formations which are home to various species of fish, rays, turtles and white-tip reef sharks alongside vibrant coral reefs.

Environmental sustainability is at the heart of Costa Rica’s tourism industry. For that reason, the Costa Rica Tourism Board introduced the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program in 1997. This program differentiates businesses of the tourism sector based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural, social and economic resource management. Visitors who choose to visit CST designated tourism companies such as hotels, tour operators and car rental companies support businesses that take proactive measures to avoid the negative impacts on the environment, culture and society. There are currently 346 hotel, tour operators, car rental agencies and theme parks certified under the program here, so check it out!

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/sostenibilidad.asp?tab=0

Honduras: An Eco-Resort’s Latest Organic Offering

The Lodge at Pico Bonito’s New Organic Spa and More…

Honduras Eco Hotel

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

We’re back from the holidays and we’re already ready to plan our next vacation. You too? If getting back to the grind is inspiring daydreams of ditching it all for a trip away from it all, we have a great suggestion for you…

The majestic jungles of Honduras!

Because really… there’s nothing like being in the middle of the glorious jungle filled with over 40 different types of tropical butterflies, toucans, motmots, and miles of private trails through canyons, waterfalls, and swimming holes. If that’s not reason enough, how about a mystical Temazcal (Mayan sauna) in the center of the jungle to get your trip – and your soul – steered in the right direction?

The Pool at Pico Bonito

The Pool at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Temazcal, which comes from the Nahuatl Word temacalli, means ‘house of heat.’ Originating in the pre-Hispanic indigenous culture in Mesoamerica, legend has it that the dome shape of the steam house represents Mother Earth’s womb, and those taking part in a Temazcal are said to experience a rebirth.

Honduras’ top eco-resort, The Lodge at Pico Bonito, is inviting travelers to abandon the stresses of home, ignite a new outlook on life, and increase circulation of the senses with their new organic spa offerings and we think it sounds like an excellent idea. It’s also been named one of the top 50 eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveler.

Honduras Eco Resort Lodge Pico Bonito

The Lodge at Pico Bonita’s Standard Room in the Center of the Jungle

The new outdoor spa, set to debut on January 15th, will have three circular cabins on stilts to maintain balance and harmony with the natural energies of the environment (one cabin for individual massage, one cabin for couples massage, one cabin with a Vichy shower, one Temazcal, and a nearby plunge pool).

Here some just a few deliciously organic spa offerings:

Revitalizing Cotinga, in the Temazcal, begins with an aromatic steam therapy to oxygenate the pores of your skin. The treatment continues in their Vichy shower with a pineapple exfoliation and a therapeutic anti-inflammatory chamomile mud wrap. (Note: Temazcal rituals need two people per session so bring along your partner for a truly liberating couples experience)

Aromatherapy, or Essential Oil therapy, is also on offer. Taking a holistic approach of using extracts from plants to balance, harmonize and improve the mind, body and soul by using essential oils such as spruce, rosewood spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy. Detox relaxes muscles, improves circulation and relieves joint pain by using essential oils such basil, grapefruit, cypress, marjoram, mint, and lavender to drain and remove toxins.

Organic spa treatment

Organic Ingredients Good Enough to Eat!

Organic Fruit Facials incorporate seasonal fruits like cucumber, melon, banana, lychee, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit, along with cacao and honey, to refreshen your face. The best part? Their 50-minute facial only costs US $45. For those feeling even more romantic, there’s the Romantic Rio Coloradito Treatment, a lavender-fused massage to delete back and neck tensions from all those days sitting at the computer. It’s followed with a warm foot purification scrub (using honey and flowers for her and herbs for him) while sipping on a delicious tea from local fruits and aphrodisiac spices.

Honduran Rafting Excursion!

