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Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 48 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 January 2012

Began our honeymoon with three nights at El Convento. A truly fabulous experience, even if slightly tainted by the fact that they were renovating the courtyard. But the hotel provided free breakfasts (which were quite good, the omelette station in particular as well as the rest of the buffet). Tapas bar was good too. The rooms were very comfortable, and the plunge pool and hot tub on the roof were very relaxing and the layout overall was great. It did feel like a luxury hotel, but by far the best thing was the location. Right in the heart of Old San Juan, steps down to the Red Gate, steps up to El Morro and the museums and the Cathedral, all amazing. We're glad we went at the beginning of January rather than in the middle of the San Sebastien festival where we didn't think we'd get much sleep but overall really enjoyed the hotel. Excellent service from the staff as well. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Higher floors are better
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Pablo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 January 2012

September 2011

This was my third stay at the Hotel El convento. I had fallen in love with this property on previous stays and was looking forward to the four day break in one of my favorite cities and hotels.

This stay was disappointing. It seems that the hotel is increasingly reliant on "Crusie Ship" one nighter guests and have moved away from the exquisite service once provided to longer staying gusets. I felt the service was hurried and non-caring. Certainly not like previous times.
The property is still well kept and beautiful ( a big draw for me) and the wine and cheese guest reception is still good but the overall feel of Luxurious for me was not there this time

For my entire stay, there was a clanging sound coming from my room which as it turns out was not resolved over the stay. I had placed a few calls to the front desk but to no resolve and finally figured out that it was a loud AC vent (going through my bathroom to somewhere). It was both annoying and disruptive. I was never offered to be moved to another room.

On my last day, A renovation Team started to bang away in the room next door. After three calls (with 2 of them over the phone so the front desk rep could hear it), there was some repreive only to start again half hour later. At checkout I again complained and was offered a amall reducton in the rate for that day but my rest, peace and quiet was already ruined. I

The incident should never occur if management and staff were overly concerned as they should be about guest comfort. The room was occupied and I don't know that this would happen at another Luxury property. It seems management is out of touch with the guests and it has obviously changed in the last 2-3 years.

For my next stay in Puerto, I will book book another hotel and visit Old San Juan. I cannot take the risk of another ruined stay at the Hotel El Convento.

Room Tip: I would book an upgrade from the least expensive room available (I think Room 110 has flaws)
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Travelbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2012

While planning a winter weekend getaway to Puerto Rico, a friend highly recommended a "hotel in Old San Juan that used to be a convent." Hotel El Convento is a small luxury hotel inside a nearly 400 year old building. The central location in Old San Juan can't be beat, and the architecture and history of the structure are beautiful and fascinating. The service is excellent and personal, the people friendly and clearly dedicated to going above and beyond for guests.

We found the room to be clean, well appointed and a good size with a charming view of the square in front of the hotel. The nightly manager's reception was a welcome treat--what a great way to take in the sunset. We were notified well in advance that construction would be going on in the main courtyard--and the hotel went above and beyond to compensate for what turned out to be no inconvenience.

The rooftop plunge pool and another terrace offer sunny, quiet retreats. A fitness center is just the right size for this hotel, fully equipped with modern equipment in good working condition and clearly underutilized by hotel guests. We also enjoyed delicious sangria and tapas at the restaurant inside.

This is a "city" hotel--it's not on or near a beach, but it is great for exploring the old city. They do also have agreements with hotels that have beaches to allow you to use their facilities.

One caveat: if you are not a fan of busy, loud, crowded street festivals, this is not the place for you during the San Sebastian festival. If you ARE a fan of busy, loud street festivals, you'll love Hotel El Convento even more.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank FourDayTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

