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“Close-in Ritz experience”

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The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Isla Verde
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Close-in Ritz experience”
Reviewed 11 June 2014

This Ritz property is great for a quickie luxurious vacation. You get the service you would expect from a Ritz with proximity to the airport that makes it ideal to start your vacation as soon as you land. But when I say, "close to the airport" I mean if it wasn't for a runway and a two-lane road you could walk to this hotel. And that is both a plus and a minus. Being so close to the airport means airport noise. From the beach and the pool it was only somewhat disruptive. You could watch jets take off all day. But if you're on the street-side of the hotel you'll need to scream in to your companion's ear to be heard. It was that loud. We found the front desk and concierge staff to be very gracious. Formal restaurants not as much. They seemed detached, aloof, and generally not very attentive. Just calling it in. The pool-side restaurant where we spent most of our time was great and very accommodating for our 9 year old. As for family travel, this was not the best place. It had a very nice pool but not much else for kids.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank A H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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NJ
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

If you are looking for a “near” Ritz experience @ Marriott prices, this hotel is for you.
My wife and I just completed a five night stay at this property. I am Marriott Platnium (10+ yrs) and have the opportunity to stay in many Marriott and non-Marriott properties every year. With that said, the RC-SJ is not a “Ritz”. It is a nice Marriott, trying to be a Ritz. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good hotel, but far from world-class.
Pros-The staff was wonderful. Form the front desk personnel, to the servers and the pool staff, everyone was very nice. Not over the top nice, but genuine. The doormen and the pool staff were great. The breakfast buffet was very good. The beach area was nice and plenty big. The bathroom in our room was nice. The pool was ok, not great. The gym was nice and well equipped.
Cons-The lobby is very unimpressive. The two rooms we had are in need of a refresh. The property itself is in a dated section of the island, although most of the island (Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde) is rather dated. The property itself is condensed between some older buildings and offers very few, if any, spectacular views.
The bottom line is that you never really felt like you were at a “Ritz”. It is clear that this property cannot command a standard “Ritz” rate ($150+ more a night then full service Marriott) which clearly dilutes the overall experience. I will admit, I was attracted to the price-point, but realized quickly that, you get what you pay for. While the staff was mostly comprised of “Ladies and Gentlemen”, they weren’t always serving “Ladies and Gentlemen” as the Ritz Carlton motto states. This was most evident at the pool area, which included a group of foul mouthed, rowdy drunks being served multiple rounds of shots at the pool bar and in my mind was a direct reflection of the price point.
It is my understanding that this property is slated for a $75m overhaul, which is much needed. And while they may be able to spruce up the lobby and the rooms, the less then desirable location and surroundings will not change. However, if they are willing to sell a few less rooms each nights at a higher price point, they may be able to create a “boutique” type environment that would be worth revisiting.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Bob090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RCSJU, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, responded to this review, 12 June 2014
Dear Guest,
I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience on Trip Advisor. I am happy to hear that your overall stay went well; unfortunately I hear that you were not very impressed with the overall resort. We are in the continued process to improve our facilities. Last year we renovated our Spa, the Ocean Bar and Grill, the Club Lounge and this fall we will renovate all our Ballroom spaces. Thank you for being a loyal Marriott Platinum member and your feedback is much appreciated.
We will continue working on training to ensure each of our guests has an experience, where we truly follow our philosophy of “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”.
I hope to have an opportunity to welcome you back to our “Enchanted Island of Rhythms and Flavors”, an Island with so much to offer. Our concierges are experts and they can guide you to see all the beautiful places in Puerto Rico.
Warm regards,
Jackie
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

Just got back from staying at the Ritz & I miss it already. I can't say enough how attentive the staff was here. ALL of the staff, from the doormen to the front desk to housekeeping, everyone!!! Hotel is exteremely close to the airport & suprisingly you don't hear planes like you'd imagine. Property itself is beautiful - great scenery, great pool, & connects to a beautiful beach. I was so worried about selecting the right tours, etc & they had someone on site to assist.

Now my fave part of the hotel: FOOD!!! First off Guillermo in Mares restaurant is by far the best server I've ever encountered & I've dined in many places all around the world. Jeremy makes one hell of an omelet. We had breakfast here daily & you can opt for the buffet or order of the menu, both were equally delicious. Quality options at the buffett & unlimited mimosas! :) I also dined at BLT - a steakhouse, very pricey but great food that was close and convenient.

