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“Perfect Location for Old San Juan” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   100 Cristo St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Los Angeles
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Perfect Location for Old San Juan”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

A beautiful hotel with wonderful old world charm. It's also one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. My wife and I stayed here for 3 nights of our week long anniversary in Puerto Rico. We loved it. The rooms are on the smaller size, but it's definitely made up for in location and character. All parts of Old San Juan are within walking distance of El Convento. As far as location, I wouldn't stay anywhere else. The hotel restaurants offer a good selection of food in the patio area and there's also a plunge pool and spa on the upper level. We stayed in an upper level queen bed room with a view of the bay which was amazing. The rooms are air conditioned and also have special doors to shut out the sounds and humidity. All around, we loved it and hope to be back soon.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (385)
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Richmond, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

El Convento was as charming as Old San Juan itself. As soon as you enter this boutique hotel you're transported to another place and time. A 350 year old converted convent will do that. The rooms, pool, outdoor atrium, bar, restaurant....all had an old world style. Without exception, the staff were friendly and accommodating. Side note: if you like Mojito's ask Margaret to make you her own special version that includes fresh ginger and passion juice; it's amazing. Several of the staff members were helpful in directing us to some great spots for lunch and dinner. San Juan is a great place to explore (El Morro is awesome) and El Convento is a great hotel to start and finish each day.

Room Tip: We were on the 4th floor which is the same level as the plunge pool and sun deck. Very convenient fo...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

Amazing hotel! Our experience here was perfect. It is situated right in Old San Juan to allow one to easily walk around the city and walk to restaurants and bars. However it also contains beautiful terraces and a plunge pool to relax for a few hours in the sun with a book. They have all of the special touches that one enjoys – including free coffee, tea and bottled water all day beside a terrace overlooking the cathedral – that really add to the experience in small ways. If you want some beach time they also have arrangements with hotels on the beaches in San Juan, which we would have used if we were there for longer. Would recommend to anyone looking to go to San Juan.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

Truly a gem in Old San Juan. Was there on a three-night work/rest combination visit and couldn't be happier with the conquistador era mood evoked, the ultra convenient location and the outstanding staff in this lovingly restored 350-year-old Carmelite convent. I will be back there in a heartbeat.

Top 10 reasons why I loved the Hotel El Convento:
-Location, location, location: You can't beat the best location in town. Far enough from the madding crowd to wake up peacefully, but steps away to the action if you needed it. At once close to the forts, the bahia de San Juan, supermarket, drug stores, pina coladas, restaurants and coffee shops.
-Professional and warm staff: Had a great experience with smiles all around (for the most part), and a can-do attitude. Special props to Annette from the front desk who personally greeted me every time and was so warm that the other staff spoke glowingly of her to me (stemming from their own experience)! Special thanks to the kindness of the porters as well: Uriel and Ivan were outstanding.
-Coquis in the garden: Loved the sounds of the coquis after the tropical rains at night. A lullaby of sorts.The one time that I would wish for rain showers.
-Wine at the Manager's reception: Every day at 6pm. Really good mainly Spanish wines to write home about. At least 8 types daily compliments of the hotel. Accompanied by at least 4 types of cheese and a variety of crackers and grapes. Really good - even for a California snob!
-24-hour goodies: Hot coffee (Puerto RIcan), tea (Harney and sons), iced bottled water and a fruit basket (bananas, apples, tangerines, pears). Always replenished. Always available. Always good. Also loved the Puerto Rican sweets at the front desk. All compliments of the hotel.
-Rooftop plunge pool: Great place to cool off after a hot day of walking. Wonderful view of the Bahia de San Juan.
-Free internet. I used the cable and it worked very well in my room. The wireless can be spotty depending on your location, but good signal in the library.
-Design: Loved the old convent feel, the stained glass, the wooden beams and antique chest in my room, and the Spanish tile. Yet I had all the modern conveniences of a good and comfortable bed, a functional, modern and clean bathroom (with Aveda products), and the glass door in the room that kept the sound out if I wanted. Lovely french doors were a nice accent.
-Gym: Impressed with the small but functional gym that had eveything I needed to work off the mofongo and the Medalla beer. Available 24 hours.
-Access to the beach: Two sister properties a short cab ride away.

Things the hotel could work on: Not much really. Maybe repair some of the worn chair cushions in the room. Also, one of the front desk staff members was substantially more surly than the others. Probably would not stand out in the U.S. mainland, but because everyone was so friendly and warm, she stood out.