We spent 4 nights at the El Convento. We had a one bedroom suite on the 3rd floor (room 319.
The staff were generally very friendly, but my impression was that there were too few staff on duty at any one time. The food in the restaurants is good as is the service in them. There is limited room service available.
There were a few negatives: This started with our arrival. We were dropped off at the side of the road by a taxi at 3pm. There was no doorman so we had to carry our own bags around the side of the building and in to the hotel. The check-in experience was good but there was no offer of help with our bags to our room. I do not expect to pay top-level prices for a suite in a luxury hotel where the assumption is that I will be the one carrying my bags to my room.
The lift is clearly in need of help. There is a single tiny lift, which is the slowest I have ever come across. Whenever my wife took the lift and I walked up the stairs, even after negotiating the locked gates between floors, I walked to the other end of the building to our room before my wife had managed to travel the two floors in the lift.
The room itself is very nicely furnished and of a good size, although the bathroom was tiny at around 5ft x 7ft. The suite has no views and just overlooks the brick walls of the buildings opposite. There was a good, easy to use coffee machine, with plenty of coffee bags and the fridge is re-stocked with water on a daily basis.
Oddly, half of the small wardrobe in the bedroom is taken up by the fridge and coffee machine. Guests have to walk from the bedroom through the lounge into another kitchenette to access the main wardrobe. I could not understand why the fridge and coffee machine is not placed in the kitchenette where there is also a sink, worktops and plug sockets, thus allowing guests access to the whole of the bedroom wardrobe.
Slippers and robes are provided, although we only had one robe in our room and after two complaints it took reception 8-hours to get another one to us. The broken hairdryer was however replaced immediately.
There was also building work going on in the main courtyard during the whole of our stay (now highlighted on the hotel website), although the hotel did provide two free buffet breakfasts to compensate us for this.
There is a small plunge pool on the roof with a hot tub and sun loungers. It has no bar but is still a pleasant area to spend some time in.
The hotel is in a great spot in old San Juan only a couple of minutes walk from the main square. The fact that it is an old convent adds to its character and charm. We also took advantage of the facilities at the La Concha, the sister hotel of the El Convento, which are complimentary to El Convento guests. This is a fairly characterless four-star hotel in which the service was below par but it has a good beach, a few nice pools and is only a 10 minute taxi ride away from the El Convento, so worth a visit.
My overall view of the El Convento was of a hotel with lots of character in a fantastic location but the rooms, hotel facilities and service are at best average for a hotel claiming to be small luxury four-star with room rates set accordingly.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank PRLBirmingham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2012

Love this hotel. Beautiful rooms. Great location. Wish on the beach. But then it would change character of hotel. Nice tapas restaurant in hotel. Real cool restaurants within walking distance and fun bars. If beach is not a priority this the best place to stay.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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Thank DrFady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2012

We spent this past Christmas at the El Convento for a family Chistmas holiday before our cruise left out of Puerto Rico. There were 14 of us. We had 6 rooms one including the Gloria Vanderbelt suite. We had a marvelous visit and were very nicely accomodated for such a large group. We received a special discount on our rooms and the GV suite (contact group sales Rachelle) because we had such a large party. The breakfast buffet was included because of some hotel remodeling ( not a problem at all). The staff was very accomodating and friendly and the service was impecable. The managers wine reception is every night on the terrace from 6-7PM and you are served very nice wine and cheese included for no extra cost. We had christmas dinner on the patio at the tapas restaurant which was quite lovely and a picture perfect family gathering . The hotel is ideally situated for touring old San Juan. The fort and tourist shops all right there and just a short walk. We found a local hole in the wall bar haunt called No No's about 3 blocks up the street on the corner and choose to hang out there for drinks with a local flavor and friendly bartenders. There is a small town park located right outside the hotel where a local oil painter sells his wares for about 20$ of scences of puerto rico that are quite nice. Across the street there is a catholic church that we attended for Christmas eve services. When we stayed at the el convento there was a wedding going on with uniformed guards and cannons going off for a special dignatary. I must say that I highy enjoyed my stay at the El Convento and it was the highlight and favorite part of our cruise vacation.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank JamieU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2012

Hotel El Convento is exactly what I hoped for in an Old San Juan hotel. It just "drips" of incredible ambiance and old Spanish atmosphere. The rooms are not the classiest that I have ever stayed in, but they have more romance and atmosphere than any modern, hi-tech establishment. My wife and I love the ability to walk almost anywhere in Old San Juan very easily from the hotel. The incredible restaurants and clubs of Fortaleza Street are only a short, 10 minute stroll from El Convento. The staff is very friendly and helpful, and they speak perfect English. We also loved the 6 PM wine and cheese party that is complementary every evening - it is a wonderful way to connect with other travelers. We will be back to El Convento soon.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kenny_Vegas
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 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
Price Range: £177 - £369 (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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