Tuesday 21 September 2021

Gran Hotel Costa Rica reopens in San Jose after three-year restoration

The Gran Hotel Costa Rica, now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, is an iconic gem in the heart of San Jose.

Paying the bills


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It started in 2016, the restoration of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica, a historical monument in the heart of San Jose. The hotel, well-known by locals and visited by tourists, had run down after years of wear and tear,

The Gran Hotel Costa Rica -ca 2018

“The biggest challenge was to bring together under one roof history, commodity and first-class hospitality,” said, Sandor Tupi, executive manager of Gran Hotel Costa Rica.

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“Although the building was remodeled, it still retains some of the gems that made it an iconic and classic touristic attraction in downtown San Jose. It is still colonial but also has all the advantages of a modern and technological hotel,” says Lonely Planet.

The remodeled Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Built in 1930, it was declared a historical architectural monument in 2005. Initially, the hotel had 108 rooms. Now, it’s a bit smaller in terms of rooms, 79 contemporary guest rooms, suites, and executive rooms, but it has wider social areas and amenities.

The design that shook the nation

Together with Las Arcadas, Plaza de la Cultura, Teatro Nacional (National Theater) and Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), the building completes an area of historic places that are points of interest in San Jose.

From this to that? No way.

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Despite the changes, the hotel keeps its front view from the first to the fourth floor, its windows, arcades and some of the historic furniture from the Kennedy Suite, named after the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Costa Rica in 1963.

For those who know the hotel from the old days (three years ago), they will notice a big difference – gone is the immense first-floor lobby, the leather couches. Today, the lobby is a small corridor to the elevators to its front desk located on the 5th floor, with a spectacular view of Plaza de la Cultura, the Teatro and Museo, the “Bulevar” and Avenida Segunda and the mountains from the south area of the Central Valley.

Hotel lobby on the fifth floor

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The hotel now has two restaurants and a rooftop bar opened for everyone, even the ones who are not staying in the hotel. It has also a VIP and executive area for people that rather stay in a private place.

The hotel lobby is now on the fifth floor

“The main target of this hotel are travelers from North America and Europe who want to experience a historical building and the center of Costa Rica’s capital San Jose” Tupi admitted. Guests can enjoy the fitness center business center and 24-hour snack shop.

To get to know more about the hotel, visit the website here.

Gran Hotel Through The Years

Hotel Costa Rica – 1930 when it only was four floors – Photo from Facebook.com/IcomosCR

In 1938 the hotel got its 5th floor – Photo from Facebook.com/IcomosCR

Hotel Costa Rica -ca. 1950 – Photo from Facebook.com/IcomosCR

Hotel Costa Rica -ca. 1970 – Photo from Facebook.com/IcomosCR

Hotel Costa Rica -ca. 2011 – Photo from Facebook.com/IcomosCR

The Gran Hotel I Remember

In my early years in Costa Rica, the Gran Hotel was a meeting place for expats. We would sit in the front of the hotel, have our coffee in the outdoor cafe (until the surrounded it with hedges), meet up friends inside the arcade when raining, in general it was a great place.


People watching was the afternoon passtime

The indoor cafe

The arcade, though service was impossible

During my early years this was the color of the outside before turning blue

With the paint job, the Gran Hotel and Costa Rica had changed for us

What’s your memory of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica?

Post your comments below or to our official Facebook page.



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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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