I. IDEA, LOCATION AND DESIGN OF THE PROJECT
The idea arose during a family camping trip to Coroico in the early 1990s. After camping on the soccer field, the family decided to walk around Coroico, and was enchanted with its dense vegetation and tropical flowers, and decided to buy a small property in this place. And that is how the family began searching for a property; at least 15 properties were visited, before finding the right one, and that was in Pankarani ("flowery" in Aymará) at 2.5 Kms from Coroico towards the town of Carmen Pampa. The property was purchased in 1993 and later expanded, by acquiring a natural forest next to the property. The features of the property that most appealed to the family were; the availability of water (the community water tank was in front of the property), the panoramic view of the Andean snow-capped mountains, the colorful flowers, the dense vegetation; including fruit trees, the forest and the coffee plantations.
After buying the property, it was decided to look for an architect to design a simple country house; however, the family had to travel abroad for a year (postgraduate studies of the father in Boston, USA), and when the family returned to La Paz, Bolivia with new ideas, the initial design was discarded and a larger and more innovative project was envisioned. . The design was rethought and several styles of country houses were considered, from those reflected in specialized magazines to styles that were visited and observed in some country houses in the mountains of Samaipata,Santa Cruz. When the family had a clear idea of the type of country house they wanted, an architect with experience in rustic country houses was sought. The architect Diego Vargas Farjat fulfilled this profile and it was with whom the family decided to develop and finalize the final design of the house with a Californian colonial style, in the year 1996.
II. THE CONSTRUCTION
In the middle of 1997 the construction began after forming a good team. Fortunately, an experienced U.S american builder was found, Mr. Robert Cashen, married to a Coroican lady, who not only had construction experience in Coroico and knowledge of the fine materials of the place, but also had the ability to correctly interpret the American colonial (hence, English style) design of the house.
TThe construction of the house took about a year (July 1997 - July 1998), with biweekly supervisory trips (by direct administration) along the old road; also, known as "Death Road" performed by the father for 30 occasions with his son Jaime (12 years old at the time), who was a quiet co-pilot and with nerves of steel during all trips. At first, the fear spread in both travelers who had to travel a road so narrow (3 meters wide) and dangerous (with several cliffs of approximately 800 meters deep); however, little by little, the fear disappeared, but not the respect for a winding road bordered by deep precipices. Also, the youngest of the sons Sergio (11 years old at the time). accompanied on several occasions in these trips to Coroico, and finally, the whole family traveled - including the mother and the oldest daughter Silvia (15 years old at that time) - in many other times. Fortunately, there were no major mishaps; only one "encounter" with a big bus which was descending by one of the closed curves, and two flat tires (one in full rain).
During construction, most of the materials were found in the place; especially, the native woods "huasicuchu" and "quina quina" (hard and noble woods that are not affected by termites) that were used for the internal wooden stairs, the structure of the barbecue, the columns of the porch and others; as well as, a lot of huge stones for the "dry tacanas"(dry walls made of stone). However, tiles, ceramics, carved stone - "Tarija" type (for the bathrooms and porch of the house) had to be brought by truck from La Paz; bathroom toilets; hardware store; painting and other materials. It was not easy to find a good "stonecutter" in the place, so one was brought from La Paz to chop and cut some 100 large stones that were found in the property, which were used for the construction of many "dry tacanas", and which are seen in many places of the country house.
When the main construction was finished in 1998, the country house consisted of 3 bedrooms (with 3 bathrooms, including the one for visits), kitchen, living-dining room, pantry, entrance arch, and washing machine room. In addition, it also included a pool 15 meters long by 6 wide and 1.8 deep, a barbecue with a jatata roof and a small house for the property keeper.
III. ADDITIONAL WORKS AND EXPANSION
The complementary works (landscaping, additional dry tacanas, septic tank, water tank, camping bath, clay oven and others) were carried out mainly during the second semester of 1998. Mr. Jorge Dulón, now also a community member of Pankarani, was selected for the landscaping work of the property, for which they bought more than 500 diverse and varied plants of the region (bougainvillea, palms, giant ferns, jasmine, bamboo, ornamental shrubs, full-color salon leaves, and many others) and it was complemented with other flora of the property and the surroundings. The dry tacanas, and the more than 10 stone-paved paths, including the one around the perimettal boundary, and several within the property, were made by Mr. Mario Mamani, property keeper for many years. Also, the natural perimeter fence - made by all types of trees - of the property (of a hectare and a half) that protects the flora and fauna therein, was also built by Mr. Mamani with a combination of trees (pines brought from La Paz, seibos, "pedritos" (cucarda), nísperos, bougainvillea, etc.).
