Oxygen Jungle Villas: A Green Mountainside Retreat

PlantTherapy

What a view! The owners of Oxygen Jungle Villas, located in a remote area of Costa Rica, wanted to create a place that lives within the landscape and coexists with the rainforest. The villas are quite beautifully designed in teak and glass, and they are not imposing or overpowering. The surrounding views and nature truly get to be the star attraction.

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The owners, Edwin and Flora, wanted to keep their hotel experience intimate with only 24 guests at a time. With the absence of large televisions, telephones, room service and other traditional hotel amenities, the sounds, smells and sights of the surrounding nature seem to wrap around Oxygen like a cozy blanket. The buildings occupy a very small percentage of their land and the rainforest seems to run unhindered through the villa property: visitors will see a stray anteater ramble through, tree frogs out on the deck, large blue butterflies on the drapes and any number of exotic birds playing in the surrounding trees. Edwin also says that guests have even spotted monkeys playing out in the surrounding tree canopies.

The jungle really is the true landscaper, and Edwin and Flora take their cues from where nature left off, planting many structural trees and fragrant flowering plants that attract the local wildlife. While most New Yorkers have seen some of these plants in shops, like the Monstera deliciosa, above, rarely do we get to see them grow to their true potential in their preferred climate.

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You can readily smell ginger blossoms by the paths as you walk along. But another strong scent that can be found is that of Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) (in the picture above), which is the highly fragrant blossom used in many perfumes, including Chanel No. 5. Once you have smelled it you can see why so many people would want to reproduce its fragrance.

(Images: Matthew Noiseux and Oxygen)

Matt writes a weekly column on plants, flowers and gardening. Feel free to e-mail questions to matthew@apartmenttherapy.com