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“so nice and quiet”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“so nice and quiet”
Reviewed 20 November 2009

I stayed at El Convento Oct 30 and 31 09. Though it was way more than I would usually pay ($US245/night), it was worth it for location and quiet. After reading about cheaper hotels in Old San Juan being noisy, I figured the price would keep out the young partiers, though of course that is not always the case. As it was Hallowe'en the night before I left on my cruise, I was afraid I wouldn't sleep, but the hotel is so solidly built I heard nothing at all. There are also soundproofing doors out to the alley and to the middle courtyard. Not so lucky were the people who stayed at The Hilton Caribe that night - I was told they had a 10,000 person party and no one was able to sleep or even approach the hotel in a taxi. The El Convento hotel itself is charming, ancient yellows and dark woods, soft beds, deluxe bath products, and great service. I threw my neck out dancing salsa one night and wished I had my chiropractor from home. Soledad from the front desk fixed me up with Jesus, a registered massage therapist, who did a great job and got my mobility back. Hiram on the front desk attended to my every need including luggage storage. The hotel has a reception with snacks nightly which is very nice and unlimited free bottled water and internet!!! Its location is unbeatable, across from a historic church and right in the middle of everything, a few blocks from all the restaurants, bars, Starbucks, pretty plazas, the fort, etc, anything you want to see or do. Anyone on a cruise must come a few days early to explore San Juan. There are two free trolleys with lots of hop-on hop-off stops, you can ride them all day and they will take you anywhere but the Panamerican pier, which unfortunately requires a $17 taxi for those departing on Royal Caribbean.
From the hotel, I walked to the Spirits of Puerto Rico dinner at Baru, put on by Legends of Puerto Rico. Not cheap ($90) but the food was yummy and plentiful and we got a full lesson on rums and tasted 12 different ones. Leader Debbie Morales is great and joining others certainly was more fun than doing it on my own!
Had fresh squeezed juice and cinnamon roll at the institution known as La Bombonera, a friendly breakfast place in OSJ. Food at Parrot Club was ok, good if you like Latin jazz and bottomless fresh juice again. El Convento also has an agreement with the beach club at La Concha in Condado, so I went to try it out, and was able to bill lunch to my account at El Convento. I could have taken the bus but as time was a priority, just swallowed the $15 taxi fare to Condado. La Concha was very nice, modern, sort of charmless but great service and gym. A well-guarded beach provided lounges and the infinity pool overlooking the beach was so pretty! I preferred walking around OSJ over Condado. El Convento has a small plunge pool on the roof, which you need when it is hot!! The only reason I would not give the room 5* is there was a lack of good water pressure, but other than that it was a real pleasure at this hotel. See more San Juan comments in my review of Courtyard Marriott.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
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Thank liltravlr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2009

We stayed here for part of our honeymoon following a cruise. We were here for two nights but wish we could have stayed longer.

On arrival we were much earlier than the checking in time of 3pm but the staff were more than happy to keep our luggage in a safe place so that we didnt have to carry it with us all day. When we did return to check in the bell boys were excellent and so helpful, even telling us a little of the history of the hotel.
The room we stayed in was lovely, full of character ad although we didnt ask for a sea view room we could still see the sea from our room. The room had excellent air con and good tv too. The bathrooms are very clean and have everything you need. The only downside was the size of the bed which was a double - would have been nicer to have a little larger bed, however the bed was very comfortable.
On our first night after coming back from a meal out, the staff had thoughtfully displayed rose petals in the shape of a heart on our bed and put some soothing music on for our return. This was so nice to come back to!
On an evening they hold complimentary wine and cheese offerings which was nice to go before heading out for the evening.
The plunge pool area and whirlpool on the top terrace are lovely and when we were there we were the only ones up there so it was very private and quiet. The views from there are also beautiful. The internet access is free in the hotel library which was great to have on hand. The gym was a little out dated but had amazing air con which is useful when working out in the san juan heat!
The hotel is in a good location and is walkable to the pier for the cruise ships (about a 10 min walk). There are some very nice restaurants nearby and our favourite was barachina where the pina colada was invented - the food was great and the staff very friendly.
We had stayed at another hotel on the night before our cruise in old san juan which was a little nearer to the pier and had thought that we probably woudlnt go back there. Now we definetely wont as if come back to san juan we will definetely book to stay at el convento!!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank natster1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EROSA, Manager at Hotel El Convento, responded to this review, 24 November 2009
Dear former guest,

Thank you for choosing Hotel El Convento and taking the time to share your experience with others through trip advisor. I enjoyed the reading especially because you mentioned many of the areas that we have worked very hard ensuring our guests benefit from. Many of the changes already in these areas come as a result of us listening to our guest’s suggestions. I am glad to report that this week we received the shipment for the rest of the equipment to complete our new fitness center. The fitness area will now be outfitted with all new Life Fitness equipment including two treadmills, an elliptical cross trainer, a recumbent cycle, a stepper, a multiuse workout machine, and dumbbells. We will also have headphones available for our guests to use on those machines with an integrated 15” diagonal TV. In short, in response to our guests’ suggestions, Hotel El Convento will have finished updating the fitness center by the end of this month. Again, thank you for your comments and I look forward to having again at our hotel in the near future.

