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).
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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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