Culture, nightlife, haute cuisine—travelers are discovering the virtues of San José. And with plenty of lodging options, you can take your pick of style, neighborhood, and amenities on offer. Make your decision easy with this list of the best hotels in Costa Rica's capital.

Staying in San José

Costa Rica's capital is abuzz with all the kinetic energy of a modern metropolis, and even just 24 hours in San José can be worth your time. The city will pull you in a hundred different directions, each promising fun, culture, and adventure, but you'll also find plenty of family-friendly activities in the city.

During your visit, it helps to have a solid, comfy lodging option, of which there are many in San José. You can find decent prospects anywhere in town, but we recommend focusing on the downtown or Parque Sabana areas and choosing accommodation with more personalized service and intimate surroundings. If you'd like to stay near the airport for convenience, there are a few options there, too, and the airport is just about 40 to 50 minutes from the downtown district. Another alternative is to stay at a resort just outside the city in the countryside surrounded by nature.

We've compiled a list of the best hotels in San José for all our recommended areas. For more insider advice on navigating this beautiful, bustling city, see our tips for visiting San José.

Downtown San José

Staying in downtown San José has many perks. The hotels are within walking distance to nearly all of the city's main sites, including the Jade Museum, Gold Museum, National Museum, and National Theater. You'll also be close to many shops, restaurants, and bars. 

Gran Hotel


Gran Hotel's restored 1930s facade (Photo Courtesy of Gran Hotel)

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 from 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 Presidente


The brightly painted facade of the Hotel Presidente (Photo Courtesy of Hotel Presidente)

For a convenient option located in the heart of the city, you won't do better than Hotel Presidente. The hotel is an art installation unto itself, and the building's exterior includes a pop-art milieu. It may be larger than your typical boutique hotel (with 91 rooms over eight floors), but the rooms are uncommonly large for a city hotel. The giant, comfy beds are a treat after a day of sightseeing, especially the king-size beds in the superior rooms. The hotel is pet-friendly, there's a gym, and guests can enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast. Learn more

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La Sabana Park Area

Although not in the city's historic core, La Sabana Park is near San José's best shopping streets and the largest municipal park. When wondering where to eat in San José, many lists start with the restaurants around this area. We recommend two hotels in the area, one historic boutique hotel and another option perfect for budget travelers.

Hotel Grano De Oro


The majestic Grano De Oro, a restored mansion (Photo Courtesy of 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. 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 you'll be surrounded by tropical plants fronting stained glass windows. Learn more

Park Inn


The outdoor pool at Park Inn (Photo Courtesy of Park Inn)

You’ll find the same color theme here in San José as in any Park Inn by Radisson hotel. Plain and simple, the hotel is no-frills but does offer an outdoor pool, fitness center, a restaurant and bar, and free parking. The rooms are bright and clean—some even include beautiful views of downtown San José. Some of the lobby’s decor offers a nod to Costa Rican history and culture, and the onsite restaurant serves a few traditional dishes. Otherwise, this location matches any Park Inn hotel's standard look and feel, following a bright and colorful theme. Overall, this is an excellent hotel for pool-loving families, self–driving travelers, or those just needing a night’s stay before heading home or out on adventures. Learn more

Hilton San José La Sabana


The Hilton near La Sabana Park offers all the views (Photo Courtesy of Hilton San José La Sabana)

For another option outside the city center and a hotel with captivating views, you can stay at the Hilton San José La Sabana. Set on the northeast corner of the park, this hotel is the furthest from the downtown area (of kimkim recommendations). You'll trade location for some of the city's best views from the hotel's multiple stories, including the pool on the 31st floor and the restaurant on the 18th floor. You'll also find a sleek lobby, an outdoor terrace with views, a fitness center, and meeting rooms.

Rooms and suites are modern and clean with a minimalist vibe, though they provide everything you might need, including upgraded bedding, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and minifridges. Some have balconies, all have incredible city views, and suites come complete with sofas and dining areas. 

Outside San José

Surrounded by nature and countryside, San José has quite a few relaxing resort options to consider as well. For some of the best boutique and luxury hotels in San José, you'll need to head north. But if you're looking to splurge, you may find it's worth it considering our three recommendations.

Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation


The beautiful pool at Finca Rosa (Photo Courtesy of 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


Gorgeous views at the Peace Lodge (Photo Courtesy of Peace Lodge, La Paz Waterfall Gardens)

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. 

Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat


The serene pool area at Asclepios (Photo Courtesy of Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat)

Many visitors come to Costa Rica on wellness and spirituality excursions, which makes Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat such a great option. You can find several health lodges and yoga retreats throughout the country, particularly on the Pacific coast, but 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 outskirts of the Alajuela neighborhood and Asclepios.

The 12 rooms in this boutique hotel are tastefully done in bridal white with brick floors, canopy beds, and claw bathtubs in the washroom. The grounds are impeccably maintained, and the 20,000-square-foot property looks out over a sprawling organic farm (which also supplies the onsite restaurant). Asclepios offers an abundance of wellness and spa services, including a yoga center, meditation pavilion, sauna, and holistic practitioners focusing on naturopathy, detoxification, and revitalization. 

San José Airport

Downtown San José is less than one hour (about 40 to 50 minutes) from the Juan Santamaría International Airport, so many travelers opt to stay at an airport hotel for convenience. We recommend three hotels with easy access to the airport, train station, and car rental agencies. 

Courtyard by Marriott


Outside the Marriott (Photo Courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott—San José Airport Alajuela)

Courtyard by Marriott has an ideal location less than one mile from the airport and just off the ramp from the Pan American Highway. It's an excellent option for a quick overnight stay after flying in or before flying out. The exterior is modern and multi-story, with tall palm trees greeting you at the entrance. You'll have your choice of standard rooms, superior rooms, and suites that are simple in design and decor. This is your standard airport hotel chain, but there are some nice conveniences, including an outdoor pool, a 24/7 market, and a restaurant serving traditional Costa Rican food. 

Hampton Inn & Suites


The lobby at Hampton Inn (Photo Courtesy of Hampton Inn & Suites San José Airport)

The Hampton Inn & Suites has several amenities to keep you comfortable and entertained, so it's more than just your average airport hotel. The property does a decent job interweaving Costa Rican flora and fauna into its interiors, such as in the lobby area, where vibrant pops of color depict tropical plants and wildlife. The outdoor pool area also does a good job bringing the jungle to you with tall palm trees and tropical plants. Other highlights include a complimentary breakfast and restaurant open for dinner, free parking, and a 24/7 airport shuttle that runs frequently. Like Courtyard by Marriott, The Hampton Inn is located less than one mile from Juan Santamaria International Airport and near the Pan American Highway and train station. 

Holiday Inn Express


The rooms at Holiday Inn Express (Photo Courtesy of Holiday Inn Express—San José Costa Rica Airport)

This Holiday Inn Express is a good option for a quick overnight stay near the airport, as it’s also just one mile from Juan Santamaria International Airport, two blocks from car rental agencies, near the Pan American Highway, and next door to the train station. The decor and amenities are what you’d expect from this hotel brand: standard and simple. Although it's an international hotel chain, this location is on the smaller side, with only 100 rooms across two stories, so it can feel more intimate than other airport accommodations. If you’re using the hotel as a stopping point before or after a flight, the outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees is a great place to burn off the jet lag.