Playa Maderas, Municipal de San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Nicaragua
Maderas Villageis the place you invented some late night of wild drinking. It’s the home away from home you hyped on calling your own with sentences that start with, “One day, when.” It’s the life you promised yourself in a moment of recognizing you’re surrounded by good friends with grand ideas.
And there, you see what it all should be: friends lounging beneath trees waxing poetic, philosophy popping in the water while you wait for the next set, the big blast of romance that swells in you when a Central American sunset swan dives into the ends of the earth. It’s everything you’ve wanted from a life you deserve. And it’s real.
Kicked back 20 minutes from San Juan del Sur at Maderas Beach, the Village is a creative type’s dreamscape. Ocean views wave at every turn. Jungle greens meander throughout, offering a comforting mystery to good coastal lands of Nicaragua.
Meanwhile, thatched roofs and bistro lights adorn the boutique hotel. There’s no spot that doesn’t suggest guests just cool down, relax, and unwind.
Guests can descend on 20 open-air rooms, casitas, and cabanas, and the grounds invite guests to roam, stroll, and lay out. Covered terrace balconies present hammocks and prime jungle real estate, and there’s even an upstairs loft that gives up a breathtaking above-the-canopy view of the glorious Pacific.
Imagine the Lost Generation took up bike riding and surfing and needed a place to crash. That’s Maderas Village. It’s a land where time takes a nap and schedules are a myth. Here, in the paradise brainstorm of artists and dreamers, you can assemble a day the way you want.
You can decide if you want to start your day at the tea lounge, screening room, reading parlor, massage and meditation studio, or yoga facilities. Collaboration spaces, surf lessons, and energy healing are also ready to be discovered and utilized.
Maderas Village is not just a place. It's a lifestyle where you will find "Glimpses of the dreamers and doers in paradise, Maderas Village, Nicaragua. Life is swell."
Plus, they serve breakfast all day. What more does your yearning heart (and stomach) want?
"Our vision was to create spaces that would facilitate meaningful connections between guests of the Village, while celebrating the surrounding nature."
TVR: Who’s the team behind Maderas Village?
MV: A collective of dynamic and talented individuals that each bring a unique skill set, perspective, and vision to whatever project they're working on.
TVR: What’s the concept behind Maderas Village?
MV: We always imaginedMaderas Village to be a creators’ paradise, where people could carry on living and working as they do back home, but from a backdrop that inspires thought. Whether for a week, for a month, or for years, the intention was always to have Maderas feel at home for ourselves, our friends, and those members of our generation that want to feel comfortable just being themselves for a while.
TVR: How did it all start? What’s the backstory here?
MV: I was in commercial real estate in Toronto, Dave came from finance in NYC and was studying law at the time, and Anthony had just left a real estate development company in Belgium. We all met each other in Maderas, shared a similar vision and passion for the potential of what could be created and all agreed on what needed to be done. From there, we built Maderas Village over the next two years and have been operating it now since 2012. Anthony stayed for 18 months and led the construction of all the cottages, cabanas, and casitas. Dave and I started Maderas Collective, our furniture and accessories company, in 2012, which Dave now runs in Managua while still living at the Village 2-4 days a week. I live full time at the Village and focus on what's next, while obsessing over the vibe.
TVR: How was the location found?
MV: We each stumbled across Maderas while searching for a better path, but it felt a lot more like Maderas found each of us.
TVR: Tell us a little bit about the design.
MV: Our goal in the design of Maderas Villagewas to celebrate the natural surroundings and local building materials of Nicaragua, while creating simple, clean, and minimalistic interior spaces to inspire quiet thought. The ocean views were reserved for common areas of the Village to ensure everyone can participate in the early morning scope of surf conditions. The cabanas are designed with sliding screen panels that open to bring guests directly into contact with the tree canopy. The casitas are designed to elevate guests above the tree canopy with second-level lofts and large entre-luces that make it impossible not to want to celebrate sunrise. Most importantly, everything was designed to make people feel at home.
TVR: When building, did you incorporate anything that was already a part of the property?
MV: We took a lot of inspiration for the design of Maderas Village from the natural landscape. We planned the layout of the casitas and cabanas based on the contours of the land, made sure to cut trees only when absolutely necessary to make sure the howler monkeys continue passing through Village regularly, and matched the placement of each of the cottages to large trees that ensure you can see the ocean from each of the cottages, but can't see any of the cottages from the ocean. We also designed and built all of the furniture in the Village with our furniture company, Maderas Collective. This allowed us to have full control over the style of every piece of furniture in the Village and ensure that the wood used was high quality, dry, and responsibly sourced.
TVR: What do you think makes Maderas Villageideal for gatherings and getaways?
MV: The communal spaces that are present throughout the Village facilitate group collaboration and authentic interaction. This results in natural conversations where people get to share thoughts, laughter, and real experiences with one another in a non-forced environment.
TVR: Any fun stories or obstacles to share?
MV: These stories are best shared and embellished around the dinner table, but between it taking us 2.5 years to get electricity, our wood dealer one time trying to sell us our own wood, our opening night where we blew every light bulb in the Village, and getting all the gear for the music studio down from the States, it's been a pretty hilarious process that's never been short of obstacles or challenges. The best advice I received when I first arrived here was, "You'll only survive if you get the joke." There's nothing more fun than waking up everyday and doing exactly what you love.
TVR: What advice would you give for anyone opening up a special gathering locale?
MV: Most importantly, know and love your clientele. You're going to spend a lot of time with them, so you better be able to anticipate their demands, share their frustrations, understand their tastes, and make friends with them easily. Define the market that you want to speak to and don't apologize for offering something that's not for everyone. Just figure out who you want to spend time with and how you can provide them with an experience they're not able to find elsewhere.
All Images Courtesy of Maderas Village