First the disclaimer: this is not your place if you require unadulterated luxury, a swimming pool to sit round, 24-hour room service by uniformed waiters, 200 channels on your TV and finger-touch climate control.
But if you are looking for a completely relaxing time being pampered in memorable surroundings by people who clearly care, it is for you, and it is worth the trip to get to it.
The setting is spectacular with breathtaking views, extremely comfortable rooms, your personal outdoor hot tub, privacy with the only sounds the breeze in the trees and birds singing, hospitable staff who clearly enjoy their work, great food cooked largely from the lodge’s homegrown ingredients, a spa in the forest, and an ambience which reflects the place’s name.
Well-trained people are in abundance – Emilio and Orlando among the eco guides, Jenifer in the spa, Francisco and Alonso in the bar and restaurant. There were others whose names I did not catch.
Some notes which capture the place:
• Well organized with great attention to detail. At the gate, maybe a kilometer from the lodge, they take your name and when you arrive someone is waiting outside to greet you (in our case our eco concierge Emilio), take you through the few formalities and then walk with you up to your cabin where your luggage has already been delivered by golf cart. They take plenty of time to familiarize you with it, which is needed as it is not quite a standard hotel room. The only other place I have experienced a welcome so well done is at Four Seasons hotels.
• The cabins are very comfortable and perfectly appropriate for the product – an eco lodge. Bed and bed linen are as high quality as is the rainfall shower in the spacious two-sink bathroom. Waking up to the view enjoying your morning tea or coffee takes a lot of beating.
• The multi-lingual staff take the time to know your name and restaurant service of the delicious food is very efficient. The menu is relatively small but I do not think it would feel repetitious if you stayed for a week. It is healthy because of the amount of fresh fruit and veg provided. Foodies would like the flavours. Hearty eaters would like the portions.
• Outdoor activities on site range from lovely hikes to water falls to zip lining, rappelling and horse riding. Even if hiking on the property you should take a guide as they point out lots of flora and fauna you would certainly miss –fabulous birds and tons of interesting plants. White water rafting is about an hour away or you could just relax on the two leather rocking chairs on your terrace..
• The rooms do get chilly at night and you definitely need to wear layers, maybe even in the main lodge which may be a little cool for people used to strict climate-controlled environments. We were there at the end of the dry season in late March so it was a cooler time of year and it is 5,000ft up in the mountains.
• This is for people who love the outdoors and generally want to follow a healthy life style in a friendly and beautiful environment. It is very comfortable but do not expect Four Season type facilities e.g. there is no pool. There is, however, an excellent spa with a good range of treatments.
To sum up: The place is about a two hour drive from San Jose airport. For safety and to enjoy the experiences try to do it in daylight as you are on mountain roads. You drive past coffee plantations, cattle farms and towns and villages reflecting the diversity of Costa Rica. It is unconditionally worth it when you reach the destination.
Undoubtedly this is not for everyone and you should do your research first. I do not know how they manage to provide this level of service in such a remote and beautiful place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a unique luxury cloud forest hotel set in Costa Rica's pristine Bajos del Toro region. Flanked by two national parks, this all-suite and private villa hotel combines upscale comforts with an intense natural immersion experience. Outstanding features include farm-to-table cuisine, a wellness spa, an adventure park, and authentic cultural experiences. Zip-lining, rappelling, horseback riding, waterfall hiking, oxcart painting, Tico cooking lessons and more can be enjoyed by couples and families (minimum age: 8). ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- El Silencio Hotel Bajos Del Toro
- El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Bajos Del Toro