The twin-level Hotel Las Flores (Avenida 12, Calles 12/14, tel. 506/2261-8147, www.hotel-lasflores.com , $14 pp) has 12 simply furnished yet clean and comfy rooms with private baths and hot water.
A similar option, Hotel Ceos (Avenida 1, Calles 2/4, tel. 506/2262-2628, www.hotelamericacr.com , $24 s, $33 d) is a colonial home with 10 simply furnished, carpeted rooms with balconies. One large room has cable TV. The interior fails to live up to its splendid exterior, but it is fine for budget travelers. It has a seafood restaurant.
Ceos’s sibling, the modern Hotel América (Calle Central, Avenidas 2/4, tel. 506/2260-9292, www.hotelamericacr.com , $48 s, $58 d), 50 meters south of Parque Central, is a good mid-priced bargain. It features 50 air-conditioned rooms and suites, all with pleasing decor, telephones, and private baths with hot water. It has a steakhouse and offers 24-hour room service, plus tours. Rates include breakfast.
Apart-Hotel Roma (tel. 506/2260-0127, www.apart-hotelroma.com , $24–39 pp), 150 meters east of the National University, has small, individually decorated one- and two-bedroom suites with eclectic decor, kitchenettes with microwave ovens, cable TVs, direct-dial telephones, Internet modems, and hot water. Some are cramped, others surprisingly elegant, and a suite has views. There’s a restaurant and bar.
The class act in town is the Hotel Valladolid (Avenida 7, Calle 7, tel. 506/2260-2905, www.hotelvalladolid.net , $74 s, $86 d), with 11 air-conditioned rooms featuring cable TVs, phones, and kitchenettes. The hotel has a sauna, a whirlpool tub, a rooftop solarium with great views, and a bar and restaurant, as well as its own travel agency.
Outside Heredia , the superbly run Dutch-owned Hotel Bougainvillea (tel. 506/2244-1414, www.bougainvillea.co.cr , $112.50–128.50 s, $121.50–134.50 d, $143.50–147.50 s/d junior suite), about 800 meters east of Santo Domingo, is a splendid bargain. This contemporary three-story hotel is set in vast landscaped grounds (with a hedge maze) surrounded by a sea of coffee plants, with a beautiful view of the mountain ranges and San José. The 78 spacious rooms and four suites each have two double beds, TV, and balcony; the newer rooms have luxurious bathrooms. Modern artwork decorates public areas. There’s a gift shop, swimming pool, tennis court, and an elegant restaurant. A shuttle runs to San José .
The impeccably clean and gracious Hotel & Boutique Hojarascas (tel. 506/2261-3649, www.hotelhojarascas.com , $52 s or $72 d low season, $65 s or $79 d high season) has 12 lovely rooms and is just one block from the central market. Free parking and WiFi are bonuses. It also has a furnished apartment.
For a serene bed-and-breakfast experience, check into Casa Holanda (tel. 506/2238-3241, www.casaholanda.com , $45 s Sunrise Room, $70–110 s/d), at San Pablo de Heredia, about four kilometers north of Santo Domingo. Run by accomplished musician James Holland, this beautiful two-story, three-bedroom modernist home in the heart of coffee country offers stylish comfort. Elegance is a watchword throughout. The vast honeymoon suite has a whirlpool tub and large balcony. Meals are served family style (the garden is a peaceful place to enjoy breakfast), and there’s a cozy lounge where James plays piano.