Not typically on the travel itinerary, savvy travellers are beginning to flock to the capital city of San JosĂ©, Costa Rica as the perfect landing pad to explore the country's growing urban sophistication.
âWhen it comes Costa Rica, many think solely of beaches and sun,â says Hans Pfister, CEO and principle of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, a company that manages a number of Earth-friendly, Central American hotels. âAnd while those are certainly two amazing draws, there's so much more to discover. Whether you want to explore the food, visit the theatres and museums, or just simply enjoy a vibrant Latin city, San JosĂ© is the place to be.â Where to stay:Hotel Grano de Oro, one of only nine Small Distinctive Hotels in Costa Rica, is a 40-room property located off San JosĂ©'s main street, Paseo Colon. Most rooms open onto interior courtyards filled with tropical trees, flowers and fountains. Built as a Victorian mansion, each guest room is slightly different; however, all rooms feature sparkling marble bathrooms, flat screen televisions and complimentary Wi-Fi.Decorated more like a private home than a hotel, Hotel Grano de Oro's hallways are lined with period photographs and original artworks, while lush tropical arrangements and plants adorn tabletops and room corners. Common guest areas include a rooftop garden terrace with two Jacuzzis; a gift shop containing local crafts, artworks and products; on-site massage services; and a gourmet restaurant. The Grano de Oro restaurant features a central patio with a stone fountain that is surrounded by the enclosed restaurant; furnishings include banquettes and striking art that accompany the international cuisine. While the surroundings range from casual to elegant, the staff encourages all visitors to, âcome as you are,â to enjoy fresh, local and international cuisine. Hotel Grano de Oro's central location allows guests to head out on foot to explore San JosĂ©'s museums, restaurants and vibrant city centre. The hotel is a two minute walk from the Teatro Laurence Olivier, an English language theatre troupe, and a 10 minute walk from the neoclassical Costa Rican Art Museum located in La Sabana Park. This park is the former site of the international airport, which has been transformed into an urban oasis, a popular spot for afternoon picnics. The central pedestrian shopping district is a 15 minute stroll from the hotel, where guests can explore churches, museums, local shops and restaurants.Room rates at Hotel Grano de Oro start at $135 USD per night (plus applicable taxes). For more information about Hotel Grano de Oro, visit www.hotelgranodeoro.com. What to do and see: For history buffs â Within walking distance of Hotel Grano de Oro is one of San JosĂ©'s most extraordinary museums, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Through its impressive collection of artifacts, the museum tells the story of the Costa Rica's pre-Columbian people from the year 500 to 1,500. Or, to get a taste of traditional Costa Rican life between 1880 and 1930, guests can join in on a four-hour tour of Pueblo Antiguo, a 12-acre site that recreates the architecture, customs and traditions of days gone by (available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays). For nature lovers â The perfect San Jose experience combines the urban activities of Grano de Oro with the nature lovers' paradise just a short distance away in the hills overlooking the city. Guests can tour Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, an organic, shade grown coffee farm that offers overnight stays and meals at their outdoor restaurant.About Cayuga Sustainable HospitalityCayuga Sustainable Hospitality develops and manages hotels, lodges and other tourism related projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that are committed to the four Ps of sustainability â people, planet, profit and place. It offers solutions and expertise to tourism operators looking to enhance their performance in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. As well, Cayuga provides expert responsible travel advice, including full itinerary suggestions for families, adventurers and honeymooners. For more information, visit www.cayugaonline.com.-30-Sample Tweet: Whether you're a history buff, theatre lover or foodie, #SanJose has something for you! #CostaRica #Travel http://bit.ly/Lhn5JE Note to editors: High-resolution images of Hotel Grano de Oro are available. Media Contacts:Suzanne Girard Foote, Tartan Group: 917-370-7288 or email@example.com Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-882-9199 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org