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SPECIAL FEATURE | LUXURYTRAVEL

RESORTSRUNBYNATURE BY JOHN ARUNDEL

W

ith a world ecosystem in continuous peril from global warming, deforestation and other threats too many to count here, here are two environmentallyfriendly resorts in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic where eco-tourism takes center stage. >>

PLAYACATIVO A Luxury Eco Lodge in the Costa Rica Rainforest This newly-opened eco-lodge astride the tranquil waters of southern Costa Rica is built for nature lovers. Set across 1,000 acres of lush rainforest, this tucked-away boutique resort is accessible only by boat. Here you can bask in a small world run by nature. Self-sustaining, it is powered by off-grid solar and hydroelectric power, and its farm-to-table restaurant El Gavilán features local seafood, grass-fed beef and produce grown on the property. Its seven guest rooms overlook the aquagreen waters of Golfo Dulce and are constructed from reclaimed wood and tiles crafted by local artisans.There are no hair dryers and none of the bed linens are ironed - that consumes too much energy; so don’t mind if a few of the bed sheets are wrinkled.There’s also a freshwater, chemicalfree swimming pool, and all of the waste is sorted, with organic waste composted and the rest recycled. “We are very proud of our green credentials,” says Hotel Manager Luis Pardo,“and we encourage our guests to tell others what we’re doing and take a few green ideas home.” With a leisurely stroll in the gardens or the private rainforest, you might find such rarities as the Black Mandible Toucan. Perhaps nowhere can you find so many types of habitats squeezed into such a tiny area; Costa Rica holds the world record for number of species, with 615 species per 6,000 square miles. Activities here include snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayaking, not to mention bird watching, hard-line pier fishing and nature hikes. The resort was built by McLean real estate

WA S H I N G T O N L I F E

Stockholm’s Playa Cativo inGrand CostaHotel Rica which recently underwent $100 million in renovations.

executive Mark Betts, creator and owner of Middleburg’s highly-acclaimed Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. “I just fell in love with the place,” he says. “It’s unique in its native beauty and seclusion.” Playa Cativo Eco Lodge,Puntarenas, Costa Rica (508) 745-5779 (reservations) www.playacativo.com

CASADECAMPO The Sporting Life With 7,000 verdant acres, Casa de Campo is a place where old Washington families and the occasional politician or celebrity have been escaping to for 40 years. Owned by the Fanjul brothers, Cuban-American sugar barons, the resort is a discreet enclave offering the highest level of privacy for the affluent, who often arrive via yacht or private jet.“For 40 years we have been a favored escape to the world’s financial moguls, politicians and Hollywood elite,” says Peter Bonnell, Casa de Campo’s chief marketing officer. The resort enhances the typical Caribbean vacation with endless avenues for play, with elite sports clubs dotting the property, including a 245-acre shooting club for trap, and a polo and

| H O L I D AY      | washingtonlife.com

Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo

equestrian club featuring three tournament fields. On 90 acres of awe-inspiring golf designed by Pete Dye, the fearsome “Teeth of the Dog,” has seven holes jutting devilishly into the ocean. On our trip we took a catamaran to the pristine Catalina Island, six square miles of sugarsand beaches and snorkeled out to coral reefs a short distance from the pier, returning to lobster cooked on an open grill on the beach. Last summer, 10 million viewers of ABC’s hit show “The Bachelorette” watched episodes shot inside the resort’s luxe villas. Michael Jordan hosted his bachelor party here, and Beyonce and Jay-Z dropped in last Spring, decamping to a $25,000 per night casita.There is also a stunning artist’s village, Altos de Chavon, modeled after a 16th-century Mediterranean town. A small church caters to destination weddings, and a 5,000-seat Grecian style amphitheater, inaugurated by Frank Sinatra, hosts concerts throughout the year.. Casa de Campo La Romana, Dominican Republic (800) 877-3643 (Reservations) www.casadecampo.com.do

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Luxury Travel - from the Holiday 2014 issue of Washington Life Magazine  

Resorts Run By Nature

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