Hotel El Convento

100 Cristo St, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901, Caribbean
#1 of 87 hotels in San Juan
Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 5 reviews
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ainsleigh's Profile Photo

Colonial-Era Luxury and High Expectations

Good (3.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 28, 2014

Let me begin by saying that Hotel El Convento is absolutely beautiful. The colonial-era architecture and dark wood make you feel like you're staying in a period novel. I loved the inner courtyard that opens to the sky- we stayed during a hard rain and it was gushing through the hallways and against the restaurant canopies, really cool. At night dozens of bats swoop around to eat the fruit off the trees in the courtyard; we sat out and watched them for hours and it was one of the best memories of our trip. There's a nice terrace overlooking Old San Juan where they serve free wine and cheese in the afternoons. The restaurants are all very nice, but have the same drawbacks of cost and tourist-trapness that hotel restaurants tend to have. Pick the tapas restaurant El Picoteo.

I really wanted this stay to be perfect. Partially because it was my birthday, and partially because staying here was a major splurge for me. We booked our reservation well in advance, mentioned that it was a special occasion, and received an e-mail back saying every effort would be made to make our stay special. When we arrived we were told there was damage to some rooms from the rain and would be given a different room with one bed and one sofabed instead of the two queen beds we had reserved. The sofabed was very, very uncomfortable and old. We had initially booked a room with a nice view, and now we looked across at another building... we were offered the choice between this and a room with it's only window looking out into the corridor and thought that would be worse. At this point I'm pretty disappointed... We aren't the people to complain or fuss about things but we thought if we talked to someone maybe we could work something out.

As we're waiting in line for the front desk, a couple with a child in front of us is told of the damaged rooms and offered the bridal suite. The couple walking away is saying they can't believe they were upgraded to a suite. We talk to the manager and are told now all the rooms are full. Wow. That sucks. The only thing we can have is a 4th floor room with a very nice ocean view but only one bed, our friend will have to sleep on an air mattress. They offer us $100 off for that night, and the second night we will be moved to the room we originally booked. The second night, the room was perfect, had beautiful high ceilings and overlooked the cathedral and the colonial square.

I'm not sure if I would stay there again or not. It's expensive, very touristy, and we didn't get exactly what we were promised although this probably wasn't their fault. The more expensive the accommodation, the higher the expectations I guess. In the end though El Convento really was beautiful and had an unforgettable atmosphere and it would be hard to imagine my birthday vacation in Puerto Rico without it.

GlobeTrekr's Profile Photo

Absolute best hotel in Old San Juan

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on July 5, 2008

Unique Quality: Built by Spanish colonists in 1651 as a Carmelite convent which obviously was later restored to become a small luxury hotel. El Convento Hotel was opened in 1962 and is the oldest member of Historic Hotels of America.
Very charming and relaxing with excellent restaurants. Everyday at 6pm they have the Daily Manager's Reception for guests on La Veranda Terrace. Free wine and hors d'ouevres! It can get crowded on the Terrace but there are a few tables and chairs just outside overlooking the courtyard which is where Diana and I sat. If you're in your room at that time or close by its definitely worth it. I remember lots of different cheeses and crackers along with about 10-15 different bottles of wine.

Directions: On the corner of Calle Del Santo Cristo and Calle de las Monjas. Directly across the street from the San Juan Cathedral, you can't miss it.

grandmaR's Profile Photo

Sleeping Nuns

by written on September 19, 2006

I have not stayed here, but it was pointed out as a landmark by our guide.

History of the building

* 1646: Construction began on the Carmelite convent, through a petition by King Phillip IV of Spain
* July 1651: The convent was inaugurated as the Monastery of Our Lady Carmen of San José -- and was situated across the street from San Juan Cathedral, the Western Hemisphere's oldest cathedral
* Dec. 9, 1903: The convent was closed by the Archbishop of San Juan
* 1959 : Under the auspices of Operation Bootstrap, Robert Frederic Woolworth - heir to the Woolworth fortune - began converting the convent into the El Convento Hotel.
* Jan. 27, 1962: El Convento Hotel opened

The interior has wooden beams, handcrafted tiles, carved chairs, velvet settees, and antique chests.

Unique Quality: * Complimentary high-speed Internet access
* Elegant marble bathrooms
* Plush bathrobes
* Goose-down pillows
* Flat-panel LCD satellite TV
* Bose radio and CD player
* Two-line telephones, with data ports
* Spacious work desk
* Hairdryer, iron, and ironing board
* In-room safe
* Refrigerator, filled with complimentary chilled water
* Coffeemaker and complimentary Alto Grande coffee
* Individually controlled air conditioning
Across from the hotel, is valet parking.

Directions: Up Norzagaray Street - Fort El Morro approaching on the right.

At the plaza right before the fort take a left to Cristo Street. At the top of the small hill, bear left, then right, around the plaza.

Two blocks down the hill on right is El Convento.

TexasDave's Profile Photo

Historic Boutique Hotel

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on April 14, 2006

Originally built in 1646 as a convent for Catholic nuns, it was renovated and converted into a swank hotel in the 1970's and updated in the '80's. Very much worth a stay for a couple of nights even if you stay somewhere else a little less expensive for the rest of your visit.

Directions: Old San Juan

LindaV's Profile Photo

A great place to stay in Old San Juan

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on April 6, 2004

Great location, very central. Everything is basically walking distance. Make sure you do not get a room next to the elevators other than that the hotel is very cool.

Definately make sure to check out the tapas bar and ask for "Raffe" the bartender he makes an unbelievable mojito....

Unique Quality: Very friendly staff, the rooms are great and everything is walking distance. The continental breakfast they offer is outstanding...

All in all a highly recommended place to stay in Old San Juan.

Directions: Old San Juan

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Nearby Hotel El Convento

Hotel El Convento

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

  • El Convento San Juan

Address: 100 Cristo St, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901, Caribbean

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Amenities at Hotel El Convento

  • Restaurant
  • Swimming Pool
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Room Service
  • Fitness Center
  • Business Services
  • Free High Speed Internet
  • Suites
  • Bar / Lounge

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