Overall, I'd definitely come to stay at this property again. There isn't much in the area but a short cab ride (or walk to ESJ) will take you to some action. And lastly, to the housekeeping lady that followed me outside to hand me my iphone 5 - You rock!!!!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank NikkiG510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newark, Delaware
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2014

This was my second stay at the San Juan Ritz Carlton. Was there for a "girls weekend" - had a great time, didn't leave the resort for three days ! I have nothing but good things to say about this hotel - the service was excellent - they take every opportunity to make you feel special - the pool attendants were great - they always remember your name, where you like to sit and are attentive to your wishes when setting you up for the day. They also send around little treats and water throughout the day poolside, which is another nice touch. The breakfast buffet was delicious and a good bargin for us, as our rate came with breakfast for two every day - so we only had to split the third breakfast -which amounted to @$11.00 each. Breakfast comes with champagne, which you can serve yourself. Our server Guillermo - was awesome - he brought us everything we could need before we knew we needed it. Had dinner at BLT and Il Mulino - both were excellent (BLT was the pricier of the two) and again the "extras" (appetizers/desserts) helped to round out the experiences. FYI - Il Mulino has a Sunset Menu - a 3 course pre-fixe dinner for $43.00 - which was great. Prices at the Ritz are expensive - so be prepared. Our room was nice - we had a partial view of the beach and of the apartments across the street - but it was very quiet. My only "complaint" would be the bath towels/robes in the room weren't up to the usual Ritz luxury level that I've come to expect - they either needed to be replaced or could use some fabric softner to make them "fluffier/softer" - especially after a day in the sun.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a beach or pool view - gives you something nice to look at. Although the city vi...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Gayle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 June 2014

We Stayed at the Ritz Carlton during the Memorial day weekend. It literally was a 15 minute ride from the airport. We arrived very early and they could not have been more accommodating. We were greeted with guava mimosas and big smiles. A special thank you to Jacqueline Torres, Lobby Concierge, who went out of her way to make us feel special. We booked an ocean view room, and my husband was hoping for a balcony. Not only did they check us in early but we were upgraded to a junior suite with a balcony, for a small increase. The room was beautiful, well maintained and very comfortable. The pool was beautiful however we prefer the beach. Drinks and food from the poolside restaurant were great and the wait staff were extremely friendly. As with most Ritz Carlton hotels, the staff is well trained, polite and very warm. We dined at BLT Steak, it was fabulous. We ate at Mares for breakfast and it was fine, however there was lovely woman at the coffee bar. I am a coffee fanatic, she went out of her way to make a great cappuccino for me. On our last night Jacqueline Torres and many of the staff sent us a bottle of champagne and a beautiful card. I must say I was concerned when I had read some not so favorable reviews, and we were already booked. Thankfully I experienced none of what I read. Overall this was a perfect get away. Quick plane ride from NYC, 15 minute ride from the airport to the hotel. The hotel was beautiful and the staff was the best.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank LoisAnneT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sugar Land, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 June 2014

This was a pre cruise stay with family. One city view and one sea side with balcony overlooking the pool and beach. Both rooms were very clean and had A/C that put a meat locker to shame. Beds were amazing. Being in the tropics, a property is going to have special needs for upkeep and the Ritz seems to make the effort. You don't have over the top Vegas style opulence but you do have a feeling of old world quality. My only gripe was the kids somehow managed the score the sea view room. I am convinced that young folks conspire. On the other hand, they were happy and felt pampered.

The staff is well trained and understand the importance of service mentality. The food and service was very good, particularly at Il Mulino. Over all, I would say that the service approaches that of a property such as the Mokara Hotel and Spa in San Antonio which is saying plenty for a large resort town property.

This is my first stay in San Juan, so it is hard to make comparisons to other local properties.

I will say that this property taken by itself is a very nice experience. I would definitely stay again. For those who want a get away, the convenience to the airport (without a lot of jet noise), the service, and the pool/beach features are compelling selling points. There is a casino as well, although we did not have time to visit. We did not use the spa this trip either.

We are glad we chose the Ritz. I always do my homework and check the Trip Advisor reviews. This property has had a few seemingly snarky comments from time to time that gave me a moment of pause before booking. However, I was very pleased with the choice and the outcome.

