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“Brits Abroad!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gran Hotel Costa Rica

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Gran Hotel Costa Rica
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Central and Second Ave. Between 1 & 3, San Jose 527-1000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #42 of 86 Hotels in San Jose
Peacehaven
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Brits Abroad!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2013

We stayed at the Gran Hotel on arrival in Costa Rica for two nights, and again before departure for one night. The overall Impression of this hotel is one of faded opulence - one half expects Hercule Poirot to walk out from behind a pillar and commence an investigation. Having said that, the hotel is clean and comfortable, and as mentioned by others, the breakfast is very good, and as substantial as anyone could wish.
Due to the age of the hotel it is difficult to compare with modern ones - the windows are not double glazed, and the air con unit is free-standing, with a hole cut into a pane of glass in the window, which makes the rooms quite noisy, especially on the lower floors, as life seems to go on in San Jose from very early morning till late in the evening. Some of the fixtures and fittings in the bathrooms also leave a bit to be desired - on our last day, we had to get up and shower in the dark, as the only light in the bathroom was over the sink unit which was on the other side of the shower curtain!
All the staff were courteous enough, our waiter told us the best places to go for souvenir shopping, and where to buy any bottles we wanted to take home. All in all we had a good stay, albeit brief, and would be happy to stay there again - the location is central, and a very interesting place to go for people watchers!

Room Tip: Ask to go higher and for a room overlooking the square
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you very much for your much appreciated comments. We hope to have you back at our property soon to enjoy our upgraded rooms.
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697 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
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English first
Torreon, Mexico
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2013

Yes, many famous people stayed here in the past, but it's glory has faded long time ago. Having a hot shower can be a real challenge, this hotel is old and look very old, the good thing is that yojr are at the city center, the bad thing is that there's not much to see, only teatro nacional that is next to this hotel.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you very much for your comments which are much appreciated. After takeover in June last your and under new ownership we will start our master renovation plan execution and take into consideration your kind comments. We hope to welcome you back soon at our renovated property.
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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
322 reviews 322 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 84 cities Reviews in 84 cities
233 helpful votes 233 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

This a very good hotel located in the heart of Central San Jose, where shopping, restaurants, cafes, and attractions are easily accessible. Onsite there is a good restaurant and bar. In the room you have WiFi that works well, a comfortable bed, refrigerator, bath with shower, and great cable TV. I highly recommend this hotel to those just getting Costa Rica preparing to travel to Coast (i.e. beach). One of the best things is breakfast is served every morning at 6am to 10pm. You can start your day with coffee, hot cakes, fruits, natural juices, cereal, and breads. This hotel is very foreigner friendly with an English speaking staff. The hotel's exchange rate was very high and make sure if you book your hotel dollars they charge you in dollars not colones because the exchange rate is terrible. I used this hotel for my in-brief and out-brief work in Costa Rica. Highly recommend this hotel for business travelers wanting to be close to the action.

Room Tip: You only get a refrigerator in the rooms with one bed. FYI
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you very much for your comments. We are glad that you liked our property and hope to welcome you back soon. We will check on the exchange rate issue to make sure to have it according to bank levels.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

Perfect location for a Christmas break, central to everything and within easy walking distance of almost everything. Lobby and restaurant are good, bit expensive but the quality of the food is quite good. Breakfast buffet is included but it needs some improvement. Decent views from the 5th floor, but they should move it into the ballroom overlooking the Teatro and the main square, the room is sterile and even though there were 12 of us, a morgue would have more character. Also, the food for a historic "luxury hotel" was actually quite grim. Stick with the fruit and toast and coffee, its safer. The rooms (Superior) are a good size, a bit noisy overlooking the square, but that's Central America and yes the AC units work, but thank goodness at night, the windows open because they are noisy for sure. Central to the stores, some restaurants, casinos and walking distance to museums and Parque Nacional, Cathedral and other walking streets. The rooms need renovating and the bathrooms are too small, can deal with that, but come on, one little light, you cant even shave in there. Staff are pleasant and courteous. But they have a gold mine here, and with a bit of effort they could easily make it a 5 star property. The restaurant on the main floor is gone, the gym on 6? is empty and hot as a fire cracker and the internet works in the rooms. This property should be a higher rating than 44th out of 85 hotels.

