The Costa Rican beach town of Las Catalinas may have only been founded in 2006, but it’s already established itself as a destination for visitors eager to leave their cars—and cares—behind. Arosemena & Soundy Arquitectos’ Santarena Hotel, a Preferred Hotels & Resorts, property, is a clear example of what makes the area so charming. “I wanted to create a building that would be authentic to Costa Rica and the region: open, naturally lit, and naturally ventilated, like architecture in the tropical world should be,” says architect Ricardo Arosemena.
To that end, the team employed traditional strategies and materials. “It’s made, to a large extent, with a small and predetermined palette of raw materials,” Arosemena says. “Wood, stone, clay, and cement. We use arches because they are strong and beautiful, and we make balconies with wood because it is strong and light.”
The hotel’s 45 rooms include floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Plaza Almendros, while the rooftop pool and lounge offers sweeping views of the Pacific and the hill town itself. “I think that visitors will also be surprised at how seamlessly those spaces become the town around it,” says Arosemena, “how the restaurant and grand hall become a public plaza, and the hallways become streets.” And how little they’ll miss their cars while exploring it all.