Old San Juan, St. John and Virgin Gorda Summer Vacation
We just returned from a destination wedding trip which we also rolled into a two week summer vacation. The wedding was at the WESTIN Hotel on St. John, USVI, and of course was a wonderful affair. As we did not stay at the hotel, I cannot comment on the facilities except Cruz Bay Watersports, who I dived with, were great. There were approximately 80 guest at the wedding and I heard no complaints about the hotel.
The trip started from Houston to Old San Juan Puerto Rico, where we stayed in an a modest hotel, The Hotel Milano on Forteleza St. , right in the middle of Old San Juan. It was very close to the restaurants and as Old San Juan is fairly compact, it made sight seeing easy. The staff was gracious and very helpful. The hotel is not fancy, but we had plenty of room and a B&B type breakfast before launching out to see the historical sights which are many and actually easy to see in one day. The restaurants Querencia and another restaurant owned by the Parrot Club restaurant owner was wonderful
The 3rd day we flew to St. Thomas and caught the ferry to St. John for the wedding festivities, days of snorkeling , lying on the beaches and lazing around at a Cloud Nine Villa "Moonsong" , a wonderful house for two couples. We overlooked Hart Bay which was about a mile and a half from the Westin which made it easy to get to the wedding functions. The beaches on St. John are really magnificent and if there is an odd cruise ship there in the summer and you want to go to Trunk Bay , just go a little early for the perfect spot on the beach. Water Lemon Cay was our favorite snorkeling beach , but others in the party liked Trunk , Frances Bay and Cinnamon Bays. A bay for everyone. Lunches and dinners at Asolare, Paradiso, Fish Trap, Panini's, The Balcony were all wonderful as was the bar and restaurant outside Low Watersports shop. Stay away from the beach bar next toPanini's as the service is non existent but the food was good. The Bar B Q ribs at Uncle Joes fell off the bones .They were so tender. The people at Cloud Nine Villas were wonderful and sent one all the information needed for an island vacation.
If you have not used the ferries to get around , do so as they are reasonable means of transportation. WE took the ferry to West End Tortola, cabbed to
Roadtown and then took the ferry to Virgin Gorda. We rented a Suzuki jeep from Mahogany Car Rentals and it was really better than the Jeep ented on St. John. We stayed in a perfect house for two, Casa Luna ,rented through Guavaberry Vacation Homes on Virgin Gorda. It was a 3 minute walk to Spring Bay and The Crawl. The Baths and Devil's Bay are just a short walk or snorkle away. The people at Guavaberry could not have been nicer or more helpful. The house they suggested was perfect for us.
The bays, beaches and people on Virgin Gorda are wonderful. The BVI islanders are much friendlier and the pace is not as hectic and driven as in the USVI.
We had a wonderful time and would recommend the places we stayed and the restaurants we dined at without reservations. The restaurants on Virgin Gorda are limited. We dined at Georgio's Table overlooking Maho Bay and Pond Bay which was expensive but wonderful. We also ate the the Mine Shaft to listen to Morris Mark and see the senset. It is a great sunset place and has all the correct sunset drinks. The Rock wth its piano player and great food was a surprise. For sheer beauty try the Top of the Baths or for a good sandwich, try Mad Dogs in the same general location. A pizza at the Bath and Turtle was also great.
We flew to St. Thomas to return home but to make the plane we overnighted at a local small 12 room hotel, Villa Blanca and had our last dinner at Randy's. The dinner was truly wonderful. The restaurant is also a bistro and wine shop in the hills above Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
A great vacationand I would recommend such a trip to anyone who enjoys the swaying palms trees. beautiful water, snorkling and diving, not to mention great meals.
DON'T MISS THE MILANO
The Milano is a very special hotel, a smallish place nestled in the heart of old San Juan. From some of its rooms there is a glorious view of the port of San Juan, and its rooftop bar and restaurant is an intimate and magical spot at any time of day or evening. But what sets the hotel apart from any other, is its owner and manager, Juan San Emeterio, an extraordinary man, a kind of latter-day Kahlil Gibran. He has written a number of wonderful uplifting spiritual works, and a copy of one of his volumes is left in every room. He will drop everything for a good conversation, and has a natural fascination with people, so that a stay here is a spiritually enlightening experience. The rapturous responses he has received on his website bear witness to the effect a stay at his hotel has had on his clientele. A hotel unlike any other...
