In the 1880s, the expansive property of the Bella Vista Hotel was the number one tourist destination in Costa Rica, and a project to refurbish the hotel has been going for almost a decade now.
The story itself is truly amazing. The legendary Bella Vista Hotel was the pride of Cartago, and the waters of the hot spring there were considered the fountain of youth by many early conquistadores and Europeans who came seeking to be healed by the sulfur springs. Even before Spanish explorers landed on the shores in Costa Rica, indigenous people found the waters to be a source of healing, and would often take dirt from the surrounding area for the purpose s of medicating ailments.
As word spread about the newly coined “fountain of youth in Costa Rica,” European dignitaries came pouring into Costa Rica to recover their youth and health. These included royalty from countries as far away as Austria. The hills where the Bella Vista was located saw many come from miles to rejuvenate, and made it the most important tourist location of the time.
Then in 1910, an earthquake floored much of the area, and the springs were forgotten. The area had actually become a garbage heap until a man named Avraham Kolitzky read about the lost springs and came to Cartago to seek them out. He cleared away the garbage and the overgrowth to once again bring forth the reputed healing waters that are a byproduct of the Irazu and Turrialba Volcano.
Mr. Kolitzky considers it his life’s mission to bring the waters back to the people, and he is building a new resort hotel on the grounds dubbed Palacio Purapora. The new building combines architectural styles from both the Arab world, the old Bella Vista Hotel and the National Museum of Costa Rica. There are also several sculptures indicative of the Huetar people who used to be the only residents of the area, and the name of the hotel is actually taken from the Huetar dialect.
However, the project, which the Restauranteur from Israel, has undertaken doesn’t look to be finished anytime soon. The hotel has been under construction for eight years, and the proprietor says that it will be another two years before it is opened. When it does open, the hotel will have 40 suites, a restaurant and bar and multiple hot pools for bathing.