Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

Costa Rica’s ranking as a world travel destination has to-date easily surpassed its reputation for delivering a great cup of coffee.

No beans about it! Costa Rica is a paradise-found for tourists with Americans leading the way. Discerning travelers will find an array of eco-adventure tour opportunities and accommodations to create a customized experience.

The Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose, is the perfect home away from home to start your Costa Rica “Pura Vida” vacation.

Location, Location, Location!

The property is just 2 miles/15 minutes ($15 cab ride) from the Juan Santamaria International Airport and 12 miles/20-30 minutes to Historic Downtown San Jose.

Be forewarned, the drive from the airport is lacking with traffic congestion and disappointing views that showcase more of the country’s industrial sector rather than colorful jungle gardens in the brochures.

But no worries, the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose will not disappoint; it is a historical haven of hospitality.

A true oasis where the city seems a million miles away!

The grand entrance of this hacienda-style 30-acre property is adorned with living remnants of the past. Rows of beautiful and blossoming coffee bushes remind guests of the hotel’s rich history as a working coffee plantation. Given I had never seen or touched a coffee plant, I savored every moment. I quickly learned from a landscape caretaker that coffee beans are actually the seeds of the plant berries. When the berries turn a deep red, they are prime for picking and processing. Truly an experience you won’t find at the usual airport area or city center hotel.

And, one is easily awe-struck by the unique exterior and interior colonial architectural design elements. Even the rooms, spacious and inviting, stay true to the old world theme with elegant antique-reproduction furniture and artisan accents. Many rooms include charming Juliet and full private balconies with spectacular mountain views.

My favorite amenities were the terraced garden pool area, the bar/restaurant veranda, and the coffee-inspired Kuö Spa. Golfers will enjoy the lush green driving range.

Best Bet: The Kuö Spa features a 50 minute revitalizing Costa Rican Coffee Scrub treatment, using beans from the hotel’s very own backyard. The coffee beans, rich in antioxidants, will leave skin rejuvenated and silky soft.

The onsite tour operator, TAM TRAVEL is a terrific bonus. It doesn’t get any easier. Fly into San Jose, check in and utilize the Marriott a home base. The tour operator offers local tours and weekly escapes, with same day booking options. TAM TRAVEL will have your entire trip organized from start to finish in a snap, saving you precious vacation time.

I learned that the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose is also a top pick for cruisers for pre/post stays.  I visited the hotel property in late 2013 prior to a cruise on the luxury yacht, SeaDream. Transport to the port, Calderas, a one hour drive, can be pre-booked through the cruise line or via the concierge or hotel-based tour operator. Sadly, transfer rates are not consistent and not inexpensive. You would be on target if you can negotiate a flat rate of $100-125 one way (1-3 persons) per taxi or van.

A 4 Star Summary Rating on Trip Advisor is all the more reason to pack your bags for a visit and a “Pura Vida” adventure.

Location: La Ribera de Belen Heredia, Costa Rica (just west of Bridgestone/Firestone facility)

Rooms and Rates:  Seasonal.  299 Guest Rooms

  • Standard/Poolside: $179-$262
  • Executive/Concierge Level: $249-$311
  • Suites: $314-$376

Special bundled packages are available that include wireless internet, self-parking, breakfast and concierge level access.

Hotel Highlights & Amenities:

  • Two Pools & Whirlpool
  • Walking Trails/Mountain Views
  • Golf Driving Range
  • Full Service Spa
  • Fitness Center
  • Coffee House/Café
  • Two Bars/*Three Restaurants with Outdoor Seating
  • New *Peruvian Fine Dining Restaurant (December 2013)
  • Room Service
  • Cable Television & Wireless Internet
  • Business Center
  • Over 11,000 square feet of versatile Meeting/Function Space
  • In-Room Mini-Bar & Coffee/Tea Service

For more information and special promotions, contact Marriott reservations online or call 888-236-2427.

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