Perched high in the hills above the bustling beach town of Tamarindo on the northern Pacific coast, the Mirador ocean-view bed-and-breakfast is luxurious but unpretentious, elegant yet understated. Graceful wrought ironwork adorns the balconies and downstairs doorways. Rooms are decorated in a sophisticated, simplistic manner. Everything from the solid-colored bedding to the simple wicker rocking chairs is designed to emphasize peace and tranquillity.
Although the Mirador has only five intimate suites, the three-story property possesses a truly immense feel. Inviting beds make it tempting to spend an entire weekend lounging indoors, while mammoth windows allow the sunlight to gently serve as nature’s alarm clock (though there are blackout curtains for those determined to sleep in).
Enormous closets beckon guests to organize their belongings, helping to make the Mirador feel more like a home and less like a hotel. Other amenities include daily housekeeping, high-speed wireless Internet and an incredibly friendly staff. All rooms are equipped with convenient features such as iPod docking stations and LCD television screens, while thick walls and solid floors create a feeling of utmost privacy. On-site spa and massage services are practically irresistible, and guests dabbling in the culinary arts will fall in love with the full kitchen and enormous wooden dining table.
The Grand Suite is the most striking of all, featuring a bed massive enough for an average-sized adult to stretch out completely sideways, parallel to the headboard. It also has a private balcony with a 180-degree view of the ocean, set so high above the treetops that birds can be seen ducking and diving from tree to tree far below.
Downstairs, the hardwood deck by the swimming pool begs to be used for early-morning and sunset yoga sessions, and the pool is partially covered so it can be enjoyed rain or shine.
At breakfast, fresh premium coffee is served with either a Costa Rican meal of scrambled eggs, gallo pinto (a traditional rice-and-beans dish), plantains and fresh fruit, or one of the house’s signature dishes, ranging from quiche to French toast. Raleigh, the Mirador’s docile chocolate Lab, hangs out in the background, watching for dropped scraps of food she can collect once everyone’s finished. Her friendly presence completes the property’s homey vibe, and it’s a rare occasion when a guest doesn’t ask to take her home. (Note: Raleigh is not up for adoption.)
When night falls, all that can be heard is the music of cicadas in the trees mixed with the soothing sounds of the ocean in the distance. A complimentary beverage is served to each guest at sunset, bringing everyone together. An extensive wine cabinet and a refrigerator full of ice-cold domestic beers are also available.
Although it seems remote thanks to its elevated location, the Mirador is not so far from town that you can’t go exploring. Guests are just a 10-minute walk or a $2 cab ride from the town center, where they’ll find a slew of restaurants offering everything from sushi to Italian cuisine, not to mention Tamarindo’s legendary nightlife, with dozens of bars and a handful of dance clubs to choose from.
Since its grand opening in March, the Mirador has hosted numerous retreats custom-designed to benefit various charitable organizations, particularly those focused on environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation. Partial owners Chris Watkins and Peter Heidenreich put together complete vacation packages that include accommodations, tours to area attractions and, more often than not, sportfishing.
Watkins and Heidenreich moved to the northwestern province of Guanacaste in late 2008 to start sportfishing company Go Fish Costa Rica. The region is widely known as one of the best places in the country to catch billfish such as marlin and sailfish. Go Fish is in the process of creating a reality television show called “The Bill Collectors,” based on a competition among four local sportfishing boats and their crews. (Think along the lines of “Deadliest Catch,” but a version in which visitors can actually participate during their stay.) The new series is scheduled to be filmed later this year by local videographer Diego Mejías.
Watkins and Heidenreich pull out all the stops to make sure guests have the absolute best Costa Rican experience possible.
“We want people to leave their concerns in their suitcase when they unpack,” Heidenreich says.
The two give honest, insightful recommendations and organize a variety of activities, from canopy tours to horseback riding excursions and surfing lessons. Guests simply decide what they want to do, and the staff arranges the rest.
“It’s a completely effortless process on the guests’ part,” Watkins says. “We had a guy who wanted to fly up in a helicopter from Jacó [on the central Pacific coast] and land in Tamarindo. We organized everything and made it happen. If you can dream it, we can do it.”
Tamarindo is four to five hours’ drive from San José and an hour’s drive from Liberia, capital of Guanacaste province. Domestic airlines Nature Air (www.natureair.com) and Sansa (www.flysansa.com) both serve the Tamarindo airport daily.
The Mirador is a short distance from the center of town. Turn left at the Tamarindo gym, near Gil’s burrito restaurant. Continue 300 meters to the second left, turn here and the Mirador will be on the left.
Rates range from $120 to $275 per night, depending on the suite and time of year. Full-property rental and a variety of packages are offered as well. For information, call 8302-6514 or 888-434-7491, email [email protected] or visit www.tamarindomirador.com.