THREE self-described country boysfrom Georgia spent last year resurrectingand breathing new life, style and personalityinto a central-Pacific beachfront hotelthat has leapt from being woefully neglectedto simply elegant.The newly renovated Delfín BeachfrontResort opened its doors for businessjust before Christmas 2004. The delightedfirst guests, a family from Holland, havealready made reservations to return at theend of this year.“Those wonderful people literallyarrived with the furniture,” laughed part ownerEddie McGehee, who oversaw therenovation effort that began the day afterEaster 2004. “We’ve come a long way in ashort time.”THE Delfín Beachfront Resort is theonly hotel on quaint and quiet PlayaBejuco, 31 kilometers south of the busybeach town of Jacó. The seaport of Queposand Manuel Antonio National Park areonly about 30 minutes south of Bejuco.Hence, hotel guests enjoy the proximity ofvaried tourist activities without beingimmersed in it. They can also enjoy one ofCosta Rica’s widest walking and joggingbeaches, as well as sensational sunsets secondto none.Ideally situated just behind a gravelbeachfront road, the Delfín is swept bysoft ocean breezes that skip through theopen lobby, dining area and bar. Animpressive 40-foot vaulted ceiling craftedout of more than two miles of teak andalmond wood towers over the diningroom, and the charming curved whitestaircase leading to the second floor isreminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara’s belovedTara in “Gone with the Wind.”The custom-built bar showcases preciousCosta Rican woods, cenízaro (ash)and nazareno (purple heart). It opens ontoboth lobby and pool areas, seats 20 andoffers DIRECTV to patrons.“WHEN I sat here in that dilapidatedold building last year and envisioned whatit could be, I could see that bar in mymind,” said the affable McGehee, addingthat the endangered purple heart wood wassalvaged from an old rancho nearby. “Youcouldn’t tell what it was because of yearsof abuse, but we re-milled it and the colorcame back.”The circular dining room, which seats40, fronts on the ocean and is a stage fordancing green and blue hues that spillthrough several stained-glass windows inthe late afternoons. Meals are kept simple and the menu is being refined.“We’ve got a lot of American fare,pasta, fruits and veggies, and we’ll soonhave Black Angus certified beef,”McGehee said. “But fish is the most populardish. Our seafood is always fresh…Most of what you’ll order was swimmingthe day before.”THE hotel’s 17 air-conditioned roomsare tastefully decorated and have privateterraces with either ocean or pool views.Water from the thatch-roofed Jacuzzi constantlyflows via a small waterfall into theblue-and-white-tiled pool, the floor ofwhich is decorated with a couple of happydolphin designs. McGehee said futureplans for the pool area include a rancho forhotel-sponsored barbecues, “like we’reused to at home.”“Home” for McGehee and his partners,entrepreneurs Floyd Wimpy andVernon Grizzle, is a friendly little towncalled Dahlonega in the mountains ofnorth Georgia.“It’s a beautiful place with mountainsfor a backdrop,” said McGehee, who has“been torn between the mountains and theocean all my life… so this is the ideal placefor me. The spiritually cleansing ocean liesat my doorstep, and the mountains are lessthan an hour away.”IN addition to bathing trunks andlofty hotel plans, it’s evident McGeheebrought to Playa Bejuco a big bucket ofthat oh-so-famous Southern charm andhospitality.In his self-effacing manner and slowSouthern drawl, McGehee summed upwhy this small, unassuming hotel on aquiet, secluded beach works: “You know,we don’t have much experience in thehotel business, but it is the hospitalitybusiness and we have that kind of attitude.“My partners and I are just countryboys, but we were raised to be hospitableand we work hard to please our guests.”The reception desk at the Delfín willhelp arrange a variety of area activities,such as sportfishing, surfing, snorkeling,horseback riding, hang gliding and variouscruises, as well as tours including canopy,jungle and beach, ATVs and twin-engineaerial.High-season rates per room range from$95-140 per night, plus tax. Call 778-8054or visit www.delfinbeachfront.com.