The first thing guests should note about Out of Bounds Lodge and B&B is the view – it is quite simply spectacular.
The hotel enjoys a fabulous location on a hill above the western San José suburb of Escazú, and all five of the rooms look out across the city to Irazú, Poás and Barva volcanoes in the distance. As dusk turns to darkness and the lights begin to twinkle across the valley, it is hard not to be enchanted.
Some initial confusion as to whether a room was available for viewing was rectified by Meranda Glesby, 30, who owns the hotel with her Tico-Italian husband Matteo and whose eagerness to please and commitment to the business are evident.
Once we were allowed to view the rooms, we discovered that they are beautiful. The decoration is light and clean yet cozy, with attractive hardwood flooring and sumptuous-looking beds.
Glesby is understandably proud of the fact that she personally designed each room. She emphasized that Tico artisans produced almost everything, from the attractive artwork on the walls to the simple but stylish side tables and intricately painted basins in the spacious bathrooms.
“We tried to keep to a Costa Rican style but just make it a little more modern. I put my love into it,” she said.
Each room has cable TV, and CD and DVD players may be rented. Wireless Internet is available throughout, and laundry facilities are offered. The rooms are nonsmoking, but guests may smoke outside.
Between them, the owners speak English, Spanish and Italian.
While constantly looking to improve the hotel’s amenities, for example by installing a pool or hot tub in the future, Glesby clearly has faith in the style of the hotel and the service she offers.
“We don’t want to expand because our clients like the privacy and how quiet it is,” she said. “We don’t want to mess with a good thing.”
That is not to say there is a lack of ambition for the future.
“We want to be ‘Out of Bounds Everywhere’: on the beach, at Arenal,” Glesby said.
“But we want to do it slowly because we are a family business. We want to take our time and do it right, make sure we do it properly.”
A bonus for Out of Bounds guests is that this is not just a hotel. The idea of offering accommodation grew from the Out of Bounds Tourist Center, which Glesby and her husband have run for the past three years.
“We were so busy doing the tourist center, but sending all the business to the hotels down the road. So we said to ourselves, ‘We have the same beautiful view; why don’t we build our own hotel?’” Glesby said.
As the name suggests, the initial focus of the agency was adventure activities, including mountain biking and surfing, which the owners ran themselves.
Now, however, the tourist center has a broader scope. The couple now deals with other providers and offers to arrange entire holidays through customized packages –anything from organizing car rentals and reserving hotels to booking tours or even facilitating dental treatment at the nearby Dentavac clinic.
“With us having the hotel as well, we are able to give a great service instead of forwarding (guests) on to someone else and not guaranteeing that they are going to get the 100% service that we promised them,” Glesby said. “Now we can make sure that absolutely everything is taken care of and that (guests) have a good time.”
While the venture is clearly a business, it still retains an awareness of the community.
Glesby works with several local organizations, including Helping Hands Costa Rica (www.helpinghandscr.com), and says the hotel’s goal is to donate 5% of its earnings to good causes.
If you are looking to stay on the west side of San José, Out of Bounds is definitely worth consideration.
Location, Rates, Info
Out of Bounds Lodge and B&B is on the old road to Santa Ana in Escazú, opposite the Taj Mahal restaurant. Double-occupancy rates range from $65 to $110 per room, per night, in the low season (May 1 to Nov. 30) and from $75 to $120 in the high season. Breakfast, either Tico or American, is included, and kids under 12 stay free if sharing with an adult. For info, call 288-6762, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.bedandbreakfastcr.com.