My daughter found this quaint hotel while touring Old San Juan. It is an ideal location for touring since it is right in the center of the city. We were able to walk everywhere. We had a room in the front since it is the only rooms with large windows. It is well air conditioned and has a refrigerator. The only drawback was no wash cloths (they don't provide them) and no fresh decaf coffee. This was a small price to pay for the friendly staff and comfortable rooms.
The restaurant is not available for the handicapped since the elevator does not go to the top floor where it is located. They provided a Continental Breakfast each morning with fresh juice, fruit, cereal, bagels and sweet rolls. The view of the harbor is a plus.
If I return to San Juan, I will certainly stay at this hotel.
Wonderful hotel! February 2004
This small, quaint hotel in the middle of Old San Juan was a delightful surprise. The staff was friendly, the room was clean and nice. The best part was the free breakfast in the roof top restaurant each morning. We sat on the balcony surrounded by plants with a fantastic view. Beyond description! Staying at this hotel was one of the highlights of our trip. We were warned about wandering around Old Puerto Rico at night and, sure enough, there were many sounds of police sirens. Half their rooms are inside without windows (also clean and nice) so be sure to request a room with a window if that's important to you.
Our experience at the Milano was fantastic. My husband and I were on our honeymoon and we were hit by hurricane/tropical storm Jeanne. We were stuck inside while the storm hit. Although there was no power and no where to go for food, the Hotel owner and his staff made sure that food was brought to us and that we were comfortable at all times. We were so impressed with the hospitality that we recieved. The owner also took the time to talk with us and get to know us. The Hotel is also centrally located to great resturants and sight -seeing locations. I would stay here again and so should you!
Let's hope you don't have a complaint!!!
I stayed here for the past two nights with my boyfriend. At first we were put into a room at the back of the hotel. We were both awake until 6am with thumping music from a nearby club. When we complained that we couldn't go through another night of sleeplessness all the receptionist told me (actually laughed while he said this) was that the owner was away and he was the person I was to speak with. He would do nothing for us. We asked him three or four times if he could please change our rooms so we could get a better sleep as we expected some disturbance but it was unreal the noise in the back room. Eventually upon our insistance we got our room changed. The price of the hotel is cheap enough and it is in the centre of old San Juan but as long as you get a room at the front and don't have something to complain about....then your experience should be good. As for me.....well we moved to a better hotel with sound proofing!!!!! ha ha
Wish We Could Have Tried It
The Milano is currently advertising a special on its web site - stay 4 nights and get the 5th one free. My wife and I will be visiting Puerto Rico next month, and thought that the Milano would be a perfect fit for us.
I called the Milano to make our reservations, which seemed to go well until I mentioned the special on the web site. The reservationist on the other end of the line then became very businesslike and slightly cold. He told me that they would not honor that special unless the reservation was made online. The site does not have a function for reserving online, and after I told him this he told me that I had to email the manager.
Three emails later, I still have no response. When I called again to explain, I received no sympathy and the news that the room we had requested was no longer available.
So much for incentives...
Great location basic hotel
Great place to spent a night or two, perfect location, basic room, nothing fancy. I would stay here again but skip the free breakfast. worst, most disorganized Restaruant I have ever seen. Like I said If you want to be in the middle of the Old san Juan and are not going to hang out in your room the whole time you cant beat it.
Top notch location, and a nice hotel overall.
This hotel is right in Old San Juan, as central as can be - 5 to 10 minute walk to either old fort, 2 minutes walk to the Parrot Club and sister restaurants. We opted for the cheapest room which at $100/nt although very small, had all the ammenities, like shampoo, towels, tissues, TV/cable, fridge, wake up calls. I state this becasue none of the other hotels we stayed at for similar prices, or more, had all this. The hotel is also pretty new and spotless (www.hotelmilanopr.com). The location was right in the middle of the old city, 5-10 minute walk to both forts, and 3 minutes to the Parrot Club restaurant. The continental breakfast on the roof top with views of the water was just that, a continental breakfast with toast, donuts, coffee/juice, fruit, cereal and self service. This is a little Marriott in the city w/o the price tag or the extra charges. Just be prepared to share some space or pay a bit more $ for a larger room.