Best regards,

Efrain Rosa
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2009

Okay, that sounds a little X-rated but really we were on a layover to an island in the carribean and watned to check out Puerto Rico. We chose the right place to stay!! The people at El Convento couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. They sent us to Baru for dinner and to this date it is still one of the best meals we've ever had! The room itself was so cute and fun - bright colors, hand painted walls and furniture, and a great view of the water. The inner courtyard was really cute, too! This hotel is in a great location in Old San Juan. I would highly recommend El Convento to anyone!

Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
Thank Plaidbunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid, Spain
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2009

Visited this hotel for the first time for 3 nights on the strong recommendation of a friend; booked a "pre/post cruise" package at $225 per night which included a one-way transfer to/from pier or airport and one free breakfast for each one purchased (but, it transpired, only at the same time so, no use for me).

The hotel's in a gorgeous, historical building in a superb location in the centre of Old San Juan next to the cathedral which makes sight-seeing very easy and makes an excellent first impression. However, I felt there were too many small inconveniences to make it a memorable trip:

> Room: I was allocated 214 which is on the 2nd floor for the US (1st floor UK) and too low to receive much natural light; I would recommend asking for the 3rd floor and above.
> A/C: it's quite noisy and not intuitive to operate so that it came on at 2.00am during my first night, waking me up; I couldn't switch it off and had to call a guy from reception to help.
> Mosquitos: the rooms open onto a gallery which looks out onto an inner courtyard which allows mosquitos in when they're being cleaned or serviced; I found an insect spray in the room but only after being bitten several times during the first night.
> Bulb missing in the bathroom which was not replaced despite my asking.
> No room service except breakfast which, as a "solo traveller" I missed (I like the option of having dinner in the room watching TV).
> There was only one restaurant open at the hotel for dinner - a tapas bar - which gets a good write-up in the guides but which I didn't much like (there is a café but I was told it was closed for the low season); they also have a live flamenco show which you can hear from inside the rooms.
> Late checkout: I was asked to request this on the morning of departure which I did and it was agreed (for 1.00pm) but I was later called at 12.30 asking when I was leaving.
> Airport transfer: I had to remind the lady at reception twice that this was included in the rate.
> Water: there was none on Sunday evening (problem at the hotel) and none on Monday (problem with the supply in that part of the city) - not the easiest place to be without it!

Despite this whingeing, I will return because I now know the "dos and the don'ts" and because of:
> The service which is generally of a high standard and extremely friendly.
> In-room amenities: free broadband, mineral water and Puerto Rican coffee.
> Roof-top terrace with small pool and fantastic view.
> Old San Juan embodying all that is fascinating for me about the Caribbean: the historical Spanish/Catholic influence, meticulously preserved city centre with spectacular views of the Atlantic coast, very friendly people, great restaurants and bars. There's also a lot more to see and do which I dídn't have time for on this trip.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank El_Viajero_Global
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2009

We had read so many fine reports about this hotel, we had to see for ourselves. They were right! When we checked in we were greeted like old friends they were happy to see and until we left we had excellent service. The desk helped us with site seeing bookings and resturant reccomendations and all done with this great attitude of wanting to help in any way possible to make our trip a success. The wine and cheese in the evening was a great way to meet people and to relax after a fun day. We would encourage anyone to spend a night or two or more and enjoy Old San Juan. It is a great location to do this from. This Hotel is first rate.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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1 Thank TwoTravlersinTime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2009

Reservations were made by my companion who has a feel for the unique. If you are going to San Juan, then this is where you must stay. Even better if you go off season as we did. Listed as one of the best small hotels in the world, it lives up to its billing. A list of the positives: willingness to upgrade when not fully booked, marvelous wine and cheese hour at 6PM (seven or eight wines to choose from), top-notch maid service with evening turn-downs, lovely open central courtyard where the rain falls freely, honor bar, atmosphere comfortable enough to wear your bathrobe to the wine and cheese hour after an afternoon sunning on the terrace one flight of stairs up where the splash pool and hot tub await, pleasant staff, easy car rental connection, double storm-doored room with absolutely all amenities and a sense of privacy, and just a general sense of simple class. One caveat; the leased restaurant on the second floor is significantly sub-par and obviously not run by the hotel management. This is likely to change in the future because they are aware of the problem. Just ask whether there is new restaurant management since Oct. '09. Aside from that problem, the worst thing that can be said is that the ice tongs on the honor bar are ineffective. How's that for reaching?
Do not stay in one of those high rise pink Caribbean box buildings and miss the El Convento if you want a visit to Old San Juan to be an enjoyable one.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6 Thank CEB-NYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2009

I just planned our annual last minute trip to San Juan for husband's birthday. I am sad that I was unable to get accomodations to El Convento. We stayed here last year and the location is just prime. The staff is helpful, the rooms are large and clean. I can't say enough positive things of this historical hotel. The hot tub and small pool at the rooftop garden was just oh so romantic. The hotel also offered a cocktail hour, with an array of cheese, crackers and wine. We hope to return and stay here next year!

Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
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

Property: Hotel El Convento
Address: 100 Cristo St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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