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“Balmoral revisited” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Balmoral Hotel

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Balmoral Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Central Avenue between 7th & 9th Street, San Jose 1000, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #20 of 85 Hotels in San Jose
Sallisaw, OK
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Balmoral revisited”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Stayed at Balmoral the 8th and 9th of December. Check in was easy and quick, and the desk staff were helpful and friendly. Stay in the family room, which was spacious and well equipped. The beds are very hard. The suite had 2 bedrooms with king sized beds, two bathrooms, a living area with TV and little bitty coffee maker. There is a small safe for valuables. Internet is available in the lobby area. They have a little balcony with a street view, but, beware. The view is very limited to the immediate location. No room for a sitting space, no chairs or table for a morning coffee. You are not likely to get a panoramic view of the city in this hotel. Still, this is a nice hotel for relaxing and regrouping while exploring downtown.

The hotel is located on the paseo, just a block from the cultural plaza. This is in the heart of the city. It is easy walking distance to El Mercado, National Theater, banks, embassies, museums. It's all right there. The street life is amazing. The paseo and cultural plaza fill up quickly every day. The action begins at sunrise, and continues until past midnight. Their restaurant provides very good food, but he service is exceptionally slow. Prices have risen appreciably since our last visit, and the food is good. The hotel as a whole has improved in appearance, and a lot of work has gone in to upkeep. The food quality may be somewhat inferior to that of just a couple of years ago. I will say that the breakfast buffet is excellent, and that they provide a very good morning meal for guests.

The street life has suffered in the past few years. More beggars, more persistant. I appreciate the presence of La Policia on every corner. In several visits to downtown, I have never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. But the general feel on the street is going down hill. But, I concede, this is not the fault of Balmoral nor their responsibility. Just be careful when venturing very far away from the Hotel. Stick to the paseo from Balmoral to El Mercado.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
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524 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
New Orleans, LA, Los Angeles, CA
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

This was my second stay at the Balmoral - originally picked for its location and value. This trip I stayed 10 days while recovering from cosmetic surgery by the brilliant Dr. Arnoldo Fournier, San Jose's preeminent plastic surgeon. My superior room, was all that and then some - spacious, flat-screen TV, free WiFi, endless towels and buckets of ice - the chambermaids and front desk staff were wonderfully attentive and courteous. The complimentary breakfast buffet, served in the vast, new El Patio atrium is an amazing experience - eggs to order - heaps of fresh fruit - et al. Room rates start at $79. per night - which would easily be triple that in New Orleans and five times that in NYC. Unlike reviewer Liztiz1, I find the Balmoral location extremely congenial - two blocks from the Teatro Nacional, Grand Hotel Costa Rica's dining pavillion, and the teeming square, full of lively Ticos - and walking distance to all the museums. Overall, I'd say the upgrade to the Balmoral is very impressive to this experienced traveler, and I plan to return to it in the not so distant...

Room Tip: Rooms at the back are quietest - except for the burbling pigeons, which sound I found reassuring.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

I stayed in this hotel for a week for work in San Jose - it is a nice hotel in a not-so-nice location. I didn't know anything about San Jose before this trip, but if I came again I wouldn't stay in downtown San Jose. If you want to shop though then this would be the place to stay - it is close to bars and restaurants and San Jose sites - but go out of San Jose as much as you can - the rest of the country is incredible! That being said - the hotel is nice enough, the rooms are very spacious and clean, and there is free wifi, the staff are helpful and can speak enough English to help you get by, and as previous reviews had suggested, excellent water power in the shower! The coffee in the hotel restaurant is excellent, as is the food - the breakfast buffet is good as well. Friday nights they have live music which is amazing so I recommend going down to the bar. My suggestion to people arriving at the international airport though is not to use the hotel for transfers from the airport if you are arriving late - I arrived very late and the transport never showed up and I was left waiting - just get a taxi from the airport - it should cost you around US$35.

