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“Great for an airport hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport

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Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1000 Airport Boulevard | next to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela 95-4003, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #9 of 30 hotels in Alajuela
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Great for an airport hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We arrived late at night (close to midnight) after a long day of flight delays and cancellations. The SJO airport basically just disgorges you into a mess of sign-waving drivers, and a poorly-signed pickup area. Fortunately for us, the Holiday Inn Express shuttle was right across the street, and easy to find. We zipped over to the hotel in less than five minutes, and were quickly checked in by the friendly staff.

The hallways of the hotel are really dark and uninspiring, and we were worried about what our room would be like. However, the room itself was great! The beds were verrry comfortable, the climate control worked well, the bathroom was clean and nice, and the layout of the room was very convenient for our family of four. The room was also quite quiet, which is sometimes tough to find in an airport hotel!

After a good night's rest, we also enjoyed the breakfast in the morning. The breakfast room can get a bit crowded, but they have a nice selection of breads, fruit, juices, sausage/bacon, and gallo pinto to start the day. It's all in steam trays, but the turnover is so high it is nice and fresh. There is also a nice little book swap/lending library in the lobby, which is useful.

I wouldn't necessarily stay here for visiting San Jose or the surrounding area, but it is a GREAT choice for your first and/or last night in CR.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Durham, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express the last night of our vacation in Costa Rica, before an early morning flight. It couldn't have been better! The location was close to car rental agencies, so we were able to check in, return our car, then walk back to the hotel. Hotel front desk staff were uniformly friendly and competent. We were able to pay our airport departure tax at the hotel (for a small surcharge) that made the next morning at the airport much easier. There's a 24-hour Denny's next door, so we were able to get breakfast, even though the hotel's breakfast service hadn't begun when we left for the airport. The airport shuttle runs 24 hours and was reliable and easy. Rooms were nice, beds comfy. All in all, exactly what we needed to make the trip home as stress-free as possible!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sallisaw, OK
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

After spending a week in Costa Rica, we opted to stay at the HIE the night before our return flight, primarily because it's so close to the airport. There weren't any real suprises here; it's a Holiday Inn. Check in was quick and easy. Check out was just as simple. The hotel staff are very friendly. There are several computers available in the lobby if you want to print off boarding passes.

We got everything you might expect from the HI Express. Clean rooms, comfortable beds, TV (if that's what you're interested in), good breakfast bar, good coffee any time of day, very close to the airport. They have a shuttle bus that runs to the departure terminal every 15 minutes, tico time. Denny's is right across the street, and a BBQ chicken place. A casino is right there, in your face, and you can while away 20 bucks over a couple of hours if you'd like. 3 or 4 car rental agencies are only a few hundred yards away; don't remember them all, but they're major rental agencies. I was truly amazed at the quiet here. Being just at the end of the runway, we hardly heard the aircraft take off or land.

The HI is located at a major intersection in Alajuela, where about 5 main roads intersect with the PanAm highway. Traffic is astoundingly heavy, and there are only two lights at this bizarre intersection. Drive carefully, please. Beware...once you get here, there's nothing really nearby, such as stores, sodas, shops, etc. Either come prepared or prepare to do without.

On the plus side, for us, the Inn is very close to the airport. It's familiarity was an excellent way to wrap up our trip in CR and get ready to come home. We had a very good rest before our flight. It was kind of nice to ease our way back in to a more North American routine after our blast in Costa Rica. The minus side includes it's relative isolation from local culture, the incredibly heavy traffic, and if you drive and aren't careful, you will have a very hard time navigating the entry off the highway. But, even with this, we'll probably stay here again the night before our flight leaves on our next trip to Costa Rica.

Room Tip: unless you're staying here for more than a night, all the rooms are adequate. Go somewhere else...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Dominical, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Having stayed numerous times at the Holiday Inn Alajuela, I am always pleased with its location, staff, and value. On the outskirts of the city and a stones-throw from the airport and car rental places, its location can't be beat. Breakfast is included in your stay, and 24-hour coffee bar, gym, and pool are accessible.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juan Antonio H, Guest Relations Manager at Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

We want to thank you for your special comments about our hotel.

It was a pleasure to have you as a guest many times, because this is a proof of our consistent service and quality.

Certainly we are the closest hotel to the airport, and our complimentary benefits are a big plus for our guests:

*Internet Service.

*International and local calls, no joke! unlimited anywhere, anytime!

*Breakfast

*Airport Shuttle 24/7.


Hope to have soon with us again!


Best regards,
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Seattle
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

We stayed here for one night and had a good experience. It was a very convenient location as we were looking for a hotel close to the airport. The room was nice and spacious and most importantly it was clean. Free international calls were included as well as fee wi-fi. We didn't have too much interaction with staff there but the reception desk clerks were very nice and friendly. The shuttle to the airport was complimentary. Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a hotel near the airport.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Clean, inexpensive, and a free (and friendly) shuttle ride. Rooms were okay, nice breakfast, smallish workout facilities with a smallish pool (but impressive that they even had these out near the airport). Great stopover for pre- or post- vacation accommodation. Staff is very friendly and you can get your car delivered while you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.

