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“Okay hotel, good value if in and out of the city; friendly owner” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Santo Tomas

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Hotel Santo Tomas
Ranked #8 of 85 Hotels in San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Okay hotel, good value if in and out of the city; friendly owner”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 January 2014

Stayed here for 2 nights before ending my 3 week long trip. What I honestly remember about this hotel is that the owner, Thomas (and American settled there for last ~27 years) was very friendly and engaging with all of his guests. I am sure he tries to bring the quality of service. My room was right behind the reception area, so got noisy early in the morning. It affected me on one day because I was out much earlier on a trip on the 1st day. The interior of the building looked pretty interesting with the colonial touch in floor tiles and furniture. Weird thing was that inside my room there's no power outlet that I could use...wifi did work fine. Hotel has an arrangement with taxi service that charges $30 to the airport that I used - was very efficient. Breakfast is included here, but the quality could see some improvement. Seems that this place is popular with older couples and groups traveling from N America and some younger folks too that are getting in and out of the city quickly. For 1 or 2 nights, this place provides a decent value given that San Jose isn't that cheap.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank subrata7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 21 January 2014
Hi Subrata7, Thanks for the review. You did point out an interesting thing about the power outlets in that room, that I have never noticed. There is one below the TV and in the bathroom. One behind the headboard. I can make this better and I will fix that ASAP, thank you for that idea. I will place them above the night stand and beside the dresser high for , computers, cell phones , ect. Nice review again Thank You- Thomas
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911 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (254)
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English first
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2014

We spent two nights toward the end of our trip. The hotel is older and pretty funky - still the price is reasonable. The block is sketchy and the hotel itself has no curb appeal at all - a locked gate greets you. The interior is also quite utilitarian. The room and the bathroom were both fine - nothing fancy, but they did the job. Next time we probably would not stay in downtown San Jose - there seemed to be not much there aside from a couple of old buildings, government offices, and tourist activity.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Todd C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 20 January 2014
Ho Todd, I like your line ( The hotel is older and pretty funky - still the price is reasonable) That's 1908 rich Costa Rican funky your talking about. The original home is almost 9000 sq.ft, toss in the new rooms I built in the back up stairs and you have close to 14,000 sq.ft. Had a nice client with his family say he lovers the vibe in the place this morning. Said his 3 kids just tour up the jacuzzi and water slide!! I saw them this morning going bonkers in the gym, shooting photos every where, makes me happy, very cool. As to the hotel being quite utilitarian, that's a good thing and if you return take a closer look at all of the different types of art works, water colors , 3d wall hanging , sculptures, limited lithographs, informative, posters, maps from different parts of the county, such as hiking trails in Monte Verde,along with country maps each showing all the national parks in orange, fine mahogany furniture and the details just go on. Add the Fast, Reliable, FREE WI-fi and the hot cooked breakfast and your got that line ( still the price is reasonable) Yeah ! Happy Trails to you and family Thomas
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Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2014

My boyfriend and I stayed here the last night of our two week trip and were a little nervous seeing the barred gates on the street in what is apparently the "nice" part of San Jose. Once inside, we were greeted by a very friendly man at the front desk, who got us checked in as well as booked our transportation to the airport for the next morning. Our room was quite comfortable. The only slightly odd note is that the bathroom attached to the room does not have it's own ceiling, so you can hear ever-ry-thing happening in there. A little awkward, but not a big deal. Upon leaving the next day we met the owner who was again, extremely friendly and welcomed us back for next time. We will definitely stay again next time we fly into San Jose.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Hanzabelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 20 January 2014
Hola Hanzabelle, We have lots of couples stay here with us and really enjoy the jacuzzi and happy hours from 3 to 7 pm with Adrian the bartender, he makes some delicious tropical drinks! I really strive to set an example for all of my staff on how important it is to make the guest fell at home. Sometimes we have clients that are just so angry, emotionally immature and want everything ( Their Way) that after a while, because of the unpleasantness my staff just stops. Wonderful that you were not that way and we were able to please you both. Please come back again and Thank You for such a wonderful Review ! Warmest Regards Thomas
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1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2014

Tomas and his staff were very polite and helpful. The rooms were well equipped and clean enough you could eat off the floor (I, of course, did not). The price at $85 was more than reasonable considering the lovely pool and gracious, warm breakfast. If you find yourself in San Jose, STAY HERE. You won't be disappointed

