WHAT THE GUIDEBOOKS SAY
Frommer's Costa Rica 2005 - "San José boasts dozens of old homes that have been restored and converted into hotels, but few offer the luxurious accommodations or professional service that can be found at the Grano de Oro. Located o a quiet side street off of Paseo Colón, this small hotel offers a variety of room types to fit most budgets and tastes. Personally, I prefer the patio rooms, which have French doors opening onto private patios. For additional luxury, you can stay in one of the suites, which have whirlpool tubs. The Vista de Oro suite is the hotel's crowning jewel, with its own private staircase, and wonderful views of the city and surrounding mountains. If you don't grab a suite, you will still have access to the hotel's two rooftop Jacuzzis. The hotel's patio garden restaurant serves excellent international cuisine with some of the best deserts in the city."
Slate.com (by Natalie Angier, 2004) - "Grano de Oro, a 35-room Victorian mansion, is the place to stay in San José. If you really want to treat yourself, book the Vista de Oro Suite, with its breathtaking view of the Cordillera Central mountain range. Savvy locals will tell you that the kitchen, under French-trained chef Francis Canal, is the best in San José.
COSTA RICA EXPEDITIONS DESCRIPTION
Located on a residential street in downtown San Jose, there are 35 unique rooms, each with an extravagant bath. Garden suites have Jacuzzi tubs. Meals are inventive and first-rate, served in a lush, outdoor garden patio or in the newly renovated indoor restaurant and bar. A rooftop terrace offers relaxing Jacuzzis and a spot for secluded sunbathing and stargazing. Service is friendly and attentive. Temperate climate.
FROM THE HOTEL'S WEB SITE
The hidden treasure of San Jose guests of Hotel Grano de Oro enjoy the charm and character of a stately mansion built at the turn of the century, with all the comforts, amenities and service expected in a fine hotel. The gardens and common areas that weave throughout the hotel overflow with an abundance of tropical plants and flowers and the sound of gently cascading fountains can be heard throughout. A secluded rooftop garden terrace with lawn beds and jacuzzi hot tubs is also available for our guests enjoyment. Hotel Grano de Oro is located in San Jose on a quiet street near many restaurants, theaters and shops and is an easy walk to the bustling city center.
WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY:
Jun. 30, 2009“We enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica. GREAT ITINERARY.”
Priscilla: I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica. GREAT ITINERARY. We added a few things like a horseback ride in Monteverde and swimming in Manuel Antonio, but basically you set us up with everything that we could desire. THANKS!
Was surprised in Monteverde by Michael Kaye and his wife after their work detail - great opportunity to hear his story of success with CRE from a personal perspective. I believe that he may have sent an email the other day after our return. Unfortunately, my email service auto-deleted it, not recognizing the address. If so would you have him resend the note. It may have been from the CRE office in general.
Our grandchildren stayed active and that made their days go fast. The White Glove river lunch at Siquirres was exceptional - impressed our entire family, as did the accommodations at the Grano de Oro and Monterverde Lodge. Had a few problems at the Karahe but got beyond them. They need a significant upgrade to their facility. Seems to be getting slightly run down.
We drove up to Volcan Poas on our way back from Manuel Antonio - arrived at the top approximately 45 minutes before closing. It was raining heavily and the park attendants would not let us in unless we paid $70 to drive in. Could not justify that much money in the driving rain/clouds, although the children would have liked to get out of the car after that climb, notwithstanding the rain. Never could tell if there was a visitor facility up there. We made it to the top but not beyond the gate. Turned around, disappointed, but found a great family restaurant on the way down the mountain where we had dinner.
Several of your guides were EXCEPTIONAL, including Natu (Alvaro Farias) and Walter Centeno on the raft trip and Carlos in Monteverde. ENTHUSIASM and DEDICATION was the key. Our visit to Trapiche was great and informative. Great to have someone so dedicated that they influenced the children positively as well. Rafting was the best way to start our trip, as it immersed teenagers immediately in strenuous activity and the Costa Rica outdoors. That held their attention from the outset and for the remainder of our stay. Next time it will be Arenal, Fortuna and the Northwest Coast. Please thank Michael for his vision many years ago. He has developed a wonderful business and we will re-comment on it to everyone. Our thanks to the entire staff of CRE - we'll be back.
