San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Necochea Inn Offers Luxurious Hideaway

PLAYA DOMINICAL, Puntarenas– While the wilds of Costa Rica beckon toadventurers happy to rough it, it’s temptingto indulge in a more civilized way ofenjoying nature. Tucked away in thewildest corners of the country, you can findultra-luxurious hideaways where you cansettle in for a weekend and luxuriate insybaritic splendor.No one does it better than TheNecochea Inn Bed and Breakfast, justsouth of Dominical on the southern Pacificcoast. Although the name sounds indigenous,it’s the Basque-origin surname ofYvonne and Carlos de Necochea, two energetic,transplanted Los Angelenos.After many exploratory visits to CostaRica, they zeroed in on this site for theirinn – high on a ridge with a slice of PacificOcean view, but sheltered in a dense forestcrisscrossed by rocky streams. The air iscool and the views verdant, backed by asoothing, gurgling soundtrack of two runningbrooks.YVONNE and Carlos built a handsomehouse over three years, incorporatingstone and wood to blend with the naturalsetting and adding an expansive stone terracewhich matches the texture and curvesof the the rock-edged creeks below. Thehouse is luxurious in every way, custombuilt for relaxing, inside and out.The kidney-shaped pool is bordered byivy-covered garden walls and shaded bypalms and tall gingers and heliconia. Abasket filled with complimentary sunblocklotions and piles of fluffy pool towels arewelcome touches for people who like totravel light (or packed in a hurry). Float onair mattresses and then gaze to the treetopsor get comfortable in sling-back chairs onthe terrace and take in forest and ocean ina single glance.Inside, one large, airy room holds bothsitting and dining areas, with floor-to-ceilingglass-doored walls looking into thewoods. Like the rooms, the furnishings areoversized, with plush sofas and chairs.Softly lit reading nooks abound. Curl up ina chair and leaf through coffee-table artand travel books and an eclectic mix ofmagazines. There are current issues of“Motorcycle” and “Popular Mechanics,”reflecting Carlos’s avid interest in thingsmechanical and his former career as a car dealershipconsultant. And there are glossyarchitectural and “shelter” titles that appealto Yvonne’s artistic sensibilities.THE inn’s décor is a sophisticated mixof contemporary and tribal. Although shehas never been to Africa, Yvonne has collectedAfrican masks and sculpture most ofher life and she has artfully arranged hertreasures on side tables and walls. Furtherevidence of Yvonne’s artistry is on thewalls – her oversized, stunning paintingsof toucans. As a self-taught artist, she notonly paints with panache, but she also hasan eye for framing her paintings creatively.A wide, curved stone staircase leads upto the second floor and the B&B’s two spacioussuites, along with two smaller, cozierrooms with shared bath. Every room has aprivate balcony with a forest view, gleaminghardwood floors and soaring, angledceilings intricately lined with bamboo.Antique and reproduction armoires are bigenough to hold both clothing and baggageand keep them out of sight. Carved wood- en headboards, spacious queen beds coveredwith creamy linens and piles of pillows,wrought-iron candle sconces andupholstered love seats and chairs add luxurious,romantic touches.WHAT really makes this B&B uniqueare the palatial bathrooms. Yvonne andCarlos have elevated taking a bath here toan art. The tile work is exquisite, withceramic African masks worked into the borders.The deep Jacuzzi tubs come withflotillas of candles and bottles of scentedbath salts. At tub level, wide windows openonto the forest. When you emerge from thebath, there are plenty of generous-sizedwhite towels, embroidered with palm trees.In the huge Rainforest Suite, which hasa high, king-sized bed, the bathroom hashis and hers sinks and a bathtub built fortwo, with a separate glass-enclosed shower.There’s no better setting for a honeymoonor a proper naughty weekend. Fromthe suite’s private wraparound verandah,nature-lovers can watch birds feeding onfruiting trees.In true B&B tradition, breakfast is anevent. You wake up to the aroma of brewingcoffee and the sizzle of sautéing onionsand garlic, the savory start to Yvonne’sdelicious, trademark Spanish tortilla, a layeredomelet with thinly sliced potatoes.The open kitchen off the dining area has acentral island, a huge fridge and openshelves designed to make it easy for gueststo find everything they need if they want tocook other meals for themselves. An evermore cosmopolitan mix of restaurants inthe Dominical area provides a wide choiceof dining-out options. (See separate story).FOR guests who can’t live without amedia fix, there is DirecTV in the bar area,DVDs and a great sound system with awide selection of compact disks – and amicrophone if you care to croon alongwith your favorite songs. If you tire oflolling in the lap of luxury, there are sunriseand sunset horse rides nearby at theFinca Bella Vista Ranch; swimming in thePozo Azul, a tree-shaded, natural swimminghole complete with waterfall; andsurfing, boogie boarding and beach walkingon Dominicalito Beach.And after any little burst of exertion,you know there is an easy chair and a lovelybath waiting for you back at theNecochea Inn.Getting there: From Dominical, drive4 km. south along the Costanera, turn leftat Finca Bella Vista sign and then immediatelyright past soccer field and school,across a stream and then veer left upMarina Vista Drive. Rainforest Suite, $125plus tax; Ylang Ylang Suite, $85; Toucanor Macaw room, with shared bath, $65.For more info, call 787-8072 or visit theWeb site at

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