I’m currently updating the hotel and restaurant section of my Eyewitness Costa Rica travel guidebook and I’m reminded of a highlight from my two month research trip to Costa Rica last autumn for a new edition of Moon Costa Rica.

Every trip delivers me to at least one sensational new hotel.

Last October I stayed (as the first-ever overnight guest, because the hotel was still in the final stage of construction) at a true knock-out–Kurà Design Villas, perched high above Uvita mid-way down Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.

Talk about sexy!

In fact, the two young Costa Rican owners, architect Martin Wells and his girlfriend Alejandra Umaná, a biologist, describe their creation as having been “designed for sensuality,” by which they mean, not least, as the perfect honeymoon destination.

Reason enough to get married!

Imagine your single-room, open-plan villa (one of only six) as a cube of glass. Stand-alone stone walls separated from the glass cube by water concourses frame the villa sides.

CR SX2A1881 Taking a shower in a glass cube villa at Kura Design Villas; copyright Christopher P Baker

Yes, three walls entirely of glass, end-to-end and floor-to-ceiling and supported on a frame of steel girders enfolded in poured slate-gray concrete. The fourth wall (also of slate-gray concrete) holds the walk-in closet and toilet. A bamboo-lined ceiling brings the tropics indoors. And your king-size bed with luxurious linens seems to float in the center of the room atop a pewter-black slate floor.

Each villa’s “bathroom” is en-suite, as is the walk-in, all-glass-enclosed, him-and-her rainfall-style shower—how sexy is that?—which opens directly onto an expansive balcony. Your terrace also features a low pillar-less wall of glass, all the better for enjoying the spectacular views—which rival any other hotel in the country—along the length of the Costa Ballena.

Getting to the hotel up the steep dirt-and-rock mountain road is a 4WD adventure.

The jaw-dropping minimalist architecture extends to the “Pool Lounge,” which doubles as the hotel restaurant and looks over the travertine (read, cool underfoot) sundeck, with its L-shaped 62-feet-long, horizon-edge saltwater pool overhanging the ridge-top. The facility, with its columns and floors of slate-gray concrete, is enclosed by glass panel doors that slide back like a concertina and… voilà, the space is thus wall-less.

Sure, it’s among the most expensive hotels in the country (rates begin at $440 in the May—October green season, and $640 in the November–April high season). But this is one sensational hotel worth every penny.

Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see on my blog are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly

Copyright © Christopher P. Baker


Christopher P Baker


Christopher P. Baker, one of the world's most multi-talented and successful travel writers and photographers has been named by National Geographic as one of the world's foremost authorities on Cuba travel and culture. Winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 as 'Travel Journalist of the Year,' he has authored more than 30 books, leads tours for National Geographic Expeditions, Edelwiss Bike Travel, and Jim Cline Photo Tours, among other companies, and is a Getty Images and National Geographic contributing photographer.