A piece of paradise well worth the wait September 21, 2011Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , trackback
It’s been a long commute from the time my alarm rang at 4 am until my taxi driver deposited me at the glistening lobby of the Bristol Buenaventura at 9 pm. There were times when I asked myself if I was crazy to take this assignment. Now that I’m here, I see that it would have been crazy not to.
I arrived so late that all I’ve seen is the view from my balcony and the menu – and it’s enough to convince me. I was greeted with a bowl of fresh fruit and orchids, chocolate truffles and a coconut lemonade to die for. The view is like a movie set: a romantic, made-for-TV cattail-fringed lake with a thatched-roof shelter overhanging it and a palm-flanked pool lit up in the darkness as if suspended over the lake. This is my view as I dine on the roasted vegetables and polenta with poached egg that I ordered from my specially prepared vegetarian menu. The sound of tree frogs and rushing water lull me into a restful serenity.
Tomorrow it’s a run on the beach that lies beyond the darkness, followed by breakfast and an adventure of some sort – hobie cat sailing? a drive through the jungle? Not sure, but whatever happens, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.
Our day at the Bristol Buenaventura passed all too quickly, playing in the waves on a jet ski, sinking into pure luxury with a heavenly massage at the Corotú Spa, and swimming laps in the lovely pool. I swam up to the swim-up bar and ordered a caipirinha, and I swam under the bridges and to the outdoor jacuzzi, where I let the warm jets pick up where the massage left off – working away the stress of the past weeks.
There was, of course, work to do as well – a tour of the grounds, including the Jack Nicklaus 18-hole golf course, with the first nine holes to open in November and the last nine in February, with sweeping vistas of the sea. A clubhouse called the 19th Hole is also underway, with a pro shop, a bar, and a restaurant called Prime 19.
The grounds themselves are immaculate, with 114 rooms and 15 villas to choose from. Rooms look out onto a Disneyland-perfect blue lake, fringed with reeds and a thatch-roofed palapa for special events. On the other side of the lake lie a world of things to explore: bridges arching over the meandering blue ofa series of pools, including the infinity pool lined with palms; the poolhouse and restauarant; and the sinewy figures of Los Amantes, the lovers, a bronze sculpture by Manuel Carbonell, the last of the great Cuban Master Sculptors.
Beyond the poolhouse, a landscaped brick path winds its way though the villas toward the sea, past the tennis courts and beach volleyball net and on to the charming Faro, or lighthouse, another delightful venue of the resort. Here the guest can dine or order drinks to sip while watching the waves from the chaise lounges or yet another infinity pool, or wander down to play in the waves.
Twice we began our day with an invigorating run along the beach, feeling the fresh moist air against our faces.
The hotel’s cuisine left nothing to be desired, with a full lineup of gourmet delights in the Tamarindo Restaurant and the Tagua Grill. A grilled peach salad with goat cheese croquets, a chilled avocado soup, roasted vegetables with polenta satisfied this vegetarian, but a wide range ofseafood and meat options pack the creative and varied menu.
Our last night was magical with a boat ride from the lake and down a lazy river to the dock at the Faro, where we enjoyed a nighttime barbecue under the stars, a spread we shared on the deck overlooking the crashing waves. For some reason the electricity had gone down for awhile, and backup generators kept the resort humming, but lucky for us, the stars shone especially brightly for the minimal lighting. After dinner we walked along the waves and to our amazement spotted the pulsing sparkles of mysterious phosphorescent creatures that inhabit the waters under the surf.