It’s a landmark on Tamarindo’s main road and in many ways a symbol for the rapid growth of the area: the Hotel Diria, a hotel that has been a staple of the popular Guanacaste beach town’s tourism scene for more than 20 years.
The Diria Hotel, which was named after the Chorotega indigenous caciques, was purchased in 1992 by Wolfgang Gollas of Germany and his business associate, Edmund Weber. In 2003 Weber passed away, leaving Gollas in charge of the business.
When they bought the hotel, it only had one building with 70 rooms, which allowed them to extend the business to the other side of the street.
“We had the space to grow, and in the years of ’94 and ’95 we began seeing the possibility and potential of the place. We began purchasing more land,” Gollas told The Tico Times.
However, the tourism boom in Tamarindo came with several problems.
“At the end of the 90s… there was an incredible boom with the real estate. An explosion began. It was all exaggerated because there was no planning and no regulatory plan. It was all in a chaotic form and uncontrolled,” Gollas recalled.
Within that boom, Gollas was able to increase the hotel’s capacity from 70 rooms to 183 rooms, and build the Diria Condominiums with 12 units in 2000. In 2007, he built the Matapalo Condominium with 36 units.
Gollas recalls that in 2008, Tamarindo’s growth was affected by the international financial crisis, but the Diria was able to overcome it.
“Real estate and tourism were dead. There were developers who had to come back for the money and disappeared. The difference with us was that we were already established here with the hotel,” Gollas said.
In 2013, Gollas purchased the neighboring hotel Jardín del Edén and transformed it into a boutique hotel, and built the Diria Grand Boulevard with restaurants and shops.
The boulevard includes the Flying Bull restaurant, Nari Pasta and Pizza, and the Gallo Fino restaurant, as well as a casino and conference room for events.
All this development meant addressing water management issues, a crucial topic in dry Guanacaste. Gollas had a water treatment plant built within the Diria complex.
“The first investment we made when buying this in ’92 was the construction of a water treatment plant over there [points at Jardín del Edén]. We had a lot of issues because they didn’t know what to do with the chlorinated water,” Gollas said.
The beachfront location has been key to Diria’s growth, Gollas says, as well as the focus on keeping the hotel Costa Rican in spirit.
“We’re a tico hotel because of the tradition: people come to the country to find something typical about it. The food, the decoration, the people,” Gollas said.
To learn more about this Guanacaste community, visit our Tamarindo archives here.
Watch this video about the Tamarindo Diria Hotel and its amenities:
Hotel Diria in Tamarindo donated lunch to The Tico Times at La Plumería restaurant in Jardín del Edén during our coverage of the Ocaso Music Festival, as well as a tour throughout the Diria complex in Tamarindo. For more information visit their web site or Facebook page.