It is a hotel located in San José, Costa Rica. It is located on Central Avenue and second between streets 1 and 3. It was built in 1930, during the government of Cleto González Víquez, at the initiative of the businessman and doctor Luis Paulino Jiménez Ortiz.
In December 2004 it was declared a historical-architectural heritage of Costa Rica, as this building was considered an urban testimony to the San José of the first half of the 20th century and promoter of the nascent national tourism industry. It is the only hotel in Costa Rica with this distinction.
History of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica.
The Gran Hotel Costa Rica was built in 1930 due to the conjunction of forces of the Costa Rican businessman and doctor Luis Paulino Jiménez Ortiz and the government chaired by Cleto González Víquez. The intention was to provide the country with a modern hotel that would adapt to the requirements of the time, to attract foreign tourists to whom first-class services were offered, in the manner of the world’s great capitals, since in that At the time, such properties did not exist in the country.
Jiménez’s investment was supported by the government, which pledged to build roads connecting the capital with the Poás and Irazú volcanoes, so that visitors could access these considered natural wonders of Costa Rica. In addition, the government promised to exempt from taxes the purchase of materials and furniture for the establishment.
In turn, the Hotel gave up two luxury rooms for 20 years for the government to host foreign delegations that visited the country, in addition to agreeing to serve only the national coffee, at that time the main driver of the national economy. To carry out all this, the Congress of the Republic signed a contract-law on November 22, 1928. For the construction, the American engineer Víctor Lorenzo was hired.
The hotel was opened on October 30, 1930 with a gala dance. At that time it had four floors and one under construction, which was completed in the following five years. Incorporated into one of the arcades that limit the Juan Mora Fernández square, the Gran Hotel became an important center for political, social and diplomatic activities.
In the following years it became a site of frequent visit for a coffee or dinner after the functions that were carried out in the National Theater. It hosted a number of distinguished guests such as United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter, as well as actors John Wayne and Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”, and soccer player Pelé.
Starting in 2003, the Heritage Center of the Ministry of Culture began a restoration work of close to 2 million dollars. The Las Arcadas building was restored, the original floors were rescued, a new bar, a new cafeteria and a new restaurant were built, an entertainment center and gym were installed, and the hotel was redecorated, rescuing the original elements.
In 2013, the hotel was sold to Elite Hoteles, Resorts for $ 15 million.
The hotel has five floors, 107 rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a casino in the lobby and a cafeteria in the courtyard, which stands out for its marimba performances. It forms a cultural and architectural ensemble with the nearby National Theater, Las Arcadas, Plaza de la Cultura, Knöhr Building, Plaza Juan Mora Fernández and Museo del Oro Precolombino..