LOST in the woods along a sinuous road through the hills of Heredia, the Hotel Chalet Tirol is reinvigorating its quiet allure.
The Costa Rican family – owned hotel recently opened three new scenes on the grounds: the Tirol Jazz Club, the Green Dragon Pub and Grill, and the Café Eiffel.
Built more than 20 years ago in the style of a villa in the Alps, the hotel of brick plazas and wooden A-frames has remained faithful to its European theme – only now with one North American musical innovation.
THE jazz club, architecturally reminiscent of a Tudor theater, bills itself as having the best of local and international live jazz bands on the weekends.
The design, if not just the music, is particularly note worthy.
Ornamental carved and painted rafters bear the weight of the lofty ceiling, as do the stucco walls.
Doors are framed in brick and gold-leaf curls in false arches, there is a herring-bone wooden floor and a brick fireplace, a narrow balcony over the main entrance and, of course, the stage for the band.
For those who look up, the prize will be the chandeliers of multi-colored glass bottles.
Treats are available from the kitchen –it specializes in English, French and American foods – as are a selection of fine wines, liquors, and cigars.
THE pub and grill is a replica of an old Scottish pub, subtly divided with banisters, tiers and partial walls into a dining room, a raised bar counter of fine woods and granite, and a bar with smaller cocktail tables.
It is one of the few places in the country where a salsa-weary traveler or anyone looking for a familiar (or exotic) change of pace, can listen to classic rock and drink a Guinness or an Irish coffee. Not to be pigeon-holed, the music strays from United States and British favorites to Celtic, Jazz and (rarely) bagpipes.
The lighting is subdued, the walls of dark wood are lined near the ceiling with mugs, and the ceilings are broken up with false split-log supports.
Alvaro Batalla, son of the owner by the same name, points out it would not be a proper pub without a dart board, and, indeed, there is one in a narrow parlor just outside the dining room near the hotel’s front desk.
THE Café Eiffel is a quaint bakery and café, serving pastries, croissants, and various stuffed breads.
The luxury should not frighten off the budget-minded, the dishes and drinks are all reasonably priced, if not downright cheap.
BATALLA expects to open a game room for the guest’s children. For the room, he is borrowing ideas from his own kids – not an outdated ball room or stuffed-animal jails, this one will be well updated in the digital age with video games and televisions.
The hotel also features a gourmet restaurant, 14 suites, 10 chalets, a conference room for business meetings, tennis courts and trails through the neighboring cloud forest reserve – the BraulioCarrilloNational Park.
To get there, take the highway to Monte de la Cruz from Heredia, the hotel is three kilometers from the Castillo Country Club.
For more info, call 267-6222 or e-mail [email protected]