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One night stay - review

Grand Haven...
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One night stay - review

On our way to St. Croix my wife and I flew into SJU to spend one night in late June. I'm sure I'll ruffle some feathers but I have to say I was disappointed. Before I go any further let me say that we're not "ugly American" tourists. We travel frequently, smile, tip well and never expect things to be "like home" because, after all, we're traveling. Our arrival experience was fine. A friendly gentleman hailed a cab for us and told the driver where we were going (yes, we tipped both of them). The staff at the Hampton Inn was less than welcoming and far too businesslike. A smile could have gone a long way. Our window gave us a delightful view of a cockfight arena and it's parking lot (see my review for a photo). We the took a taxi to OSJ to walk the area and get a feel for it, doing a bit of exploring and shopping before dinner. As the afternoon wore on we noticed more and more police placed strategically around the area. That's a good thing, but it led us to believe that it's probably not the safest area. On the recommendation of several people for a local meal, we ate at Cafe El Punto, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, the food was delicious and the beer was cold. Our driver on the return trip to the hotel was polite and efficient. The Cape Air lady who checked us in for our flight the next morning was friendly and warm. Our flight to STX was great. After a week we again flew through SJU to return to O'Hare. We had to leave the secure area to retrieve the Cruzan Rum we had to check through and then go through security again. This was a nightmare. Huge lines, in excess of 30 minutes' wait time and unfriendly workers. It's difficult to imagine, but we saw much happier faces working at O'Hare both directions than we did either time in SJU. Understand that I'm not slamming PR. I realize this is a mixed bag of emotions and one day / night isn't a good amount of time to draw an opinion, but it was overall just an okay kind of experience. I really expected better.

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1. Re: One night stay - review

Thanks for the review. I like eating at Cafe El Punto too. Don't be put off by police presence in OSJ. OSJ is pretty safe. The police generally patrol popular areas in San Juan, OSJ, and many hotels. They're there to help and to reassure the public.

As for the SJU airport, the times I've been there both as a traveler and to pick someone up, I've felt that things are a bit disorganized and confusing.

Hope you can come back and stay longer, and explore more of our island!

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King of Prussia...
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for San Juan, Ponce
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2. Re: One night stay - review

This is by no means a sign that feathers have been ruffled, but I feel that I must clarify a few things...

"The staff at the Hampton Inn was less than welcoming and far too businesslike. Our window gave us a delightful view of a cockfight arena and it's parking lot..."

I don't mean to blame this on you but, you get what you pay for. No Hampton Inn has a spectacular view. This brand is classified as a 2 or 3 stars hotel depending on the location (2 in PR). Did you research this hotel prior to making your reservation? This hotel is not on the top recommended hotels here on TA (for San Juan). We could've helped you make a much better choice.

"As the afternoon wore on we noticed more and more police placed strategically around the area. That's a good thing, but it led us to believe that it's probably not the safest area. "

Old San Juan is in fact, a very safe area. Police are always present everywhere on the island, not just Old San Juan, and particularly in the evenings when it's darker. It just a safety precaution that should be taken even in all big cities. I wish this would happen even at my employer's parking lot!

"We had to leave the secure area to retrieve the Cruzan Rum we had to check through and then go through security again. This was a nightmare."

This will happen at all airports, not just SJU. TSA does not allow containers with over 3 ounces of liquids. Should you carry a larger amount, you will have to check that container. As a seasoned traveller, you should be fully aware of this rule and procedures.

"...it was overall just an okay kind of experience. I really expected better."

Hmmm... I'm sorry to ask but, wasn't your stay way too short for such a harsh decision? It's a bit unfair in my opinion.

Edited: 26 July 2011, 15:23
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San Juan
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3. Re: One night stay - review

@ Paris...excellent response.

Hampton Inns are never a hotel I would consider to be a "tourist" property...they are considered to be a business hotel and cater to this type of specific traveler. Always do research prior to making reservations somewhere if you have certain criteria to satisfy which will usually deter these types of "surprises". Thank goodness for internet reviews and first hand experiences we have access to now...it hasn't always been so easy!

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: One night stay - review

Topfan,

Thank you for your TR in spite short stay. I quite agree with Paris, and can understand her point of view. I travel quite often yearly from the middle east to the states. I do not write TR, but I stayed in places just for a day, and to me is hard to rate fairly for example I stayed in London one day, and I cannot say if the place is safe or days activities are adequate, or so, but I can tell is expensive and seems nice, but can't determined how nice really is. There is always a first impressions but time can be a factor to rate fairly.

On the other hand, Topfan made an interest observation that cannot being ignored about peoples attitude. Even if the hotel has a low ratings, is not in line with PRTC's motto "Puerto Rico does it better". Hotel's management must, and should monitor, enforce extended courtesy to their guest any time. This is not the first time I heard this, and I as a local guy, I experienced those annoying attitudes, but not that often. IMO not always individuals meant to be mean, still individuals should be aware of the services they providing. I commented on this on few occasions, and I believed there is room to improve there.

I would like to point out Puerto Rico is not like one of those AI resorts services, and what I mean is, in Puerto Rico is island time, not "right away sir, or maddam". I appreciate Topfan TR, and if you travel or return this way, local experts or experienced travelers to the island stand ready to assist you and provide best possible advise to enjoy to the fullest.

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Grand Haven...
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for Grand Haven, Michigan
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5. Re: One night stay - review

Thanks to those of you for your honesty re: my review. As when people give a less-than-great review of my area I tend to get defensive as well, so I can empathize. Paris, prior to making my reservation I thoroughly researched hotels to meet our needs, using primarily TA. Actually, I tried very hard to find a small boutique hotel on the beach, but they were all booked and mostly two-night minimums. The Hampton is rated #1 in the Carolina area, and most Hamptons are adequate for a one night stay. I don't expect Ritz Carlton service when staying in these hotels; merely basic creature comforts with good service. The TA ratings also showed that out of 237 reviews, only 15 were less than average, with 202 being very good to excellent. Maybe I caught them at a bad time. Timeliness was never an issue; just basic courtesy. Again, I understand it was only one night. I had just hoped for more.

6. Re: One night stay - review

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