When travelling, one of the things I grown to dislike when arriving in a new country for the first time is the usual crowd of touts and unauthorized taxi providers loitering outside the customs doors. With this in mind, when I booked the Hotel Cocoon I enquired about airport pick-up and was told it was available at a cost $35, which sounded fine so I requested it. Unfortunately upon arrival and after exiting the airport terminal, a person holding a sign with my name on was nowhere to be seen. So after turning away a few touts I approached a uniformed taxi driver hoping he was legitimate, showed him my booking slip with the hotel address on. He said OK and we set off. Some 20 minutes later he asks to see the hotel address again and then tells me he doesn't know this hotel. Oh joy... I don't know whether he was being genuine or was just driving around a bit to clock up some miles. He did find the hotel after a while and the fare came to $29, so he may have been sincere about not knowing. Anyway, it would have been so much nicer if someone had been at the airport to meet me as requested.
Next came the bad news! Upon checking-in I was informed that the hot water system was not working but would hopefully be fixed the following day. Oh joy, again. Just what you don't need to hear after some long flights!
I'd booked a single air-conditioned room which turned out to be on the first floor (or second floor if you're American). The room was clean and simply furnished and did contain just a single sized bed. The room itself was quite cold and dreary since its only window opened onto a kind of internal ventilation shaft, so no views nor any direct sunlight. The shaft had strange acoustic properties resulting in echoing voices in the room throughout much of the day and night, making sleep difficult. The bedside lamp didn't work either, compounding the poor room lighting.
My guest room door didn't have a chain or privacy latch, just a lock button on the knob. On my first afternoon, a member of staff used their key and walked straight into the room, without even knocking. Fortunately I was fully clothed at the time. It seemed the lady thought the room was vacant and she did apologize, but at least to have knocked before entering would have been preferable.
The following day the elevator went out of order and remained so for the remainder of my stay. It didn't matter for normal use, but when checking out meant I had to lug my quite heavy suitcase down the stairs.
The hotel has no restaurant. They do keep a few sandwiches in a refrigerated cabinet and warm them for you if you're after something light to eat. I enjoyed the meat sandwich - quite tasty. Breakfast was provided – it was light but quite ok.
The hot water did come back on late on the second day so I was able to finally have a hot shower. The hotel does have free Wi-Fi with quite high speed – good enough for VoIP. All the staff I dealt with were quite courteous.
My run of bad luck continued at check-out when none of the hotel's 3 credit card machines would function. I had sufficient cash to pay my bill fortunately.
Would I stay again? Probably not. I got the impression the hotel was normally quite well maintained and I was just unlucky somehow. But I generally prefer to stay in hotels that have their own restaurant and that have rooms with at least some kind of view of the surrounding area. I must admit that frankly I'm surprised the hotel rates as highly as it does on Tripadvisor given its quite basic services and facilities.
Fortunately though I struck gold with my next Costa Rican hotel choice, the Arenal Kokoro Resort.
Footnote: On return to San Jose I stayed a night at the Presidente Hotel. I paid only twenty dollars more than the Cocoon but the room was newly renovated with a king-sized bed, and had a window with a view!
- Also Known As:
- Cocoon Hotel Costa Rica/San Jose
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of San Jose, Cocoon Hotel comprises a unique experience of relaxation and comfort in a pleasant atmosphere. Our guests enjoy a combination of exceptional service, good price and quality facilities. It is a great place for business trips, or a quick stay to see everything the city has to offer before exploring the country. Cocoon Hotel is located walking distance from the most important sites in San Jose, such as The National Museum (6 min.), The National Theater (3 min.) and The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (4 min.); also very close to the major bus stations of San Jose. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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