Hotel Alta Las Palomas
What We Love
- Lazing by the pool in the shade of the ancient, sprawling guanacaste tree—a perfect parasol for sun and rain
- Subtle, stylish and unashamedly comfortable rooms that let the extraordinary views do the talking (all all rooms and suites have balconies overlooking the lush tropical garden)
- La Luz: unpretentious fine dining at its best. Don't miss the churrasco chomes
What To Know
- The Alta is a mountainside retreat, so you’ll need transport or a taxi to see the sights
- By law, all Costa Rican buildings are smoke-free
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The Alta has settled into its spectacular mountain setting with a clever balance of contemporary style and Old World charm. The castle-like lobby and hallways blend terrazzo floors with soft lilac and gray walls strewn with black-and-white photos from 1920s Costa Rica. A reception desk of riveted metal gives a nod toward its owner’s classic tastes and airline background. The winding stone stairway brings a change of scene: terra-cotta tile floors and elegant guest rooms with Italian leather chairs, deep, soft beds and balconies that serve up sweeping views of the Costa Rican capital, volcanoes and forests that stretch all the way to the Pacific. Guest rooms tone down the Old World feel with a soft, muted palette, airy rooms to relax, and floor-to-ceiling wooden doors and simple stone balconies that put the spotlight on those gorgeous views. Back on ground level, the oval pool is a great place to relax with a cold Grenache Blanc from the well-considered wine list. Under the watchful eye of chef Angelo, the La Luz restaurant serves fine dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with organic ingredients bought locally. A light lunch menu blends traditional Costa Rica with Mediterranean touches (think sea bass ceviche, salmon quesadillas, and tuna poki), while dinner expands the pasta and meat options with local twists (rack of lamb with organic coffee sauce; huge churrasco chomes with homemade chimichurri sauce). Work off dinner in the small but well-equipped gym or book an in-room spa treatment from the nearby Portadas spa.
In the Area
The Alta is on the outskirts above San José, and the nearest hub is well-heeled Santa Ana, rich in artisan crafts stores, well-to-do locals and easy-living expats, all engulfed in the aroma of extravagant flower stalls and stands overflowing with sweet onions, a local crop. Browse indigenous arts and crafts at Ceramica Las Palomas, shop till you drop in Costa Rica’s largest mall, Multiplaza Escazú. And no Costa Rican experience is complete without a visit to a volcano; fortunately, the extraordinary Poas Volcano National Park is only a 45-minute drive away.
How to Get There
We stayed in this hotel for 4 nights and thought the rooms were fairly average and the food was very disappointing. The keys to open the rooms were especially difficult to use and we found ourselves spending time trying to lock them.
The location of the hotel is also not great if you are planning on doing excursions in and around San José and therefore we spent a lot of time on buses traveling to and fro.
The menu has few options especially for a vegetarian and we were very disappointed by the quality of food we received however, there are no alternative restaurants within walking distance as far as we could see.
We were never able to have breakfast at the hotel because of the early starts due to the location of the hotel. On the last day we requested boxed breakfasts but were disappointed to find that this request was not met and so we did not get breakfast.
We stayed for our first 4 nights in Costa Rica. We were really excited about staying in a small boutique hotel but sadly this hotel did not live up to our expectations. Firstly we were told this hotel was well placed for the excursions that we were doing over 3 days. Wrong! The location is definitely on the wrong side of town as every day we were FIRST pick up for the tours which was either 5.20 to 6am. We then had 1-2 hours on the bus pick up route as we went around so many hotels picking up other tourists who had enjoyed a extra hour in bed and of course breakfast. Sadly breakfast in our hotel did not start until 6.30 and we weren’t told until the penultimate day that we could order breakfast to take out but when we did this somehow they missed our order so we never had breakfast despite it being included.
Of course this also meant that we were last drop off and because of the location on the wrong side of town this meant that we were a further 30 minutes after the penultimate drop off. This made for very long days.
Also there is very little around the hotel (unlike the others we saw on the hotel tours!). We ate in our hotel for a couple of nights but found the food was very very average and the menu had limited choice. In the end we took taxis to get to some civilisation, shops and restaurants.
I’m still not sure why our tour operator put us here as we were told there were few high quality hotels around San Jose which we now know is not true.
However if you are using a hotel as a base for tours outside of San Jose I would strongly recommend the other side of town to save yourself the joys of lengthy coach journeys through the heavy San Jose traffic.
Our first night on our first trip to Costa Rica we stayed at hotel Alta. Couldn’t imagine a nicer place to arrive at! Gorgeous room with a stunning bathroom and amazing balcony overlooking the gardens and city. Food in the hotel was nice, breakfast in particular was delicious. It was a shame we only had 1 night here, would definitely recommend!