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“Some customer service and a new attitude could make this property outstanding.”
Review of The Gallery Inn

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The Gallery Inn
Ranked #7 of 30 San Juan B&B and Inns
Reviewed 20 January 2007

We felt the price per night was high, but decided to proceed due to the unique nature of the property.

The property had the charm and mystery of the old world. Cobble stone courtyards, decor from the period the property was built, beautiful heavy upholsteries, thick stone walls, and heavy wooden beams. The six parrots of varying colours and breeds perched in the courtyard and main reception added a unique touch as well.

The biggest challenge is the owners, management and staff lack any sort of commitment to providing their guests a great or even mediocre experience.

We see ourselves as easy going, friendly people who like to fit into an environment without a lot of attention and few demands. On more than one occasion we felt uncomfortable and like intruders.

Here's a brief recap of our experience:

The rooms were acceptable, however very damp and cold, even in such a warm climate. Our room was positioned very close to the road and thus the car traffic made it noisy at night .

The promoted cocktail reception was VERY limited - a complimentary glass of red or white wine, tap water or bottled water for $4. No beer and soft drinks as they ran out, which remained the case for the next 2 days - even though at check-in they boasted having an 'honour bar'.

The complimentary breakfast consisted of baked scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, yogurt, cereal, fruit and croissants. Food quality was not bad the first day, but completely unacceptable when the leftovers from the previous days breakfast were served as breakfast on day two. Stress the leftover-over part as nothing new or fresh was added to the menu day two. We didn't bother on day three.

Our second evening the inn hosted a private dinner party. Guests staying at the Inn were not advised and when we proceeded to the main area for the evenings cocktail reception, were intercepted and curtly questioned as to our presence. It was made clear to us the cocktail reception was happening and the two of us left feeling like intruders.

By day three we had unengaged with the property, avoided the staff and the owners and started counting the hours to when we would be moving on.

During our checkout, we questioned the charges to be applied to our credit card and were assured all was in order. Still a bit uneasy, we agreed and proceeded to the airport. While at the airport we checked our credit card account and found they had processed the charges twice. We call from the airport and advised them of the error and were assured all would be corrected by end of day. We continued on our holiday and returned home two weeks later to find this was not the case.

It took 3 long-distance phone calls, and finally a fax of our credit card bill to prove we had been overcharged before we received any action. During the entire time, their attitude was less than helpful or even apologetic when the error was proven to be theirs. An additional $800+ charges sat on our credit card for over 30 days, we had to proof the error was theirs and in the end the management was unapologetic and felt that any sort of retribution was not in order. "We refunded your money, what more do you expect?" was the response.

In closing, here's our advice. There are plenty of other places to stay in Old San Juan...look them up.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank CPBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 January 2007

If you are used to the hundreds of bland, ubiquitous, sterile hotel rooms in San Juan, then this place is not for you. If you are an adventurous soul, then stay here and let yourself get lost in another world. This place is not for someone who is a fickle traveller, and again, used to chain hotels or properties run on a "corporate formula". This place is run by an artist and that should be explaination enough. If you consistently stay at places like the Sheraton, you won't get a simple light breakfast to get you going each morning or an evening wine and snack hour - many times with the owners. Yes the breakfast is simple, but how much do you need to get you going and have a pastry at a local place in town. Save room for lunch at a local place in town and stay away from the tourist restaurants. The coffee at breakfast is quite good and the breads in the basket are tasty, as is the egg dish they make (which could have been cooked a little more). The basics are offered also - cereal, fruit. There are no less than a dozen areas in the property where you can privately sit with a book, a drink, or some food. We had the fortune of spending some time with the owners Jan and Manuco and had the most spontaneous fun. Try doing that with the staff at the Sheraton. And El Convento, while a nice property, is a tourist trap. While not right in the center of Old San Juan, the location and views can't be beat and Old San Juan is a small place anyway. Besides, walking around Old San Juan is charming in itself and it is only 2 blocks up the hill from the major cross streets. If you find yourself not wanting to walk, then take one of the free shuttles that will drop you off right across the street from the inn. One night we purchased some bread, cheese, and cured meat at the Pueblo and had a simple dinner of it on one of the balconies overlooking the ocean with a glass of wine. We felt like residents. The inn makes you want to linger there because it is an exploration in and of itself. This is a living, breathing place with it's own character, so yes there will be flaws. The property is not perfect, but which one is? Come with no expectation and no fussiness and you will, most likely, be enchanted as we were. Low water pressure is a San Juan wide issue so don't blame the hotel and the quirkly things that go along with a 300 year old building are to be expected, as well as the aroma that comes with a old al fresco building. The drain in our shower was slow, we let the front desk know, and it was addressed within a reasonable amount of time. Keep in mind this is a private inn not a hotel chain with an army at your beck and call, and if you come with grace, you will leave with grace. The owners live on site, so this is their home also and sometimes they entertain here, which even adds to the experience. During our stay, a private dinner event occured complete with Piano and a Viola player imported from New York. The staff was very friendly and helped us with some specifics about Old San Juan and a couple of special needs that came up during our stay (thanks Nicole). And then there are Jan's parrots. They are like cats. Make sure you get a chance to spend some time with them and Jan when she plays with them most afternoons. If you like to sleep late you may be woken by some squaking depending on which room you are in or how late. Sleeping, by the way, was wonderful in the temperpedic beds. If there are not so good things I can say, then it would be some mold around the AC unit vents of our room, which we did not use often since our room overlooked the ocean and we had a constant ocean breeze. Another thing, which is probably not even worth mentioning, was that there was no towel hooks in our bathroom. Bottom line is the place is worth checking out. We were glad we did.

