The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in San José, Costa Rica

Xandari Resort and Spa offers seclusion away from the bustle of San José
Xandari Resort and Spa offers seclusion away from the bustle of San José | Courtesy of Xandari Resort and Spa / Expedia
Photo of Sara Darling
6 October 2021
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The capital of Costa Rica might be known for its population – housing almost a third of the 5m people that call the country home – but it also offers plenty to do. Though it might be tempting to skip through San José and take a shortcut to the natural treasures of the most biodiverse country in Central America, the historic barrios Amón and Escalante invite you to linger longer. Tempted? Do it at an eco-minded, family-friendly, or all-out artsy boutique hotel in San José – bookable on Culture Trip.

Hotel Grano de Oro

An airy dining room at Hotel Grano de Oro, with set tables, wicker chairs and lots of plants
Courtesy of Hotel Grano de Oro / Expedia

Brimming with character, this San José boutique hotel was once the home of the Pozuelo family – founders of the eponymous cookie dynasty. Subsequently, this hotel in barrio Don Bosco, nudging lake-rich La Sabana Park, was extended to occupy three buildings, each containing Victorian-style rooms, sturdy wooden furniture, heat-slaking ceiling fans and stocked minibars. The foodie pedigree lives on in the pretty courtyard restaurant, which serves all-day meals, sometimes serenaded by a live guitarist.

Boutique Hotel Casa Orquídeas

A suite at Boutique Hotel Casa Orquídeas, with blue-and-yellow striped seating, a colorful tropical mural and yellow bedding
Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Casa Orquídeas / Expedia
Family-run Boutique Hotel Casa Orquídeas has provided lodgings for 25 years. In the prestigious barrio Los Yoses, the former home has grown from 12 rooms to 36 – each with traditional furnishings and a homey vibe. You needn’t even leave your room if you’re not a morning person, as you can order breakfast in bed. Alternatively, a lovely courtyard restaurant sets you up for socializing with other guests.

Hotel Parque del Lago

The vibrant lobby at Hotel Parque Del Lago, with tiled floors and blue seating with large contemporary paintings above
Courtesy of Hotel Parque Del Lago / Expedia
An all-white exterior at Hotel Parque del Lago gives way to colorful interiors and a lobby dotted with artwork and tropical-toned furniture. The 40 guest rooms are more pared-back, with comfortable beds and sofas set against neutral walls. With a privileged position adjacent to La Sabana Park, you can lace up your sneakers and hit the tree-lined pathways and lakeshore for a pre-breakfast run – if you want.

Studio Hotel Boutique

The shaded rooftop pool at Studio Hotel Boutique, with cushy patio furniture, tables and chairs, and artwork on the walls
Courtesy of Studio Hotel Boutique / Expedia
At this boutique hotel in upscale Santa Ana, you can’t help but immerse yourself in art during your stay. A huge banyan tree surrounded by sculptures welcomes you into an airy lobby, where you can admire gilt-framed paintings and sculptures by local artists. The art theme continues in the stylish bedrooms, while the immaculate rooftop pool is surrounded by day beds and potted palms, enticing you to soak up mountain and city views.

Hotel Presidente

A brick-lined terrace surrounded by greenery at Hotel Presidente, with people enjoying drinks at the white metal tables
Courtesy of Hotel Presidente / Expedia
You can’t get much more central than the seven-floor corner building that houses this boutique hotel in San José. The family-owned property started life in the 1940s as a fashion company before being restyled into an airy, warehouse-like hotel after President Kennedy’s visit to Costa Rica in the 1950s. It now attracts a hip, young crowd who takes advantage of the city-center rooftop lounge, complete with exotic plants, a large cocktail menu and tapas dishes.

Xandari Resort and Spa

A shaded outdoor dining area at Xandari Resort and Spa, with set tables and wicker chairs overlooking a lush landscape
Courtesy of Xandari Resort and Spa / Expedia

On a 40-acre (16ha) plantation estate in the Central Valley, Xandari Resort and Spa offers a secluded stay in a tropical setting, a 40-minute drive north from the capital. With only 24 rooms, the vibe is peaceful, with an open-air spa and three outdoor pools, including an impressive 125ft hillside infinity pool. Views of surrounding mountains and volcanoes make it a great place to relax after days of sightseeing.

Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm and Inn

An airy sitting area at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm and Inn, with tropical murals, a water feature and wood ceilings
Courtesy of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm and Inn / Expedia
An eco-resort in the highlands, 40 minutes north of San José by car, Finca Rosa Blanca ticks the boxes for conscious travelers. Owned by American artists Glenn and Teri Jampol – who built it as a family home almost 50 years ago – it offers rooms in the main house or more private villas on the grounds of the organic coffee plantation. Don’t just book for one night – you’ll need plenty of time to enjoy the full-body coffee scrubs, chocolate and avocado beauty treatments, infinity pool with a waterfall, and romantic hot tub, all served up on a sustainable site that’s transformed a bare field into a reforested paradise.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Jenn Parker.

These recommendations were updated on October 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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