Room Tip: The superior rooms are better as you have an enclosed balcony to make things less noisy.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Sonoita, Arizona
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

Although touting itself as the "new" Balmoral, this hotel still needs work:

Rooms:
We understand that the "new" Balmoral is consciously "greening" its services and infrastructure, but when bedroom and bathroom fluorescents are so dim as to require turning them ALL on at once simply to read or shave, it defeats the purpose...
Also, the useless little table and chairs in the "sitting area" would be better dispensed with and the entire room redesigned to expand the bathroom...

Bathroom:
Whomever decided that A) bath towels should be hung INSIDE the shower area and B) the hand-towel bar should be directly beside the toilet (yes, the towel fell...Guess where?) should not be in the hotel design business...

Restaurant:
The Patio Restaurant while attractive, needs to work on both service and food preparation; their Arroz con Pollo arrived lukewarm and one was hard-pressed to find any pollo amongst all the arroz. The Tiramisu was was lacking the usual cake, was served in a champagne glass and was overpowered by the completely unnecessary addition of cinnamon...Breakfast service was adequate, but weak coffee and a dearth of pastry selections detracted from the overall appeal.

Special mention:
Francisco at the front desk was exemplary in his attention to his guests' needs and gave excellent advice and service in arranging tours...Unfortunately, his choice of rental car agencies, Hola, turned out to be questionable since we are having a dispute on a promised refund from Xavier when we were forced to cut our vacation short.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

I stayed at the Balmoral because of its location downtown. The rooms have been upgrade and are very clean and the water pressure in the shower is fantastic. If you travel much to Costa Rica you know this is a pleasant surprise.
The most impressive part of my stay was the staff. The front desk, bell, and room staff are all very nice and helpful in every way.
For that reason I will continue to come back. And the water pressure of course

Room Tip: I personally like the 5th floor
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

The hotel has a great location right in the heart of the capital city. You can walk everywhere and explore the area very easily.
We just needed a place to stay for one night before our flight out of San Jose the next morning. Our travel agent selected this one since we didnt need anything fancy or expensive. Well, we certainly got what we paid for.
The front desk didnt have our reservation or any records of our payment. Well, I pulled out our reservation confirmation and payment receipt and they quickly changed their tune. Something seemed a bit shady.
They dont have King size beds so my husband and I shared a Queen. WARNING: The rooms dont have SAFES!!!! If we wanted a safe we would have had to downgrade to a room with 2 single beds!! Are you kidding me?? So I just locked my pasport in my suitcase.
The breakfast in the morning is okay, nothing great.
The bathrooms were clean and the showers were spacious.
I'll try another cheap hotel the next time I need a quick place in San Jose.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Aguadilla
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012 via mobile

My first time in Costa Rica. I purchased a tour package from travel agency and was very happy with the location, food, service and staff @ this hotel. Being in the center of town gives you the flexibility to shop, sightsee, visit casinos, restaurants and historical sights all in walking distance. Not a fancy place but it does have class when it comes to service and cleansiness. I would consider without a doubt staying once again plus recommend it to others as well!

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Balmoral Hotel

Address: Central Avenue between 7th & 9th Street, San Jose 1000, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
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 Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Family Hotel in San Jose
#10 Business Hotel in San Jose
#16 Romantic Hotel in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Balmoral Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Full of Life, Where Everything is Within Reach! The Balmoral is a lively, full service, landmark hotel located on the famous Central Avenue in the historical and vibrant heart of downtown San Jose, Costa Rica and only 10 miles away from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). The Balmoral is ideal for both leisure and business travelers. Within walking distance of the hotel, you will find San Jose's main art, cultural, financial, government and historical landmarks, as well as some of city's best entertainment, shopping, and healthcare facilities. From the hotel, you can also take a wide variety of one-day tours to discover Costa Rica's natural beauties. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balmoral Hotel San Jose
Balmoral Hotel Costa Rica/San Jose

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