My top 5 Old San Juan experiences:
-Walks or runs along the old forts. Miles to explore walking or jogging. The closest to the hotel is the Paseo del Morro, but there are lots of other areas. Advise running at dawn or dusk when the light is magical, it is cooler, and the crowds are spare. The best of the forts is the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, also very close to the hotel.
-Paseo de la Princesa. OK - a little kitch with the cruise ships in the background, but no Sunday evening is complete without a stroll down the Paseo with the locals. Lots of music, fresh juices (try the freshly squeezed OJ), crafts and delish Puerto Rican candy. When you are done, have a local coffee across the street at Cafe Cuatro Sombras.
-Barrachina. I'm a little embarassed that I made a pilgrimage to the place where pina coladas were invented, but it was so close to the hotel, and I couldn't help it - even it was further away. More formal sit down service at the tables, or you can hang at the bar where you can also get food. Try the pina colada (of course), and local favorite foods mafongo and asopao. They were expertly made there.
-The Old San Juan squares. Perfect for people watching, domino playing or dodging the pigeons. I liked the laid back feel of the Parque de las Palomas, and the convenience of the Plaza de Armas (surrounded by a decent grocery, drug stores and restaurants). All close by.
-Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. Right across from the hotel. It is the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. Not grand, but has lots of character - Ponce de Leon is entombed there.

Room Tip: Loved my room on the third floor (311) with a partial view of the Bahia de San Juan.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

The old world charm is what attracked me to this hotel as well as it being in the middle of Old San Juan. The staff is very helpful.The one bedroom suite we stayed in was great, the beds were the most comfortable that I've slept in @ any hotel in a long time. The sofa sleeper looked like it had seen better days but served it's purpose. The decor is beautiful and the view from the roof is breath taking. The locals decorated their boats for Christmas and cruised back and forth in San Juan bay.

Room Tip: 323 is tucked away but with some street noise very high ceilings
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

We always look for smaller hotels in the older part of a town or city when traveling. Location is perfect to walk all of the old town, starting with the old Fort, the cemetery, and then the narrow streets to shop, admire the architecture, and stop for a bite to eat. The El Convento was a perfect fit!

While still retaining it's historic charm, the rooms are nicely updated and kept in clean crisp condition. The Front Desk was very helpful with restaurant and bar suggestions, as well as help with car rental for our trip to Isabela. We were upgraded to a newly redecorated room and our travel companions had a roomy suite in traditional decor which was lovely. Our tiny complaint was that there was not a washcloth provided, but we figured it was a typically European tradition. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the main floor restaurant and a great cocktail in the second-floor bar. The view from the pool on the 4th floor was terrific, and the whole feel of the Hotel was charming, and quiet, too.

We would recommend this Hotel to other travelers and will be staying there again in April when we return for the wedding of our daughter.

Room Tip: Room 200 is a beautifully remodeled suite, with a courtyard view.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Texas
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

If you can only visit San Juan while you're in Puerto Rico, this is the place to stay. Old San Juan is a gem and this hotel is centrally located, within walking distance (10-30 minutes) of every tourist sight in this historic part of the city, and some excellent restaurants. Don't drive here, however, because parking spaces are at a premium and the one-way streets mean traffic jams at all hours (our cab driver joked that if you suffered a medical emergency an ambulance would never reach you in time). Cab fares are reasonable (flat rates). The cobblestone streets of Old San Juan are well repaired, for the most part, but I imagine not not easy to navigate if you have a physical disability.

The hotel rates are not inexpensive. You're paying for location and old-world charm. The rooms can only accommodate queen-size beds, and our room needed some updates (caulking around the tub, etc.) I thought the rooms would be noisy because of the central courtyard which has a restaurant and bar, but each room has double doors that block out the noise outside. The air conditioner/heater also offers good 'white noise'. Ask for a room with a city view, which is a bit more expensive.

The staff was extremely kind and helpful, but the cleaning staff were slow and forgetful. The manager hosts a complimentary wine and cheese every evening on one of the verandas. Complimentary coffee, tea, and water are always available.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the 5th floor with a city view. Bring a hair dryer if you need one because there...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Hotel El Convento

Address: 100 Cristo St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
#2 Business Hotel in San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel El Convento 4*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of historic Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento has set new standards of luxury, comfort and service while preserving the rich character of this former 16th century convent. This landmark treasure, a member of Historic Hotels of America and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has earned four diamonds from AAA each year since its opening. This is the exclusive hotel experience to indulge the most discriminating of travelers, and is a hotel like no other. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Convento San Juan

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