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“Beautiful and Historic”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 July 2011

I am a professional who is slightly past middle-age. My husband and I stayed for 2 days in June prior to a cruise.
We arrived later in the evening after a long flight. My husband had to stand outside in the dark by the curb with our luggage while the hotel located a porter to assist us. There was nowhere for our driver to park so he had to unload our luggage and wish us well. Once the porter was there, he was charming and eager to inform us of the different facilities and amenities available to us. The lady at the front desk was pleasant and helpful.
You could not ask for a better location. Shops, restaurants museums, and Walgreen's are within walking distance. A Catholic cathedral is across the street. Their beautiful sung- mass on Sunday morning could be heard on the street. The hotel faces a pretty grassy area which had very good street entertainers both nights.
The hotel is simply lovely. The rooms surround an open courtyard with charming tables and chairs on the large balconies that serve as the halls in front of the rooms. The room and bathroom were small but adequate, as I would expect in a boutique hotel. They were spotlessly clean. The room was furnished in Spanish antiques/reproductions. They supplied a cold empty (yea) refrigerator and safe. There was a glass airlock door inside the room which made it possible to keep it at a comfortable temperature in spite of being such a old building. (Thank you!) As advertised they have a plunge pool. Think of it a "cool" hot tub, which is excellent for the warm climate, instead of a swimming pool. The best amenity was the honor bar in a pleasant room attached to a room with internet-connected computers/printers and an outdoor space. It was nice to be able to access liquor, wines, beer, and soft drinks without going through room service or one of the restaurants. We were out of the hotel during the Manager's Reception, but they had a beautiful setting. We dined on tapas and enjoyed flamenco dancers in the tapas bar attached to the hotel on the first night. It was so nice after traveling all day to have good food and entertainment without having to go out. We ordered breakfast from room service. The charge was comparable to that of a 4 or 5 star hotel. The service was excellent. I was surprised at the quality of the food, though. It was not up to par with what I would expect of this hotel.
I was impressed by the security of the hotel. Being open to restaurants downstairs, it was nice that you needed your key to access the elevator to the rooms and pool.
I wish I could have given this hotel 5 stars because of its location, service, amenities, and appearance. However, I do have two warnings for future travelers. On the first morning we went down to wait for our limo driver. He was not the one from the previous evening so we did not know what he looked like. There were men inside the hotel's entrance who confused and harassed us about their identities and the competence of the company we had hired. I was shocked the hotel would allow this behavior in the entrance hall in full view of the desk. My other concern was I paid well over 900 dollars for 2 nights in a queen vista room. The vista consisted of a view of dirty unappealing rooftops, a partial view of the bay and the industrial area across the bay. I questioned whether the bed was a queen; it felt much more like a double. I would stay at this hotel again but only for a significantly lower rate, and I would definitely skip the "vista" view.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank PrayingMother
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,990 - 1,996 of 2,762 reviews

Reviewed 6 July 2011

No bad surprises with this hotel.
The building is just beautiful, location is great unless you are looking for beach hotel.
Service was helpful, and rooms were nothing fancy but good.
On the other side, the swimming pool is too small, but I guess
Loved the free cheese & wine at the nice terrace everyday at 6pm
Overall, a great experience

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank tedacuen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2011

This hotel is worth EVERY penny. It is in the best part of San Juan: the old town. And it's right in the middle of it so you can walk everywhere you want to go. Tons of great food within walking distance. The staff is kind and accomodating. The rrom was fantastic. Not huge, but very nicely decorated, very comfortable bed, beautiful view, elegant marble bathroom with nice shower. It's just really delightful. And the wine and cheese reception every evening at 6pm is to die for. After a day running around adventuring in Puerto Rico, you come back, take a shower, and go have some wine and cheese before walking to a great dinner later. It's perfect. You have to go. And I promise you, you WILL love it. and you'll want to return.

