Waking up at 15 Love in Tamarindo is like waking up at Wimbledon with an oceanfront view.
The small bed-and-breakfast, named by its owners for their passion for tennis, is quietly nestled into the side of a hill, about a 15-minute walk from downtown Tamarindo, on the northern Pacific coast.
The hotel is the vision of former Belgian tennis star Oliver Vanhoute and his wife, Emilie Cieslik. The quaint size of the bed and-breakfast allows the couple to pay close, congenial attention to their guests.
Because the hotel has only three rooms and one suite, guests are more like neighbors and friends to the Belgian pair than oneweek visitors from distant cities.
“I really like the small size of the place,” Cieslik says. “We really get to know our guests well, and I’ve met people from all over the world.”
Vanhoute first gained interest in moving to Tamarindo after a 10-day visit to Costa Rica in 1999. One year later, he bought the property where the bed-and-breakfast now sits and built two tennis courts.
In June 2002, the couple opened the courts and ran a tennis club for locals and visitors. They opened the bed-and-breakfast in 2006.
The hotel entrance opens onto a small dipping pool backed with palm trees and red mats for relaxing, with a blue, wave-shaped bar off to the right. Just beyond the pool are the hotel’s tennis courts, open to guests and others who wish to use them.
The view past the tennis courts continues over palm leaves and branches full of coconuts, out to the Pacific Ocean. On clear nights, the stars light the courts, and the sound of crashing waves drowns out the buzz of the bars in Tamarindo.
During the day, guests can take advantage of the tennis courts and Vanhoute’s skills. A surf and tennis package is also available combining lodging, tennis lessons from Vanhoute and surf lessons through the TamarindoSurfSchool.
Rooms are decorated in simple, modern, IKEA-like style. Red and white make up the recurring color theme.
“We thought the red and white with the green surroundings would make a good contrast,” Vanhoute says.
Each room is equipped with its own balcony overlooking the tennis courts and bordered by tropical plants on each side. Guests can share a friendly chat in the morning while watching Vanhoute patiently teach students how to swing a racket.
After a full day of surfing and swimming on the nearby beaches of Playa Grande or Playa Langosta, guests can return to 15 Love and relax with a cold, Costa Rican brew or a freshly blended natural fruit smoothie – pineapple, banana, strawberry, blackberry and others.
Both Cieslik and Vanhoute, now seasoned veterans in a beach town that is developing and expanding almost daily, can offer knowledgeable advice about the area and its attractions.
“We’re always here for the guests,” Cieslik says, dressed in a white tennis skirt as she prepares to square off against her husband on the courts. “Any questions they have or any recommendations they need, they can ask us any time.”
Getting There, Rates, Info
15 Love is 200 meters before Hotel El Jardín del Edén, on the way into Tamarindo.
Rates are $115 for a room and $155 for a suite, including à-la-carte breakfast and access to the tennis courts. A three-day Surf and Tennis package is available for $591, including three private surfing lessons and three tennis sessions.
For information and reservations, call 2653-0898 or visit www.15lovebedandbreakfast.com.