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“Honest review, really nice place”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
new york
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Honest review, really nice place”
Reviewed 25 October 2010

I stayed there 10/13 to 10/16. I booked for me and my GF but we broke up just before the trip, so I went alone. The place is very nice, clean and attractive. I paid $22 with tip for a taxi from the airport. There are taxi fee schedules for different zones. It was raining when I got there, but it soon cleared up and was perfect for the rest of my trip.

Check in was smooth and quick. I got a second floor room (queen deluxe) with high ceiling, but it seemed the third floor and higher would have been better because of view and access to pool, wine/cheese happy hour and internet room. The whole of Old San Juan was dead, virtually no one out at bars and restaurants. No cruise ships coming in to port the whole time. Even come Friday night, the few folks out were small, couples on vacation and locals who seemed to keep distant from the tourists. It is not like there are dance places and local action all night long as portrayed in the tourist books.

I went to the local supermarket a few blocks away and bought beer and liquor. I did not buy drinks out (way overpriced). I checked out several of the local recommended restaurants and they were pretty much all fine. I got a deal for the hotel where I had a $25 food and beverage credit for each day. The breakfast in the patio each morning was great. That is the only meal I ate at the hotel (less than $20 to fill you up; eggs benedict great as was yogurt and granola). I did not even use my whole FB credit up. Dinner and the food at the other restaurant upstairs seem pricey ($16 for ceviche!!). Between breakfast and free wine/cheese happy hour, I could have spent no extra money on food (but I did because I am a food lover).

I checked out and used El Convento's sister properties. La Concha was nice, very populated with a younger and older crowd using the pools, beach and bar. It cost me 75 cents to get there by bus in 20 minutes. Find the bus terminal in Old San Juan and save $20 on taxi. Really though, if I was going to a caribbean island to hang on a beach, I think there are better islands. Casino is small and small time, and drinks at the bar $$$$. I also checked out Courtyard by Marriott in Isle Verde. Would skip. Loud planes every ten minutes, setting off car alarms, not a pretty place. Neither Condado nor Isle Verde are pretty (the towns). If you stay only at your hotel, I guess it is ok, but I like to explore. Old San Juan is a pretty place and interesting, but again, it was deads-ville when I was there.

About El Convento, this place is so special (see my Mohonk review for what is special), if I was looking for a romantic place to bring a date for a few nights, you cannot go wrong. As a single guy whose GF bailed, it was still nice but lonely. There were many couples here, and they all seemed to be very happy. Love was in the air. This is not a hotel for a single guy but if you are single, it is still nice. There were no obvious local chicks to meet and bring back to the hotel. The locals are very distant from the tourists. The pool is small but I used it a lot, was very hot and great for cooling off. Open 24 hours. I went up one night at 2AM to swim and interrupted a could having fun LOL. It turned out all good.

The business center/room, 3rd floor, has two computers with free internet access to check in to your flight and print your boarding pass. I checked out restaurants and other stuff I read prior to coming here to remind me what to do. The hotel has a very nice staff and good value when you look for a deal and contact them directly. I did not like the many bums I saw around Old San Juan. Disturbing diseased persons that needed medical attention and I would think the city would want to help the folks and remove them from the eyes of visitors. The free trolly system too is nice, but I noticed locals take it to get where they need to go, so that was a bit weird, but understandable. Check out the historic sites and the forts. It's nice.

I will not likely to go back to PR, but I was glad I picked El Convento as were the other guests I talked with. I have so many other places to see, PR is done, I am a single guy looking for more fun places where I can meet local single females and have that kind of fun (like the DR, Costa Rica, Cuba and Thailand for example). My friends tell me that the west part of PR is the place to go. Small towns, good surf, not overwhelmed by tourism. If I were going back to the caribbean to enjoy an island feel and tropical island, PR is not the place to go. And where is all this dancing and stuff till all hours of the night going on?? Certainly not here. What's with this false info in the tourist books???

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank pedrony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
richmond, va
2 reviews
Reviewed 23 October 2010

This hotel is perfect for those looking for a place to stay in Old San Juan. The staff were friendly and extremely helpful. The hotel is romantic and unique. The manager's wine and cheese reception is a great added bonus!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ELAMFERN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 October 2010

This place is everything and more. Outstanding service, great accommodations, and the "little" things that make it special.

My wife and I celebrated our 25th and this place couldn't have been more perfect. From the honor bar that starts around 11a, to the wine and cheese each night at 6p to the pool that's open 24 hours a day, just an amazing place. And, what a great location! Old San Juan is just awesome. The night life is fantastic, the food is great and the people are really friendly.

