PURISCAL – HIDDEN off the road about an hour southwest of San José, Hotel La Finca Que Ama peeks out from behind its beige stucco gates. Inside, a forest of pochote and mango trees stretch out beyond the five duplexes of varying Mediterranean yellows and pinks.
The concept of Hotel La Finca Que Ama is a “a cross between a bed and breakfast and a luxury hotel,” says owner Neta Talmor
The hotel consists of 10 casitas built along the hillside, which Talmor refers to as junior suites. Each room is individually named and decorated. The color scheme in Vino (wine) is a rich burgundy, while Cielo (sky) has a blue motif, and so on. The rooms have a contemporary feel, with artwork dotting the walls. Above each bed are photos taken by her boyfriend, Arbel Ratzin, that reflect each room’s theme.
EACH suite has a sitting area with a couch, television with DirecTV, DVD player and mini-refrigerator, a sleeping area with a queen-size bed set off by a partial wall and a bathroom with whirlpool tub. To emphasize privacy, each room has a private entrance and terrace. Bottled water, coffee and tea, as well as a selection of snacks are complimentarily stocked in each suite.
BREAKFAST is included and guests have the option of adding meals at an allinclusive rate or purchasing meals separately.
Breakfast consists of breads, fruit and varying morning standards. Depending on the number of guests, it is either served as buffet or with shared dishes for each table.
Talmor is quick to point out that the hotel does not have a restaurant, with all meals prefixed and including soup or salad, main course and dessert. Talmor asks guests beforehand if they have any dietary restrictions.
The meals, planned by Talmor’s mother, have an international flavor and the cuisine varies from night to night, including French, Italian, Mediterranean and Costa Rican dishes. Salads and vegetables are shared among couples or families. House wines are included with dinner.
THE view from the terrace outside the dining room is breathtaking. An outdoor bar and tables are set up so that guests can take in the rolling hills and natural beauty often with reggae, playing lightly in the background. Wanting to create a hotel that would be a serene getaway, Talmor was drawn to the property by the scenery.
The hotel also has trails that weave in through the property. Along several in the reforestation area along the property’s edge, visitors can get an up close look at the pochote trees, descended from prehistoric times that are covered with thick sharp spikes. Other trails lead through the wooded area to a nearby brook.
Keeping the property as natural as possible was a high priority. In constructing the main building and the casitas, the couple designed the hotel so that only one tree would need to be removed, which included building the patio of one casita around a mango tree.
The hotel is ideal for those traveling to the Pacific, as well as Turu Ba Ri Park. As far as Talmor is aware, it is the only hotel within 40 kilometers of the park.
However, in founding La Finca Que Ama, Talmor wanted to make the inn itself a place “where people go simply because of the hotel.” For years, she dreamt of running her own business, it was only a matter of the opportunity presenting itself.
Talmor, who is originally from Israel and attended college in the United States, saw the chance to become involved in the hotel business in Costa Rica after hearing about it when Ratzin’s sister and her husband visited the country. After thoroughly researching the idea, Talmor and Ratzin moved to Costa Rica in 2001.
WITH family providing the backing, the idea became a reality. Talmor has overseen every detail, from construction plans to the day-to-day operations with Ratzin, an artist and illustrator, helping her along the way. Although he prefers to step back and let Talmor the decisions, she credits Ratzin as a driving force behind her success.
Providing personalized service and little comforts is La Finca Que Ama’s specialty. Talmor recalled an instance when a visiting couple wanted cigarettes.
Although the inn didn’t have them, Ratzin made the drive to pick some up.
“It’s the little things that make such a big difference and make people so happy,” says Talmor. “We want to give people an experience that is special.”
Rooms for two people during the high season, including taxes, are $173. With meals, rooms are $231. Lunch is $9, dinner $25.
For more info or reservations, visit www.costaricafinca.com or call 419-0110.
BY CAR: Take the highway from San José to Ciudad Colón. Continue from Ciudad Colón to Santiago de Puriscal and exit Puriscal on the road leading to San Pablo de Turrubares. The hotel is 19 kilometers after Puriscal, on the main road, on the right-hand side.