- Reviews: 118
Where to stay in San Juan: Old or New San Juan ???
No decent information (at least I couldnt find any) about the difference between Old San Juan and San Juan and what it means for your holiday.
Old San Juan
Hotels here seem few and far between. In fact I can think of only two, El Convento and The Wyndham. Many of the tourists in Old San Juan are probably sleeping on board one of the large cruise ships that have docked. Warren of little cobbled streets, with most of the businesses are aimed at tourists. By day antiques, cigars, fashion & jewellery. At night seemingly inconspicuous doorways and shop fronts open up into some of the most inviting bars and clubs I ever seen, many of which would easily hold their own in New Yorks trendy Meat Packing District. Calle Fortaleza seemed one of the best streets, but a lot of places were only open at the weekend. Lack of any beaches however means this area is more suited to couples than families. Great selection of restaurants that range from simple local Caribbean / Puerto Rican cuisine in a traditional setting, through to expensive scene style restaurants. Surprisingly most of our drinks / meals in Old San Juan were more expensive than in New York a few days earlier. If youve got a sense of adventure theres plenty to keep you occupied, especially at night, although some of the better clubs had horrendous queues to get in. Reminded me a little of Ibiza town, both in looks and character.
Where most visiting tourists will stay due to plentiful number of hotels. Stretches from La Concha, through to the end of Isla Verde. If Old San Juan is Ibiza town, this is San Antonio - minus the vomit muddles. A main road separates the beach and chain hotels from small Americanised retail parks with fast food outlets (Dominos pizza, Burger King etc) and small 24hr stores and local businesses. With the exception of The Water Club, nearly ALL the hotels are mini Vegas style ie completely self contained with their own bars, restaurants, nightclubs, shops and casinos. Most hotel pools back onto the beach with free loungers / towels for guests. Seem fairly easy to sneak in especially if you buy a drink or two. Better holiday for families or people who dont want to venture further than their hotel lobby. What little nightlife is outside of the hotels consists solely of small bars, some reasonable, some barely more than shoddy huts.
Cant put it any simpler than this...
For beaches and hotels with great facilities including pools choose San Juan.
For shopping, restaurants, bars & clubs choose Old San Juan.
- Reviews: 118
The Water Club: Pimp My Hotel
Had a 5 night stay at the Water Club, San Juan in March 2006. If a hotel were to undergo a refurb by MTV's "Pimp My Ride", this is what it would look like. Basically they have taken a very average 3 star hotel (sort of thing you find in any main Spanish / Greek resort), and pimped it to maximum effect. The result is a hotel that on first impression looks both luxurious and incredibly chic. The design and imagination that has gone into the hotel and its aquatic theming is striking, with a waterfall on every corridor, illuminated by blue neon lit Mediterranean-style drapes and scented vanilla candles. The blue glow continues into the very large bedrooms, with good views of the beach through white venetian blinds.
The bathrooms are a little less inspiring however. With a name like The Water Club, you would think the bathroom and shower would be the talking point of your stay, but unfortunately they are decidedly ropey, with dodgy tiling and decoration, and a shower that looks and operates like it was reclaimed from a 1970's Russian guest house. Rooms certainly AREN'T dirty as some reviewers on TripAdvisor have commented. Another sore point for me was the guest parking which is valet only and an uncomfortable $20 a day. Few rooms have balconies, and no fridge in the room, meaning chilled drinks have to be purchased from the bar for an extortionate $18 for a beer and one G&T ! I suggest buying some from the supermarket and keeping them chilled in an ice filled sink...
If you weren't staying here, like many of the evening bar guests, your journey upstairs would take in the best bits of the hotel - the lobby, Tangerine restaurant, the elevator and the roof top bar. For that reason many people who haven’t actually stayed here might have a misleading or better impression of the hotel than it actually deserves.
The roof-top pool, although small and dated looking, is saved by the adjoining bar and double bed loungers. This place really comes alive at night and turns into one of the hottest venues in San Juan with a young, moneyed crowd listening to resident DJ's play house. Most nights this bar hosts parties (Moet champagne promotion party when we were there), and the 2nd floor occasionally has local bazaars. Like most trendy businesses in San Juan, The Water Club have nailed the soundtrack, and EVERYWHERE you go in this hotel, hidden speakers pipe either whooshing wave sounds, Cafe del Mar chill out beats, or in the evenings, soft beach house. (You can buy their own CDs from reception).
Free towels and loungers are available on the beach adjacent to the hotel, and all the staff are professional, helpful and generally affable.
Close to airport (10mins & $12 in a cab), but the trip into Old San Juan, home to the best restaurants and clubs that will make you feel you are REALLY in Puerto Rico is a little longer. Either take the A5 bus on the main road ($0.75 coins only), or take a cab for about $25 plus tip. Buses take about 30mins depending on traffic, but finish at about 8.30pm, so a round trip in two cabs can add $$$ to your night out.
