San José offers up a wide range of hotel choices, from plush boutique hotels to budget pensións and backpacker hangouts. Many downtown hotels and small inns are housed in beautifully converted and restored old mansions. The vast majority of accommodations—and the best deals—are in the moderate price range, where you can find everything from elegant little inns to contemporary business class chains. Staying in San José puts you in the center of the action, and close to all of the city’s museums, restaurants, and nightlife venues. However, it also exposes you to many urban pitfalls, including noise, traffic, pollution, and street crime.
The prices quoted here are for hotels’ rack rates, the maximum that they charge; it is, however, not always necessary to pay that rate. You can typically find discounts of up to 20 percent for rooms when booking directly, or through websites such as Hotels.com or Expedia.com. Note: Quoted discount rates almost never include breakfast, local taxes, or other applicable hotel fees.
If you plan to be in town for a while or are traveling with family or several friends, you might want to consider staying in an apartotel, a cross between an apartment complex and a hotel. You can rent by the day, week, or month, and you get a furnished apartment with a full kitchen, plus housekeeping. Options include Apartotel El Sesteo ★ ((tel) 2296-1805; www.sesteo.com), and Apartotel La Sabana ★ ((tel) 877/722-2621 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2220-2422; www.apartotel-lasabana.com). Additionally, check out Airbnb.com, which has hundreds of room and apartment listings in the San José, often for a fraction of the price of a hotel room.