The Gran Hotel Costa Rica in its early years. Photo by Manuel Gómez Miralles.
Gran Hotel Costa Rica is considered one of the oldest luxury hotels in the country, it was inaugurated in 1930 in the context of a San José city that took tourism into account within its urban development plan, it was strategically located next to Second Avenue and the National Theater, so that tourists would come to stay at the hotel in order to go to places of ecological tourism such as the Poás Volcano, in Alajuela, and the Irazú Volcano, in Cartago. The american architect in charge of the building was Victor Lorenz, and iron and reinforced concrete were used as materials for its construction.
Facade of Gran Hotel Costa Rica, year 2021. In front of the building there is the Plaza Juan Mora Fernández.
In 2018, the hotel reopened after two years of remodeling, now under the command of the Elite Hotels and Resorts chain of Costa Rica and is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton brand. This brand is dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of hotels located in historical and heritage buildings in different countries, and the Gran Hotel Costa Rica in particular is considered the only hotel in the country officially recognized as a historical and architectural monument.
Buildings such as the Legislative Assembly, Urbn Escalante and the Supreme Court of Justice can be seen in the windows on level 5.
The building has five levels in which its 79 rooms are distributed, in these can be highlighted on the 5th level that have an spacious restaurant, with panoramic views of the classic and modern buildings of eastern San José (accessible to all public), as well like the beautiful mountains to the south of the city, and of course a view from above towards the majestic National Theater of Costa Rica.
The mountains to the south of the capital can be seen under sunny weather in the historical center.
The lobby is a perfect representation of old and new, with its beautiful handcrafted floor from the original construction.
On the 4th level is located the famous Presidential Suite, recognized because it was the lodging space of US President John F. Kennedy, on an iconic diplomatic visit to Costa Rica in 1963 during his administration. Despite the fact that the room has been conditioned to modern needs, its furniture remains intact and is displayed on each of the hotel's residential floors, highlighting tables, chairs, portraits, among other artifacts.
Some of the furniture in the Presidential Suite in which the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy stayed.
Kennedy's room furniture is scattered over several of the hotel's floors.
The lamps on level 4 are part of the preserved details of the origins of this property.
This hotel largely preserves its classic handcrafted floor which is noticeable in the lobby and restaurant, as well as some of its lamps on the residential floors. It has the particularity of having anti-noise rooms, so the fact of being located in the middle of the chaos of the historical center should not represent an inconvenience for rest in this place.
The comfortable Executive Suite, located on level 4 of the hotel.
In the aesthetics of the hotel a harmony between the classic and the modern is perceived, conditioned to give a first level service, from its comfortable rooms, attention to details and a wide variety of dishes on the menu of its restaurant and bar. In addition, next to the restaurant, there is a large coworking area to carry out work with high-speed internet.