The only option in this price category is the unremarkable Hotel Tapezco Inn (tel. 506/2228-1084, www.tapezco-inn.co.cr , $35 s, $45 d), one block south of the main square in San Miguel de Escazú.
Hotel El Mirador Bed and Breakfast (tel. 506/2289-3981, www.hotelmiradorbb.com , $50–65 s/d low season, $60–75 s/d high season), formerly the Hotel Relax, is a modern three-story structure in Bello Horizonte. It has eight modestly furnished rooms, a junior suite, a loft apartment, large picture windows offering views, plus a hot tub and pool.
My favorite bed-and-breakfast is the Casa de Las Tías (200 m south and 200 m east of El Cruce, tel. 506/2289-5517, www.hotels.co.cr/casatias.html , $72 s, $82–92 d), where owners Pilar (Colombian) and Xavier (U.S.) are delightful hosts. This exquisite yellow-and-turquoise clapboard home has five airy, wood-paneled rooms, all with polished hardwood floors, wooden ceilings, wicker and antique furniture, ceiling fans, WiFi, and Latin American art and other tasteful decor. The beautiful suite boasts a king-size bed and heaps of light. A hearty breakfast is served on a garden patio full of birdsong. It’s just a short stroll to downtown and airport pickups are available with advance notice. Rates include full breakfast.
Villa Escazú Bed and Breakfast (off Calle Monte, tel./fax 506/2289-7971, www.hotels.co.cr/villaescazu , $49–65 s/d rooms, two-night minimum) boasts stunning hardwood interiors mixed with rustic and tasteful modern decor in a pretty Swiss-style chalet. A “minstrel’s gallery” overhangs the lounge with its stone fireplace. Two bedrooms on both the main and 3rd floors share three bathrooms. A deluxe room has a private bath; a studio apartment ($225, five-night minimum) has a cable TV, sofa, kitchenette, and modern bathroom with large walk-in shower. There’s also a two-bedroom apartment ($250, five-night minimum). The lovely house boasts a wraparound veranda with wicker chairs to enjoy the view. Breakfast is served on a terrace overlooking landscaped lawns that cascade downhill to a fruit orchard full of birds. Villa Escazú is run by friendly Floridian Inez Chapman. Guest-friendly dogs abound. Rates include breakfast and tax. There is WiFi throughout.
The lovely Tierra Mágica B&B (tel. 506/2289-9154, www.tierramagica-costarica.com , $70 s, $75 d), on Calle San Miguel, is run by delightful artist-owner Barbara Odio Yglesias. It offers two cozy rooms with charming decor, artsy acid-stain floors with intriguing designs, and either two queens or a king-size bed, plus cable TV, WiFi, and safe. Full breakfast is served on a delightful garden terrace.
High in the hills above San Antonio de Escazú, the Hotel Mirador Pico Blanco Inn (tel. 506/2228-1908, www.hotelpicoblanco.com , from $40 s, $50 d low season; from $50 s, $60 d high season) is a British-run bed-and-breakfast with lots of wicker furniture and a cozy Georgian-style bar-cum-restaurant. The 20 comfortable rooms are a bit drab and the bathrooms are small, but the fabulous views make amends and are the sole reason to bunk here.
Self-catering? Apartotel María Alexandra (200 m north and 100 west of El Cruce, tel. 506/2228-1507, www.mariaalexandra.com , $90–100 s/d), a quiet and comfy retreat away from the main road, offers 14 fully furnished elegant one- and two-bedroom air-conditioned apartments, each with king-size bed, telephone, cable TV and VCR, full kitchen, and air-conditioning, plus private parking. There are also twin-level townhouses that sleep up to five people. Facilities include a lounge and restaurant, pool, sauna, and mini-golf. There’s a tour and travel operation on-site. Apartotel Villas del Río (tel. 506/2208-2400, www.villasdelrio.com ), nearby, offers an excellent alternative.
