Need to know
15 mountainside suites, raised on wooden pillars.
11am, but flexible and free, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $263.50, excluding tax at 13 per cent.
Rates include daily breakfast and a guided nature walk, and have a two-night minimum stay requirement.
Sit back and let the wildlife come to you. The groundskeepers planted purple verbena flowers around each cabin’s viewing deck to lure hummingbirds. Keen eyes can also spot wild pheasants, sparrows, blue tanagers and, possibly, the iridescent, long-tailed quetzal.
At the hotel
Gardens, spa, private nature reserve, library of books and DVDS, free WiFi in the restaurant and TV room. In rooms: iPod dock, outdoor whirlpool tub, minibar, viewing deck with rocking chairs, and bath products by Costa Rican line Aromas para el Alma. Villas have LCD TVs too.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have the same floor plan and feel very private, with dramatic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as from the hot tub on each deck. The Suites higher up the hill feel more like they are situated in a cloud forest. Opt for 11, which attracts hummingbirds to the plants around its porch.
Pack light on bath products: El Silencio’s biodegradable potions are packed with natural goodies such as lavender and peppermint, (which handily double as all-natural bug repellents). Bring clothes for all temperatures (preferably in shades of green, naturally).
Each Suite is assigned an Eco Concierge, who leads your courtesy hike, coordinates activities, can arrange tree-plantings and can point out flora and fauna.
Children aged eight and older are welcome at El Silencio. They can sleep on day-beds (two children in suites, four in villas) for an extra charge (US$50). Babysitting can be arranged for US$15, with 48 hours’ notice.
Sustainability is the watchword. Ninety per cent of El Silencio’s grounds is designated as a private forest reserve. The cabins were built on repurposed grazing grounds to avoid clearing additional trees, and are made with eco-friendly materials (bamboo features heavily). The staff compost food remnants, provide reusable water bottles, and clean with low-impact products. Much of the food comes from local farmers or the hotel garden.