-Capt. Alan H. Barbour, VA
Jul. 1, 2008“…the trip exceeded every expectation. I simply have never met a friendlier, more reliable bunch than the Costa Rica Expeditions folks.”
Hi Luis: I just wanted to thank you and share the wonderful letter that I received from my client about his recent trip. Thank you for keeping in touch when I was worried about the weather and thank you for taking such good care of my clients. I will always use you in the future…you made me look like a star! -Cornelia
"Cindy is right… the trip exceeded every expectation. I simply have never met a friendlier, more reliable bunch than the Costa Rica Expeditions folks. They were prompt, courteous and professional, and every one of them clearly has an appreciation for their surroundings that we Americans sadly lack. The country is magnificent… and so different from place to place. All of the guides were terrific, but our favorite was the one who led us down the Pacuare River. He was incredible.
The only remotely unpleasant part of the trip is the city of San Jose. While the hotel (Grano de Oro) was fabulous, the city itself is dirty and a bit scary. We didn't feel safe outside the hotel at all. But again, the hotel is incredible.
Punta Islita is downright phenomenal. The setting was truly spectacular. Of course, you could say the same about Arenal and Tortuguero too. And don't worry about the weather. The only hiccup was that it caused us to have to take a van from Tortuguero to Arenal, instead of the puddle-jumper. Yep, we had a blast - all four of us. What a terrific trip. Thanks very much to you and Luis Cubero for making this the trip of a lifetime. -Tom"
-Cornelia Crawford, Travel Experts, TN
Feb. 13, 2008“We had some excellent service and a very comfortable stay.”
Dear Mike and Natalie: Thank you for your message. Here are some quick notes about our trip: First of all, let us thank Priscilla Jimenez, who was extremely precise, quick and helpful in planning our trip. We've had some wonderful times in CR. We've seen everything we wanted to see and even more. Our guide Sofia Cordero was absolutely wonderful. She's very skilled, knowledgeable, caring, explains a lot of interesting facts about CR showing that hint of enthusiasm that makes her so delightful to be with. Our driver Ramon, as well as all the other drivers we've had, was very skilled, prudent and respectful of traffic laws.
Hotels were wonderful. Grano de Oro is something to be seen... Arenal Manoa has huge rooms and a view that is worth the trip. Jardin del Eden is absolutely perfect with friendly people and a very good restaurant. We've only been a little disappointed by the town of Tamarindo. Inside of the hotels everything is like paradise. Outside, the town is dirty, the roads are unpaved, there's no water draining so pools of mud are everywhere, at night nobody's around and that makes you feel a little unsafe. Our opinion is that Tamarindo has been through a 'Reverse development' process... hotels first, infrastructures after... but infrastructures are more important that hotels, only they don’t give revenue in the short run... To summarize, a wonderful vacation. It was expensive, that's true. But we had some excellent service and a very comfortable stay. Thanks to all at CRE!
-Paolo & Silvia Rossi, Italy
Dec. 9, 2004''The food was a gastronomic delight - the tents were fabulous...beautiful next to the Pacific.''
I just spoke with my clients - they gave me such a glowing report of their trip to Costa Rica that I just wanted to share it with you. They could not believe how well organized their trip was and how much they accomplished and saw in so short a time - thanks to the great organization of Costa Rica Expeditions.
Their guide - Elston - was a charming, polite, humble person, extremely well-spoken in English and Spanish and so knowledgeable of all the different animals and ecosystems. They said the food was a gastronomic delight - the tents were fabulous - glorious, beautiful next to the Pacific. They loved every part of the trip - the Canopy was amazing and the Butterfly farm fabulous. The service throughout was far better than they had expected.
They loved the Hotel Grano de Oro in San Jose. All in all, both mother and son had a wonderful trip which surpassed their expectations - despite the "cold showers" - but as they said "that was ok too". Thank you for putting this together for them - I can't wait to do the trip myself someday.
-Ann Court, 4 Seasons Travel, Inc.
