Today, we teamed up with our friends Shirley and Dave who are also wayward Canadians, for a trip west on the Inter American Highway to check out a resort in Santa Clara. Santa Clara is a little over a 30 minute drive west of Coronado. If you come to the new airport at Rio Hato where the Royal Decameron in Farallon is, you have come a bit too far. Find a Returno (an authorized place to make a U-turn) and return back to the next town.
Santa Clara is the site of the opulent Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort which is just a couple of years old. It’s another remote all-inclusive place with rates starting in the $250 per night range. As we turned south off the highway towards the Pacific, we soon met some of the trappings that makes this place expensive. We first came to a security gate. Our friends, who had been here before, simply told the guard that we were going to the Hertz car rental desk which caused us to be immediately waved through. Apparently you get quite a bit of hassle if you say that you just want to go look at the resort. As we drove down the road, I noticed that the infrastructure is all complete. Roads are paved, sidewalks and street lighting is in place, and every inch of the landscape is manicured just the way you would expect around a Sheraton Resort. We drove past a number of three-story walk up apartment buildings that lined the perfectly groomed golf course until we came to the end of the road where the Sheraton was.
The building is a six-story open to the ocean drop dead gorgeous expression of luxury everywhere you look! When you enter the lobby and pass the many ample soft couches you are immediately struck with the incredible vista that rolls out to the Pacific beginning directly in front of the hotel. There are a series of pools that occupy the space between the hotel and the wide white hard sand beach. Off in the distance a white double masted schooner is at anchor. The view is further enhanced by a restaurant with a thatched roof which is off to the side as well as a water slide between an infinity pool and the pool below it.
We wandered the hotel and grounds, unchallenged. There were lots of guests, unless the place was full of crashers like us, but the pools were being well used. The grounds are beautifully kept, as expected and the beach looked recently groomed. We thought we would stay for dinner and enquired at the front desk about the cost of a dinner pass. We were told $25 would buy us into any of the restaurants on the site for dinner and give us our food and drinks. Not too bad a price for such a high-end place. After determining that none of the restaurants opened until at least 6:30PM, we elected to move on to somewhere where we wouldn’t have to wait so long.
There was a tall customer service representative from the hotel roaming among the guests lounging in the lobby. She was wearing a typical historic local costume that was to say the least, striking. When I asked her to let me take a picture she agreed and posed. I’m sure it is something she gets asked to do on a regular basis and it is probably also in her job description. Very nice!
On the way off the property, Dave spotted a small hedge that interested him. He is a bit of a gardener and had spotted a flowering hedge where the clusters of flowers were actually different colors within each cluster. Unusual, don’t you think?
Well, I would say that if you like the Sheraton resorts, you would be very pleased with a stay at this one. In the very near future, when the new International Airport opens down the road at Rio Hato, the taxi ride from the airport will decrease from a couple of hours and $150 to something less than 10 minutes. Check it out. It gets a thumbs up from all four of us!