San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Historic Beach Home Becomes Boutique Hotel

SAN JUANDEL SUR – Just a block from the beach, San Juan’s newest luxury inn, the Posada Azul, was quick to attract its share of visitors. In fact, the first guests showed up several days early.

“I didn’t think we were going to be open then,” said the owner, Gorgean Scharhag, who greeted an eager couple in need of a place to stay one day last month.

The rooms were not entirely ready and the pool was still half-empty. But, Scharhag thought, no reason to turn anyone away. Her only request: did they have cash? “Our credit card machine wasn’t working yet,” she said.

The couple paid for the night and, like most others who have spent time here during the short month that the inn has been open, they ended up staying longer than planned.

It’s hard not to. Posada Azul is essentially your own celebrated, plantation-style home that has a long history of accommodating notable people – the inn was once the home to San Juan’s Mayor, Eduardo Holmann, and was previously rented as a beach home by Vice-President Jaime Morales.

Six warmly appointed rooms open up to an interior porch, furnished with elegant but casual wicker chairs. Guests can spend their time lounging in the lush, open garden area, surrounded by pink-flowered bougainvillea.

Outside there is plenty of shopping and a busy beachfront full of restaurants and bars. But inside the feeling is tranquil, with the only commotion coming from a breeze that occasionally rustles the grand palms.

“You can get lazy here,” Scharhag said, sitting by the pool, now entirely filled and inviting. “It’s like your own private world.”

Scharhag and her husband, Don, who own a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, bought the property last March.

“It was funky neat then,” said Scharhag of the famous home, which before was known simply as “the blue house.”

She repainted much of the house in white, but kept a soft blue trim and the Spanish name, azul. As her first hotel, she has decorated the rooms and interior with “whatever felt right.”

The result is a simple, yet graceful design that adds old-world touches to a comfortable, modern home.Much of the furniture is locally made and to make sure that everything looks just right, she has even added a refrigerator hidden inside a traditional wooden trunk, known as a cajón.

Guests can help themselves to cold drinks at the bar. An oversize breakfast of fruits, homemade breads and Spanish-style tortilla greets them in the morning.

And there’s wi-fi Internet connection to keep guests in touch with the rest of the world, should anyone care to do so.

Scharhag said she plans to keep the serenity by allowing only guests older than 12, although she will rent out the hotel to entire families if there’s a group large enough. “We’re still evolving,” she said.

With its storied history and elegant upgrades, Posada Azul is on its way to becoming the latest fixture in San Juan del Sur. For rates and reservations, call 568-2524, or e-mail:


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