“It became part of the sustainable farming narrative when the owners decided to reforest their 1,300 acres by planting more than 14,000 endemic teak, mahogany, and fruit trees. (The area had been blighted after years of destructive agriculture.) Now it’s designated as a nature reserve, with hopes that habitat restoration will bring back local populations of wild boar, iguanas, monkeys, and native birds. Turning Nekupe into a hotel also created a significant source of local employment: 100 percent of the 143-person staff is Nicaraguan, with 80 percent coming from the immediate community of Nandaime. With just eight rooms, they form a staff-to-guest ratio of 9 to 1.
Rooms, which start at $750 per night (and come with meals), include four suites in the main house, each with spacious proportions and sumptuous furnishings: tufted leather headboards, dark-stained wood walls, gabled ceilings, and wall-to-wall windows. And four standalone villas are each themed after local trees, using either the wood, fruit, or scent of indigenous species such as the madroño and jicaro.
“We wanted our clients to have very high-end luxurious accommodations that blend in with nature,” said Pellas, adding that “every move we made during construction, we made with respect to nature and the trees.” But Pellas believes that subtle exposure to ANF’s missions—be it interactions with the staff, an afternoon picking endemic crops in the property greenhouse, or a visit to the local school—will give travelers a deeper connection to the country they’re visiting. He’s creating a series of programs, showcased in beautifully branded materials in each room, that allow guests to visit or volunteer with a series of ANF-funded projects.” (Bloomberg News 4-26-17).