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“Great Location” 3 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 47 Hotels in San Juan
San Francisco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great Location”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2008

We just returned from Puerto Rico last week and because tripadvisor reviews were such a great help to me during planning, I thought I would do my part and write a review.

Now mind you, I am a person who realizes that I am on vacation and that the culture anywhere I go is going to be different than home. I don't take much seriously when I am on vacation. After all, the purpose is to relax and go with the flow. With that said, the hotel itself is gorgeous!!! The rooftop garden/pool is beautiful as is the entry foyer. The location is optimal as it is close to shopping, food and sights.

My biggest complaint (which is really not a huge deal) was that all the glasses in the room were dirty. We brought some plastic cups from the previous hotel so we used those. No biggie. The bathtub was not the cleanest thing I have ever used, but it was in the corners of the tub so I just stayed away from those sections.

Although I expected it (it is a converted convent after all) the room is really small and smells a bit musty. Again, no biggie. The bose stereo was nice and the flat screen tv was cool for watching tv before bed. HAHAHAHA! We had a haunted phone that would turn it's speaker phone on by itself and refused to hang up. Eventually we just unplugged it after it woke my boyfriend I in the middle of the night. The alley view from our room was nice and the staff, including the parking valets, were super friendly and knowledgeable. The 24 hour water, tea, coffee service was nice as was the wine/cheese reception every day at 6pm. All in all it is a nice hotel but was not my favorite of the trip.

  • Liked — The beauty of the hotel itself
  • Disliked — dirty glasses
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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 (350)
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English first
NC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2008

We stayed here for two nights at the end of our honeymoon and LOVED it! It is the perfect location from which to explore Old San Juan. The hotel itself is beautiful and well-kept, our room was very comfortable and we enjoyed the pool and jacuzzi on the roof. We liked having breakfast each day in the courtyard and the waitstaff was very attentive. The only drawback was they did not have any rooms with a king size bed, and since my husband is very tall we would have ilked to have that. Still, the bed was comfortable, just not quite big enough. Everything else was perfect.

  • Liked — Beautiful hotel, well-kept, clean, and good service
  • Disliked — They don't have any king size beds
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2008

Overall this place was great! Unbeatable location, great terraces, spacious rooms, friendly and very helpful staff, and who could help but rave about free wine and cheese?!?

My family and I took one of the tours listed in the guest services books (Rain forest and beach) in the rooms and had an amazing time. The hotel took the hassle out of finding and booking a good tour guide. I thought the tour was a bit pricey at first but following the tour I'd say it was worth every penny.

Only complaint I have was that my bed definitely had bed bugs. Every morning (and sometimes throughout the night) I'd wake up with new bite marks all over my legs. Now I don't recall being bitten by anything when I was out and about (in fact I can't recall encountering many bugs at all in Puerto Rico) but, by the time I returned home I i have quite a few bite marks all over both legs. Considering we never opened the patio door I think it is a safe bet to narrow it down to bed bugs.

Other than that a great stay.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Bugs
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2008

I couldn't have been happier with our one night stay in June. We had spent the previous 5 days at the Wyndham Rio Mar but we wanted one night in San Juan in order to see the city more fully. We had not originally booked here only b/o the two night minimum on weekends and instead reserved the Marriott in Condado instead, even though honestly, we would have preferred this hotel. Unbeknownst to me, that Marriott was the old Dupont Plaza where the tragic fire of 1986 took place. We had been booked at that hotel for arrival the day of the fire in '86 (when I was but a teenager) and the only reason we were not there was our flight was delayed. To put it mildly, we feel it was a miracle we were not there at the exact time of the fire where 97people lost their lives. Anyway, I found this out only the morning we were supposed to check into the Marriott and I will give them credit, I explained my story and they cancelled our reservation without penalty. I was then scrambling for a hotel and Carlos at El Convento worked a small miracle for us. He found us a double room and waived the 2 night minimum since we were calling for a room for that day. I can't tell you how much his effort and hospitality meant to us.

The hotel itself simply could not be more atmospheric and the location was ideal. The nightly wine and cheese reception was a treat with a gorgeous assortment of cheeses and interesting wines, all served on the 4th floor terrace. The 24 hour coffee and tea service and the rooftop pool overlooking the cathedral were also big hits for us. Our room, though without a view, was enormous! All we had to do to get a view was walk 5 paces, so no complaints there. My only word of advice would be for travelers with children. The hotel staff themselves were nothing but gracious and welcoming but I would not say the same for all of the guests - I understand this to a certain point, it is more of an adult hotel but the fact is, they allow children so if other patrons want absolutely no children, they need to find an adult only hotel. We have 2 children ages 5 and 10, who are seasoned travelers and know when they are to be on best manners, and still we got some dirty looks. So while I wouldn't steer families away from the hotel, one night was just right for us.

