VICTORIAN GRANDEUR AT HOTEL GRANO DE ORO
Our first and final hotel in Costa Rica was the Grano de Oro. The hotel is quite a short drive from the airport and driving up to the hotel you would think you’re entering a residential area, however the city centre is only a 10 minute walk away.
We were lucky enough to spend a night at the hotel when we first arrived in San José, prior to connecting flight to the Osa Peninsula and then spent a further 3 nights right at the end of our trip at the hotel where we focussed on a couple of cultural experiences enjoying the city cosmopolitan vibe. More about that later but first let’s talk hotel stuff…
In Costa Rica, the term ‘Grano de Oro’ refers to a coffee bean. It’s no secret that Costa Rica produces the finest 100% Arabica coffee in the world and it seems apt the Canadian couple who founded the hotel, decided to name it Hotel Grano de Oro. The Canadian couple, Elden and Lori Cooke have now lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years and what a marvel of a restaurant they have established.
The house started off as a Victorian home but when the founders purchased the property their vision was to create an upscale boutique style hotel to match the city life and there began the renovations to the house. The house itself dates back to the 20th century when it was built for the Pozuelo family. Following the third and final expansion of the hotel in 2007, which featured the addition of the restaurant housed in the actual home of the Pozuelo family residence and takes pride of place at the front of the hotel. Currently the hotel features 38 guest rooms in four categories as well as two signature suites. All rooms individually designed and furnished in a tropical Victorian style with wrought-iron beds and rich fabrics handcrafted by Costa Rican artists.
The hotel boasts beautiful interiors from the moment you walk up the stairs beside the endless flowing water features. Hotel Grano de Oro offers elegance and class to its guests, not only through its rooms but through the décor cascading every corner of the building, its IT facilities in reception, a gift shop and a lovely relaxing roof terrace with Jacuzzis, a spa service, and umpteen water features placed purposefully around the property to provide the calm feel of a city which is otherwise bustling with life.
During our stay we experienced 2 of the featured rooms available to stay in. Both had very similar facilities however both came with the option of different outside space in the form of a garden patio or private patio. The min-bar was also complimentary and included a selection of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee and local cookies.
THE SUPERIOR ROOM
DELUXE PATIO ROOM
GRANO DE ORO RESTAURANT
With umpteen dining options within a stones throw away in San Jose, there doesn’t really seem a need to necessarily dine in the hotel right? Well, not so right – The hotel has the best restaurant in San Jose let alone one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica!
The restaurant really is gracefully constructed with an indoor dining room, a beautiful inner courtyard, an indoor and outdoor feature bar and an award winning wine cellar. It had actually been incorporated into the hotel when Grano de Ora first opened in 1991, and with further renovations being undertaken in 1994 with the acquisition of a neighbouring property, a new chef was hired. This was surely going to raise the benchmark of the restaurant, by employing a French chef, Francis Canal Bardot, who is infact still at Grano de Oro. The new chef worked with the owners and started to present fusion French dishes with hints of local Costa Rican flavours. From this point onwards, the restaurant became the talk of the town and became incredibly popular with the locals and tourists alike but due the lack of capacity was unable to accept additional covers. Infact when people heard we were staying at Hotel Grano de Oro, the first thing that would be the topic of conversation would be the restaurant and outstanding quality of this fine dining establishment.
THE CASUAL SEATING AREA
THE BREAKFAST COURTYARD
Giving you the best start to the day!
THE FINE DINING ESTABLISHMENT
In order to grow the restaurant, the most recent renovation project was undertaken in 2007 and the actual original house of the Pozuelo family was transformed into the restaurant that stands today.
We felt so lucky and humbled to be dining in this incredibly history rich atmosphere at breakfast and evening times and enjoying the beautiful high ceilings adorned by crystal chandeliers.
TWIST ON THE CLASSIC CAPRESE SALAD
RAVIOLI & PORK LOIN
When it comes to selecting hotels, I do feel quite passionate about sustainability and social projects which can be supported with the existence of such abodes. Thus, I was happy to see that Hotel Grano de Oro support a social project known as Casa Luz, (‘Home of Light’) a home for adolescent mothers and their children.
In 2002, Elden and Lori recognised the country-wide epidemic of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of young girls and adolescent women, who on occasions are forced into prostitution. They were in a situation to be able to set up a non-profit organisation providing a safe environment to support victims in order to stop the cycle and allow them to learn life survival skills. The victims were supported financially, emotionally and psychologically to craft a better life for them and/or their children.
If you have been to Costa Rica or even if you feel strongly about this cause and would like to support Casa Lux, please visit their website at www.casaluz.org.
Pretty special hotel, right? It will therefore be no surprise that it’s a a member of two groups of boutique hotels: Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica and Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality Collection.
SHEER UNADULTERATED PERFECTION FOR
Couples, families, honeymoons, business travelers, and without a doubt, special occasions
Grano de Oro
Te: +506 2255 3322
Find out more about the hotel’s Social Policy casaluz.org
So guys what did you think of this timelessly designed Victorian hotel? Have you stayed here or is it on your hotel bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.