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Allthescreennamesare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 19 January 2014
A Big shout out from Thomas, here in Sunny Costa Rica. Love your title and I will make sure my staff sees it. It's outstanding when , we have guests that really appreciate and value , what we are trying to deliver here at the hotel. I am so happy you did not have an unpleasant experience here and if you did, I would suggested that song for solving any situation, ( A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down). Costa Ricans are very sensitive people and are just really warm and outgoing, so when they fell animosity towards them , they shut down. This is great travel advice for new travelers to the country so that they may have an exceptional experience , such as you did! Wonderful having such nice experienced international travelers stay with us. Again Thank You for the classy review and I look forward to seeing you both again! Warmest Regards Thomas
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2014

Stayed at Hotel Santo Tomas for 3 nights in December 2013. Fantastic service, very comfortable rooms and great value for money. The hotel is an interesting building and the staff make it feel personal. Very well organised throughout; front desk, kitchen, cleaning, tours, onward travel. Staff are friendly, polite, helpful and want you to enjoy your stay. I enjoyed talking with Eliomar who organised my day tour to Arenol and also with Miguel, Mauricio, Jose and Thomas. Thomas offered to store my winter clothing until I was leaving CR and was very helpful and knowledgeable about onward travel. Great after service.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Martin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 19 January 2014
Hi Martin, WOW what a great review ! Thank you so much. It's wonderful when we have travelers, that understand how currency exchanges function and if there is any hitch in their travel plans, make the most of it, especially if the staff are really trying hard to make things work. It shows they are international travelers with a high level of emotional maturity , my staff and I really appreciate that. Everyone has a great time , just as you mentioned. We have our free baggage storage along , with the fast, reliable FREE Wi-Fi and Free Hot cooked breakfast . Jeez your review is so well written and covers it all. Again Thank You so much ! Warmest Regards Thomas
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San Diego, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2014

MAKE SURE YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY MORE THAN THE LISTED PRICES IF YOU STAY HERE or you might get hosed the way my husband and I did.

The hotel requires that you pay the cost of your entire stay in two installments; half when you make the reservation and half when you check in - and here's where we got our first surprise.

Our stay started out badly when we arrived at the hotel after a flight from San Diego to find that the room for which we thought we had arranged had been given to someone else. We spent two nights in a different room (which created problems for us, as we are light sensitive and the window faced East) before getting the originally promised room (which let in much less light). Both rooms were clean, but the entire situation cast a pall over the start of our vacation. Because of the problem, we did not pay the second half of the bill until further into the trip.

Thus our surprise about the money occurred as a result of our paying for two tours we arranged through the hotel and paid with our credit card. All hotel rates and tour costs are quoted by the hotel in dollars, so the receipt we got for the two tours said that we paid $478. A couple of days later, we checked our account to make sure everything got posted correctly and were surprised to find a charge for $498. We assumed it was simply a typo and went to the desk to have it corrected. Everywhere we went, the standard "average" exchange rate was 500 colones to the US dollar. Imagine our surprise when we found out that the hotel had billed the credit card in colones (not on the receipt we got) at the rate of 515.75 colones to the dollar - thus, the $20 difference. When my husband (a very even-tempered person; I'm the one with the temper) asked Tom, the hotel's owner, about this, he got extremely defensive and hostile. Needless to say, it did not go well. This same situation applied to the payments of both parts of our bill, which were also billed to our credit card in colones (the hotel’s policy, which is on their website, is to take only credit cards, NO CASH, even if you have enough dollars or colones to pay in cash). Of course, we had no choice but to pay the rest of our hotel bill on the card (and got hosed again). We had been told by the hotel that they were unable to put through a credit card charge in dollars. We later found out that most, if not all, credit card systems allow a choice between dollars and colones. It would appear that the Santo Tomas had made a conscious decision to bill only in colones.

The hotel's good points: It has a good location in terms of being only four blocks from the Avenida Central pedestrian shopping area, a number of parks, the Teatro Nacional, and the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, as well as other sights. The staff are helpful and friendly and the desk staff speak good English. As I stated earlier, the rooms are clean, well-maintained, and comfortable. If you want to keep some of your own food (e.g., if you have special food needs), they will let you store any perishables in their refrigerator. They also provide microwaves on each of the two floors. There are also several markets within easy walking distance. I'm an ice cream fan and there was an ice cream store a block and a half around the corner. The free WiFi works very well, both in your room and the public areas. The friends we were traveling with discovered that someone had stolen some of their money from their room. The owner not only found and fired the offender, he made good on the amount stolen.