Stayed: January 2007
6  Thank ramunos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2007

Apparently, $400 buys you a very small, musty room, badly in need of renovation. The terrace view was nice but the space was filled with half-dead plants and was being used to store old fountains and things. The hot tub took 12 hours to warm up and never got hot (we only stayed one night and never got to use it). Breakfast was almost non-existent and very poorly laid out--days-old soggy fruit, etc. Not exactly what we had in mind for this price.

The staff was unfriendly at check-in and downright nasty at check-out. We contacted the front desk about the hot tub not working, figuring we weren't turning it on properly. They sent up a repairman who tinkered with it, said he'd be right back but never returned. We contacted the front desk again later that night, and were told sorry, there's nothing they could do--ask for a discount in the morning. Upon check-out, we were immediately blamed for the situation and basically called liars--why didn't you call the front desk?, the hot tub is working fine, etc.--and were ultimately told no discount would be given.

I've never been so happy to check out of a hotel in my life--wouldn't recommend this place to anyone. It seemed like El Convento was the place to stay.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank sotoole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2007

Perhaps it was post holiday and the service was scattershot, but the place was poorly located in relation to Old San Juan. It was by the castle but a hike to anything else. The quaintness was lost because it was very noisy due to the concerts and piano playing. Also, some of the rooms were dark and dank. I would go elsewhere. You can get more for your money

8  Thank Savvytrav1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2007

Great Location on a Hill overlooking the sea. Easy access to Old San Juan. Watch out the Inn has no sign, so a bit difficult to find.

We spent 3 nights and our room was old fashioned quaint and nice with a fantastic view of the ocean.

Generally the service was willing but overall poor, bits missed when rooms cleaned.

Breakfast is patchy with no choice(really expensive for what it is). Fruit was cheap melon and pineapple, ran out of bread regularly etc.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with friends
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6  Thank londrepyramid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2007

While waiting to leave on our cruise ship, we decided to spend a night in Old San Juan. We chose The Galleria from pictures on the internet because it looked like an unusual place and not the same American-style hotel. We were not disappointed!! It was more like staying in someone's house instead of a regular hotel.
Since we were in five, we were given the rooftop suite which had a magnificent view and our own terrace! The owner is an artist so she has decorated every room differently and included all her artwork and sculpturing all over the house.
Breakfast was interesting ( included) because it was not a sitdown meal. A wide variety of local fresh fruits and the normal eggs were put out on a buffet in one of the halls and you could help yourself and sit in any of the many living rooms off the entrance hall.
The staff was great and called many places to find us a tour because it was the last minute.
We really felt that we had gone back in time in this quaint bed and breakfast.
I would return to San Juan just to stay in this unique place.

1  Thank patinitaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2006

I can't agree more with all the other reviews, both good and bad. The Gallery Inn is not typical, by any stretch. I got to learn a bit of the history while I was there, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it was Jan and Manny's mansion (both are artists and eccentric, to say the least.) It became somewhat of a guest house for artists and musicians over the years, and then finally somehow emerged into an inn. So, its quite amazing that this place was never meant to be any kind of hotel, but someone's house. Remember, when you go, that you are staying in someone's house. Its very large, so you're privacy is never compromised. Its candy for a photographer ... so antique and busy. My husband and I really liked it. Its a gem, and so is Old San Juan.

Also another tid-bit. We met the owner of El-Convento at one of the concerts. Very nice man and long-time friend of Jan's. He was inspired by the Gallery Inn and it sparked some friendly competition, so he decided to convert a convent into a hotel. Go figure!

  • Stayed: August 2006, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank mrs.matta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Gallery Inn

Address: 204 - 206 Norzagaray St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in San Juan
Price Range: £110 - £264 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Gallery Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This sprawling 22-room ocean-view boutique hotel features lush gardens, tree-shaded patios and secluded and private nooks at every turn. The Wine Deck offers breath-taking, panoramic views from the highest point in Old San Juan. The newly completed sculpture waterfall pool meanders through ancient brick passageways, past fragrant gardenias. Six active art studios and world-class piano recitals are all open to our guests. Unique, elegant and exotic: the Old World charm of The Gallery Inn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Gallery Hotel San Juan

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