During a year and a half (July 2015 - December 2016), an important expansion was made (the lodging capacity of the country house was doubled) with 2 additional cabins - Fiori with 36 m2 and Nonni with 30 m2 - and one shelter for the keeper with 25 m2. Each cabin consists of a large bedroom in suite, kitchenette and bathroom. Both the design and supervision of this work were in charge of Architect Sergio A.Vizcarra Dáttoli, who traveled several times to Coroico and directed the work of Mr. Jorge Quispe, master builder, hired from La Paz for the execution of the works. Also, there was the collaboration of Arq. Mario Camacho Valdivia, who traveled from Cochabamba to provide additional technical advice for this expansion.
IV. ORIGIN OF THE NAME "SARACENA", FURNISHING AND DECORATION
When the construction phase was over, the family decided to name the country house, and baptized it as "Villa Pequeña Saracena" in honor of the town of origin of the Dáttoli family - the maternal grandfather (Nonno) of the children came from this place. "Saracena" (pronounced Sarachena) is a mountainous town. near Castrovillari, in southern Italy, in the Cosenza province, Calabria region, about an hour from the Ionian Sea, arm of the Mediterranean.
The part of the furnishing and the decoration of the country house, which turned out to be something "eclectic", was carried out during the years 1999 and 2000 in the first construction stage, and the year 2017, in the expansion phase. We searched furniture, hanging lamps and decorations that fitted the style of the house; further, we tried to find furniture and also objects of different styles but always antique, country and colonial types: for example, sitting stools, shelves, bar-ledge, porch bells and other ornaments are american colonial style. The furniture of the bedrooms are Mobilia fuirniture classic type; the wrought iron hanging lamps (that belonged to the Dáttoli family) are colonial style; and the table in cedar wood of the dining room comes from Sucre (Chuquisaca), and it is from the beginning of the 20th century. To give the house a subtropical atmosphere, wicker furniture was included; hammocks and “camba” (from Santa Cruz) thread covers. The furniture in the cabins Fiori and Nonni, are "country" type of antique pine and also, they include Mobilia furniture.
Finally, the various paths of the house were named with wooden signs. The eldest daughter Silvia, was in charge of designing these signs, giving them the names and painting them; there are more than 20 signs with very creativer names, such as: "El Mirador Curioso" (The Curios Viewpoint), "Ganado a la Barbacoa" (Cattle to the BBQ), "Las Paltas Chinchosas" (Annoying Avocados), "Plaza La Glorieta", "Lindero Uchumachi", "Camino Aracnido" (Arachnid Path), %El Camino Olvidado” (Forgotten Way)," I Do not Know How to Explain It "," False Path "and several others.
V. BEGINNING OF THE COMPANY: HOUSE-HOTEL "VILLA SARACENA"
After a market analysis, a pilot test phase, the organization and marketing phases, it was decided to start up the Casa-Hotel Villa Saracena, as a family company - the first of its kind in the region - that since 2007 works under the proper and legal registration of FUNDAEMPRESA and the due Operating License of the Mayor of Coroico.
Coroico, as the first tourist municipality of Bolivia (Law 2074), requires an attractive ecotourism lodging facility, that offers its internal and external guests a house-hotel with the unique characteristics that "Villa Saracena" offers:
A finely furnished country house, fully equipped with large windows and terrace, which functions as an Aparthotel (guests bring their groceries to prepare their meals). and is ready to be occupied by guests who have at their disposal: a unique country house with two cabins (Fiori and Nonni) and camping.
VI. MISSION AND VISION OF THE CASA-HOTEL VILLA SARACENA
MISSION: WE ARE AN INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE TEAM THAT OFFERS OUR GUESTS A UNIQUE COUNTRY HOUSE WITH COZY AND COMFORTABLE ACCOMODATIONS AND A HIGH QUALITY SERVICE; BOTH OF WHICH ALLOW TRAVELERS TO FEEL AT HOME IN A PIECE OF THE YUNGAS PARADISE.
VISION: WE WANT TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A UNIQUE, ECO-TOURIST HOUSE-HOTEL – ONE OF ITS KIND - THAT OFFERS EXCELLENT LODGING FACILITIES AND SERVICES, THEREBY, SATISFYING THE DEMANDING REQUIREMENTS OF THE TRAVELERS, AND BECOMING AN IDEAL AND AVANT-GARDE VACATION PLACE FOR THOSE WHO LOVE AND KEEP NATURE.