Design preserves the architecture of a tropical Victorian home
Traditionally decorated rooms with AC, coffeemakers, and minibars
Popular on-site restaurant includes an extensive wine cellar
Plenty of dining choices within walking distance
Splendid rooftop terrace with two whirlpools
Many rooms have private patios or gardens
Free Wi-Fi throughout and guest computers available
Massage services available (fee)
Not within walking distance of San Jose’s main sights
No pool or fitness center
Standard rooms can be small
Hotel Grano de Oro is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel located outside San Jose’s city center. Its 35 rooms are understatedly stylish, with many offering pretty gardens or patios. The fantastic on-site restaurant, which serves French-Mediterranean and tropical-influenced cuisine, uses sustainable, fresh Costa Rican ingredients, and is as popular with locals as it is with guests. The attractive rooftop terrace has two hot tubs. The main downside is location -- there are several restaurants and bars within walking distance, but most of the city’s main attractions are a bit of a trek on foot and require a car. The hotel also lacks the range of amenities offered by larger properties -- there's no pool or fitness center, and rates are pricey. For travelers seeking a hotel closer to the city center, Balmoral Hotel, while not as glamorous, is an excellent alternative.
An intimate boutique hotel in a historic setting with Victorian details
Set in a Victorian mansion, Hotel Grano de Oro’s charms begin with its white-trimmed exterior, which includes a graceful turret at one end. Originally a private family residence built at the turn of the 20th century, this hotel opened in 1991, and later annexed the two neighboring buildings. Inside, the chic lobby featuring bamboo accent walls gives way to inviting, olive-toned hallways lined with black-and-white photos. Lush courtyards with homey yet elegant decor create the ambience of an affluent, turn-of-the-century residence.
Guests join locals at the restaurant, which specializes in fish with sauces and beef -- seating is offered in a handsome, wood-floored interior featuring silver tea sets, decorative plates, and Tiffany lamps. The interior dining area wraps around a gorgeous courtyard, where tables with striped umbrellas surround a lovely fountain.
The hotel, with its slightly out-of-the-way location and romantic vibe, draws mostly couples, but families, nature and eco-adventurers check in here too.
On a quiet side street off busy Paseo Colon, slightly outside the city center
Hotel Grano de Oro is located down a nondescript side street off Paseo Colon. There are a number of restaurants within walking distance, particularly along Paseo Colon, ranging from local fare to international chains. It’s a 15-minute walk to La Sabana Park. Mercado Central, and the Coca Cola bus terminal is less than a 20-minute walk from the hotel.
San Jose’s most popular attractions, including Teatro Nacional Costa Rica and the Precolumbian Gold Museum, are a bit more far-flung and quite a trek on foot. It's a 25-minute walk, or a 15-minute drive, to the city center. It's also possible to catch a local bus, but the bus system can be challenging to navigate for guests who do not speak Spanish. Traffic in San Jose tends to be heavy, and therefore many guests opt to walk and avoid a car or taxi. Juan Santamaria Airport is a 20- to 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Attractive guest rooms with coffeemakers, minibars, flat-screen TVs, and stately furniture
Of the Hotel Grano de Oro's 35 rooms, no two are exactly the same, but all have soft, neutral color schemes and hardwood floors. Subtle artwork by local artists decorate the walls, and many rooms include wainscoting and crown molding. Wrought-iron beds offer 300 thread-count linens and Simmons Beauty Rest Pillow-top mattresses. Small tables topped with banker’s lamps have dark rattan chairs. All rooms have flat-screen TVs, minibars, coffeemakers supplied with Costa Rican coffee, and free Wi-Fi. Most rooms include wooden wardrobes, with bathrobes and personal safes.
Modern bathrooms have pump dispensers of nicely scented shampoo, conditioner, and body soap, along with bottles of hand soap and body lotion. Some bathrooms have shower/tub combos, while others have glass-walled showers.
The Garden Suite includes a large sitting area and private garden, while Deluxe Patio rooms have enclosed patios with plants and fountains. The Family Suite has two-bedrooms with an adjoining shared bathroom. The Vista de Oro Suite is reached by a private staircase and features wood-paneled walls and antique furniture.
Outstanding fine dining restaurant and leafy rooftop terrace with whirlpools
While the Hotel Grano de Oro lacks the features of a larger property, such as a pool or fitness center, the amenities it does offer are quite polished. The hotel’s restaurant is a stand-out feature, and it's considered one of the top dining spots in San Jose, attracting as many locals as guests. Focused on French Mediterranean and tropical-influenced cuisine, the restaurant serves breakfast (not included in rates), lunch, and dinner. Its wine cellar houses more than 165 labels, and many are available by the glass. There are also two private dining rooms, which can accommodate up to 16 and 30 people, respectively.
The hotel has a picturesque rooftop terrace with two whirlpools and loungers. A gift shop off the lobby sells almost exclusively Costa Rican-made handicrafts and souvenirs. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout, and free self-parking is available in front of the property. Two laptops are on hand for guests' use in the lobby. Massage services are also offered for a fee. The hotel provides currency exchange as well, and staff can assist in the booking of tours and car rentals.
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