Sunday, October 30, 2011

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort and Hotel

Located in a Cloud Forest near San Ramon, Costa Rica is Villa Blanca Resort and Spa, another Greentique Hotel owned by Jim Damalas. The resort is literally located in the middle of nowhere – you’ll be driven up and down huge mountains and up a dirt road to the resort.

But once you arrive – the view will take your breath away.

The main lobby is atop a hill overlooking the Arenal Volcano in the distant (it is one hour to get to the volcano from the resort). We had a clear day view of the volcano spitting smoke from the top. The lobby is wonderfully warm and inviting – with leather couches, beautiful wood throughout and fireplaces. The resorts restaurant, movie theater, game room, gift shop and internet computer are located here. (There is also free wireless access in the lobby).

After checking in, you’ll be directed to a private (or semi-private) cottage of your own. Each cottage has a king sized bed, a fireplace with two chairs facing it, mini-bar and bathroom. The bathrooms have full glass around them with a view of the forest outside your room. Our room was a connecting room perfect for families. There is a porch with rocking chairs where you can sit and enjoy the quiet and views.

There are two unique features to this resort – a beautiful wedding chapel, where weddings can be held, and a bio-research station. The resort was originally owner by President Rodrigo Carazo Odio and his wife Estrella . For his 50th wedding anniversary, he built the chapel for his wife as a gift. The ceiling consists of hundreds of hand painted tiles his sister-in-law created, a replica of a church their daughter visited outside of Rome. The church is situated on perfectly manicured gardens with a view of the cloud forest behind it – a stunning view.

The bio-research lab studies butterflies and moths. Moths are affected very much by climate change and studying the changing habits of them are increasing worldwide knowledge of how global warming is affecting the planet.

There is one restaurant located on property and the food was very good here. The chefs cook right in front of you and Mr. Damalas has a female head chef, which we were told is very rare. A continental breakfast is included in your resort rate and lunch and dinner prices are reasonable - a good thing because there is nothing at all near the resort. You can book canopy excursions, hiking excursions, and even trips to the volcano from here.

There are no air conditioners or televisions at this resort. Ceiling fans cool the room nicely. There is a small movie theater that has a weekly menu of movies each night. There is a spa with extremely good prices. At the time we were there, Management was negotiating a contract with a new spa company and there were only four treatments available – but I had a Swedish Massage that cost $76 and was supposed to be for 50 minutes – but lasted an hour and 20 minutes. It was a wonderful way to end the day before bed!

One of the very unique things about this hotel are the many hiking trails. You can do a self guided tour on one of the trails or have a guide take you on one of the other three. The guides are excellent – they pointed out many of the different species of trees we were looking at and explained much about how the cloud forest interacts with vegetation. We saw many butterflies as well on the trails.This hotel is wonderful for a few nights or nature, romance and relaxation.

Call us for more information or to see our pictures. 516-608-0568.

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