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“"Overall an Excellent Stay" "Avoid Room 321"” 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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Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in San Juan
Easton, Maryland
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“"Overall an Excellent Stay" "Avoid Room 321"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

I finally got around to having my photos printed out and it reminded me that I hadn't written my review on this hotel as I had intended. After much planning and searching around, I decided to spend my birthday in Old San Juan (Oct. 19-24, 2012). I wanted to stay somewhere nice and the El Convento seem to match my taste and standards. Except for a few "minor issues", I was very pleased with my selection. When we arrived, I was immediately pleased with the decor. The hotel is very exquisite and tastefully decorated just as pictured/advertised. Very intimate and cozy. The nightly cheese and wine reception is exceptionally orchestrated and an added bonus. The front desk staff were very friendly and welcoming (although I didn't much like the cleaning lady hovering over the desk waiting to continue her conversation with the front desk clerk as I checked in). When I got to the room( Room 321 "remember this room number always") I was once again pleased with the decor; however the view was of the back alley and a series on hotel trashcans. I immediately went on inspection and found the room to not to have been thoroughly dusted. There was dust on the bed head-frame, over every picture, on and around the the television, on the legs of the chairs and the lower legs of the desk. Not to mention under the entire bed. We unpacked and decided to walk around a bit. I alerted the front desk and requested that the room be dusted. When I returned, the room had been turned down, but none of the items I mentioned had been dusted. I decided to wait until the next day to bring this to there attention. During the night around, 1:30 AM, I was awakened by a loud thumping sound that appear to have some sort of rhythm to it. I ignored it and thought it was a celebration of some sort. The next morning on my way to tour the city, I complained about the dust again to the front desk staff (who were very apologetic). When I returned, the room had been turned down and everything had been dusted except the bed head-frame. At this point I decided to dust them myself. That night, I once again was aroused to a rhythmic thumping sound. We left the next day and returned to the room to rest/nap and a knock came to the door. The cleaning person asked if we needed turning down. I explained that we were leaving the room shortly and requested that he come back. When we arrived at the room later that evening, the room had not been turned down. Later that night, I was lying in bed and the rhythmic thumping sound appeared once again. This time I decided to really tune in to it. As I was listening attentively, I heard what appeared to sound like a dryer door slam. BINGO!. The next morning I went to the front desk to complain about the room service. The cleaning person had indicated that I had DECLINED room service. I explained that I had not, that I had been very patient throughout my stay, that I didn't want to be classified as a complainer, and that all I required was the room to be keep clean. Once again the staff were very receptive and very apologetic. they sent a CREW of cleaning people to my room. Let me tell you they cleaned that room from top to bottom. I also mentioned the noise that I was encountering each night and asked if my room was under the laundry room. They proceeded to tell me yes. They asked if I would like to move to another room. I declined. They in turn gave me two vouchers for free breakfast at the hotel restaurant for my inconvenience and stated that I would receive a call from the hotel management staff. She did call me as promise I explained and she apologized and said that she was sending vouchers for complimentary breakfast for the remainder of my stay. Overall I was very understanding. The hotel was worth the "minor" inconvenience and I plan to stay there again when I return to Old San Juan. I will be sure to remind them of my previous experience, give my expectations up front and refuse accept Room 321. After reading the review from Jean N. on room 324, I will avoid that room also and that entire area.

Room Tip: Avoid Room 321 at all cost!!!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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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 (328)
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Cape Cod, MA
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

Every aspect of our stay was terrific. The architecture is exquisite--we had a 2nd floor room with high ceiling and a small balcony. We wondered about noise from the courtyard, but the interior door that closed the bedroom from the entry solved that problem. Loved the ancient architecture coupled with the modern, spotless bathroom. Outside each room is a small cafe table where you can sit and read, people watch, whatever you want. The rooftop pool IS tiny, but the view is lovely. The 6pm reception is fine but we only went once--there are too many great places within a short distance to enjoy.
The best part was the flexibility and warmth of the staff, especially Annette at the front desk who seemed able to answer any question we had. This will definitely be a regular stop on our travels.

Room Tip: Love the high, beamed ceilings of the second floor rooms. We faced a side street and that + the heav...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EROSA, General Manager at Hotel El Convento, responded to this review, February 18, 2013
Dear MVBLH,

Thank you for your positive review of our hotel and services provided by our staff. We work very hard to provide each guest with a memorable stay and it is most rewarding to read about experiences such as the one you described. I will share your comments with Anette and the rest of the staff whom I am sure will be glad to learn first hand they were the main reason behind making your stay a success.

I hope you have an opportunity to return in the near future. When you do please fell free to contact me as I would like to personally assist you with your accommodations and hopefully meet you as well.

Best regards,

Efrain Rosa
General Manager
erosa@elconvento.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

After reading the rave reviews for El Convento, we canceled our reservation at the Ritz Carlton and rebooked our stay there in early February.

