View from Kura Design Villas in Uvita

From Eco Lodge to Modern Design Hotel – Sustainability can be “hip”

How do you imagine a sustainable hotel or resort?  Many people might have a stereotype in mind of rustic furniture, basic bathroom fixtures, cold water and thin linens and cheap towels.  And in the worst case, lots of mosquitoes and bugs everywhere.

We have several examples that this perception is probably quite wrong – at least at the Cayuga Collection Hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  The best one is probably Kura Design Villas in Uvita.  An adults only luxury resort that can compete in terms of its sustainable practices with just about any eco lodge in the world.  The owners and developers are very much into design and aesthetics as well as conservation and community development.

pool and restaruants
Pool and Restaurant at Kura Design Villas in Uvita, Costa Rica. Sustainability meets luxury through design.

The result is stunning.  An infrastructure of a world class design hotel with one of the most amazing infinity pools that you will ever see.  The hotel has won several design awards and has been featured in articles in magazines around the world for its great design and concept.

But at the same time, the hotel owners and the management are 100% committed to sustainable practices.   Solar panels heat water and generate electricity.  All staff are Costa Rican from communities just minutes away from the hotel.  Purchasing of goods, especially food is local, organic when possible and respecting responsible practices.  Cleaning supplies and cosmetic products are produced locally, are organic and biodegradable.  The list could go on and on…

Solar panels at Kura
Kura Design Villas: Solar Panels below the pool generate electricity that is either used by the hotel or fed back into the grid.

A guest pointed out in a recent Tripadvisor Review  how she thought that the concepts of comfort and luxury do not have to be excluded when being sustainable.

“Eco tourism as it should be done. Comfort and luxury are not at odds with sustainable practices at Kurà.  Solar energy, on-site greenhouse and local fare all power and provide for the place.  The owners and staff clearly take pride on their efforts, yet there’s no “preachy” atmosphere (as I have experienced in other places); no ideological artifice weighs on the natural and designed comforts.”

Meals at Kura in Uvita
The Food at Kura Design Villas is sourced locally and prepared by members of the community that were trained by professional chefs.

Another example would be Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula near Corcovado National Park.  While it probably fits more into the category of a traditional Eco Lodge, Lapa Rios has started to incorporate more and more design elements and luxury over the years.  Below you find an excerpt from a recent Tripadvisor review:

“I have to admit that I had some trepidation, fearing that this would be too rustic for my tastes….but our room was luxury meets nature. It had all the modern conveniences one could want, plus a beautiful and private outdoor shower.”

Bungalow at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge
The guest rooms at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge on the Osa Peninsula are simple and what some people would call “rustic elegance”. Design takes into consideration local indigenous elements as well as climatic rain forest / ocean conditions.

It is an ongoing challenge to find that perfect symbiosis of sustainability and luxury, but every day we are learning and making better decisions.  If you have feedback or ideas for us, we would love to hear from you.  Either as a comment on this blog or send us a note to

lapa rios staff
Cleaning staff at Lapa Rios Ecolodge. Working with the local community at all levels should always be an important part of any sustainable hospitality project.

The Cayuga Collection consists of eight eco lodges, eco resorts, and sustainable hotels in different regions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. All of them specialize in creating a symbiosis of sustainability and luxury always providing a sense of place taking into account local culture and customs.


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