Villa Raises High-End Bar in Manuel Antonio
When you first see the Punto de Vista villa in Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, it is immediately apparent that you will not be staying in another tourist destination. You will be a guest in a work of art.
While this is evident from the exterior and on each of the villa’s five floors, it is perhaps best exemplified in the open-air lounge and dining area on the fourth floor of the villa’s west wing. When you enter it, you are compelled to walk to the far corner of the floor. As you near it, you see a panorama of the sequined water of Manuel Antonio’s crescent bay hundreds of meters below, whitecaps dotting the surf and inexplicable rock formations rising from the ocean like nature’s cupcakes.
You are lost in this view until, as if tapped on the shoulder by a stranger, your rational mind returns from this daydream and you realize you are standing at the very end the floor. There is no column supporting the ceiling, there are no walls enclosing you, and only the glass guardrail keeps you from walking right off the edge. Though you are still underneath a fifth floor and completely shielded from all weather, you feel a bit disoriented.
“Am I still inside, or am I outside?”
The answer is: both.
“The goal was to bring all the things we like about the exterior into the interior,” said David Konwiser, the architect of Punto de Vista and the villa’s co-owner, along with his family. “You are sitting at the dinner table, sharing time with family or friends, and over their shoulder you can see and hear the waves as they hit the rocks on the beach.”
The architectural engineering behind Konwiser’s impressive creation melds concepts of design and physics, combining the laws of physics and design techniques to support the building’s weight in nontraditional and artistic forms.
And what Konwiser has created on a hill in Manuel Antonio is indeed art.
Looking up from in front of the villa, the structure of the building appears to be in the shape of an eagle. A central, triangular-shaped, five-story section is flanked by two similar, outward jutting sections. Konwiser describes them as “hawk’s wings” or a “ship with wings.” And in fact, much of Punto de Vista was created to loosely replicate a ship, though vertical, and of course on land.
The front of the villa, which acts as the bow of the ship, points outward toward the sea. Running the height of the bow on the central section of the villa is a dazzling tile mural that climbs the building, depicting images of marine and terrestrial life in a rainbow of colors. The mural, created by Costa Rican artist Javier Mena, took almost six months to build in sections prior to being installed on the villa.
The opulence of Punto de Vista’s interior is truly majestic, from floor one to the wowing improbability of the roof deck, bar and hot tub on the ceiling floor.
The ground floor of the villa serves as a sort of open-air ballroom. The floor of the ballroom, which looks almost like the coat of a giraffe, is covered by hundreds of round, crosscut wafers of teak trees, sanded and polished beneath the dance floor. The full glass windows that surround the room open up to the pool areas on each side. There is a luscious bar in the corner, and a mezzanine level is lofted to overlook the ballroom floor.
Punto de Vista was designed for events, large gatherings and, in particular, for weddings. The villa sleeps up to 27 people.
“Weddings have been our biggest market thus far,” Konwiser said. “The wedding can be held on the roof deck, the guests can all stay in the villa, the rehearsal dinner can be held on the fourth floor terrace, and the reception can be held downstairs in the ballroom. An entire wedding week can all be held here.”
To fully detail the visual splendor and architectural master of Punto de Vista would take the entire Weekend section. But perhaps the words of famed Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei may serve as an apt descriptor. Pei, best known for designing the East Wing of the U.S. National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the glass pyramid in the Louvre Museum in Paris, was the first guest at Punto de Vista in January. While there, Pei stood alongside Konwiser at a fourth-floor window of the hotel one night. He scanned the view, observed the design, grinned and put his hand on Konwiser’s shoulder.
“This, David,” Pei said, “is your tour de force.”
Konwiser said he was flattered to have his longtime idol give him such a compliment, but at the same time, it concerned him.
“Your tour de force is like your pinnacle. Like you’ve done something at your peak capability and you can’t ever create anything like it again,” Konwiser said. “I hope that’s not true. I’d like to think I’ve still got something else left in me.”
From San José, take the Caldera Highway west and follow signs to Jacó and then Quepos. From Quepos, take the winding road up through Manuel Antonio. From the Hotel Mariposa, go down the hotel road and take the first left on the unpaved beach road to Playitas. The road goes downhill and wraps right. Punta de Vista is on the right side of the road en route to the beach. Both Nature Air (www.natureair.com) and Sansa (www.flysansa.com) serve the Quepos domestic airport.
Punto de Vista villa is rented by the week to private groups for luxury stays, weddings and retreats. A booking includes your own butler as well as gourmet dining, service staff and more. Introductory rates are $1,750 per night in low season and $2,000 per night in high season for up to 12 people; a surcharge applies for each additional guest. The villa can sleep up to 27.
For reservations, contact Christien Johnson ([email protected]) at 8841-8411, or visit www.puntodevistacr.com.
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