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“A find”
Review of Hotel Aranjuez

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Hotel Aranjuez
Ranked #6 of 78 Hotels in San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 19 September 2017

San Jose is an okay town, but not particularly wonderful. So to find somewhere like this is a real find. Its located in one of the Barrios on the north-east of town, easily walkable from the bus stops where the airport buses decant. The area is odd but funky, and there are some great cafes and places to eat around. Walk into the Aranjuez and you immediately feel at home - friendly, welcoming staff; art decorating the many walkways that emanate from reception, it feels as if they have brought the jungle into the hotel. The rooms are large, and simply furnished, and that is fine for us. The highlight, as you will see elsewhere from other reviews, is the breakfast. Everything you could wish for, and more. We probably didn't even scratch the surface and yet we still had the best breakfast in our 2 weeks in Costa Rica. Local delicacies, plus more normal fare, all presented with a flourish. When we come back to Costa Rica, we will definitely aim for Hotel Aranjuez, its a great introduction for the delights that you will encounter in the rest of the country.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Julian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fabián R, Gerente at Hotel Aranjuez, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2017

Dear Julian F.,

We were very happy reading this great review! Thank you very much for taking your time to write it on TripAdvisor.

We hope to see you in the near future!
You will find, next time, that we are working day by day to improve our services, having in mind to always keep the escence of the Hotel.

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6 - 10 of 1,020 reviews

Reviewed 12 September 2017

Hotel Aranjuez is located in a quiet part of San Jose about 15 minutes walk away from the National museum and twice that to the National Theatre in the central area of the City. It's also divided into two very different parts that you need to be aware of before making a reservation and this isn't always as clear as it could be when using booking websites. The division is between the Hotel Aranjuez and the Apartamentos Aranjuez located in a rather bleak looking block across the street and around the corner. The character of these two buildings couldn't be much more different.

The Apartamentos Aranjuez is entered through a steel gate for which you will be given a key and an inner door that only opens when the gate is closed. Inside we were met with a small reception desk with no-one there and bare concrete pillars that gave the impression someone still had to finish the interior. These are apartments rather than rooms and ours was on the fourth floor. It was spacious, fairly modern but lacked character and felt a little worn. Large lace curtains that would benefit from a wash covered floor to ceiling windows on each side with a heavy curtain that could be drawn across but on one side I had to fix the rail at the top because it had come off and the curtain was sliding off it. On one side the view was of the street from which we entered and the other gave a wide view across the city rooftops towards mountains in the distance.

The bed was super king size and reasonably comfortable, and there was a simple sofa and a table with four chairs. At one end was a small kitchen area with a microwave, four hotplates, a refrigerator, coffee maker and a good selection of cutlery. The only other room was the shower room where we found a basic but functional shower, wash basin, toilet and a paper towel dispenser that in some way just made it feel less welcoming and more akin to something we’d expect in an office block. One Thing I didn't like, though in reality it probably wasn't a problem, was the large frosted glass window - again floor to ceiling - on one wall. With a clear edge it meant I could sit on the toilet and see someone go by in the street and while they would have struggled to see me it still felt a little disconcerting. There was also a connecting door to what seemed like the next apartment from the sounds on the other side and although the door was locked it meant we could hear them easily and they could presumably hear us. Overall though, after reading of the charming decor and layout of the Hotel Aranjuez we were really disappointed by what to us felt like a completely charmless, even bleak apartment block and we asked to move.

The main hotel

When we asked to move there was obviously going to be a limit on what the hotel could offer and the best rooms seem to be reserved well in advance but we were offered room 9 and a partial refund (we'd already stayed one night) but since we should have done our research better we accepted without the refund, the difference being $20 a night. This was a smaller room without windows and outwardly wouldn't seem as good, but there is more to a comfortable stay than simply having more space and the difference in character coupled with the location in the main building made it an easy decision.

The interior of the Hotel Aranjuez is a little maze like resulting from its origin as five separate houses. Coupled with the decor it's delightful, quirky and quaint at the same time with artwork scattered around to catch the eye and cheer the heart. It really does have a lovely quirkiness to it and places to sit and just relax or plan travels ahead. What really wins for Hotel Aranjuez though and you will need to walk across if you are in the apartments, is the breakfast. This is a buffet arrangement produced in the adjoining kitchen and one of the best we've had. Set with tables that lead out onto decking by a tree filled 'garden’, that is actually a lot smaller than it appears you can be eating from a really well prepared breakfast selection as squirrels sit a metre or two away or scamper up branches overhead. You have to pick up a breakfast ticket at reception each morning and present it as you enter the dining area which opens at 7:00am each morning. Peak period while we were there seemed to be around 8:00am and a couple of times a few people had to wait a few minutes to be seated. There is an online hotel guide that you can access and via a QR code in each room that said breakfast is served until 9:30am. This hadn't been updated because it actually ended at 9:00am and we noticed that staff started to clear away cutlery and food about 10 minutes earlier so it's probably best not to wait until the last minute and going to breakfast a little earlier means you can relax and make the most of it.

