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.
- 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