Honduran Rafting Excursion! (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The eco-lodge is worth the escape alone. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, its five-star amenities are set on the edge of Honduras’ second largest National Park, ten miles from La Ceiba. There’s a trio of four-story observation decks overlooking the jungle canopy and adventures like white water rafting and jungle safaris through protected mangroves make it an unforgettable experience. Plus, with only 22 private cabins, it’s the perfect place to escape city life, in eco-chic style.

www.picobonito.com 

The Eco-Awesome Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf

Who knew that a hotel on SF’s played out pier, could be so cool? Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf multi-million dollar renovations were completed back in 2012 and have since ushered in a fresh new property that’s perfect for families and couples who want to be right on the Wharf. From the moment you step into the lobby, public areas, and guest rooms, you’ll absorb San Francisco’s sweet charm. Also suited for busy business travelers like me, the hotel’s 355 rooms have  flat-screen TVs, premium linens, updated bathrooms, an on-site Business Center, and sleek 24-hour Fitness Center (to burn off that sourdough bowl calm chowdah you just can’t stop eating). We also love the heated outdoor pool – available year-round. 

If that’s not all, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi (!!) and gorgeous views of the bay, making the Radisson one of the best hotels for families in San Francisco. From the hotel’s location at Fisherman’s Wharf, you’re also incredibly close to the area’s best attractions—just steps from ferries to Alcatraz, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco’s historic cable cars and shopping, dining, and entertainment options at Pier 39.

A newly designed room at The Radisson Fisherman Wharf

A newly designed room at The Radisson Fisherman Wharf

Why else do we like it?

All of the Radisson US managed hotels are Green Key certified, and participation overall has doubled since announcing the partnership between Carlson Hotels and the Green Key Eco-Rating program. Together with other labels, more than 90 hotels have received eco-labels. On Earth Day 2011, Carlson also announced their registration for the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the company’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.

Latest Efforts include:

Implementing a Recycling and Composting program that has diverted 75% of their trash to recycle and compost. Recent success include: recycling bins for all guestrooms and public areas; recyclable bags on all housekeeping carts for appropriate disposal; converted the trash compactor to a recycling compactor; scheduled new pick up frequencies with refuse company; installed new recycling bins in all guestrooms and public areas and educated all team members and space lessees on the proper way to dispose of their trash, recyclables, and compostable in the appropriate bins. Every new Radisson employee is required to go through a required Responsible Business Training, which includes social, ethical and environmental responsibility practices. Other eco-awesomeness with Radisson properties include:

  • Radisson Bed Linens Go Green: Radisson is the first hotel brand in the U.S. to introduce bed linens made of Tencel+Plus Lyocell – a new fabric, which uses 100 times less water than cotton in its production. The fabric, produced by Austria’s Lensing Fibers and sold by Valley Forge, is derived from eucalyptus trees grown in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forests which are protected from overcutting. It is the only FSC certified fiber that can contribute to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification points. The linens are required for all Radisson Blu hotels opening in the US and encouraged bedding options for all Radisson hotels in the region.
  • Increased Green Certifications: Green certifications in Carlson Rezidor Americas properties increased 35 percent over 2011 and the brand is well on track to having all its hotels eco-labelled by 2015
  • Improved Consumption Monitoring/Tracking: Carlson Rezidor launched Think Planet to track hotel energy and water consumptions, while managed hotels in the Americas use Energy Star Portfolio Manager
  • Responsible Business Action Month: Carlson Rezidor will continue to host its annual Responsible Business Action Month as a call-to-action for their 35,000+ employees in 70 countries around the world, placing a focused emphasis on sustainable business practices and giving back to communities to make a positive difference on a global, national and local level. Its latest 2012 initiative was the most successful to-date, with an estimated participation of 400 hotels globally contributing to:
    • planting 5,700 trees
    • removing 35,000 gallons of illegal waste from the environment
    • raising over $300,000 for charity, including the World Childhood Foundation
    • donating 13,000 boxes of necessities to those in need
  • Local Property Accountability: Radisson makes continuous efforts to stay closely in-tune with local property management to ensure sustainable practices are being upheld within all of their hotels across the U.S. Such local efforts include eco-friendly LED lighting, the use of Green Seal cleaning products, linen wash/change guest options, and partnerships with non-profit organizations including Clean The World, to whom Radisson donates their discarded soap, shampoo/conditioner and lotion products for processing and re-use among communities in need – eliminating over 750 tons of waste.

