Lonely Planet Writer

Gran Hotel Costa Rica reopens in San Jose after three-year restoration

Gran Hotel Costa Rica, one of the oldest hotels in San Jose located just across Teatro Nacional, has reopened its doors after three years of transformation.

Gran Hotel Costa Rica reopens. Photo: Curio Collections by Hilton

The restoration process started in 2016 and was renewed because even though it was a historical monument, well-known by locals and visited by tourists, it didn’t match with the characteristics of a modern hotel. “The biggest challenge was to bring together under one roof history, commodity and first-class hospitality,” said, Sandor Tupi, executive manager of Gran Hotel Costa Rica.

Although the building was remodelled, it still retains some of the gems that made it an iconic and classic touristic attraction in downtown San Jose. It is still colonial but also has all the advantages of a modern and technological hotel. It was built in 1930 and was declared a historical architectural monument in 2005. Tupi said that Gran Hotel was their first choice in Costa Rica, given the long history of the building as a hotel and the attraction that it holds for both local and tourists.

Lobby of the restored Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Photo: Curio Collections by Hilton

Initially, the hotel had 108 rooms. Now, it’s a bit smaller in terms of rooms, but it has wider social areas and amenities.

Together with Las Arcadas, Plaza de la Cultura, Teatro Nacional and Museo del Oro, the building completes an area of historic places that are points of interest in San Jose.

Despite the changes, the hotel keeps its front view from the first to the fourth floor, its windows, arcades and some of the historic furniture from the Kennedy Suite. The main suite of the hotel was named after the visit of President John F. Kennedy to the country in 1963.

View over San Jose from the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Photo: Curio Collections by Hilton

From its front desk located on the 5th floor, people can appreciate Plaza de la Cultura and the mountains from the south area of the Central Valley.

The hotel now has two restaurants and a rooftop bar opened for everyone, even the ones who are not staying in the hotel. It has also a VIP and executive area for people that rather stay in a private place.

“The main target of this hotel are travellers from North America and Europe who want to experience a historical building and the center of Costa Rica’s capital San Jose” Tupi admitted. Guests can enjoy the fitness centre business centre and 24-hour snack shop.

To get to know more about the hotel, visit the website here.

By María Esther Abissi