For more than thirty years, Jorge Retana built some of the finest real estate properties across the United States with his business partner John Powers. At Casa Ramon, they decided to create something a little more personal, a little closer to home.
Jorge grew up near the town of Dominical, where Casa Ramon is located. Surrounded by such wonders as waterfalls, volcanoes, rainforests, and beaches, he developed an early love for nature’s beauty – and building materials. Incorporating the finest natural materials into his building design has been a deep-rooted passion, and nowhere is that more apparent than on this pet project.
Casa Ramon started out as part personal challenge, part grand experiment. Jorge purchased the original building in 2000 in the hope that it could be remodeled as the base of operations for a new, sustainable, luxury resource project using bamboo. Learning how to work with bamboo, and planning to use the house as a world-class showroom, Jorge worked with his brother to hone their knowledge of bamboo building techniques.
The brothers’ expertise is evident throughout the home. Bamboo has strength enough to compete with steel, brick, and concrete, is resistant to weather damage and decay, yet it is an elegant material, stylish, light, and sleek. At Casa Ramon, it is tastefully paired with natural stone such as the light-colored Coralina used on the patios, and a beautiful green river stone used on the second floor.
After hiring an interior decorator to choose furniture, colors, and decorations, the house was complete, but the nearby Marina that was scheduled to open failed to get a permit. The business Jorge was expecting to have from the building industry from the marina project ultimately had no convenient way to come and see the masterpiece of a showhome.
Fortunately, the grand experiment took a new turn. Soon after the home was complete, it caught the eye of several A-list celebrities, who visited briefly and considered purchasing it. As soon as Jorge realized the potential in renting the place out as a vacation home, it was immediately filled with movie stars, world-class Olympic competitors, and many other notable guests.
Jorge continues to find ways of improving the property to cater to his discerning clientele. He has added several “lookout” buildings which afford spectacular views of the water, as well as spaces for private massages and yoga practices. The “Casita” provides room for even more guests, and other buildings nearby provide rooms for the on-site staff including the butler and housekeeper. Overall, the property can sleep up to 14 guests, in six bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. The house build was a labor of love for several members of Jorge’s family. One cousin acted as the architect, and his brother was (and still is) the bamboo expert. Jorge’s aunt arranges for a fresh bouquet of tropical flowers for every room every week, and guests are delighted to learn of such a personal commitment to the details.
Nearly every room was designed to capture sea breezes, and make the most of natural light, even during warm mid-summer showers. Guests enjoy the comfortable mattresses and high-end linens – two features given special consideration so that a restful retreat is actually a restful retreat. When Jorge visits Casa Ramon, he spends nearly all of his time in the third floor kitchen, where large windows showcase the richly green mountain on one side, and the panoramic views of the Pacific ocean on the other.
Another kitchen, complete with a grill and a refrigerator, provides outdoor cooking and dining opportunities. The breakfast bar is the perfect place to enjoy a morning coffee, and a dining table provides an idyllic setting for a candlelit sunset dinner. These outdoor living areas are near the pool, jetted tub, and tropical pond, and provide plenty of places to sit and relax while chatting with the visiting wildlife: Capuchin monkeys, parrots, and even the occasional sloth.
Inside you’ll find the modern comforts of home such as air-conditioning and WiFi. Enjoy a movie in the home theater, or hire a private chef to create an original menu from the freshest ingredients, suited to your tastes. Childcare services can be provided if the adults want an outing, and additional services are available to meet your needs, whether you just need a ride from the airport, or would like a spectacular private fireworks show for a special occasion.
There are so many things to enjoy while staying at Casa Ramon, you may not wish to leave, but if adventure is on your wish list there are plenty of opportunities. Ask your concierge to arrange lessons at the surfing school, or a boat trip around the Ballena Marine National Reserve where you might see humpback whales or try snorkeling. Be sure to spend some time on the sand too – whether on the private beach located just steps down from the house, or on one of several beaches just a few minutes’ drive from Casa Ramon.
Whether you are wanting a romantic getaway for a honeymoon or anniversary, an adrenaline packed week for a group of friends, or an epicurean adventure with your children, no request is too small. The staff of Casa Ramon will check in each day to make sure everything runs smoothly, whatever your needs may be.
The town of Dominical itself is a quaint beach haven. It lies along the coast surrounded by coves, plantations, mangroves, and marshes. It is in the South Pacific Region of Costa Rica, which means that it gets more sun than the rainy northern beaches. The best time to visit is between October and April. In addition to being a surfer’s private paradise, it has a world-wide reputation for sport fishing, birding, and biologically diverse marine life.
Dominical is small enough to make you feel welcome, and big enough to provide lots of exciting activities. Whether you’re craving action and adventure, or a few quiet days in a hammock with a good book, Jorge and the staff at Casa Ramon have gone to great lengths to create the perfect paradise for your next vacation.
Find out more about Casa Ramon