Standing at around 70 feet tall, our beautiful River Palace took nearly a year to build. We wanted to design and construct the most beautiful and interesting building in the area. We used mostly natural materials, with almost all the wood being sourced from the farm across the street. Our palace is currently the tallest habitable building in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica!
Not only does the building reach 70 feet, but it is also constructed 20 feet off the ground, atop three valley rivers, hence the name! There are three bridges that grant guests access.
Inside the Palace
The building has three floors, that all contribute to making one large, layered room. We have received many comments that draw similarities to M.C. Escher’s work, because of the many stairs, floors, and bridges.
On the second level, there is a bridge that leads you to a small workspace. We have designed this for people on laptops or doing art, to provide them with a tranquil place to be productive. From this level, there are beautiful views westward over the farm. You can look out of a triangular window, that at the top has wonderful stain glass decoration.
Although our River Palace has an exotic and luxurious style, it is still just a humble dorm. The bathrooms are small, and you won’t get much privacy (unless you’re in the loft beds on the third floor).
In 2015 – 2016, our guests absolutely loved staying crammed together like sardines in our volunteer house, so we figured this would be a massive upgrade! Everyone we talked to in these days, loved the communal nature, so we tried to capture that type of energy, while still providing more space than before for our guests. We have been receiving incredible reviews from guests, with many declaring that they would move in permanently, without a moment’s hesitation. We are glad people are loving this building as much as we do, and that people are having as much fun in it, as we did building it.
The roof of the River Palace is designed with both lighting and air-circulation in mind. There is a ring-vent, which allows natural light in, and hot air to escape. The ‘crown’ of the building has lights that create a rainbow-like effect. All of the lighting in the palace are LED bulbs, which are incredibly efficient.
The roof is created using traditional methods. It is constructed from raw palm, which is stripped and then bound together tightly. It’s not only a beautiful, low impact way of building, but it’s also efficient. There is no electrical ventilation in the building, but the roof itself helps with this. The structure is able to maintain a lovely temperature during the day, and at night, because of the roofing and design.
Our kitchen is complete with a refrigerator, large double sink, along with gas burners for cooking. Even though guests will not eat the meals here during their stay, we provide the amenities for you to make your own food if you wish, and also for private events. The kitchen is one of the most spectacular features inside the place. There is a 16-foot-long bar bench, which has been created from a single branch that broke off a local Cenizro tree during a big storm.
There are two communal bathrooms in the River Palace, one on the first floor, and one on the second. The showers for guests are outside, made from concrete.
Due to the fact that the structure is built over three converging streams, access is granted from three long wooden bridges. There are also two bridges underneath for workers to use. All up, there are seven different bridges present in this structure.
Hanging “Nest” Beds
In terms of accommodation, this building has six, round, “nest beds”. These beds float above the ground, much like the River Palace itself, suspended from the roof by ropes. They all have their own lighting, a personal fan, a mosquito net (not that you really need it – but just in case). We think they are perhaps the coolest beds in the world. There are 2 nest beds on the first floor, and 4 on the second floor.
They’re close together, very cozy, but don’t offer a lot of privacy. For guests concerned with this, the loft rooms above may be a better option for you.
The remaining beds are in the loft on the third floor. There are ladder-style steps to reach these rooms. Up here, there are two small private rooms, each fitted with a queen-size bed and an interesting, narrow triangle-shaped window with a view. The beds are made from local Melina and Teak wood. These private rooms overlook the main room but are equipped with curtains for privacy.
For those who don’t like the idea of suspended beds or loft beds, we do have a couple of single beds on the first floor. During the day, they are usually used by guests, as they are sofa beds! Despite being on the ground floor, these beds are still suspended 20 feet above the river, so provide a lovely view nonetheless!