The Best Hotels With Pools to Book in San José, Costa Rica

Posada El Quijote offers beautiful communal spaces where guests can meet and mingle
Posada El Quijote offers beautiful communal spaces where guests can meet and mingle | Courtesy of Posada El Quijote /
Photo of Sara Darling
16 November 2021

San José is an intoxicating whirl of a city surrounded by virgin-fine cloud forests in the Costa Rican Central Valley. While many visitors stay for easy access to the rainforest, the city has museums, street markets, delicious restaurants and fast-paced bars and nightlife to keep you busy. Such frantic antics can take a toll on your soul, so stay somewhere with a relaxing swimming pool. These are the best hotels with pools in the capital of Costa Rica – all bookable on Culture Trip.

InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall, for great steaks

A fountain surrounded by gorgeous landscaping and towering palms at the entrance of the InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall
Courtesy of InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall /

Trendy couples who like a daily plunge should book the swish, modern InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall. They’ll be spoiled for choice as it’s home to not one but three outdoor heated pools. At this urban retreat in the heart of Escazú – an upscale suburb – it’s all in the details, with super-soft 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, blackout curtains and food, glorious food. Pick from four boisterous concept restaurants, including Factory Steak & Lobster and Nau Sushi Lounge. It also has a cool fitness center. Calories in, calories out – this is a win-win check-in.

Barceló San José, for resort-style relaxation

The outdoor pool with loungers and backed by greenery and the Barceló San José
Courtesy of Barceló San José /

You want to be close to the city, but you also want the comforts of a resort with a pool. The 254-room Barceló San José is an excellent choice. It’s in a quiet residential area in Uruca, an easy 8mi (13km) from Juan Santamaría International Airport and 3mi (5k) from the heart of the capital. Rooms here are business-sedate – no garish designer shocks – and well-appointed; take a superior with a terrace for hotel-garden views. The retro-curvaceous blue outdoor pool with loungers is perfect for mingling with other guests. In addition, three restaurants and a cocktail bar may keep you up late, but be up early for the breakfast buffet and free airport shuttle.

Hotel Colonial, for time-warped elegance

An elegant suite with a carved wooden bed, polished wood floors and a Juliet balcony at Hotel Colonial
Courtesy of Hotel Colonial /

There’s no doubt about it – the swimming pool, lined with marching arches, is the highlight at Hotel Colonial. It’s lined with photogenic tiles and edged with rich foliage to make a genuine oasis. Throughout the hotel, the relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for vacationing families and couples desperate to unwind – hard to believe you’re in the middle of downtown. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the facade has a super-striking almost cinema-set neoclassical look, and the rooms – doubles, triples, quadruples and suites – have jaunty blue elements maintained by friendly staff.

Posada El Quijote, for a base beyond the big city

A beautiful pool overlooking the grounds at the Posada El Quijote
Courtesy of Posada El Quijote /

Fancy a spin on the classic urban San José stay? Posada El Quijote is a family-run retreat about 4mi (6km) beyond the city center – in the colonial surrounds of Escazú – with spectacular views of the Costa Rican Central Valley as well as the San José skyline. Under the twirling ceiling fan of your pale and airy room – standard, superior, deluxe or studio apartment – you’re just far enough out to have tranquility but close enough to head in for the lively city nightlife. For the morning after, the pool works wonders – a generous blue slab for great lengths under big skies. Group or solo, couple or family, everyone is welcome, and the engaging staff will do everything they can to help.

Hilton San José La Sabana, for high-altitude swimming

The sky-high outdoor pool with night-time views at the Hilton San José La Sabana
Courtesy of Hilton San José La Sabana /

Welcome to a super-striking, glinting-glass high-rise, apparently sent back from the future. It’s the tallest building in Costa Rica – the Leumi Business Center in the Sabana Norte district. There are spectacular city views from the 31st-floor pool – a long, slimline outdoor number with chairs to flop in after your swim – and rooms are stylish and white, with futon-like raised beds. One side of the property overlooks La Sabana Metropolitan Park, while the other takes in lush green mountains. Get the best of both worlds in the atmospheric restaurant and cocktail lounge on the 18th floor.

Casa Conde Hotel and Suites, for gardens of earthly delights

A luxurious, light-filled suite with plush furnishings, a chandelier, large windows and heavy drapery at Casa Conde Hotel and Suites
Courtesy of Casa Conde Hotel and Suites /

Five minutes from downtown San José and a half-hour from Juan Santamaría International Airport, Casa Conde Hotel and Suites is an impressive colonial-style home. Security guards man the iron gates, as is the custom in this plush residential neighborhood. Inside, it’s a proper little paradise, set among expansive gardens – there are plenty of places to chill out and relax. Hardened sun worshippers can pull up a lounger on the ivy-clad terrace next to the outdoor pool. After a day of exploring, the spa is a soothing balm for the soul, with multiple pampering opportunities such as massages, treatments and facials. There’s also a sauna and a health club if you need to sweat out more of the big city.

KC Hotel San José, for business meets boutique

An elegant suite dressed in shades of gold and red, complete with a king-size bed backed by a tufted headboard at the KC Hotel San José
Courtesy of KC Hotel San José /

A trendy take on hotels in the business district, the KC Hotel San José has a boutique-like vibe throughout its 60 rooms – you can check your emails in the company of hip entrepreneurs in the chic, art-filled lobby. This elegant space leads you to an outdoor pool surrounded by cushioned sun loungers and rolled towels. The complimentary breakfast is a simple offering, but the diner transforms into an elegant candlelit restaurant, serving à la carte international cuisine for lunch and dinner, along with dangerously palate-cleansing Chilean and Argentinian house wines.

Crowne Plaza San José Corobici Conference Center, for pool pleasures

A sitting area with a variety of seating in the lofty lobby of the Crowne Plaza San José Corobici Conference Center
Courtesy of Crowne Plaza San José Corobici Conference Center /

You can’t miss this one – it’s known for its two-story health club, with cardio and weight-training equipment, plus spin, pilates and yoga classes. For swimmers, there’s a large pool, which is ideal for pre-breakfast laps – or exercise before lunch or dinner. Appetite sharpened, prepare for authentic Japanese classics at Fuji Restaurant. Alternatively, celebrate local and sample Costa Rican cuisine at the poolside Nattivo Restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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