We stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks from Dec 26 - Jan 9. This will be an in-depth review, so bear with it! Any questions on anything I may have missed, just ask:
Rooms: They are a bit dated, but good for what you do: sleep and shower. A/C was noisy, but worked. Rooms have small balconies, flat screen TV, hair dryers, irons, wifi, and beds were ok. We requested a coffee maker and it was delivered - complete with supplies. We also requested a min-fridge, and received one for a small fee. Always had hot water, maid service was excellent, always had towels and what we needed. Would give the rooms a 4/5 for the hotel class.
Food: We had the included breakfast at Denny's every day. For our needs this was PERFECT. You could get a full breakfast from 4am-10am. They had 4 choices for the included free breakfast, and you could add on extras for what you needed. If you wanted a "regular north American breaky" order the "Costa Rica" breakfast - request the extra egg instead of rice and beans, and order bacon on the side. We had this breakfast for 14 days straight, and never got bored. A couple of days we ordered from the menu, and took the credit that you can use your breakfast coupons for. We never ate lunch or dinner at Denny's - only came one night for coffee/dessert, as there are other options nearby. Special Shout-Out to ALL of the Denny’s breakfast staff who were amazing all the time!!! Across from the hotel is a Subway and buffet restaurant. We never ate here, but it's across the street. Around the corner (just past the hotel casino) is a supermarket, and a small mall. The upper floor had a GREAT restaurant that we ate at several times (there’s a fish tank in the restaurant) - it was amazing, with great prices. Have the chicken burger: amazing deal. In the same plaza there are a number of "food-court-style” places. We had smoothies in the place in the centre, and pizza from the pizza place at the back. All places were great, and local prices, so much better deals. Would recommend eating here. “Sangria” – the hotel’s tapas restaurant was literally built while we stayed here. It opened on our last day there, we didn’t go, but walked by and the food looked good, and drinks looked fabulous. Wished it would have opened sooner. The supermarket had all necessary supplies you needed, at reasonable prices as well. Would give this place a 5/5 for food and options in and around the hotel.
Pool Area: Seriously 5 stars. We were here during a very busy time, and never had problems getting chairs or towels. The hot tub is amazing after a long day, and the pool is nice and cool. You can get drinks from the Casino Bar to bring outside, and you can order lunch from Denny’s from a phone by the pool, and it’s brought to you. Used the pool area almost daily. 6/5 is my rating.
Wifi: I had ZERO issues with wifi for the 2 weeks I was there. It worked great in the room, and great by the pool. Never had any issues, and even used the free computers in the business room to print out some maps. Would give the wifi 5/5.
Car Rental: Used the Alamo car rental place in the hotel for our rental. I pre-reserved online before our stay. The car was not ready on day 1 of the agreement, but was ready on day 2. Since we didn’t have a strict itinerary, this wasn’t an issue for us. Others that had plans to be at other places, had to make other arrangements. Please note that the cars are not on site here, and shuttled over from the airport. Driving here is NOT for the average person. Unless you are driving to a VERY POPULAR tourist spot there are little or no signs on the streets and highways, and all signs are in Spanish. Most cars are manual transmission – ensure you know how to drive one, as it is mostly hills. We drove to MANY destinations from here (Cartago, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfalls, Tapanti National Park, Barillo National Park, Tarcoles, and many others.) This is no easy feat. Ensure you do your homework and are prepared. If you are not good with directions, get the GPS.
Staff: all the staff were very friendly and helpful. Front desk staff helped us find a cord for something we needed (even offered to loan us a personal one – which was amazing.). Helped us with directions, places to eat, and everything we needed. The front desk was also where we arranged for the coffee maker and fridge for our room. The maid service was great (we tipped a couple of bucks every second day during our stay), and the grounds keepers were always smiling and friendly. Staff 5/5.
Casino: The casino was fun. The happy hour drinks were served here from 5-6 daily. We went a couple of times with no issues. They have table games (pai-gow, and something similar to blackjack) and lots of slot machines. There is a poker room here as well, spent a few nights playing – the staff were great as they knew my Spanish was limited, would speak bilingual when I was in a hand. They have a tournament that starts each night at 5:30-6 that allows you to win chips to play in the cash games that start around 7-7:30. Cash games are $1/$1 NL. Good crowd, and you can order food and drinks in the room. Slots are both in Colones (local currency) and US$. You have to look for the right ones, or the staff are always happy to help you out.
Concierge: Juan Carlo at the desk for Grey Line is a dream! He was amazing. Anytime I needed directions, he drew me a map with landmarks that were always spot on. We booked 3 tours with Grey Line during our stay: Tortuguero National Park, Tortuga Island Cruise, and Sarapiqui River Adventure and Canopy tour. We booked 2 tours online before we left, and one at the desk for our last day. I will review these tours separately in their proper forum. But the desk was always helpful, and staffed for long hours. It was nice to have there.
Shopping: There is a gift shop on-site. As with most hotel shops: over priced. If you are getting drinks or snacks here you will pay 4x more than at the supermarket next door. Souvenirs are about 2x as expensive as markets, but good quality. Shop around.
San Jose Town: we took a bus to San Hose for like $0.50. You take it across the freeway (go under the overpass), and back drops you off in front of the hotel. It was about a 10 minute ride. You can walk around San Jose easily on foot, and the Mercado Central is about 2 blocks from the bus stop downtown. We caught the same bus at the same stop in San Jose to come back. I also had the PLEASURE of driving here – mostly by accident. It’s a series of one-way streets, with other drivers who mostly don’t obey any form of traffic laws (including signs, lights, or even the lines on the road). Don’t drive here if you don’t have to. Parking lots are hard to find, and there’s limited street parking. Signs are all in Spanish. Take the bus, or a taxi.
This hotel is great proximity to the airport, and the shuttle runs promptly. It’s about 15 minutes for a 1-way trip. The hotel is also in a good location just outside of San Jose if you are going to be exploring this beautiful country – at the intersection of 2 main highways, it’s easy to get anywhere from this hotel by car (if you know where you are going). Would recommend this hotel for anyone. If you have additional questions, please contact me.
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Irazu Hotel San Jose
- Best Western Hotel Irazu
- Best Western San Jose
- San Jose Best Western
- BEST WESTERN Irazu Costa Rica/San Jose