World's Most Unusual Hotels: Sleep in a Vintage Boeing Aircraft in Costa Rica
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Our new monthly series from TPG Contributor Lori Zaino, “World’s Most Unusual Hotels,” features some of the world’s craziest, most original properties around the globe, perfect for adventurous travelers who are ready for a little something different. (Except where noted, all photos are courtesy of the hotel.) Make sure to check out last month's installment featuring Canada's Hotel De Glace, which is made entirely of ice.
Attention all aircraft-obsessed readers: Your dream hotel awaits you in Costa Rica! The Costa Verde Hotel, located a few hours south of San Jose, offers plane junkies the perfect fix: a two-bedroom suite created from a vintage 1964 Boeing 727 plane.
While the hotel offers a variety of accommodation styles such as rooms, bungalows and studio apartments, clearly the most coveted is the plane suite. Prior to becoming part of this one-of-a-kind hotel suite, this vintage aircraft transported passengers on South Africa Air and Colombian carrier Avianca. Left abandoned at the San Jose Airport for many years, it was later carried to the Manuel Antonio jungle in pieces on giant truck rigs and reassembled.
The plane suite juts out out over the Costa Rican jungle complete with stunning ocean views. The space offers two air-conditioned bedrooms, each with a private bathroom and flat-screen TV.
You can sit on your ocean view terrace and relax with travel companions, plus the occasional jungle critter – sloths, toucans and monkeys can all be spotted from this aircraft. The entire suite is decked out in warm teak-wood paneling, giving the interior a relaxing vibe. The suite also comes complete with a kitchenette with microwave, dining area foyer, a private entrance up a river rock, spiral staircase and 360 degrees of surrounding gardens.
Watching the sunset on your private balcony with jungle and ocean views is certainly a first-class experience unlike any other.
The hotel is just a 10-minute walk to the beach, and the property also offers on-site yoga courses at the Costa Verde events center for $15 a class. Costa Verde also has four restaurants, one of which also features a plane built into its structure: El Avión. The pub/restaurant features a C-123 Fairchild plane and other perks include food delivered from the kitchen on a fuselage dumbwaiter, as well as incredible jungle and ocean views.
Season: The hotel is open year-round, but we recommend heading to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica during the dry season, which runs from November until early April.
Rates: Staying in other suites and rooms at the hotel are quite reasonable (starting as low as $147 per night). If you're dreaming of the plane suite, prices range from $260-$500 per night depending on the season.
Getting There: There are several options when flying from the US to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO). You can use British Airways Avios points (these transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards in case you need a top off) to fly from various US cities such as Dallas, Charlotte and Miami for 20,000-25,000 points round-trip.
Redeeming American using miles will cost you 35,000 in economy or 60,000 in business for round-trip awards to Central America. (Note that some of these rates will change after the latest AAdvantage program tweaks go into effect in March 2016.) In March 2015, Southwest Airlines started flying to San Jose, and you can find round-trip tickets for as low as 25,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
You can often find United deals to fly between the Northeast and SJO for just a few hundred bucks, so keep your eyes peeled. United flies from a number of US cities to SJO, and if you can snag Saver awards you only have to fork over 35,000 miles in economy or 60,000 in business class round-trip.
Once in San Jose, you can rent a car and drive the two to three hours to the Costa Verde Hotel. Taxis, buses and shuttles are also available if you'd prefer not to drive. Sansa and Nature Airlines also operate flights between SJO and Quepos (about 25 minutes flying time), and the Quepos airport is just a 15-minute drive from the Costa Verde Hotel.
Credit Card Tips: Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Citi Prestige don’t charge foreign transaction fees, making them ideal to use on vacations in foreign countries. To see more cards without these fees, check out our post, Top Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees. Make sure to check out TPG Contributor Jason Steele's post, Credit Card Combinations For a Costa Rica Vacation, which will help you use your travel rewards to get to and stay in Costa Rica.
Would you ever stay in plane-style accommodations on the ground? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!