Greetings from sunny Costa Rica! We began our adventure on December 31 at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica in San José. The hotel is an interesting 1930s hotel that was built to house foreign diplomats visiting the capital city of Costa Rica. The hotel was beautiful and historic, but has some issues that should be resolved in order to improve the guest experience from average to extraordinary.
The biggest complaint was that room quality very inconsistent. I had a pleasant experience in a very large room while others were cramped into small rooms on cots with no blankets. The in-room safe was free to use, but a bit more complicated to operate than usual.
Author's guest room
Overall, the service was spotty. The front desk staff often waited for the guest to initiate interactions and when asked general questions (location of pharmacies, recommendations for snacks, etc.) their responses were vague, confusing, and not very helpful. I even requested a wakeup call which I never received! I will say that I called the front desk for two separate requests (maintenance to open that pesky safe and housekeeping) and both issues were addressed within minutes. Once fully engaged, the staff was very friendly, but the front desk staff in particular must improve their customer service.
I found the rooms and facilities clean, but a bit worn. For example, lighting was dark in the hallways and the carpeting was uneven. From a safety perspective, emergency exits were clearly labeled, but we noted that smoke detectors and sprinklers were not present. Most concerning was this empty fire extinguisher location. These safety issues are not excusable and should be addressed by the hotel as soon as possible.
These safety issues are not excusable and should be addressed by the hotel as soon as possible.
In general, I had a positive experience at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. The hotel is very interesting and beautiful from a historic perspective. With a bit of upkeep and some additional emphasis on customer service, it has potential to be a truly wonderful place to stay on your next visit to San José.