The Gran Hotel in San José knows how to mix history, modernity, and elegance; 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 past 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. Learn more
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 ambience, be sure to dine in the central courtyard, where tropical plants fronting stained glass windows surround you. Learn more
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Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
Costa Rica has become a fixture on the global coffee trail. 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. On the property, you'll also find a full-service spa, three restaurants, and an outdoor pool.
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, bird-watching 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.