How to make the best of an unexpected hotel stay

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How to make the best of an unexpected hotel stay

Imagine spending your first night at a hotel near the airport of Juan Santamaria in Costa Rica that you didn’t book yourself.  We had a complimentary stay by the airline here.  When I say we I mean some of the other passengers that were on my flight.  I was not sure what to expect especially when we arrived shortly after midnight to the airport.

We took our voucher from the crew member and I led the way to the exit area.  Outside you always meet people for taxi service, private transportation, and shuttles.  As friendly as TICOS are a man asked us if we needed a ride.  Usually I don’t my partner picks me up, but this time I informed him we needed the shuttle for the Holiday Inn Express.  He dialed the driver right away, handed me his phone so I could speak and give directions.  The driver spoke excellent English and was on his way.  I think he was there in less than 5 minutes.  The drive was very quick to the hotel, he unloaded our bags and off to the check in counter we headed.



the front entrance

I handed our voucher to the man at the desk who was very friendly and helpful.  The check in didn’t take long which was great as we were very tired and frustrated from our flight.  Our luggage did not arrive with us.  We were shuffled on to the plane in San Salvador and when we arrived in San Jose to our surprise no luggage.  The gentleman at the desk asked if we needed toothbrushes & toothpaste.  Of course I did mine was in my luggage.  In our package was our room card as well as the wifi password, and a 10% coupon for Denny”s.


my room

As we walked down the hallway the elevator was located on the left.  We took this up to the 2nd floor.  I had 2 beds in my room which were quite comfortable with lots of pillows.  The pillowcases had labels which told you which pillow was hard and which was soft.  At this time of night 1 am this was sure appreciated.  I grabbed the soft one, quickly set my phone alarm for the morning and drifted off to sleep.

The room was very quiet, a good thing since I hadn’t sleep much the night before.  I’m always too excited to sleep I think even though I’ve been travelling to Costa Rica many times.  I opened my drapes in the morning to see if I was really here and what the day was like.  It is rainy season here in October,  the sky was cloudy with some sun peeking through.  I had a view of a tall hedge with some flowers not really picture worthy but green.


the sitting area with the breakfast bar in the top left

My first mission in the morning was to find coffee.  In case you didn’t know Costa Rica has one of the best coffees in the world.  The breakfast bar had a refrigerator section with yogurts and milk, a cereal station, a few hot dishes, and fresh juice.  It certainly hit the spot.  Not that I was super hungry but I never know if we are making a pit stop for tamales on the way to my apartment.


the front reception desk

Just left of the main desk are a few washrooms nice and clean I might add.  Close to the tour desk is a small business center with a few computers & a printer.  Simple enough if you need to print off a quick email or your airline documents.


the business center

Just to the left is a small tour desk with lots of maps and information about San Jose as well as tours for the city and surrounding areas.  I introduced myself to the lady attending the desk.  She happily gave me a map as well as a few brochures.  I always like to keep updated information for my clients and never miss an opportunity to share.


gift shop

If you’re off to the airport the hotel has a small gift shop located on the main floor.  The chocolates are quite tasting.  I’ve tried most of them myself.

I still had time before my ride came so I thought I would take a quick tour of the grounds outside as well as take a few photos.  The grounds were well kept by the gardener.  Across the parking lot is a Denny’s as well as a Fiesta casino.



Rates:  from $89 USD per night.

What’s included:  express breakfast, wifi, parking, room safe, outdoor pool, fitness center.




an artist painting located in the stairwell

I have to say for not knowing what to expect from this hotel everything was good from the check in , good food, clean room, and great service from the staff.  This hotel would certainly be a great stopover for a night.

Although I had a complimentary stay by the airlines my opinions about this hotel are my own.

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By |October 21st, 2016|Categories: Blog, Travel Reviews|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Laurie Johnson is travel writer, agent, and founder of Pura Vida Vacations. She finds her inspirations from travelling of the beaten path, meeting the locals, and sharing her travel stories, reviews, and tips with her readers.

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