December 7, 2022

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Hacienda Belen: Charming Stay in San Jose, Costa Rica

Hacienda Belen—One of the best places to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica. Discover striking Spanish Colonial Architecture and Old-World Charm.

Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen is a true city resort within San Jose. The property features outdoor pools and a golf range, coupled with stunning grounds and exceptional service. I discovered an oasis of relaxation amidst the bustle of San Jose, so come along as I explore Hacienda Belen. I’m certain you’ll see why it is one of the best places to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica when you visit Central America.

Hacienda Belen Puts You Close to Everything in San Jose

You are only a short 10-minute drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport at Hacienda Belen, yet you feel a world away. The 30-acre property is nestled in the middle of a former coffee plantation, deep within the north-central mountain region of the Central Valley.

In my opinion, it’s a strategic move to stay at a hotel property close to the capital city when you first arrive. There is so much to see and do in the San Jose area, so you can settle in and start your vacation without a long drive.

Hacienda Belen has a charming old-world feel to it. It is full of character with its grand, hacienda-style design, smartly dressed interiors, and beautiful garden grounds. The hotel’s stunning views of the Barva Volcano are spectacular—the three hills on top are called Las Tres Marias. The unique architecture and delightful décor filled with elegant antiques, make this luxury hotel in San Jose the place to stay.

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First Impressions at One of the Best Places to Stay in San Jose

Turning into the hotel’s drive with rows of coffee plants lining the route, I could almost imagine myself in another time. This property was one of the many coffee plantations in the Central Highlands.

In pre-Columbian times, the land where this hotel sits was part of the Cacique Yurusti’s domain. Don Sebastian de Zamora, in the colonial era, began planting coffee, and it has defined the landscape ever since. The exterior’s lovely golden stucco color with a central tower, red-tiled roof, and marching rows of wood-framed windows complete the façade. To top it off, the triple-arched openings of the reception area are fronted by a large central fountain, welcoming guests.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Hacienda Belen Old World Charm. Photo Courtesy of Marriott Hotels and Resorts

Discover the Alluring Hacienda-Themed Décor

The wide-covered colonnade surrounding the front of the building features repeating decorative archways with handsome wood beams and period light fixtures. The floor’s diagonal terra cotta tiles were polished to a mirror finish, and coffee plantation-related implements, tools, antique wooden benches, and aged carts added to the ambiance. Even a hand-turned coffee grinder full of coffee beans was in keeping with the theme.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Hacienda Belen Colonnade. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

Upon entering the cozy lobby, the gleaming wood center table was topped with a hand-painted ox cart centerpiece, continuing with the hacienda theme. The vaulted ceiling was covered with fresco-painted designs embellishing the white plaster. And the check-in process was fast and painless, but the hotel was so pretty that I was in no hurry to rush to my room.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Ox Cart Centerpiece. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

The lobby looks out and down into an open central courtyard, just as one would imagine in a hacienda. Likewise, the tiled-fountain focal point and the staircases with wrought iron railings and tile-lined steps added to the ambiance. Umbrella-covered tables were arranged throughout for the guest’s comfort, and various public rooms and restaurants opened to the central courtyard.

Unwind with a good book in the Great Room, where the natural tones, warm lighting, and beautifully-crafted furniture entice you to stay.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Inviting Courtyard. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

Sleep in a Luxurious Oasis

The 299 guest rooms and suites are spacious, and the updated décor features coffee-themed artwork. Some have views of the mountains, and others have a San Jose city view, most with Juliette balconies—my room looked over the surrounding mountains.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Panoramic Mountain Views. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

The luxurious down comforters and premium bedding cradled and wrapped me in cozy bliss. An in-room coffee maker with Britt Coffee (so good!)  and a mini-fridge was a nice touch. Additionally, the bathroom was compact with fluffy towels, lux amenities, marble-topped vanity, and a tiled shower with a large rain shower head. As a result, I had everything I needed.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Toasting to my mountain view. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

Pools and Rambling Grounds at Hacienda Belen

There are two outdoor pools on the property, one of which is a children’s pool, so mom and dad can relax while the little ones splash around. The larger swimming pool is surrounded by inviting lounge chairs and private cabanas, and the generously-sized whirlpool has a view of the mountains. And most certainly, the stunning scenery surrounding it entices you to stay awhile, making it hard to forget you are at one of the best places to stay in San Jose.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Inviting pool area. Photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels and Resorts

I enjoyed walking the winding path through the rolling grounds that passed through lush green spaces. The kitchen garden near the driving range was lovely, available to gather herbs and vegetables for the hotel diners. A self-guided tour told the history of coffee in Costa Rica, of this land where the original coffee plantation thrived, and Hacienda Belen, which was inspired by the history of where it all began.

