When the Sleep Inn San José Downtown was first built, there had been no new hotels built in the central downtown area for about thirteen years. The Sleep Inn brought new hotel, restaurant and entertainment services to central San José, but it hoped to seamlessly fit itself into a charming downtown area known for its gracious parks and large, old trees. The Sleep Inn builders made several design and decorating choices that have helped the hotel blend nicely with its older surroundings and earn praise from guests and city officials alike.
Before the Sleep Inn was built, the Escuela Metálica, one of San José’s oldest high schools, stood directly across the park from the hotel’s proposed site. The Escuela Metálica is one of the most unusual buildings in San José. As its name suggests, the outer skin of the building and its fine architectural details are made entirely of metal. The building has become an attractive downtown landmark, its greenish hue playing off the green of the surrounding trees. The building was manufactured in France and shipped in pieces to San José, where it was assembled. The Sleep Inn builders hoped to acknowledge the Escuela Metálica when they built the hotel. The outside color choice for the Sleep Inn is a similar, slightly modernized green—a respectful nod to the older Escuela Metálica.
A visitor to the pre-construction Sleep Inn site looking toward the Escuela Metálica would also see beautiful old trees lining narrow streets. When the Sleep Inn lobby walls went up, these trees were no longer visible. The Sleep Inn commissioned Denis Salas, a Costa Rican painter, to do some paintings for the hotel’s lobby walls. Denis Salas, who loved the old tree-lined streets, painted the very images that the pre-construction visitor would have seen on the unbuilt hotel site. The lobby now boasts a series of paintings that work almost like windows, providing views of the surrounding downtown area.
San José’s mayor and several prominent city officials have praised the Sleep Inn for modernizing the downtown area and renewing business while creatively acknowledging the area’s past.
Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.