Room Tip: Try Expedia. The low season is cheaper, but generally, it's not an inexpensive hotel. But very w...
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank twostrawsyrah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2011

We stayed for a month at El Convento, the only "Small Luxury Hotel" in Puerto Rico, a few years ago. This is a wonderful hotel, building & area, full of history, energy & charm. Be ready to walk to streets of Old San Juan, taste its delicious food & enjoy the music all around you. Our room was a standard one with a view to a side street, but we did not care, it was beautiful anyway! The rooftop pool is small, but again, you need to be ready for it when you stay in a 350+ old building, although the view is breathtaking. The Daily Manager's reception was always entertaining & relaxing with a variety of wines and cheeses. The gym was always available & had the usual free weights, treadmill, etc - we did not use it once, but rather walked around the city for exercise. Bring your walking shoes & an umbrella for afternoon showers and/or hide from the sun!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank JulietteMarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2011

Hotel El Convento is unique in it's own way. The history of it definitely intrigued me.

The area in which is located is great. Walking distance to everything; no need for a taxi. Restaurants that they had to offer were good and it's atmosphere is nice.

My room was nice, had a great view but there was an issue with cleanliness. Seems as though the staff only cleaned the surface. If it considers itself to be a luxury hotel, staff should definitely be more thorough.

I had an issue with an iron which stained my $300 dress shirt and they did nothing but bring me another broken iron. Wasn't pleased at all.

If you seek a nice pool that you can swim in, look elsewhere. Pool is really small and jacuzzi needs some work but the view was nice.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank BlkXican
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2011

After reading all of the reviews for this hotel I was genuinely excited to stay here. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype.
First the pros:
- Location is great if you want to spend time on Old San Juan.
- The fact that this is an old convent is really cool.
- The staff is very friendly and helpful.

Next the cons:
- As mentioned above, the fact that this is such an old building and an old convent is really neat and part of the reason I chose this hotel, but you have to continue to remind yourself of this during your stay. I felt as though they did not highlight the history of the building enough.
- The gates at every floor- if you leave your key with your husband by accident ... forget it! There are gates at EVERY floor to unlock. I know it is for security, but it seemed more of an inconvenience than anything.
- The terrace patio was a nice thought, but they missed the mark- there is no view what-so-ever of this beautiful city from anywhere on the property.

If you want a convenient hotel- clean and comfortable, this is the place for you. It is truly the only place worth staying in Old San Juan. But keep your expectations in check- it is an average hotel with average accommodations.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank veganista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2011

The ambience of this 350 year old small boutiquey hotel was simply wonderful. This hotel was originally a convent for Nun's, then it turned into a brothel, at one time it was event owned by the Woolworths company. A very interesting history indeed. But the Spanish archeticture, old world rooms, courtyard and Tapas bar upstairs was really inviting . The food was DELICIOUS! in the courtyard they served the best latte's and the Tapa's bar had a buzz of it's own, a wonderful array of food and spirits with gorgeous waiters to wait on you.
The hotel offers complimentary wine and cheese in the evening..... an absolutely wonderful selection of both, there is nothing average about this hotel and their accomodations. The people at the front desk couldn't have been more gracious and accomodating. Lovely atmosphere in every way. There is a tiny pool on the roof, there is a nice view of the city as well as the ability to hear the singing mass ( on Sunday's) at the histoically old Catholic church which is located right next to the hotel. I don't think that the location could be any better....a lovely well appointment hotel filled with history, beauty, and charm. However don't expect any grand veiws from your room. All the warmth and ambience lives within the courtyard and restaurant. I would return to old San Juan just to stay at this hotel. We were treated like VIP's.
Shopping, that is good shopping, is just a stones throw from the hotel, the church across the street and the old Fort is just a couple of blocks up the street. This is a MUST experience if you travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, even if it's just for a meal, eat in the courtyard. Fabulous food and service and hospitality in every way. Oh and on Friday nights there is Flamenco music and dancing just across the walkway from the hotel.
Enjoy! :-)

Room Tip: Our room was large and had a old world feel to it.
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Arizonagirl56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel El Convento

Address: 100 Cristo St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
Price Range: £150 - £443 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel El Convento 4.5*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of historic Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento has set new standards of luxury, comfort and service while preserving the rich character of this former 16th century convent. This landmark treasure, a member of Historic Hotels of America and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has earned four diamonds from AAA each year since its opening. This is the exclusive hotel experience to indulge the most discriminating of travelers, and is a hotel like no other. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Convento San Juan

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