The American-run Posada El Quijote (off Calle del Llano, tel. 506/2289-8401, www.quijote.co.cr , $85–130 s, $95–140 d), in the Bello Horizonte hills, is a beautiful Spanish colonial home exquisitely decorated with modern art. The eight tastefully appointed rooms look out over beautiful gardens and have queen- or king-size beds, telephones, and cable TVs; room 25 has a bathroom to die for. Two superior rooms have patios, and there are also two studio apartments. Breakfast is served under an arbor on the intimate patio, also good for cocktails from the bar.
Adventure-minded folks should check into Out of Bounds Hotel & Tourist Center (tel. 506/2288-6762, www.bedandbreakfastcr.com , $80–115 s/d low season, $90–125 s/d high season), on Carretera John F. Kennedy, on the old road to Santa Ana. This lovely modern hotel combines handsome, almost Zen-like contemporary decor and hardwood floors in its five air-conditioned rooms and junior suites, all with quality bedding plus ceiling fans, coffeemakers, cable TV, and WiFi access. Rates include full breakfast. It has bike and kayak rentals and offers tours.
Rhett and Scarlett would feel at home at the value-priced White House (tel. 506/2288-6362, www.whitehousecostarica.com , $125 s/d room, $150–250 suite), in the hills above Escazú, with staggering views. Who said the South’s plantation lifestyle has gone with the wind? The Greek Revival plantation mansion offers 15 bedrooms with antique rosewood tester beds and private verandas, plus 26 two-bedroom villas in classical style, all with fax, printer, and computers with Internet access. A penthouse suite offers a 360-degree view. There’s a gym, pool, whirlpool, cigar bar, casino, and restaurant. Health nuts will love the Garden Spa, and there’s a tennis court and croquet lawn.
In 2009, San Miguel de Escazú got its first deluxe boutique hotel, The Beacon Escazú (Avenida Central, Calles 4/6, tel. 506/2228-3110, www.mybeaconescazu.com , from $129 s/d), two blocks from the plaza. Its 27 rooms (including 3 master suites) boast a trendy modern style and luxurious comfort: flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, WiFi, and Mascioni linens. It has an impressive gym, and an alfresco spa where Xinia Cayero gives a fantastic bamboo massage, among other treatments. The La Cava tapa bar and elegant Muse Restaurant cater to sybarites. What’s not to like? Unfortunately, the rambling Spanish neocolonial design is a dud.
If steadfast U.S.-style hospitality is your thing, opt for the 125-room Courtyard Marriott San José (tel. 506/2208-3000 or in the U.S. tel. 888/236-2427, www.marriott.com , $162–197 s/d), in Plaza Itzkazú. The Residence Inn by Marriott (Avenida Escazú, tel. 506/2298-0844, www.marriott.com/sjori , $162–209 s/d) offers comfy rooms by the toll highway.
Large-scale and deluxe, the Intercontinental Real Hotel & Club Tower (tel. 506/2208-2100, www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental , $213–540 s/d), off the Próspero Fernández Highway at Boulevard Camino Real, two kilometers west of Escazú, exudes contemporary opulence. Each of the 261 luxuriously carpeted, air-conditioned rooms has a king-size bed with orthopedic mattress. Marbled bathrooms are magnificent. It has a concierge floor with junior suites and a presidential suite. The hotel—centered on a five-story atrium lobby—has a clover-shaped pool with swim-up bar, a business center, conference center, two restaurants, a fitness center, spa, stores, and car rental and travel agencies. A shuttle runs to San José. Rates include breakfast, but WiFi costs extra.
The Alta (tel. 506/2282-4160 or U.S. tel. 888/388-2582, www.thealtahotel.com , $129 s/d standard, $199 s/d master suite) sits on a hillside three kilometers west of Escazú on the old road to Santa Ana. The contemporary-style five-story hotel is lent a monastic feel by its hand-forged ironwork, whitewashed narrow corridors, and cathedral ceilings. The 23 deluxe rooms (including four suites and a three-bedroom penthouse suite) display a fine aesthetic and all have high-speed Internet (or WiFi) and splendid bathrooms. Some rooms hug the oval glass-tiled swimming pool in the shade of a spreading guanacaste tree. The acclaimed La Luz restaurant serves creole-fusion cuisine. There’s a full-service spa, plus executive services. All said, however, I consider it overpriced.