Luxuriate at Kuö Spa

After exploring the property’s grounds, I pampered myself at the full-service Kuö Spa, inspired by the local Cabécar culture of San Jose. It draws on Costa Rica’s natural bounty to provide travelers with a unique and soothing daytime escape. So, if you seek wellness centers and spas when you travel, Kuö Spa won’t disappoint.

Select spa treatments incorporate coffee from the hotel’s onsite plantation, of which I had a coffee scrub combined with a relaxing aromatherapy massage. The spa develops the concept of relaxation around four elements in nature—water, earth, sun, and moon—and features 11 treatment rooms, including couple’s suites with outdoor jacuzzis overlooking the coffee plantation.

So, be sure to visit the fitness center, the putting green, driving range, and tennis courts to stay active.

Dining Options at Hacienda Belen

Hacienda Kitchen is the hotel’s signature restaurant, and the menu highlights traditional Costa Rican recipes. I ate a bountiful breakfast in the Hacienda Kitchen, enjoying traditional choices with plantains. The restaurant has an à la carte menu and buffet option, including traditional breakfast foods and local specialties.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Local breakfast with plantains. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

The outdoor seating was so enjoyable that I also chose to eat dinner at Hacienda Kitchen. My dinner companion and I chose a table overlooking the spectacular panoramic mountains and volcano view. I chose Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken), and my companion chose Ají-chote de Camarones (shrimp achiote style). There was a bit of everything, from Gallo Pinto (Rice and Beans) to a cheeseburger.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Hacienda Kitchen. Photo By Sharon Kurtz

Other onsite dining options include, Bar 10, the hotel’s sports bar, with large flat panel TV and a quick service menu with burgers, burritos, and sandwiches. In addition, Casa De Cafe, the hotel’s Coffee House. Casa De Cafe offers Costa Rican cuisine, light regional dishes, and a shaded terrace.

Things to Do In and Around San Jose

There is so much to do when you visit Costa Rica. It is a country with the most extraordinary biodiversity in the world, and Hacienda Belen’s excellent location gives you access to unique activities. The nearby attractions include the coffee plantation tours in the Central Valley and ziplining at Colinas del Poas. Nearby are the Braulio Carrillo National Park and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Cafe Britt tours, one of the country’s most famous coffee roasting companies.

It is a 10-minute drive to Central Park. For a local culture experience, it is almost 8 miles from the Museum of Costa Rican Art and 9 miles from the National Theater.

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The square in front of the National Theatre of Costa Rica in San Jose. Photo by Bogdan Lazar via iStock by Getty Images

When You Stay at One of the Best Hotels in San Jose

Hacienda Belen’s colonial character, resort-style amenities, and event capabilities are a refreshing departure from San Jose’s predominately generic, business-centric hotels. This extraordinary San Jose location offers a magical backdrop for a leisurely or adventurous stay.

Hacienda Belen Costa Rica

Red-tiled roof mountain views. Photo by Sharon Kurtz

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Find the Pure Life at one of the Best Places to Stay in San Jose

Experience the Pura Vida of Costa Rica when you stay at Hacienda Belen. You will not honestly know what Pura Vida feels like until you’ve been there. It’s an emotion, it’s an attitude, it’s happiness, it’s a way of life. And, once you’ve visited, you will understand the true meaning of Pura Vida.

Before your next getaway, whether it’s to a tropical destination or a mountain escape, be sure to check out Wander to help you plan your trip.

Hacienda Belen—One of the best places to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica. Discover striking Spanish Colonial Architecture and Old-World Charm.

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Hacienda Belen: Charming Stay in San Jose, Costa Rica