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???
- 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