Costa Rica bound? A number of luxury eco-lodges are setting the bar high when it comes to environmental sustainability and guest immersion in local culture. An example is El Silencio, the first Relais & Châteaux address in Central America— situated on a 500-acre private reserve between Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano National Parks in the Central Valley. The resort has scored a maximum Five-Leaf Rating in Costa Rica's Certification of Sustainable Tourism and the Blue Flag Ecological Certification, with green initiatives extending to the kitchen. (The 5,000-square-foot organic greenhouse supplies year-round ingredients for the kitchen and Esencia Spa, while the free-range chickens and trout pond supply eggs and fish.) Guests can also take part in tree planting.
Come 2020, El Silencio plans to become completely energy independent with an onsite hydroelectric facility. Surrounded by tropical cloud forest, El Silencio is as committed to the environment as it is to the local community, with 95 percent of the staff hailing from the area.
In the most recent news, El Silencio has unveiled the first phase of a property-wide renovation. Accommodations include 16 luxury suites and four villas, and 15 one-bedroom suites are showing off a new look orchestrated by architect Ronald Zürcher. Each room comes with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, outdoor viewing decks, and jacuzzis for taking in the views. The next phase of the renovation project— to be completed by early 2020— will include a redo of its two-bedroom and three-bedroom private villas. Also on the horizon: an expansion of the spa with renovated treatment rooms and a new swimming pool.