The four of us also had dinner at El Picoteo and thought the food and the atmosphere could not have been beat. I would recommend this hotel for everyone who wants to have total immersion into the charms of Old San Juan, even those with children. I asked my kids to be respectful that the guests were mostly adults who didn't want to hear a lot of screaming kids, and made sure that they were on their best behavior but after that I just didn't let the other guests spoil what is an unforgettable hotel!

  • Liked — the charm and the location
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
NJ, USA!!
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

We stayed at the El Convento for our 10 year anniversary. I loved it! I love the atmosphere, the character of the building and the staff were very friendly and helpful. If you can make yourself relax and not expect bad things to happen on your trip, then all will be well! Far too many people who give reviews seem too uptight and overly picky. You are on vacation, chill out! Anyway, back to the hotel, there is a lovely little dipping pool on the rooftop. We enjoyed the honor bar as well, help yourself to beer and wine. Every evening they serve wine and cheese...wonderful before heading out for dinner. We also loved to relax in the hot tub and watch cruise ships go by in the late evenings. Old San Juan is a charming historical town with loads of fabulous restaurants and attractions. We will be back and hopefully stay at the El Convento again and again.

I forgot that our first night they gave us a twin bedroom! It wasn't our first choice of course, but we didn't freak out. They put us in the double room the next night. Again, we didn't let it ruin our vacation. Roll with the punches people. Nothing is perfect.....

  • Stayed February 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

If you like small hotels, in central locations, with bags of character and history, an outdoor dining terrace and bar area overlooking the old town square then you will probably like El Convento. If you like big, modern with a casino then this isnt for you.

Maybe the hotel overplays the rooms with views and some reviewers have been disappointed - all I can say is that San Juan has mainly flat-roofed buildings with satellite dishes etc. From our room you could technically see the sea but the foreground is the quirky, characteristic roofs - charming in a San Juan way.

I loved El Convento for its pretty courtyard, old architecture, the wine and cheese hour on the terrace, a quiet late night drink over-looking the old town square and floodlit church, easy stroll to the water..

San Juan is interesting and the bars great fun ! and 2-3 nights about right if just doing the tourist stuff. (if you are a small quiet hotel-type person I would also recommend the Horned Dorset Hotel, Rincon vs the other large Puerto Rican hotels).

  • Liked — Terrace overlooking the square
  • Disliked — Staff sometimes elusive
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Quartz Hill, CA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2008

I booked El Convento as the first night in a 10-day stay in Puerto Rico. The hotel has such a great "feel" that it was a near-perfect beginning to our vacation. Its location is exceptional to tour Old San Juan and only took 15 minutes from the airport. We parked at valet parking ($20 charged to the room) and proceeded to run around Old San Juan. There were 13 of us so we booked 4 rooms (3 double doubles and one queen). I was a little nervous about paying so much money because I'd seen a couple of reviews where people complained about the room size or quality, but that was certainly not a problem. It was a thrill to stay in a hotel with such history and character. Several members of our group really enjoyed the complimentary 'wine and cheese/fruit' from 6-7pm although not all even attended because some were out touring the sites. No one in our group regularly pays out over $250/night but it was definitely worth it for our one-night stay in San Juan.

The one story I will share though is I left my wife in the room to go help others in the group get settled in their rooms and when I returned some 20-30 minutes later my wife was trapped inside the bathroom. I tried in vain to pull the bathroom door open from the outside and finally called the front desk. They had 2 guys up in about 2 minutes and had to take the doorknob off to release her. She thought it was a funny story so it didn't put a damper on our overall experience at the hotel, and no one else in our group was victimized by the El Convento ghosts so I imagine it was a not-so-common experience.

We followed their website and then called them directly for rates. I would recommend getting a price by phone (they spoke perfect English) and then also checking Internet rates because I got better rates over the phone although they promise Internet rates are cheaper. We would definitely stay there again, especially for any days wanted to visit Old San Juan, but there are better options for an extended stay outside of Old San Juan (Luquillo Playa Azul/Sandy Hills).

  • Liked — The historical feel and elegance
  • Disliked — Finding my wife trapped inside the bathroom
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 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.
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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 ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic 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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