Rooms run as low as $175/night!

http://www.radisson.com/san-francisco-hotel-ca-94133/cafisher

The Only Major Resort in the Caribbean to Use Solar to Replace Their Energy Consumption

The View Ain't Too Shabby Either

The View Ain’t Too Shabby Either

We could use a Caribbean vacay right about now and we’re particularly fond of eco-friendly resort options like The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten too. Not only the first Westin hotel or resort in the world, but also the only major resort in the Caribbean to complete and utilize solar panels to replace its energy consumption throughout the resort. Can you believe that? Namely, that it’s the only major resort doing this in a such an ideal location. Get with the program, hoteliers! This game changing move allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times.

Installing the panels

Workers Install Solar Panels at The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa

In fact, the resort began taking advantage of the island’s abundance of sunshine in 2007 with the installation of solar panels to heat the water used in the property’s guest rooms. The resort’s owner, Columbia Sussex Corporation, working with OneWorld Sustainable, completed the installation of 2,602 Lightway solar panels for a total system capacity of 755 kilowatts.

The completed solar system will produce approximately 1,223,000 Kilowatt hours per year. This is enough electricity to power – get this – 111 average sized American homes. The system will avoid 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or the equivalent of CO2 emissions from energy used by 43 homes annually, or 707 acres of forest preserved from deforestation by carbon sequestering.

An Ocean View Room

An Ocean View Room

Dan Szydlowski, Regional Director, says it best. “With sunshine nearly guaranteed year round, we saw only positive attributes to making this capital and environmental sustainability investment.”

So, a shout out to the Westin… and a reminder to other hoteliers to get enLIGHTened!

$345/night

 

 

 

A Little Romance in Monterey, California

A room at The Portola Hotel & Spa

A room at The Portola Hotel & Spa

We love Monterey, California. Maybe it’s all those seals and seagulls. Maybe it’s the sleepy, peaceful craggy coast surroundings that make us want to have a lazy mimosa brunch, sip a warm tea, eat salt water taffy, and hit up the Aquarium. In short, when we’re on the Northern California coast, it’s a clear must visit. There’s just something special in the air.

So, when The Portola Hotel & Spa, told us they were introducing a Romance Package just in time for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to spread the word. As one of the Central Coast’s most romantic destinations, the Portola Hotel & Spa has designed the perfect overnight package for that special getaway. Pop open your complimentary bottle of bubbly paired with gourmet chocolate covered strawberries and let your vacation begin.

The Spa on the Plaza at the Portola Hotel & Spa

The Spa on the Plaza at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Wake up and enjoy the European-style breakfast buffet at Jacks Restaurant, paired with bottomless Mimosas. The fresh coastal air and breathtaking views help set the scene for a weekend not soon to be forgotten. As Monterey’s first and only Silver LEED® EB certified hotel and AAA Four Diamond Rating, the hotel brings travelers a rich, historical ambiance, with 379 nautically inspired guest rooms and suites, ranging from 400 to 1,000 square feet.

champagne

Champers, anyone?

Inspired by the Monterey Peninsula’s landscape and nautical heritage, all rooms feature elegant wood furnishings, large bathrooms, white shuttered windows. Many guest rooms offer private balconies with ocean, garden terrace or pool views. Also home to Jacks Restaurant and Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, the Monterey Peninsula’s first craft brewery. Bottom’s up! In addition, overnight guests have access to the hotel’s spa and fitness facilities, complete with steam room, sauna, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. The newly renovated 6,000-square-foot Spa on the Plaza

The Romance Package includes:

