I’ve sunken into a bed with crisp white blankets, with cheeks still red from the delicious steaming bath I just got out of. I am not in any sort of exotic place; I’m in San Jose, but it has never felt more exotic to me than right here, on this soft bed, under a rich wooden ceiling in the middle of Hotel Grano de Oro.
As a frequent traveler of Costa Rica, I have spent my fair share of time in the capital city of San Jose. Sometimes it is hard to see the beauty of the capital, not because of any fault of the city, but because Costa Rica has so many other spectacular sights that it makes the competition tough. The white sand beaches of the Caribbean, the soaring volcano at Arenal, the stunning blue water of Guanacaste… it’s a lot to compete with.
Hotel Grano de Oro transports you to a different part of San Jose- not a different location, but a different time. Walking up the front steps of the hotel and into the reception is like walking back an entire century. Of course, this Costa Rican hotel has all of the modern amenities, like that scrumptious bathtub, but you can see the original beauty everywhere you look. It is a delightful example of a tropical Victorian mansion.
The three words that best describe my experience are luxurious, beautiful, and eccentric.
This boutique hotel is a without a doubt a luxurious place to stay in San Jose. Imagine relaxing in the rooftop Jacuzzi under twinkling lights, surrounded by bright green tropical plants, watching the sky shift from blue to fuchsia to violet as the sun sets. Imagine a mouthwatering meal, eaten in a courtyard patio straight out of Paris. Of course, let us not forget the bed that invites you to melt into it and relax. This is how I want to spend every single Friday night in San Jose.
It is beautiful, too. There are plants and different textures everywhere, like a dance for the eyes. One moment you are enjoying a bubbling fountain, the next you are walking through an indoor jungle. Every corner has something pleasing, from tropical flowers to bamboo textures to delicate Victorian style woodwork.
From the word beautiful, I easily transition into eccentric. This hotel is one of the most eccentric stays I have had in Costa Rica. After the fountain and jungle, you find yourself going up and down hidden staircases and through narrow hallways that open up into halls lined with mirrors and patterns waltzing across the wallpaper. I feel like I could explore this building for a week and still find new corners filled with interesting things.
It is so easy to forget that you are in the heart of Costa Rica’s capital city. It’s quiet, as if the hotel has absorbed all the sounds of the city, as well as the sounds of its visitors. There are always crowds in San Jose, but while roaming the winding halls of Grano de Oro, I felt a level of peace and privacy that you just don’t get in the city that often.
Grano de Oro means Grain of Gold. That is what Costa Ricans used to call the coffee bean, since the entire country was built upon the cultivation and production of coffee. It is easy to see how this San Jose hotel is a nugget of gold. Nestled in the midst of the city, beautiful on the outside, and even better on the inside, this hotel is an experience worth having. My stay here isn’t even over yet and I am already looking forward to returning in the future.