Room Tip: get one overlooking the walking street, traffic noise and walking signals would be annoying on the f...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you for your comments which are much appreciated. We will take in consideration your recommendations for our master renovation plan of the property. The breakfast has already moved back to the ball room overlooking the plaza. Hope to welcome you back soon to our property in San Jose Costa Rica.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cahuita, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

We booked into a room with a view over the road where the festival's parades passed by. It was great to watch the parade from the comfort of the room and the view was fab. The room was comfortable and clean. The hotel is a landmark and full of historical details and decor. The buffet breakfast on the fifth floor was tasty and allowed a view over the National Theater. There is a general air of disorganization but nothing that couldn't be quickly smoothed out. We enjoyed our stay and the location was great as a base to walk around and explore.

Room Tip: For future festival viewers, the third floor was about the best to see over the crowds without feeli...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you for your nice comments. We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us and hope to welcome you back soon to your home away from home the Gran Hotel Costa Rica.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

Great location and loads of character and history. Fantastic breakfast on the top floor with great views. This is almost a cool, shabby chic hotel. Unfortunately the small rooms, some with air-con, some without and the truly awful showers tip the balance so that actually it's just shabby.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you for your comments. We hope to welcome you back soon to your home away from home the Gran Hotel Costa Rica.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

Flew into the capital and thought this was the "Historic District" - good luck. Try walking the streets at night with a knife or gun because you can't go six blocks in any direction and hope to make it back. We walked 3 blocks until I took my wife back to the hotel. Luckily I carry a knife and didn't mind any of the people in my area to know I had it with me. This city is not safe.

The hotel itself is old as dirt. I mean literally, the rooms are absolutely tiny and the beds are awful. Don't expect the rooms to be safe either because this is not a safe city.

The bright spots are in the waitstaff which was curteous and helped us with our awful Spanish and most speak great English. At night the downstairs bar/dining area does make you feel like you were in a nice old city which this was over a hundred years ago. A man played the piano that was supremely talented. The morning breakfast is on the top floor which has a great view of the city and you can even eat on an small outside seating area. Breakfast is mediocre, but has fresh fruit you can take with you.

I wouldn't recommend this area.

Room Tip: Don't stay in the capital unless you absolutely must stay here.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Sandor T, General Manager at Gran Hotel Costa Rica, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Thank you for your comments which are much appreciated. The upgrade of our rooms is included in our master renovation plan and we will take in consideration your comments. Regarding the safety of our city we actually don`t have major, not to say none, incidents to qualify San Jose as dangerous let alone to walk around armed.
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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 Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Address: Central and Second Ave. Between 1 & 3, San Jose 527-1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Casino Hotel in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Gran Hotel Costa Rica 3*
Number of rooms: 107
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the absence of a major first-class hotel in the country, the Constitutional Congress of the Republic of Costa Rica enacted the law number 34 on November 22, 1928, which was actually a contract subscribed on October 3, 1928, by and between the first owner of the hotel, Dr. Luis Paulino Jimenez Ortiz, and Cleto Gonzalez Viquez, President of the Republic. It granted a series of fiscal benefits to the contractor, in exchange for the construction of the hotel. There was also a provision according to which the Government was granted for twenty years the right to have at their disposal for free two apartments at the hotel for lodging foreign diplomatic representatives of extraordinary nature. Grand Hotel Costa Rica is today operated by the Elite Hotels and Resorts Costa Rica hotel chain. It is the only hotel in Costa Rica that was declared a historical and architectural monument by the government of Costa Rica. Located in the heart of the San Jose between national monuments, squares, museums and pedestrian streets, the Gran Hotel Costa Rica is just a few steps away from the cultural landmarks and entertainment venues. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Hotel San Jose
Gran Hotel Costa Rica San Jose

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