Suffice to say, we were very disappointed that the hotel in no way matched our expectations. While in its heyday the reviews may have been justified, the years have taken a toll and it is now in need of a major face lift.

The hotel is dark and drab and cleanliness not up to par. Rooms and baths are quite small and do not merit the price. While located in a most convenient location in Old San Juan, it is sad that
the property has been so neglected.

On a positive note, the staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating. Too bad the total experience could not have been the same.

Get better value elsewhere.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EROSA, General Manager at Hotel El Convento, responded to this review, February 18, 2013
Dear Abenaki1:
As General Manager of El Convento, it was disheartening to read your negative TripAdvisor posting this morning. We are constantly working on the maintenance of (and improvements to) our guest rooms and public areas. It is a pleasure for me to greet our many returning guests and hear them comment positively on the improvements and additions that we make each year. They tell us how much they like our newly renovated guest room baths, the addition of sound-proof doors and windows, Bose radios in each guest room, the newly expanded Veranda Terrace with its cozy business center and library, our new elevator interiors, and the extensive re-design of our central courtyard and Patio del Níspero restaurant. Indeed, last week we had a surprise inspection by a representative from the American Automobile Association (AAA) and I am pleased to report that we once again were awarded their prestigious Four Diamond rating. Beauty is, indeed, in the eyes of the beholder. I am sorry that we fell short of your expectations.

Efraín Rosa
General Manager
erosa@elconvento.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vail, Colorado
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Hotel Convento is lovely! The rooms are beautiful with tall ceilings, a sitting area and lovely tiled bathrooms. My parents stayed in one of the newer sweets and we stayed in one of the older rooms which looked out over the street. I thought both rooms were lovely, my parents would have preferred the older style room and were sad they didn’t get one but the sweet was very modern and recently updated with a beautiful bathroom. The lobby is open air and does not have AC so when you check in, be prepared, it is warm! The location is the best – right in the middle of Old Town San Juan. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. We had lunch in the hotel restaurant one day and it was very good. I hear they have a lot of wedding the atrium of the hotel, it’s lush with vegetation and plenty of fans though open to the ski above makes for a pretty walk around. The complementary breakfast area was always stocked with cold bottled water that you can take at any time which was really nice. This is not the most budget friendly but its well worth every penny.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed here 3 nights prior to a cruise. Last time we stayed at the Sheraton by the OSJ pier. We really liked that hotel and the view of the harbor, but I liked the location of the Hotel El Convento much better for walking and shopping in OSJ. The architecure, charm and history of El Convento just can't be beat. Our room (320?) was small and overlooked a side street. The bathroom was average sized. We checked in late and the porter told us the hotel was full that night but wouldn't be the next 2 nights and if we wanted to call the desk in the morning and request a larger room we could probably move. We contemplated doing that but in the end we decided to just stay where we were since we didn't come to OSJ to sit in our room! The wine and cheese reception (6-7pm) was very nice. 3 types of wine and cheese/crackers/fruit. I will say though that you might think the hotel is empty right up to 6 and then "all hell brakes loose" as it's a free for all to get the wine and food before it runs out. The staff does replenish at least once, but I think the process could be a little smoother...jmo... We had breakfast in the courtyard one morning and that was nice. The food was good as was the service, but the atmosphere in the open area was the best reason to eat there! I had read ahead about bats flying in the courtyard trees at night. I have to say that I never saw one, although I looked for them each night as we returned from dinner/activities. (One last note -- we took a taxi from the airport and the cost was $21 plus $1 per bag...fixed rate.) The next time we find ourselves in PR, I will definitely return to El Convento...but I might request a little larger room if available..

Room Tip: Discuss room location/size when you make your reservation!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germantown, Tennessee
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013 via mobile

Our party of four stayed in two rooms for one night. I was a little hesitant when I booked due to the High price but it was worth every dime. The location is perfect. We were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to go for sightseeing and for meals. The parking across the street was extremely convenient. The view from the rooms was beautiful. The open courtyard was amazing and gave the hotel a very romantic feel. The room was smaller but we expected that in a historic hotel. They were extremely clean with wonderful towels and aveda products. The hotel provides turn down service with freah towels and chocolates at night.

Breakfast on the patio the next morning was excellent but slow. Even in the rain they found a place for us. I would not recommend if you were in a hurry. The Caribbean Benedict was amazing with mashed plantains and pork.

Overall, we loved it. I would stay here again with no hesitation.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Connecticut
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

Reading various reviews, I am a bit puzzled, because while the hotel is nice, there were a few things we experienced differently from some of the ravers. Our room (#313) which was about $300 had the tiniest bathroom I have ever seen almost anywhere. Our room was nice enough, but not fancy or luxurious at all, and maybe it wasn't intended to be. It was very quiet tho, except for noisy plumbing. Loved coffee always available. Cheese and wine nightly is a nice touch. Did not enjoy tapas at El Picateo and as a result did not eat other meals at the hotel. Location of hotel is excellent and staff helpful and accommodating.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Luxury 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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