• Guest room

• A warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie upon check-in

• Complimentary bottle of champagne & gourmet chocolate covered strawberries

• Breakfast buffet for two at Jacks Restaurant with bottomless Mimosas

• Heated pool, Jacuzzi & poolside cabanas

Looking for a little more romance? Add a couples Renewal Massage for two at their Spa On the Plaza for an additional $90.00 per person

Book & Stay Dates January 7, 2014 to March 31, 2014

Starting at $339/night

Some restrictions may apply.

http://www.portolahotel.com/

Eco-Luxury in Costa Rica

Kura Design Villas

Kura Design Villas

We were blown away by the amazing design for these two hot eco-friendly lodges in Costa Rica and think they’re two of the best we’ve seen as of late. Now, travelers to Costa Rica can build in two very different  eco-luxury experiences that showcase the evolution of the country’s ecotourism experiences – the multiple award winning, authentic and visionary  Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge in the Osa Peninsula and the less than one year old, critically acclaimed, drop dead gorgeous and sexy Kura Design Villas, just a short 2.5 hour or 150 kilometre journey away in Uvita, and the centre of Ballena Marine National Park.  Recognized as one of the top eco- lodges in Central America, Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge has spent the past 20 years leading by example and incorporating best practices in sustainable tourism. Set within a 1,000 acre rainforest reserve, 900 acres of which are protected into perpetuity thanks to its visionary owners, guests experience firsthand how nature and tourism can coexist in a way that proves that a forest left standing is of far more value than if it was cut down. In 2003, Lapa Rios became the first resort in Costa Rica to receive five-leaf status from the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s (ICT) Certification for Sustainable Tourism.

Lapa Rios Amazing Private Deck

Lapa Rios Amazing Private Deck

The sixteen bungalows were designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the area, and set into the Lapa Rios reserve so that guests sleep among the rainforest, with spectacular ocean and wildlife views. Guides who were once hunters are now conservationists, and provide interpretation for dozens of tours and activities provided both on and off property.  The Lapa Rios reserve also offers three beaches and numerous waterfalls.  Meals are served in the open air Brisa Azul restaurant with views of the Golfo Dulce, and the focus is on fresh, local ingredients and traditional Costa Rican flavours and recipes.  This intense interaction with nature can now be combined with a stay at Costa Rica’s newest, painstakingly designed ecolodge experience, Kura Design Villas in Uvita.  While Lapa Rios embraces the traditional architecture and design of the area, Kura celebrates crisp, clean lines, vibrant colours, local modern art, and modern sustainable materials.  Built high on a mountain ridge in order to capture cool ocean breezes while offering spectacular views, Kura has quickly built a reputation for exceptional cuisine and warm hospitality.   An infinity pool and lounge along with its six beautifully appointed villas may make guests suspect of its carbon footprint, but Kura is being mentored by the best sustainable tourism experts in the country and is currently creating its own art, energy and eco-aesthetics tour for guests wanting to peek behind all the seemingly hi-tech exteriors to find the hi-touch commitment to eco-luxe tourism.

A Room at Kura

A Room at Kura

New this fall is Kura’s full service spa, a separately designed building with floor to ceiling windows to take full advantage of the views high above the rainforest and ocean. Private yoga classes are also available upon request. Kura is surrounded by adventure and activities like whale watching, diving and snorkeling, which can all be arranged.  The small village of Uvita de Osa is located between Dominical, a world-class surfing spot, and Ojochal, a town known for its local culinary traditions. For day trips, Kura is close to Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic calls the fourth most diverse national park in the world.

Rates & Reservations:

Rates for Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge range from $260 to $590 USD per person, based on double occupancy and depending on the season. Rates also include meals, lodging, round trip transfer to Puerto Jimenez (the town nearest Lapa Rios) and several on-property tours. A minimum four day stay is recommended.

www.laparios.com

Guests can round off their Costa Rican eco-luxury tour by spending two to three nights at Kura, where rates range from $440 to $890 USD per villa, and include arrival and departure transportation by private car between the town of Uvita and the hotel. (Note: KURA is closed this October 2013 for upgrading and maintenance).

www.kuracostarica.com

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