The jungle book

Golden Pineapple Villas

Golden Pineapple Villas, a boutique hotel in Costa Rica’s rainforest, embodies the nation’s philosophy of pura vida (the “simple life”) – and comfort

“The pictures don’t even come close,” says Jessie Rodgers, owner and founder of Golden Pineapple Villas. “Guests can’t believe it when they arrive – seven perfect villas in the middle of the rainforest. It’s like entering Jurassic Park.”

Just outside the small town of Uvita, overlooking the Marino Ballena National Park, Golden Pineapple Villas is one of Costa Rica’s newest boutique hotels. “I came to Costa Rica for a holiday and never wanted to leave,” says Jessie. “It has everything you could wish for: sun, culture, scenery and wildlife.”

Over several visits, she spotted a gap in the market. “Every time I had a trip planned,” she says, “I was never excited about the hotel I was staying at. I love Costa Rica, I love luxury travel, but there was just something missingwhen it came to accommodation.”

This started a search that took her all over the country. “I decided to buy a hotel,” says Jessie, “but it soon became clear that what I wanted didn’t exist, so I decided to build it myself.”

Jessie and the team set to work creating a unique resort. “We are right in the jungle, yet so close to the beach,” she says. “This is what surprises guests the most. We wanted to create something that was totally different to the ecotourism Costa Rica is famous for. I thought there must be other people out there who want to explore the natural beauty during the day, then retreat to a luxurious bed at night.”

Each villa has been meticulously designed down to the finest detail. “Every room has privacy, a full ocean view and a private infinity pool,” says Jessie. “These were non-negotiables for me. My favourite thing about Costa Rica is sitting on your patio, sipping a hand-roasted coffee and listening to the howler monkeys in the distance – they sound like dinosaurs.”

Staying in the jungle comes with added benefits. “We have a variety of gorgeous wildlife right outside the door. Taking an outdoor bubble bath with all this around you is one of life’s treats.”

Guests have every luxury and comfort at their disposal. “All of the villas are fully self-sufficient for those seeking privacy, with an open kitchen and living spaces adorned with artwork,” explains Jessie. “Otherwise we have the Crown restaurant and bar beside the main pool – a great spot to spend the evening eating good food and watching the sunset. It makes such a difference knowing the ingredients are locally sourced.”

Every August and September, Uvita receives special visitors. “We overlook the ‘Whale’s Tail’ – a huge sandbar and rock formation,” says Jessie. “It’s where the humpback whales come to have their calves. At the right time, you can see dozens of them.”

There are plenty of options for adventure seekers. “This area, in particular, has a wealth of activities within an hour’s radius. Everything from guided tours and bird watching to surfing and zip-lining. That said, the luxury environment is inviting. Guests typically arrive here with a full itinerary planned and find it reduces quickly when they see the view from the pool.”

Jessie puts the hotel’s success down to her team. “We only work with people who genuinely care,” she says. “From the gardeners to the concierge, everyone wants our guests to have the best experience possible. That is what drives us.”