International flights can make for a stressful day.
Have the flight information? Check.
Everything you need packed in a less-than-50-pound bag? Check.
All carry-on liquids less than 3.4 ounces and packed in a plastic bag? Check.
Know the process of flying in and out of the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica? Hmm. Well, not exactly.
The arrival to an international airport in a foreign land is never easy, nor is maneuvering your way through exit fees, check-in and security lines on your way out.
But the Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport is there to help you through the process.
The hotel is so close to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, capital of the northwestern Guanacaste province, that you can see flights leave and land on the airstrip while sitting on your bed, sipping a morning coffee and checking your e-mail. Just look out the window.
“Our goal is to be a first-night-in, last-night-out hotel,” says Stephanie Mejer, director of sales and marketing for the Hilton Garden Inn. “When people arrive late in the day, we provide them a comfortable stay after a long day of traveling. On their way out, if they have an early flight, we’re here to give them a place to relax before returning home.”
Relaxation is easy at the Hilton Garden Inn. The 169 rooms on five floors are spacious and welcoming, each with a large desk, Internet access, flat-screen television with cable, coffeemaker, microwave, minibar and one king or two double beds, adjustable to your softness preference.
Other hotel amenities include a large pool with a view of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, an exercise room, a restaurant offering a wide variety of tasty dishes, a bar, a snack and gift shop, two meeting rooms and a 24-hour business center. There is an ATM on site, and guests can conveniently pay their international airport exit tax at the hotel.
But it is the hotel’s location, about 10 minutes west of Liberia, that literally and figuratively sets it apart. The long, somewhat desolate road to the hotel is lined with occasional rental-car offerings, but for the most part, as you head west from Liberia, you see the Hilton and then you see the airport. There’s not much else around.
“We knew that by creating this spot the guests might be slow at first,” Mejer says. “But as more and more people have started using this airport, people realize what an ideal spot they have here.”
According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), more than 50,000 travelers touched down in Liberia in the first two months of this year, up 24 percent from the same period in 2009. Conveniently located about 45 minutes from the northern Pacific coast, Daniel Oduber airport saves tourists to Guanacaste a significant amount of travel time versus flying into Juan Santamaría airport in the San José area.
In addition, CIMA Hospital recently broke ground in the nearby Pacific Plaza, putting the Hilton Garden Inn within 15 minutes from what will be an integrated residential and medical facility. The seven-stage project, which expects to complete its first stage by 2011, will include a hospital, a three-story tower with 42 medical offices, residential condominiums, independent residences for senior citizens, a shopping center and a community recreation center. Pacific Plaza is expected to be a large hub for medical tourism, an industry that rakes in millions of dollars for the Costa Rican economy. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 tourists visited Costa Rica last year for medical procedures.
“When CIMA is completed, we expect to see a large increase in medical tourists,” Mejer says.
It seems the Hilton Garden Inn is ahead of the curve. Liberia is already the country’s second largest travel hub and it appears to be on the verge of further boom.
What will be the first thing tourists see when they arrive here?
The Hilton Garden Inn, a hotel that encourages guests to “sleep deep, eat well, stay fit, work smart and treat yourself,” because, as the slogan on the room key reads, “Tomorrow’s a big day.”