From Luxury Yachts to Luxury B&B Bungalows in Caribbean Cahuita
Joe Cannon and his wife, Chris, owners and operators of Coral Hill Bungalows, reflect on their adventures, dreams, visions and plans that took them from working on private luxury yachts to buying, building and launching their luxury Caribbean bungalows five years ago in the small village of Cahuita, Costa Rica.
Chris says “Joe and I met back in the 80′s when we both worked as crew members on private mega-yachts. Joe was the Chef and I was the lead Stewardess. The standard of service, quality, presentation and congeniality that we learned while serving on those yachts were of the highest level. The people who owned or charted these mega-yachts paid for and expected that exceptional kind of experience and that is what groomed us for our present roles as proprietors of a boutique hotel.”
“We felt we wanted to offer a similar kind of attention to detail, but in a small land based Bed & Breakfast type of establishment somewhere in a remote ocean side area. We were looking for a place that had top of the line mattresses, thick plush towels, impeccably clean rooms, large luxurious showers and a unique high quality breakfast, but couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for, so we decided to create one ourselves.”
Their original plan was to build 5 bungalows on a good sized lot a short walk to the beach, but after laying them out, they thought they would be too close to each other, so they decided on only building three large “cabinas” to allow for more privacy. Each Coral Hill Bungalow is made of local woods with an airy design and layout that takes advantages of the cool night breezes.
Joe said ” We fell in love with Cahuita. It is a small rustic, undeveloped village that had almost exclusively budget / surfer type hotels. Our vision was to provide an accommodation for people like ourselves that are looking for something much better, yet still offers a natural, ecologically friendly experience with a high end of comfort, personal attention, and, of course, my experience as a chef!”
The Bungalows are set in a garden of flowers and trees sitting on an ancient coral reef.
They are made of local wood varnished and meticulously maintained. The furniture is custom designed and built bamboo creations by a local Guapiles artist who grows the bamboo himself. The bungalows feature top line double pillow top mattresses, imported 1000 thread Egyptian cotton sheets, plush towels, oversized bathrooms with large mosaic open showers with dual shower heads for two persons, double hand painted sinks, airy high roofs, and large walk in closets. The porches all have hammocks, rocking chairs, bench seats and fresh flowers.
Joe continues, “On mega-yachts we were used to serving multi course breakfasts, artfully presented with fresh fruits, a large variety of freshly baked goods, served on quality tableware with crystal glasses, cloth napkins, tablecloths and personal service. We wanted to offer a similar experience to our guests – the best breakfast in the Caribbean!”
Chris says ” We decided that in order to maintain the peaceful, eco friendly and total experience of nature that there would be no televisions, no buzzing air conditioners, no restaurant open to the public, no humming mini bars or refrigerators. Everyone told us we were crazy! We wanted tour guests to sleep well, to relax and recharge their mental batteries, and experience the sounds of the Howler Monkeys, the birds, frogs, the sound of waves caressing the beach, and the sweet scent of Ylang Yylang Trees and Bella Donna flowers.”
Remembering the work in bringing the project to reality, Joe relates, “I suppose we are a good example that if you have a dream, vision and a plan that with hard work and perseverance you can succeed in creating you little piece of paradise. Just be careful of what you ask for, you may get it! It was much more involved and difficult than we originally thought, but we love it here and we love what we do.”
Chris continues, “Nobody could prepare you for living here in the Caribbean. Even though we lived in Southeast Florida for 15 years before Costa Rica, with a similar climate, living here so close to the ocean with the high humidity and moisture is like living on and maintaining a wooden sailboat, it never stops.”
Cahuita, with its natural beaches, beautiful oceanfront Cahuita National Park, colorful reef, wonderfully friendly people, many activities and great restaurants is surely a worthy consideration on your next vacation itinerary, and the most restful surroundings there are the Coral Hill Bungalows / boutique hotel.Business, Costa Rica Retirement, Food & Dining, Hotels, Real Estate, Travel