Aug. 24, 2004''I feel so fortunate to have found your company during my online research.''
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Costa Rica Expeditions, you made our trip to your beautiful country of Costa Rica a memorable one. Your professionalism made our vacation just that, a vacation. Having all our arrangements set and guides/drivers meeting us each step of the way, we didn't have to worry about a thing.
I feel so fortunate to have found your company during my online research. Our travel planner, Rebeca, was very helpful and easy to work with. She was timely responding to my questions and helped us when we had to reschedule our trip. She made planning a trip for 2 families very easy.
The guides, drivers, and lodge staff were wonderful. The guides were professional and friendly and taught me so much about nature. The drivers and guides were helpful with getting us to our destinations safely and comfortably and stored and returned our luggage, as we needed. They explained each step and transition of our trip, so we were always informed. The staff at the lodges made our stay comfortable. The accommodations were nice and clean. Our stay at the Hotel Grano de Oro in San Jose was so charming! We felt safe and comfortable with each vendor (even those single and twin engine planes) and person we came in contact with.
The trip was an adventure and educational. We learned so much that I had to start writing things down! And this has given me an appreciation for seeing animals in their natural habitat. The green turtles laying their eggs in Tortuguero, the howler monkeys and the resplendent quetzal in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, oh and Corcovado! When those colorful macaws flew overhead while we walked along the beach, I felt like I was lost in paradise.
In Arenal, we had the experience of having the howls of the howler monkeys wake us up during the dark morning - we didn't mind, as it was the perfect time to see the lava avalanches (not lava flow, a difference I learned from our guide).
Since coming home, people have not only heard about our trip to your beautiful country, but also about our wonderful experiences with Costa Rica Expeditions. I cannot thank you enough for making our trip memorable, comfortable, stress-free, fun and exciting yet safe.
Mar. 20, 2003“All the people doing the driving and transporting of us were wonderful.”
Marco: I wanted to report on our trip to Costa Rica, and thank you for all the leg work you did for us. We had overall a great time, and Costa Rica is a wonderful place. At Arenal, we were able to see the lava overflowing the lip of the volcano at night - the Montaña de Fuego Resort & Spa is a wonderful hotel.
Monteverde was magical - we saw both a male and female Quetzals and loved the guide (Roy) who took us through the Cloud Forest. All the nature guides in Costa Rica are terrific. We hiked and hiked. On one afternoon Max and I took the Canopy Tour. I thought it was going to be kind of hokey, but in fact it was wonderful, beautiful and exciting. The people who ran this tour - Adventura Tours - were phenomenal. Boy do they work hard.
Manuel Antonio was a slightly mixed experience. The hotel was a bit high end for our tastes and so far off the main road that we felt somewhat trapped at night. Also, we had $100 stolen from the room. I had gotten out money to tip the people running the sail boat that we were going to take in the afternoon. I had left that money out, plus my wallet, (passports and extra cash were in the safe), and had gone to the beach with my daughter leaving my son behind. He then left the room. When I came back, the maid, Juanita, was cleaning the room, and I got my wallet to get out a tip for her. In my haste, I had the vague sense of looking for a $2,000 colones note, but didn't think too much about the fact that I couldn't find it, and gave Juanita something like $3,000. Only later when I went to look for the other tip money did I realize that, in addition to the $2,000 colones, all the dollars had been taken from my wallet. I just thought you would like to know that. Otherwise, the beach was magnificent (although it is clearly being affected negatively by tourism) and again the tour through the forest was excellent.
All the people doing the driving and transporting of us were wonderful - prompt, good-natured, and all around great. They all allowed me to practice my rudimentary Spanish and were extremely encouraging. I think, however, that if I were to do this again, I would try not to spend so much time in a car. The trips were just a bit too long. I don't know how that could be avoided (on a limited
budget), but I would want that. I would suggest that you ask your clients more questions, and perhaps offer more alternatives. I left things completely up to you, not really knowing much of anything.
Finally, the Hotel Grano de Oro is a wonderful place. Someday I will want to come back there and maybe spend a few days in San Jose. Overall we were really happy and, as I said, had a wonderful time.