Revive Your Mind at This Adults–Only Boutique Hotel in Costa Rica

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By Lucy Wang
Modern European design meets traditional Costa Rican craftsmanship in a new four-room boutique hotel in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

When Swedish couple Jonas Thorrel and Johanna Johansson decided to launch a boutique hotel in Santa Teresa, the laid-back Costa Rican beach town they now call home, they knew there was no point in competing with the landscape. With gleaming sands, lush jungles, and world-class surf, Santa Teresa has all the hallmarks of a tropical paradise remotely tucked away near the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula.

So, the couple turned to award-winning Costa Rican architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe, who brought his expertise in blending contemporary design with tropical landscapes to the newly opened Mint Santa Teresa.

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Backed by greenery and set facing the Pacific Ocean, each suite at the hotel takes in the best of Santa Teresa's landscapes.

Backed by greenery and set facing the Pacific Ocean, each suite at the hotel takes in the best of Santa Teresa's landscapes.

Housed in a series of whitewashed pavilions stepping down a steep hillside, the four-room hotel melds modern and traditional design, taking inspiration from sun-kissed Greek architecture, minimalist Scandinavian design, and Costa Rican craftsmanship.

Each room is equipped with a plush king bed, while cool polished concrete floors encourage guests to go barefoot.

Each room is equipped with a plush king bed, while cool polished concrete floors encourage guests to go barefoot.

Yet for Jonas and Johanna, the owners and operators of Mint, the adults-only boutique hotel needed to be more than just a well-designed nature retreat. The four-year residents of Santa Teresa wanted guests to feel "a part of a little community, with other travelers and locals." 

And with just four rooms available, curating that level of care and intimacy has been a defining feature at Mint. 

Guests have access to their own private rooftop terrace complete with hammocks, greenery, and sail canopies.

Guests have access to their own private rooftop terrace complete with hammocks, greenery, and sail canopies.

"Hotels traditionally became vast objects in the landscape that bear no relation to their surroundings and are devoid of genuine human interaction," says Benjamin Garcia Saxe of Studio Saxe. 

A hanging rattan chair and Acapulco chairs add a breezy, laid-back vibe to the lounge.

A hanging rattan chair and Acapulco chairs add a breezy, laid-back vibe to the lounge.

"At Mint, we endeavored to create a contextual design that adapts to its landscape and offers a new type of experience for a breed of traveler seeking authenticity. We worked hard on creating spaces that combine an appreciation of natural beauty with a rich array of possibilities for social and cultural interaction. The result is a completely unique way of thinking about hospitality and wellness."

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Climbing vines form a green wall and ceiling in the communal lounge area, providing some privacy without disturbing the natural setting.

Climbing vines form a green wall and ceiling in the communal lounge area, providing some privacy without disturbing the natural setting.

The hotel design clearly favors outdoor living—from the fully glazed folding doors that bring seamless ocean views into the bedroom, to the private rooftop terrace, complete with greenery and a sail shade, that tops each suite. 

The hotel is furnished with rattan furniture made in Sarchí, a Costa Rican town famous for crafts.

The hotel is furnished with rattan furniture made in Sarchí, a Costa Rican town famous for crafts.

The interiors are dressed in a neutral palette of subdued whites and grays imbued with warmth from locally sourced timber and "caña brava" grasses woven by local Sarchí craftsmen into custom furnishings and fishbone-patterned ceilings. 

The infinity pool mirrors the Pacific Ocean.

The infinity pool mirrors the Pacific Ocean.

To draw guests together, Saxe has added an irresistible communal lounge with an infinity pool and sunset bar. Open on all sides except for a green wall by the entrance, the lounge is the heart of the hotel where guests, owners, and locals are invited to mingle together over the breakfast buffet in the morning or during drinks at night.

Locally sourced materials are used throughout the project.

Locally sourced materials are used throughout the project.

Folding glazed doors open each bedroom up to the outdoors.

Folding glazed doors open each bedroom up to the outdoors.

Each pavilion-like hotel room feels open to the outdoors, but also features plenty of privacy.

Each pavilion-like hotel room feels open to the outdoors, but also features plenty of privacy.

Mint's elevated location offers stellar sunset viewing.

Mint's elevated location offers stellar sunset viewing.

Fancy a night at the Mint Santa Teresa? You can check availability (and their glowing reviews) here

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Studio Saxe

General Contractor: Matta Duran

Structural Engineer: Sotela Alfaro Ltda.