Where to Stay in San José
Costa Rica's capital is highly energetic, with fascinating culture, stunning architecture, beautiful vistas, and haute cuisine. Even if you only have 24 hours in San José, it can be worth your time. You'll find world-renowned museums to explore, crafts at buzzy markets to take home, and plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. It's no surprise that this modern metropolis offers boutique and luxury lodging to elevate your trip and help you stay comfy.
You'll find the best hotels in San José throughout the city, but for a bit of luxury, we recommend focusing on the downtown area or staying at a resort just north of the city in the countryside surrounded by nature. To help you pick the right hotel for you, we've compiled the best luxury and boutique hotels in and around San José.
San José City Center
Staying in downtown San José has many perks, as hotels can be within walking distance to nearly all of the main sites. Stay close to the Jade Museum, Gold Museum, National Museum, and National Theater if you're a history buff, but if you're more interested in culture, don't forget to visit the Central Market and Municipal Craft Market, and take a stroll through the beautiful Parque La Sabana.
For more insider advice on navigating this beautiful, bustling city, see our tips for visiting San José.
The Gran Hotel in San José knows how to mix history, modernity, and elegance, and you'll see why when you enter the lobby. Completely renovated, the building originated in the 1930s and currently holds a designation as a historical-architectural monument. Gran Hotel upholds its past with a restored facade from Costa Rica’s colonial era on the outside. On the inside, the renovated hotel gives off a clean, trendy, and elegant vibe, almost like an oasis from the busy city.
The rooms and common spaces are bright, spacious, and stylish, and the location is ideal—next door to the Gold Museum and National Theater, two of the city's main sites that you can see from your window. You might notice the top floor stands apart from the rest of the building with a modern look and floor-to-ceiling windows. The decor in the 5th-floor lounge and its city views are simply amazing.
Hotel Grano De Oro
It's time to splurge. The four-star Grano De Oro—walking distance from La Sabana Park in central San José—exudes class and luxury. The standard rooms feature elegant hardwood floors, comfy queen beds, and marble countertops in the bathrooms. The signature suite features elegant Tudor decór, and you can almost smell the mahogany and oiled leather. And when it comes to where to eat in San José, the hotel's eponymous restaurant is one of the best in the city. The French-Mediterranean menu includes gourmet standards, with the beef and fresh fish best paired with one of the restaurant's 2,000 bottles of wine. To maximize the ambiance, be sure to dine in the central courtyard, where tropical plants fronting stained glass windows surround you.
Outside San José
Many visitors come to Costa Rica on wellness and spirituality excursions. You can find several health lodges and yoga retreats throughout the country, particularly on the Pacific coast. Still, you don't have to wait until you get out of the capital to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul! You can simply travel north of San José to the surrounding countryside, particularly the Alajuela region of Costa Rica.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
Costa Rica has become a fixture on the global coffee trail. More and more, adherents of the "third wave" movement are discovering the high quality of Costa Rican beans. Many say the deliciousness derives from the country's volcanic soil in which the plants grow. You can find the secrets yourself when you stay at Finca Rosa Blanca, a hideaway plantation and organic coffee farm situated on 40 acres in the highlands just above San José.
There's nothing not to love about Finca Rosa Blanca. The white-washed main building is part Santorini villa, part Latin American hacienda. Inside you'll find 14 luxurious rooms that accommodate two to five people. Modern conveniences abound, and the master suites feature grotto-like rock tubs. But guests really come here for the high-quality arabica coffee sustainably grown on-site—you can tour the coffee farm with the help of a bilingual guide. Last but not least, birders will get a kick out of the 130 species found fluttering around the surrounding forest.
The Peace Lodge
If you want luxury and the jungle, you get them both at The Peace Lodge. This intimate property features only 18 rooms yet sits directly in the 70-acre La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. You'll be 5,200 feet above sea level, meaning the views from the room balconies of the Poás Volcano and La Paz River Valley are truly breathtaking. Guests have unlimited access to the park's hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes, and animal sanctuary. You'll also find a full-service spa, three restaurants, and an outdoor pool on the property.
Rooms are warm and inviting, each featuring a balcony with hammocks and views, a private Jacuzzi, four-poster beds, wood-beamed ceilings, and a stone fireplace. You can choose from artisan rooms, deluxe rooms, and villas, the latter with two floors, two bedrooms, three stone fireplaces, two bathrooms, two Jacuzzis (one on the balcony), and a waterfall shower. The Peace Lodge may very well be the definition of luxury!
Xandari Resort and Spa
Another property in the Alajuela region, Xandari Resort and Spa offers incredible views of Costa Rica's lush Central Valley. A quaint resort, you'll find just 24 private villas set within 40 acres of jungle. Each villa has its own unique yet contemporary design with bright and warm colors, tile floors, wood ceilings, and terraces with views. Larger estates have separate rooms, and the Mountain View Villa has a beautiful palm-thatched roof.
The amenities at the resort would sustain any traveler! You'll find three outdoor pools (two are lap pools), two hot tubs, two gift shops, a full-service spa, a buffet and a la carte restaurant, and a bar, plus 2.5 miles (4 km) of walking trails, birdwatching tours, a hydroponic vegetable garden, and an animal farm. The resort uses a farm-to-table focus at its restaurant, has eliminated single-use plastic, and features a bio composting system.