By Mark Evans
A Quick Look At Four Costa Rican Plane Hotels
Plane hotels have become more and more popular over recent years. From the Boeing 747 hotel at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport to the TWA Lockheed Constellation at New York’s JFK Airport. Some have actually been converted into hotel rooms while other hotels simply use the aircraft as a theme to entice customers to stay at the hotel.
One of the very first ones was in Costa Rica at Hotel Costa Verde. They helped start a growing trend when they took an Avianca Boeing 727 and turned it into a hotel room amidst the Costa Rican Jungle. Purchased in 2006 the B727 has been available to guests since 2008. Located on the west coast near the town of Quepos the B727 offers panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean and Costa Rican coastline.
The hotel didn’t stop there though. They converted an Aeropostal Douglas DC9 into another room and recently converted a third aircraft. A McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 previously operated by UM Air.
All three have been beautifully renovated with hand-carved teak wood furnishings and have additional outside decking attached to them providing outdoor space for guests. Positioned on the hillside amongst lush rainforest they all offer majestic views out to sea, as well as the local wildlife with sloths, toucans and monkeys living in the surrounding trees.
Another business in Costa Rica followed suit and also converted a B727 into a hotel room. Located a bit further south from Quepos near the town of Dominical sits a former Allegro Air Boeing 727. The Ricar2 El Avion bar restaurant purchased the aircraft and converted it into the Suites Charter Boutique hotel.
This Iconic B727 rolled off the production line over 56 years ago in 1965 starting life with South African Airways. After 16 years it found a new home in Africa with Liberia World Airlines before heading across the Atlantic for Colombia in 1984. It flew with Avianca for another 7 years until it was withdrawn from use at San Jose in 1991.
Many parts were removed and the aircraft was left derelict there for many years until the Hotel Costa Verde stepped in to save it in 2006.
First flying in 1968 this DC9 spent almost 20 years in Scandinavia with SAS. It then found its way to Venezuela with Aeropostal who then transferred it to its Costa Rican venture, Aeropostal Alas De Centro America. It was put into storage at San Jose in 2007 and broken up into pieces. Hotel Costa Verde purchased the front fuselage section to be used as a second plane hotel room.
The youngest of the pack at a mere 37 years old, the MD-82 started life in 1984 with Continental Airlines. After a brief spell with Vanguard Airlines and a few years in storage, it ended life with UM Air or Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines. After a few years in Ukraine, it went back into storage in 2009. It found its way to San Jose in 2011 where it remained parked for several years, eventually being broken by 2018 and moved to the hotel.
The rear of the aircraft is displayed as an exhibition next to the restaurant. Guests are able to walk up the rear stairs and into the fuselage. The front fuselage took a little longer to renovate but has recently become available for guests as an additional hotel room.
This Boeing 727 started life in Germany with Hapag Lloyd in 1979. After only 5 years it was sold to Ethiopian Airlines where it spent the next 5 Years. It then spent the next ten years moving around various airlines in Colombia, Spain and South Africa. Lastly, it found a home in Mexico with Allegro Air in 1999.
Unfortunately, Allegro Air ceased operations in Nov. 2003 and the aircraft was placed into storage at San Jose. Unable to find another airline it eventually found its new home as a hotel near Dominical in 2010.