Hotel Aguas Claras: Where Creativity and Nature Converge

Words Emi Vilas Bôas
Date

Nestled amidst the enchanting landscapes of Puerto Viejo, where simplicity meets serenity, stands a hidden gem that transcends conventional hospitality. Hotel Aguas Claras is not merely a place to rest one’s head; it’s a testament to a deep reverence for art, nature, and the boundless spirit of creativity.

A Fusion of Art, Nature, and Hospitality

The origins of this haven can be traced back to a profound love affair with Puerto Viejo that ignited the imagination of one visionary woman, Elizabeth Steinvorth, and evolved into a lifelong passion shared with her daughter, Elena.

The year 1992 marked the inception of Elizabeth Steinvorth’s enchantment with Puerto Viejo. As a multi-media artist from San José, she found herself captivated by the untouched beauty and tranquility of the area. Reflecting on those early days, she reminisces, “I realized I needed a project that would grant me the freedom to bring together all the techniques I’ve acquired throughout my life. Costa Rica seemed like the perfect canvas for my creative expression. I embarked on this journey, envisioning a place where I could truly be unburdened. Everything I had done in my life could find a home here, a place where recycling and upcycling naturally found their way. It’s been a 25-year journey of unconscious dedication, much before the global trend caught on.”  This deep connection with the raw allure of Puerto Viejo laid the foundation for a remarkable journey.

Elizabeth Steinvorth’s affection for Costa Rica’s natural wonders runs as deep as the roots of the ancient trees that grace the lush landscape. Her love story with this captivating land is etched into the fabric of her very being, and her passion radiates like the warm sun that bathes the country’s diverse ecosystems.

Elizabeth Steinvorth’s Journey to Hotel Aguas Claras

The metamorphosis of Hotel Aguas Claras was born out of a vision of repurposing and revitalization. Elizabeth recalls, “My journey with this property began with the idea of remodeling the existing houses into a welcoming haven. However, as I delved deeper, the houses revealed their age, compelling me to deconstruct them entirely. Amid the rubble, I salvaged precious wood and various materials, which I carefully repurposed. I embraced the challenge of reconstructing and reimagining, from refinishing old furniture to painting and giving them renewed purpose. My hands-on approach extended from conception to execution, fueled by my passion for work and my commitment to minimizing waste.” The original weathered cabanas provided the canvas for her artistic imagination. She breathed new life into them, infusing contemporary Caribbean bungalows with traces of history.

What truly sets Hotel Aguas Claras apart is its authenticity. Elizabeth and her daughter Elena have meticulously curated a space that not only showcases their artistic endeavors but also pays homage to their network of cherished artist friends. Every nook and corner of the hotel narrates a story, bridging creativity and hospitality. Guests who wander through the property are enveloped in a palpable energy that sparks inspiration and beckons them to embrace their creative impulses.

The genesis of the hotel was rooted in Elizabeth’s aspiration to give life to her diverse collection of artworks, she points “There is a meticulous integration of reclaimed elements that creates a harmonious, ageless ambiance, shedding any notion of age or neglect. One house became a gallery for my watercolors, while another showcased my ceramics and other creations. These deliberate touches have endeared the hotel to our guests.” From delicate floral watercolors to intricate mosaics, captivating murals, and ingeniously upcycled furniture, Hotel Aguas Claras is a living testament to Elizabeth’s artistic evolution. The hotel transcends its physical existence; it morphs into a living gallery that encapsulates the artist’s soul and the journey of her craft.

Hotel Aguas Claras’ Blueprint for Harmonious Living

In 2017, Hotel Aguas Claras entered a new phase as Elizabeth Steinvorth and Elena embarked on an architectural intervention that redefined boutique luxury in Puerto Viejo. Their mission was clear: to craft a haven that embodied opulence while respecting the environment. Thus began a transformative expedition that intertwined artistic ingenuity, ecological consciousness, and a passion for luxury hospitality.

Environmental sensitivity guided Elizabeth and Elena’s architectural approach, laying the groundwork for a truly distinctive experience. A striking example of their commitment is the transformation of a cluster of cabanas that once graced Playa Chiquita. These modest structures, once the heart of the local community, were salvaged and reborn as contemporary Caribbean bungalows. The harmonious fusion of heritage and modernity breathes vitality into the property, resulting in a space that exudes both refinement and sustainability. Elizabeth says “I’ve invested time in educating the younger generation. Through countless workshops in schools, I’ve strived to awaken an awareness of waste management and environmental responsibility. As a hotel and a community member, we diligently sort and manage waste, minimizing plastic and employing sustainable practices in the kitchen and beyond.”

A pioneer in recycling and upcycling, Elizabeth embarked on her journey in Costa Rica over two decades ago, pre-dating the global movement. Her vision was unconventional, fusing discarded materials into her artistic creations. “Incorporating sustainable practices has been pivotal. Our pursuit of simplicity and cleanliness is evident in the spacious, uncluttered rooms, each thoughtfully adorned with individual touches. Rather than inundating the space with material possessions, I’ve sought to curate experiences. The walls boast my upcycled creations, connecting to the overarching mission of reducing waste and rejuvenating the environment.” This ethos became the cornerstone of Hotel Aguas Claras, where history and innovation merge to create an aesthetic that captivates and endures.

Beyond its architectural grandeur, Hotel Aguas Claras is a tribute to the marriage of art and nature. It’s a sanctuary where creativity thrives in harmony with the tropical jungle’s allure. The surroundings themselves kindle the imagination, inviting guests to plumb their own creative depths. With each stroke of the brush on canvas and every whispered idea carried by the sea breeze, Hotel Aguas Claras transforms from a mere accommodation into a space that nurtures inspiration.

An essential facet of Hotel Aguas Claras’ identity lies in its unwavering commitment to sustainability. As a proud member of The Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels, the establishment aligns itself with a movement that epitomizes the evolution of intelligent luxury travel. Environmental consciousness is woven into the very fabric of the hotel’s ethos, radiating a commitment to responsible hospitality. This dedication is palpable across the property, from energy-efficient practices to waste reduction initiatives.

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