Are there any weak points? Well we encountered one man on reception who was really friendly and very helpful and who helped to arrange our room transfer with the owner but the other three people we encountered were much less so and went no further than basic service and explaining rules. On another occasion when my wife went to the spot where guests can make themselves a cup of coffee or heat something up the coffee maker was missing. When she asked where it was she said the gentleman on reception just replied "Microwave it!". I don't know whether there is a cultural difference here but that seemed brusque and unhelpful. This also leads on to one point around which I think the hotel might consider being a little more flexible, one that guests such as us would appreciate. We asked whether we could get any kind of packed breakfast to take on a very early trip out to the Poas Volcano and on to Catarata del Toro, if only a banana and a couple of sandwiches. The first answer at reception was 'No', as simple as that. The more friendly member of staff mentioned above said we could ask at the kitchen when it opened and they would probably be helpful. As it happened they weren't, we waited until it opened as our driver waited outside and they said we could take what we wanted in the normal way if we had a bag to put it in – they couldn’t offer a bag or any kind of wrapping either. So far this is the only place we've stayed at that was so inflexible and if you are setting off at 7:00am as we were or even earlier on a trip that doesn't included breakfast it's something to plan for. Overall the impression was one of an establishment that simply says these are our rules offer no help beyond that and in the hospitality business these days I'm not sure that's quite good enough. So we liked the decor, loved the breakfast but felt customer service was a weaker point that left us feeling we might try somewhere else if there's a next time. If you want some chill out time and your plans fit in with what's already on offer and you don't need help arranging transport from the airport or an early breakfast then the quieter location and certainly the breakfast make Hotel Aranjuez well worth considering.

Room Tip: For atmosphere make sure you are in the hotel not the apartments
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  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Geobar01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2017 via mobile

We booked Aranjuez for our first night in Costa Rica before heading off to Tortuguero.
The room we had could do with some maintenance but it was very clean. We had a great night sleep and that is a great plus in a busy city as San Jose is. The breakfast is included and boy - it didn't disappoint us! Loads of fresh fruit, eggs to order and as many breads, cakes etc. as you could imagine.

Do make sure you have a decent GPS if you are coming by car. The hotel is about 20km from the airport and it will be very hard to find without one!

Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Daniel T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fabián R, Gerente at Hotel Aranjuez, responded to this reviewResponded 27 September 2017

Dear, Daniel T.,

Thank you very much for taking your time to write this review about us!
We are very glad that you enjoyed our famous buffet breakfast and that you liked our Hotel.

We have five different categories of rooms, as you mention, we offer a clean and comfortable environment and all our rooms are unique and reflect the infrastructure of the 30s. We work everyday to improve our rooms and our services, but our must important idea is to preserve our heritage.

We hope to see you soon!

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Reviewed 8 August 2017 via mobile

Perfect hotel for a short stay in San Jose. Nice rooms. Breakfast is the best ever. Two days, totally different. Fresh and original. Eggs in different ways are made on the spot. View on the garden. Staff super friendly. Very clean. Bit strange that price had to be paid in advance, but 100 procent trustworthy.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
Thank henkm23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fabián R, Gerente at Hotel Aranjuez, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2017

Dear, guest,

Thank you very much for this lovely review! We're very glad that you enjoyed your stay and our breakfast.

We had few little problems with some clients that left the Hotel without paying, that's why we charge during the check in. Also, clients can book their rooms through our website and pay when they make the reservation.

Once again, we appreciate your review and we hope to see you again.

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Reviewed 27 July 2017

We stayed at Hotel Aranjuez for about 5 nights in total. The rooms were nice - clean, nicely decorated - with the basic amenities. No air conditioning in the room we had but did't really need it. I really liked the older architectural design of the room (and the hotel in general). It's located close to the center and I was able to take a nice walk. From the hotel to the Jade museum, for example, took about 20-30 minutes depending on my speed).Breakfast was delicious and the staff were very helpful with any questions.

Just a few comments: There is no mini-fridge in the room we stayed, which might be important for some people looking to store cold drinks or keep left-overs. Also, the room didn't have a complete the divide between the shower and the rest of the bathroom which made it easy to track water to other parts of the bathroom.

Other than that, our experience at the hotel was great and would highly recommend to anyone looking for a hotel in the area.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank YasminYR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fabián R, Gerente at Hotel Aranjuez, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2017

Dear, Christine,

Thank you very much for this complete and interesting review. Even more, we appreciate your feedback in order to improve our rooms and our services. In 2018, we plan to have mini fridges in some of our rooms and we plan to solve very soon the shower issue.

Once again, we appreciate your review and we're looking forward to seeing you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Aranjuez

Address: | 200 mts. norte, 200 oeste y 25 sur de la Iglesia Santa Teresita., San Jose 2070, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Best Value Hotel in San Jose
#3 Green Hotel in San Jose
#7 Romantic Hotel in San Jose
#7 Family Hotel in San Jose
#10 Business Hotel in San Jose
Price Range: RM209 - RM393 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Aranjuez 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Aranjuez is located in San Jose and is surrounded by a tropical garden. Free breakfast buffet, free WiFi access and free private parking are available. Each room here features an authentic historic decor and will provide you with a cable TV, an outdoor seating area and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and a hairdryer. All rooms have a desk and a safety-deposit box. Our wonderfull Breakfast Buffet is also included. At Hotel Aranjuez you will find a 24-hour front desk, a garden and a terrace. Other facilities offered at the property include a tour desk, luggage storage and laundry facilities. The property offers free parking. The hotel is 1.1 km from Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, 1.2 km from National Theatre of Costa Rica and 1.4 km from Metropolitan Cathedral. Juan Santamaria International Airport is 16 km away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Aranjuez Costa Rica/San Jose

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