Why El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica |
As a member of Relais & Chateaux group of hotels and a Virtuoso supplier, I knew El Silencio Lodge & Spa in Costa Rica would be a luxurious retreat. Checking it out on the website, it was reminiscent of one of my favorite resorts, the Lodge at Pico Bonito in La Ceiba, Honduras. In person, it was everything I had hoped for.
When we began our journey to El Silencio Lodge & Spa in Bajos Del Toro, adjacent to Poas Volcano, I had hoped the 90 minute trip from the airport would be an easy one, following two, 2-1/2+ hour plane rides that originated in the wee morning hours. The ride through the mountains took us through Sarchi, famous for its painted wooden oxen carts and furniture craft, winding through narrow passages and shanty villages. Our relief at finding this hidden gem was only surpassed by the serenity of its pristine landscapes and organic designs.
The remoteness of the resort would be worth it, I rationalized, with the promise of hikes around the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica within easy proximity. Unfortunately, we soon learned, the park and crater had been closed to visitors due to recent eruption, and had only reopened this week, with limited half-hour access to visitors. We decided to forgo the 2 hour ride through the mountains to Poas and to immerse ourselves instead in the beauty of this elegant eco resort. With on-site nature trails, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, nearby waterfalls, spa, stables and adventure park, we would be entertained sufficiently for the duration of our three-night stay.
Sprawled across 500 acres of private cloud forest reserve, the resort offers suites and villas strategically tiered to maximize vistas of the mountains and river landscapes. We were graciously welcomed at reception with a pineapple-spearmint mocktail while we were initiated on the facilities and schedules for the on-site restaurant and complimentary Mystic Hike, lead each morning by a naturalist.
The luxurious amenities in our standard suite included large windows with blackout and privacy screens, ceiling fans (no air conditioning, but none needed at these temperate heights), private deck with super-comfy leather-back rocking chairs, private outdoor whirlpool spa, ornamental bamboo decorative features and canopied ceilings. Suites also feature an in-room safe, coffee maker, hair dryer and mini fridge, plus organically sourced shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (available for sale in the spa and gift shop).
In the midst of Costa Rica’s “rainy season”, we were one of only a few guests at the resort, which made this retreat even more special. The welcoming touches included freshly squeezed orange juice delivered each morning and hot cocoa and cookies delivered to our suite every afternoon between 4 – 6 p.m. The “turn-down” service rewarded us with hot water bottles under our Egyptian cotton sheets and locally sourced bedside chocolates when we returned from dinner each night.
Our first night dining in the Las Ventanas restaurant was especially magical. I had advised the resort we would be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, which prompted a premium location in front of the stone fireplace adjacent to the main restaurant. The fare was fresh and elegantly prepared, served with a smile by Juan-Carlos (not Juan, not Carlos, but Juan-Carlos, we joked). Complemented by an excellent Malbec from a selection of wines precariously suspended from racks above us.
Breakfast was included in our room rate, a buffet selection of fresh fruits and juices, eggs, sausage, and gallo pinto, a typical stir-fry of rice and beans enjoyed by locals. A selection of fresh omelettes, french toast and other made-to-order hot dishes could also be ordered from the menu, each served with freshly baked bread and a “daily” butter spread of mixed herbs, along with a complement of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee.
Tucked behind the main road and across from the hillside villas, there is a bridge suspended over a running brook that leads past the spa, to the 4 Elements trail. Marked by stone, moss-covered monoliths, the four elements: earth, water, wind and fire, are perfectly enshrined in their natural enclaves for quiet mediation. Embraced by nature’s elements, this trail quickly became my favorite path to serenity and introspection. Together with a sublime outdoor yoga deck, this was a perfect sanctuary for a yogic retreat.
Quite out of character for Marshall, we agreed to indulge in a 60-minute “revitalization” massage at the Esencia Spa on our last full day. Customized for each of us according to our preferred style, aroma, oils or creams, we were treated (separately) in sky-lit cabanas submerged by forest, engulfed by the sounds of howler monkeys, allowing us to drift dreamily.
Under new management, El Silencio Lodge & Spa appears to be sustaining all elements of its charter- “a luxury retreat for travelers who seek authentic experiences and a deep connection to nature”. New family villas featuring two separate bedrooms, living and dining rooms and full-service kitchens, are scheduled to be completed next year, indicating management’s confidence and commitment to this idyllic lifestyle retreat.
El Silencio Lodge & Spa is recommended for discriminating travelers seeking a way to get in touch with themselves through quiet introspection, nature and yoga. Also great for honeymooners and couples who’d like to reconnect, families and small group retreats.
El Silencio Spa & Yoga Deck