Mint Santa Teresa
Tropical architecture in Santa Teresa
Contemporary Costa Rica coastal hotel combines modern design and traditional craftsmanship
Stepping down a steep hillside and overlooking the ocean, Mint Santa Teresa is a new hotel that blends a European design aesthetic with Costa Rican craftsmanship – created to ensure that guests can commune with nature, each other and local people. The Swedish owners fell in love with Santa Teresa as a surfing paradise, as well as its burgeoning yoga community. Inspired by Greek architecture, minimalism and Scandinavian design, they commissioned Studio Saxe who have developed a reputation for their approach to architecture that harmonises with tropical landscapes.
Hotel residents occupy individual pavilion-like structures where they can retreat into a private zone and yet still interact with the nature around them. The spacious guest rooms can be opened up completely to a personal terrace with an ocean view to the front and a garden with tropical plants in the rear. Even the bathrooms have an open layout, giving the guests the opportunity to shower while listening to the sound of the crashing waves. Each room is afforded its own rooftop terrace, complete with lush plants, a sail for shade and furnished with rattan furniture made in Sarchí, a Costa Rican town famous for its inhabitants’ craftsmanship. The tropical resort architects have used locally-sourced materials throughout the project, such as in ceilings that are made of “caña brava” (a type of grass) installed in an intricate fishbone pattern. Local craftsmen have also created custom furniture made of local wood and using traditional techniques in new ways.
The heart of Mint Santa Teresa is the communal lounge area with its infinity pool and sunset bar. It is open on all sides save for a single wall of plants by the entrance, providing the guests with some privacy while maintaining the natural setting. The lounge serves as a meeting spot for guests, owners and locals of the area. In the morning, a breakfast buffet, is eaten at a communal table and later in the day stories are exchanged over drinks by sunset. The experience at Mint Santa Teresa is part of a new form of tourism, where visitors want to learn more about a destination and get a sense of what it is like to actually live there.
Tropical resort architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe explains his vision:
“Hotels traditionally became vast objects in the landscape that bear no relation to their surroundings and are devoid of genuine human interaction. 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.”