The hotel is safe, the staff REALLY friendly, and filled with rich history. We wish we could just move in. I'm always skeptical of online reviews, but please believe me, this place is special and we will be back soon.

Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank seabound2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
santa bar
1 review
Reviewed 18 October 2010

My husband and I stayed at the El Convento for the first two nights of our honeymoon. They allowed us an early check-in. Every staff member we came in contact with was friendly and professional. We ate once at the tapas bar (which was delicious), but the location is so great, we were able to walk to other restaurants and bars in Old San Juan quite easily. Our room was quiet and air-conditioned, it had an extra door to further limit sounds from outside, but we didn't need to use it.
We also loved Trixie, one of the hotel cats!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank lfc52505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
33 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2010

My husband and I just returned from a one night stay at Hotel El Convento. We were returning to New Orleans after a week at the W Vieques and wanted to break up the return trip and check out all that Old San Juan has to offer. The hotel lifted its two night minimum requirement when we called about three weeks prior to our visit. I highly suggest looking into this as an option if you are committed to staying at El Convento, but only require one night.

Hotel El Convento lives up to the superior service that is the hallmark of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" brand. No detail is overlooked, you are never a bother, and, should an error be made, it is literally corrected within minutes. We were so pleased with the service, we couldn't stop talking about it! From our arrival wherein the front desk clerk asked us how our trip to Vieques was (the hotel must keep booking notes) to the beautiful turn down service and timely wake up call/ taxi booking, we were impressed from start to finish. The staff is obviously well-trained, and it is a first class operation.

The main areas of the hotel, including the courtyard, are quite charming and well-maintained. If you admire preservation and a sense of real history in a place, this would be a great spot for you. However, if you are looking for gleamingly fresh/clean/modern interiors, I would look elsewhere. The whole feel of the space is very European. El Convento reminded me of a five star hotel in Europe, but a three-four star boutique hotel in the US. Our room, 518, was perfectly suited to our needs, particularly considering the $185.00 price tag. However, it was a bit shabby, with the chairs and table in the room needing a thorough cleaning and replacement of fabric. The ceilings were fairly low and the flat screen TV was fuzzy. It just seemed a bit "worn." That being said, the bathroom was fully renovated and quite clean. It almost didn't match the interior of the room b/c it was so modern and fresh, with every amenity offered, including Aveda products. The room directly faced a maintenance closet filled with mops and housekeeping supplies (instead of the interior courtyard view of a majority of the rooms on the floor) and had a window view of a neighbor's ramshackle back deck. Again, we were not bothered by this for the price, but it should be noted. It seems that the rooms on the second floor of the hotel do not present these issues as they have high ceilings and more of a street view.

We did not try the restaurants at the hotel, opting to dine at Marmalade instead. We enjoyed drinks, however, at the tapas restaurant in the afternoon. They were delicious and the service was friendly and efficient. We took advantage of the complimentary wine and cheese hour, which is a lovely detail offered by the hotel. The small balcony faced the square across the street from the hotel, with beautiful views of the church. There was not a ton of seating, though, especially about twenty-thirty minutes into the hour, so definitely keep that in mind if you must sit and if you are with a group of two or more people.

I highly recommend El Convento and cannot imagine another hotel in Old San Juan living up to the high standard of service set by it. The location and main areas of the facility are top notch, particularly if you are interested in staying in a historic property. Pay attention to the view described when you are selecting a room over the phone with the hotel and definitely ask about the ceiling height for an optimal experience.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Nolanative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Indialantic, Florida, USA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 October 2010

The staff was great, since we had no concrete plans and we had woke up to late for the bus tour the staff took the extra time and effort to try and find us a motorcycle rental company and when they couldn't they got us a rental car delivered to the hotel, all while we waited in the room. In my opinion they went above and beyond.
The room was large and had an old world feeling with cavernous open beamed ceilings and a large open porch for breakfast or drinks.
The location was right in the middle of Old San Juan, all we needed was a map and we walked out the door and toured the whole city, it was amazing.
They even had a very small pool and hot tub on the roof which we enjoyed immensely especially the view from that rooftop at night into the harbor.
Everything about Hotel El Convento was top notch and I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Douglasvblair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 8 October 2010

We loved the Ambience of this former Convent for the Carmelite sisters,old Spanish style terra cotta floors thru out check out the fourth floor herb garden and the fifth floor pool with jaccuzi.The beds were sooh comfortable and the linens were top notch,the staff are all happy and polite and most helpful as well.The location is nice it is quiet there is a square across from it where musicians play there guitars and seranade passers by.Each evening at six pm there is a wine and cheese party and it is complimentry,a wide variety of wines and cheeses along with crackers and fresh fruit,we loved it all and plan on going back someday.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank joandoane
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
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 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family 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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