The bad points: As I said, they charge you a premium to use your credit card and their payment policy forces you to do so. The neighborhood has been described as sketchy and I have to agree. However, my husband and I walked around at night and had no problems. That said, I would not walk in the neighborhood alone at night. The included breakfast had a small menu: the typical Costa Rican breakfast of fruit juice, coffee, eggs and "Gallo Pinto;" fried or scrambled eggs; or cereal. You could also get fruit and toast, coffee, and tea. However, when I asked for a glass of milk, I was told that milk was only available for the cereal (my husband had to settle for non-dairy creamer for his coffee, which he didn't like). We were told that the reason for this is so that the staff can easily account for the milk used for each bowl of cereal (a set amount), which they wouldn't be able to do if they served varying amounts of for coffee or drinking. That may be all well and good for the staff and their inventory, but it isn't very guest service oriented. The hotel's website claims "our chef (worked at the Marriott and the Intercontinental to name a few) prepares wonderful, healthy foods and all served in a nice size for a reasonable price." We ate in the restaurant that first night and it was nothing to write home about. We found other places with better food at better prices. There's a sports bar called Chubb's that is within easy walking distance and has great chicken wings and the Poas bar and restaurant across the street serves a barbequed pork sandwich that I really enjoyed. The shower did not keep an even temperature or spray; one shower that I took varied from tepid to warm, never hot, while my husband took one that varied from cold to scorching. There are also no blackout drapes, which my husband suggested to the owner be added (he reacted positively to the suggestion). The pool isn't really large enough to swim in (though they have a nice spa attached to it) and the fitness room does not have a treadmill (probably to save on electricity, as there were no electrically run machines in the room).

I also must do a mea culpa. We were in such a hurry to get to the airport for our flight home (had to get up at 4:15am) that we neglected to leave the tip for the gentleman who did a very good job of cleaning our room. I feel terrible but don't know how to fix it.

My husband and I have traveled a lot over the years. Would we stay here again? Because of the payment policy, NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Valerie O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 19 January 2014
valo, This is from Tomas the owner, Thank you for your review, even-though I have never had someone write such a long review or be as demanding as you and your husband were, I'll do my best to respond. First, Your title is incorrect, Below you say, (standard "average" exchange rate was 500 colones ) In all countries there is a buy and sell rate. I tried to explain it to the both of you, but as you had not followed nay any of the hotels policies and I quote (Because of the problem, we did not pay the second half of the bill until further into the trip.) You received an upgraded room at no extra cost when you arrived on the Dec.28 and departed on Jan, the 10th. Christmas , busiest time of the year. The following morning , in the breakfast area you came over and not a good morning , nothing nice, just angry. What did you say in your review and I quote ( entire situation cast a pall over the start of our vacation) this is what happened to my staff and myself that you were not nice to. You even YELLED at one of my front desk staff and told him you were going to shred us in Trip Advisor, I have it on video tape. If everything was so bad, why didn't you leave. You had not paid the second half of the bill?
Anyway to finish this up, it was just so pleasant to see you every morning and to hear your critic of how things were. I STRONGLY URGE all readers to check reviewers profiles to get a feel for the re viewer's personality. This will help to determine if it is applicable to your needs. Thomas
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sydney
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2014

We loved our stay here. The room was super comfortable and the owner personally greeted us in the morning at breakfast. He was extremely friendly and had excellent advice for travelling in Costa Rica in general.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank hfra3045
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdvisorHST, Owner at Hotel Santo Tomas, responded to this review, 19 January 2014
Hi Hfra3045, I thoroughly enjoy meeting our guests in the morning over breakfast and assisting in any manner I can. Sometimes just a small tip from a local can make a big difference in your travel experience! Great Review Thank You , Safe travels Thomas
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Additional Information about Hotel Santo Tomas

Property: Hotel Santo Tomas
Address: Avenue 7 Between Streets 3 and 5 | Barrio Amon, 250 meters west of INS Building, San Jose 10101, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 85 Hotels in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Santo Tomas 3*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A great downtown location in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotel Santo Tomas provides free hot cooked to order breakfast, FREE Wi-Fi 20 Mbps, security box, swimming pool, hot Jacuzzi, gym, secure on site parking. Only four blocks from San Jose, Central Avenue and an easy stroll to most local attractions. Offering 30 non smoking rooms and has been newly renovated and expanded. Also available 24/7 : tour, travel & car rental services, currency exchange and laundry for our guests. Come and enjoy our wonderful open air gardens, flowers and covered terraces all to enjoy the volcano views here at Hotel Santo Tomas in San Jose, Costa Rica. ... more   less 
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