Voltaire is located a slight hike from downtown San Jose, in a quiet area that's pretty dark by night. It's on a dead end street with no real signage to guide you, which caused some issues finding it when my partner and I arrived by taxi around 8 p.m. We were welcomed by Oscar who seemed slightly surprised to see us, and spoke no English. We did get the wifi password, but despite being quite hungry, the only food recommendations we could get at that hour were for KFC and Pizza Hut. Apparently these are quite popular among Ticos!
Eventually a young woman arrived who spoke English and was able to provide some more information and even an oscillating fan, which was a blessing in the un-air conditioned room. We still weren't able to find any food that wasn't fast food, and gave up on dinner.
It seems advisable to try to call the hotel before you arrive, or else arrange to use their airport taxi for $30. It's a bit more expensive than a general Airport Taxi but they will at least be sure to take note of when you're arriving, and make sure to have an English speaking staff member present, if needed.
The room itself was spare, small but adequate. The bed was promised as a king but turned out to be a queen, and was very firm -- to the point of being hard. The shower had one of those electric hot water units, that never quite got beyond warmish. This was fine with me in the heat and humidity of May, but my partner insists on a hot shower and was a bit annoyed.
The room was clean -- and cleaned nicely our second day. The TV was clear and got a variety of English and Spanish channels. Having the first room next to the front door meant we were woken around 330 am the first morning by an early taxi pickup, and some type of bird that had the gall to start singing shortly thereafter. Earplugs are recommended if you're in Room 1.
In the morning we met Eric, one of the French owners who made me understand why this place receives so many lovely reviews. He is effusive, helpful, courteous and efficient. He was slightly late with breakfast our first day due to some unavoidable circumstances, but the next morning he made us an extra early breakfast to help us get on the road early, after we told him our plans.
Breakfast, which is included in the price, is a simple, pleasant affair next to the small patio. Eric served us fresh fruit, yogurt, warm rolls with butter and jams, and fresh, well-brewed Costa Rican coffee.
Eric helped us plan our day in SJ, providing us a map he noted highlights on, and offered to book us a taxi to our dinner destination. He chatted about the politics in CR (he's lived there 27 years!) which was interesting as the day after our arrival, the country swore in a new president.
Franco was away during our stay, but presumably he's also a nice guy. Having a helpful host is really important and Voltaire clearly has there going for it. The rooms could use some sprucing up, more comfy beds, maybe even A/C, and better signage to help find it. But if you're not picky on those things, this is a good option for a decent price in SJ.
One last thing, in point if fact the name of this place seems to be "Casa Voltaire," though I'm not sure if this represents a change, or just differing signage outside the place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cosy boutique Hotel.Located in a very tranquil street, very close de San Jose dowtownn,sorrouded by several museums and close to the famous Mercado Central.Also very close to public transport hubs. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Ebookers, HostelWorld, Booking.com, Priceline, Hotel.de and HRS so you can book your Hotel Casa Voltaire reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Casa Voltaire Province Of San Jose, Costa Rica