By: Debbie Banks, Lago Mar Resort and Club
Hi! Sorry about being MIA for a little while but I took the kids on an amazing vacation to our sister properties in Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to go last October with my brother and about 70 of his closest friends to see Peace Lodge, which he opened in 2000, and walk through his La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and stay at The Springs Resort in Arenal! It was on that spectacular trip that I met my boyfriend, Chris, who is really a great guy!
For the kids, however, this was their first time being able to visit and see Uncle Lee’s amazing accomplishments! Because I have grown up in the hotel business and am so fascinated by it, I have always stayed at very nice properties around the world. The kids have also had the opportunity to stay at a few four and five star properties (thanks mostly to my Dad treating). All of us agreed that we have never been exposed to anything as spectacular as what we saw in the 4 days we were down in Costa Rica with Lee.
The first place we visited was Peace Lodge. We did not spend the night there but we did spend the day in the Nature Park, and what a day it was! The kids saw pumas, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, colorful frogs, toucan birds and a butterfly garden. They got to ride in a cart with oxen pulling it. They were able to feed hummingbirds with a special feeder that Lee invented himself. They even got to milk a cow! The grand finale of their time in Lee’s nature park was hiking through his rain forest and marveling at the magnificent waterfalls. They will have memories of that first day forever!
That evening we stayed at The Springs in Arenal , which is his other 5 star property. It boasts the “Best View in All of Costa Rica” of the Arenal Volcano! We stayed in the most incredible villa I have ever seen. The stone and woodwork were beautiful and there was an actual planter with live plants hanging over the master bed. The lighting and the amenities were perfect. The kids loved the outdoor shower and hammocks. We all loved using our own private hot tub when we returned to our villa by our own personal golf cart each evening.
During our stay there we went horseback riding, rock climbing, tubing, repelled down a mountain, rode ATVs and more! Lee booked me a facial and a massage in his spa. It was amazing! When each treatment ended, the technician would open the windows to the room so I could feast my eyes on the volcano as I got dressed. It was dreamlike!
I have not even gotten to the culinary experience we enjoyed while at his properties. We had fresh papaya smoothies every morning with a breakfast buffet that left nothing out. Lunch was either on bar stools in the pool sitting at the pool bar, again looking at the volcano or at Club Rio, which is where all of the activities were located.
I don’t even know how to properly describe Club Rio. Lee outdid himself there. He absolutely thinks of everything. There were luxurious changing rooms with hairdryers to use between our adventures.
Back at the resort, he had a game room for kids within “watching” distance of the sushi bar, which, of course, shares the outrageous view of the volcano! This gave the parents an opportunity to have a relaxing dinner while the kids were having a blast on their own. Probably, one of my favorite parts of The Springs was the actual hot springs themselves. I had never sat in a real mineral hot spring and it felt so good! My skin was the best it has ever been while I was in Costa Rica. What an experience we had. Counting the days until we can go back! Deb