Several factors go into my evaluation of an airport hotel.  Proximity to the airport, shuttle service, hotel features, quiet rooms, surrounding area, staff responsiveness and friendliness are some of the things I look for.  The Courtyard Marriott at Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) impressed me in all of those areas.

I stayed at this hotel for one night.  I flew to SJO from Charlotte, NC to pick up an American Airlines mileage run business class flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to Santiago, Chile.  I didn’t need to get into town.  I just needed a place to stay before taking a flight the next day.  It was the quintessential situation requiring an airport hotel.

Hotel Shuttle

Upon arrival, I used a phone at the airport information desk to find out how to get to the hotel.  As directed I went to the arrivals level in the middle of the terminal in front of a restaurant with outdoor tables.  Shuttles arrive at the airport at 15 minutes before and after the hour and depart the hotel on the hour and half hour.  It can accommodate around 20 guests at a time. The shuttle arrived precisely on schedule.

Proximity to Airport

It only took three minutes to get to the hotel.  It sits on a small hill within one kilometer of the airport.20190520_164759

Staff Attitude

The front desk staff was excellent.  I was welcomed with a genuine air of friendliness.  Check in was actually fun.  That’s rare.  At some hotels the front desk staff project the haughty demeanor of a waiter at an expensive French restaurant.  Not here.  Everyone made it seem like they were truly happy to see me.  The apology  because there was no suite available for an upgrade seemed sincere.  Finally, they had a little game to play to conclude the process.

You can win a food discount, a beer, bottled water, or a mystery gift.  Bonvoy!

As a game show fan (true reality TV), it was kind of exciting.  I was awarded a free beer which the hotel supplemented with a bowl of mixed nuts.

Superior King Room

I was assigned a Superior Guest Room with a king bed and a sofa bed, the room category just below a suite.  It was more than adequate for a one-night stay.

King bed and sofa
A desk. large flat screen TV, and an armoire.
Nice presentation

Additional features include a refrigerator, safe, and coffee/tea service. 20190520_17024720190520_170029

The bath has a shower but no tub.  That is a popular trend in moderately priced hotels.  Bath gel, shampoo and conditioner are dispensed from refilled bottles in the shower.20190520_165510

Some airport hotels are plagued by the noise of departing and arriving aircraft.  At this hotel, I heard no airport noise and slept peacefully.


A good airport hotel must offer free breakfast.  Courtyard Marriotts tick that box.  This hotel, however goes beyond that minimal requirement by beginning continental breakfast at 04:00.  The buffet starts at 06:00.  It compares to a buffet in a four- or five-star hotel.

Eggs, pancakes, potatoes, and breakfast meats

20190520_173815 (1)

Yogurt, fruit, oatmeal
Eggs cooked to order station
Cheese, cold cuts and juice


Although I don’t use these facilities as much as I should, I always prefer to stay at a hotel that has a fitness center.  This hotel has a very good one and a pool.20190520_19281020190520_19293720190520_094454

Other Features and Services

The Courtyard Marriott has a comfortable lobby, a business center and a mini 7-11 for snacks and last-minute needs.20190520_193139 (1)20190520_19254820190520_192632

Surrounding Area

Hotel and booking websites usually provide little information about restaurants and shopping nearby.  I was pleased to find a small shopping center just across the parking lot from the hotel.  It has great restaurants.

A small shopping center with restaurants offering Mexican, Argentinian, Peruvian food and more is next door.


Overall Impression

Being within a stone’s throw of the airport (but without airport noise), on-time shuttle service, comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a variety of great restaurants next door make the Courtyard Marriott at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) a top-notch airport hotel.  What criteria do you use to evaluate airport hotels?