The Water Club have realised they can't compete with the large chain hotels that dominate the San Juan area. Because of this, they are offering a completely unique style of accommodation and experience. It works well, but not at the price you will pay. For us, a crazy almost 200 UK pounds or $350 a night - simply too much for the quality of room we received.
- Reviews: 1
Mirador Del Condado Condominiums: Condo Rentals - A Much Better Alternative
Most people don't think to rent out a condo instead of the conventional hotel/inn/bed&bath, since well, its not conventional- lol. However, as un-common as renting out condos for short stays may sound, it turned out a lot of the condos were all booked up since we booked everything at the last minute, and on top of that, it was a long weekend, maybe IT IS more conventional. Luckily, after extensive research, and refusing to give up on finding cheap airfare and accomodations at the last minute, I was able to find one last studio condo in Condado in the San Juan area (right in the middle of Isla Verde, where the International Airport is, and Old San Juan, the other point of the San Juan region).
- Reviews: 70
Andalucia Guesthouse: A piece of Paradise
My husband and I stayed at the Andalucia Guesthouse from November 11th-14th. Initially, we didn’t know what to expect. Our reservations faded when we met our hosts. We were greeted by one of two of our hosts, Esteban. And soon later Emeo joined us. From the very first moment, Esteban treated us like old friends reuniting after a long time apart. We felt right at home. It was great. We are budget travelers, so when looking for an accommodation, we look for a place that has character. Andalucia Guesthouse not only has character but it has charm!!
From the outside, the guesthouse doesn’t look impressive. In fact, the house across the street looks more impressive than the guesthouse. But boy were we fooled. Once you step inside, you transcend into a whole new world. The décor is simple but close attention is paid to details. A cozy safe haven, you are met with warm vibrant colors and lush green plants dispersed in various places throughout the accommodation. With its’ open air style, you are never deprived of sunlight, moonlight or rain. This style gives it a dreamy feel, especially while sitting in the Jacuzzi in the courtyard at night...how lovely. The ambiance was perfect. They thought of everything.
After climbing a few stairs, our room awaited us. Our room was clean and inviting. The cable t.v. came in handy at 1-3 am (I’ll explain later). The mini kitchenette added a nice touch. And I absolutely loved the shower curtain (ok so it’s the little things). Esteban and Emeo provided us with all the information you could possible want to know. And they didn’t mind repeating themselves even though they had already laid it out for us or had already stated it (Okay, so I was too lazy to read anything.). From beach towels, suggestions on where to eat, directions, things to do, extra rolls of toilet paper etc. they had all the information available at your bedside. In fact, before you could ask the questions, they had already answered it. Also, internet access is at your finger tips. Our hosts were always around somewhere. It’s funny, it seemed one of the two would just materialized out of thin air. The hospitality was truly genuine.
The location is so convenient to everything, especially the Ocean Park Beach and Dunbar. Kasalta bakery, a 1 minute walk is a must. 24 hour Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC and every other fast food place is just around the corner. We are not fast food junkies, so we stayed away.
- Reviews: 1439
IHP Plaza de Armas
I booked through Travelweb, but they never got a reservation; fortunately, they had a free room.
This is a renovated building near Plaza de Armas, right in the center of the city. The room (the cheapest one) was quite small. The bed was twin, but was as comfortable as a twin bed could be. Bathroom was big enough, but the sleeping area was cramped. The only window is a small window above the door which opens into an interior courtyard. The hotel offers a continental breakfast free, as well as wireless internet (which only works on the first floor for some reason).
The staff was very friendly and helpful. Basically, this hotel is in a good location, relatively inexpensive (hotels in San Juan are somewhat pricey for the Caribean), has good service. If you want luxury, quietness and polish, prepare to pay a lot more at another location. If you want a reasonable accomodation for a decent price and in a good location, this is the best place.
- Reviews: 28
I like to recommend friends...
I like to recommend friends try the Casa Caribe Guesthouse
Last time I checked the average high season rate was about $75, plus taxes
Casa Caribe is a small (15 roooms?) place but very well located and on a quiet street. It offers a modest breakfast included in the room rate and is a secure one story building in its own tropical garden. The owners are relaxed and open, and their are few 'house rules.'
- Reviews: 362
Best Western Hotel or Ritz...
Best Western Hotel or Ritz Carlton Casino.
Quite expensive, but you can find lot of good hotel for $80-$140.00 in San Juan or Isla Verde.
Hotel Best Western (De Diego avenue is very for a good price)
depending of your choice, period and size...
BEST WESTERN: $80-$140
RITZ: good hotel just in front of beach, with all services; beautiful swimming pool and casino.
BEST WESTERN and RITZ: The staff is very kind, good swimming pool, good restaurant and bkfast.
- Reviews: 81
Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach...
Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach Resort & Casino
Has an extremely 'tropical' feel to the property. All rooms have an ocean view. The property has a 'lazy river', outdoor jacuzzi's, pools,, and private beach. Has shuttles to/from Old San Juan and the airport.
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