Room Tip: Ask for an upgrade to a balcony on the sea side if you did not book one in advance. You might be in...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank SLTX83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2014

This is our 2nd stay on their Club Level. It is more expensive, but with two Grandkids and my adult son it is so worth it. This hotel is so convenient to/from the airport and has one of the best beaches. It takes longer to have luggage loaded in your cab than it takes to get to the Ritz.

If you stay on their Club level upon arrival they take your luggage and escort you upstairs to the Club for your check in, no waiting in line downstairs at the front desk. You are presented with a Mimosa or drink of your choice while you complete your check in. I was extremely very pleased that they were able to accommodate our earlier than 4pm check in time and we enjoyed a nice healthy lunch before heading to the room & the pool.

Our luggage was waiting for us at our room. The room was beautiful, spotless, large bathroom, nice linens, toiletries and a large balcony. We proceeded to the pool and were quickly set up with two umbrellas and 4 lounge chairs.

After a few hours of swimming and a very long day of flying, we were ready for a shower and back to the Club for cocktails and their evening food presentation. This is an amenity I appreciate every evening because the Grandkids are usually very hungry after swimming, but it is too early to go out to dinner. The evening presentation is always delicious with kid and adult appealing appetizers along with any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages of your choice. If you need to book dinner reservations, plan a special occasion, book excursions or just need tourist advice the Concierge at the Club can help you with anything while you relax. The entire staff is so knowledgeable about every aspect of Puerto Rico.

We always have breakfast at the Club, which is absolutely the best. So many hot and cold choices so everyone is happy and no waiting. The Club always has wonderful cookies, chips, Kind bars, water, juice, sodas, candy, etc for your snacking pleasure. During lunch they also have wonderful sandwiches, cold soups, salads, grilled veggies and chicken. Their tuna fish salad is one of my favorites. The lunch choices in the Club are always grilled and healthy, so we split our days between eating in the club and ordering at the pool.

The Ocean Bar & Grill has the best cheeseburger and fries & salads. The Grandkids love their huge chicken strips & fries from the Ritz Kids Menu. If you have kids, you must order the smoothies from the pool bar. They are delicious, especially the chocolate or strawberry.

If you plan to go to the beach, the service is equally wonderful. The guys set you up with chairs and umbrellas. You have drink and food service. The Aqua facilities at the Fitness Center are a must if you want to workout. Nice workout machines, whirlpool, sauna and steam room

The Ritz always has wonderful programs for the kids. If you would like a break, Ritz Kids can be booked for a half or whole day. My son and I utilized their half day & went to check out the casino. At the pool they have special days with a clown making balloon animals, cotton candy, girls mani-pedi’s, hair braiding and face painting. Throughout the day they come by with dried fruits and nuts. A huge bowl of beautiful oranges is always available at the towel stand.

Wednesday – Sunday evening the Lobby Lounge offers wonderful Sushi, Sashimi, Miso Soup, Dumplings, spring rolls and other wonderful items created by the only woman Sushi Chef in Puerto Rico. My son swears it is the best Asian food he has ever eaten & he lives in NY. We always order our food to go and take it upstairs and enjoy dinner on our balcony.

I must forewarn you if traveling during peak season. It can get very crowded at the pool and there are a lot of families with kids. This is not a spring break party hotel and rates are not cheap. Dinner reservations at the hotel or at other restaurants are a must if you plan on dining at 7 or later. Go have dinner at the Metropole if you want reasonable authentic Puerto Rican food. There is a Walgreens nearby and you can pick up water toys and just about anything you forgot to bring.

Thanks you Club Concierge and all employees who provided another wonderful family trip to Puerto Rico! My Grandson truly enjoyed having his birthday celebration again at the Ritz!

Room Tip: Fourth floor or higher with a balcony. Club access.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Norma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
Address: 6961 Ave of the Governors, Isla Verde, Carolina 00979, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Carolina > Isla Verde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Isla Verde
#3 Business Hotel in Isla Verde
#3 Casino Hotel in Isla Verde
#4 Family Hotel in Isla Verde
#5 Romantic Hotel in Isla Verde
#5 Luxury Hotel in Isla Verde
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Verde
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan 5*
Number of rooms: 416
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Also Known As:
Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel Isla Verde
Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa And Casino
Ritz Carlton Carolina
Carolina Ritz Carlton
Ritz Carlton Puerto Rico
Ritz Carolina
The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan Puerto Rico/Isla Verde

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