GRANO DE ORO
San José, Costa Rica
DESIGN NOTES: Originally the mansion of a San José family who earned their fortune making cookies, Grano de Oro (which means “grain of gold”) was expanded in 1994 and again in 2007 by the addition of two more mansions. Guests who don’t heed the bellhop’s offer to escort them to their rooms will likely end up lost in a garden of mango trees. Then again, there are worse fates.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: At the hotel’s restaurant, you’ll find a double-sided bar—one side a fan-cooled lounge whose tables glow under flickering gas lamps, the other a verdant courtyard dominated by a stone fountain. Either is a good place to order a Tico Sour, a Costa Rican spin on the pisco sour made with local sugarcane liquor known as guaro, lemon, egg white and nutmeg.
HOT DISH: The primary reason for the hotel’s second expansion was to increase the space in the hotel restaurant—one of San José’s top spots on account of both the French-Costa Rican fusion cuisine and the alfresco seating. Try the Corvina Macadamia: sea bass coated in crushed macadamia nuts served in orange herb sauce.
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Book the Vista de Oro Suite, lined with handmade tiles, and you can watch the bustle of San José—and the dreamy greenery of Costa Rica’s Central Valley behind it—from an in-room Jacuzzi.