We arrived just as dusk was sneaking over the mountains of San Jose. Normally, I do everything I can to avoid arriving somewhere new after dark, but the warm glow of the torches dancing on the pavement of the colonnade made me welcome the darkness. In fact, to have arrived any other time to the hacienda style luxury hotel would have been to miss the essence of the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose.
We were greeted by a warm towel soaked in lemon water to wipe off the traveling dust, a customary touch of luxury that hearkens back to a time when travel was meant to be an experience and the traveler was an honored guest. That mantra would be present in every aspect of our stay, from the details of antique architecture to the preparation of delicious meals. Hands still smelling of lemon, we were escorted to our room. Candles, freshly lit by the housekeeping staff to mimic the ambiance of a world before electricity, lit the paved path as we crossed the central courtyard.
~The central courtyard, romantically lit for the evening~
These details, which almost reek of harlequin novel prose, are not only provided here to illuminate the romantic flair of the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose, but to also illustrate the truly unique property. Travel, at its best, is meant to expose the traveler to new places as they are immersed in the sensory exploration of a new culture. All too often, though, the immersion comes to a screeching halt when the traveler checks into their hotel for the night, especially if that hotel is a national chain. This is not the case for the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose, where the cultural touches are as rich and vibrant as the country of Costa Rica itself.
Just a ten minute drive from the airport, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose is close enough to be convenient to the capital city, but its position on a 30-acre coffee plantation makes it a true luxury retreat surrounded by natural beauty. 290 rooms on six floors are situated around a central courtyard that fills the hotel with natural light and fresh air. Two outdoor pools surrounded by fragrant orchids and bromeliads are the ideal place to relax with a drink, either with or without kids. Of course, it wouldn’t be Costa Rica if there wasn’t strong coffee brewing somewhere, and a sweet shop with coffee flowing freely is located along the edge of the colonnade.
~The pool area, tucked away the in the gardens~
But, let’s get back to the romance. My husband and I had spent the long weekend adventuring our way through Costa Rica on a sort of second honeymoon that we had claimed for ourselves out of desperation for some concentrated time together. Our last night was planned to be near the airport, so the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose was an obvious choice. We had no idea what a perfect choice it would be as an endcap to our romantic getaway or how much the hotel would influence our overall feeling of about our time in Costa Rica.
After checking in and checking out the view of the mountains from the balcony of our room, we purposed to explore the dark wooded hallways of our hotel. As we strolled, hand in hand, a light rain began to fall, hitting the red, clay tiles with a satisfying lull of tranquility. With that soundtrack, we explored the long halls filled with antiques and collectibles, and spent a decadent amount of time nestled into an overstuffed couch, lost in conversation.
~One of the many long hallways with places to sit and linger~
As the sky grew completely black, we wandered along the courtyard to La Isabela, a fine-dining Tapas restaurant with a wine cellar atmosphere and a Peruvian flavor where we sampled small plates and intimate conversation. Lost in the atmosphere we chatted until we were the last to leave the restaurant. With our early morning flight, we had way exceeded our bedtime, but the coziness of the company and the atmosphere made it worth it.
~La Isabella, a tapas restaurant with a Peruvian flair and a wine cellar ambience~
In the morning, the rain had passed and we were treated to the full beauty of the hotel in the sunlight. The courtyard was striking in the morning light. Beams of light cascaded in from every direction, filling the space with warmth that did as much to wake me as the strong cup of coffee in my hand. After one of the best breakfast buffets I have ever eaten, we had to reluctantly leave. Crossing the courtyard, our wheeled suitcases made a pleasing click as they skipped over the red tiles. Even that mundane detail was noteworthy. Everything about this hotel, this country, heightened our senses and made us glad to have visited and hopeful to return again someday.
~View from our breakfast table. One I will never forget~
~Costa Rica Marriott San Jose provided a complimentary one night stay for the purposes of this review. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own.~