Room Tip: Second floor and above to stay away from the noise of arrivals and departures. Pool and workout faci...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

I stayed here in November, 2012 at the tail-end of a great two-week family reunion - at which point I was traveling alone en route to the US. I booked this hotel specifically because it seemed safe, close to the airport, and the alleged "high speed" Internet connectivity (assuring I could get work done before returning home as the Homeward Suites reviews said their Internet was very slow).

Anyway, I feel compelled to write this candidly negative review of this Holiday Inn Express in light of: (1) all of the positive Internet reviews I read prior to booking this hotel, (2) the absolutely HORRIBLE experience I had at this hotel (i.e. the worst costumer service ever; non-functioning vending machines that eat your money; lying managers; the hotel being incredibly unsafe; having the slowest Internet alive (like AOL dial-up speed, only slower - justified by their staff b/c "everyone was trying to log on at the same time"' and "maybe I should try back after 2:00 [a.m.]"); and (3) the fact that the staff had effusively apologized for all of the foregoing awfulness (in writing) and GUARANTEED a full REFUND but HAS DONE NOTHING.

[FOR PROOF, see the attached picture, which shows: (1) my original bill; (2) the manager's signed guarantee for a refund (w/in no later than 72 hours post-checkout); (3) and my "zero dollar" bill.]

But, to-date (almost 60 days later), literally, NOTHING has been done. Despite a signed "contract" by the manager - which was ceremoniously presented in the most fake display of remorse I have ever seen, i was charged the full amount of my stay and NO CREDIT had been issued yet (as of 12/26/12).

At present, I have sent all of the relevant documentation to my credit card company and have disputed the charges. As such, I am sure everything will be fine for me.

My sole goal in writing this review is to save you the hassle of dealing with this unethical, unscrupulous and quite frankly, seemingly intentionally deceptive company. In my opinion, they know Americans want a "safe" airport segway so they rely on the credibility of the 'Holiday Inn Express' name (which, in the States, says something, at least as to reliability), but they then deliver awful service with zero accountability.

In the last five years I have traveled to over 40 countries for work. This hotel is by far the worst.

For example, as to customer service, I checked in 20 hours early online and sent an email requesting an early check-in - which the hotel claimed they never received as apparently you need a special email address for their hotel - distinct from all the emails you receive confirming your stay. In my mind, this was no problem. When I did arrive, I checked in 2 hours early in-person and was assured that, nonetheless, I would be notified as soon as a room was available (I was allegedly 4th in line). So I sat in the lobby waiting (btw - there is no food, drinks, or restaurant at this awful hotel) - so I just sat there.

But, they never notified me of anything. What seemed like 12 groups (most of whom checked in after me) checked-in before me. I followed up - and followed up - (the staff pretended not to speak English and always played dumb when convenient for them). Eventually, the lobby vacated and I was the only person left. I checked back a fourth time and was assigned a "special room" due to their "errors" on the first floor - where ALL of the windows did not completely lock (mind you, this room is literally right on a freeway - AND the bellboy wanted extra money for closing the windows for me (so as to not be COMPLETELY accessible to vandals from the outside) - when these windows should have been closed in the first place.

If you don't know already, this hotel borders a major freeway in a very unsafe metropolitan area (which is no attack on costa rica - as unsafe areas exist in all major cities - but this hotel is in the thick of an awful area of town).

Since the windows didn't close, I offered to relocate to an "inferior" interior room. The interior rooms border the hotel pool - which seemed better at first (i.e. at least my room didn't have a semi-open window adjacent to a freeway), but the local pool-boys (like all of the hotel staff - except for the gift shop attendant - who was very nice) have absolutely no tact and can be generously described as rude and inconsiderable. The pool boys are also creepy and stare (from 5pm at night to 5am when I would wake up to work, they were creeping).

Anyway, I could go on and on. This hotel is not up to par with other Holiday Inn Express Hotels - which have been my standby when stranded in foreign, often rural, parts of the United States and abroad. This hotel stands out as a glaring exception - a place I would never stay again. Especially as to safety, service, honesty, and accountability - I have never experienced such a flagrantly dishonest hotel staff.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IHGCare, Guest Relations Manager at Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Dear minbu825,

Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts and concerns. Please allow me to apologize for the over all issues you had during your stay and any inconvenience you may have experienced. I want to assure you that our hotel is very proud of its level of service, cleanliness and quality of its product. For that reason, I have sent you a private message to obtain some additional details. Thank you for staying with us and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Anthony M
Case Manager
IHGCare
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport

Address: 1000 Airport Boulevard | next to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela 95-4003, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Alajuela
#8 Romantic Hotel in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport 3*
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Also Known As:
Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport Hotel Alajuela
Holiday Inn Express Alajuela
Alajuela Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport Costa Rica/Alajuela

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