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Spot: Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Spa
Zone: Cloud Forest, biological reserve
The Good Stuff:
Ever wish you lived in a treehouse? The accommodations at Villa Blanca give you a chance to try it out. Thirty five private casitas (which are actually separate little houses, as the name implies) with open beam construction, private terraces, whirlpool baths, mini-bars and coffee makers. The deluxe casitas have living rooms with fireplaces, and there are five honeymoon casitas. When looking out from your terrace into the Los Angeles Private Biological Reserve, which surrounds the 75-acre hotel property, you have the sense that you are alone in the cloud forest. When you feel like you want some company, make your way to the Hacienda House, where you can eat simply at El Café del Bosque or more ambitiously at El Sendero restaurant, featuring Costa Rican cuisine and views of Arenal Volcano. And when you're worn out from all that tree- gazing, make a date at the Serenity Spa for full service treatments using organic Costa Rican products. Then, when you're all prettied up, why not get married at the lovely wedding chapel on the Villa Blanca grounds?
What We Love:
Sitting in the middle of a cloud with an agua dulce in our hand.
- Member of the CST (Certification in Sustainable Tourism) program administered in Costa Rica, and has received a rating of five out of five green leaves from the oversight organization.
- Complete recycling of aluminum, glass, and plastic. All food waste is recycled as animal feed.
- Employees are considered a key resource, with extensive training that emphasizes stewardship of the environment.
- A volunteer Green Committee of employees sets the environmental agenda at the hotel and makes sure new conservation goals are set and achieved.
- Guests are encouraged to get involved with the hotel's conservation efforts on a very practical level, with reminders to limit use of electricity and water and to reduce noise pollution.
Above and Beyond:
To encourage employees to keep up their participation in the hotel's conservation efforts, guests are invited to provide feedback on employees' who are really walking the walk with green practices. A winner is designated each month and he or she is rewarded with a stay at one of the other hotels managed by the company.