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“LOVED THE HOTEL -- STAFF, NOT SO MUCH” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Gallery Inn

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The Gallery Inn
3.0 of 5 Inn   |   204 - 206 Norzagaray St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 25 San Juan B&B and Inns
JACKSON, GEORGIA
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“LOVED THE HOTEL -- STAFF, NOT SO MUCH”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014

First, the positives: Room was outstanding (Felipe room on 3rd floor). Room itself was nice but nothing special, but it had a HUGE private balcony with hot tub and incredible view. Hotel itself is quirky, eclectic and fun to explore (my husband thought it was kind of "creepy" with all the masks and heads, but I loved it). Rooftop deck is nice and view is beautiful. Had very enjoyable dinner in the outdoor garden. Air conditioner worked well and had really hot water with great water pressure.

Now, the negatives: Attitude of staff left a lot to be desired. It's not that they were rude. They would answer a question if you asked them, but they sure didn't go out of their way to make us feel welcome and they offered no assistance or information unless we asked. For example, we asked if we might get some ice and they got it for us, but the impression we got was that it was an imposition to be asked to do so.
Room was on 3rd floor (no elevator) and although we were capable of carrying our bags, no assistance was offered even though we overheard them offer to carry other guests' bags.
Could not get water in hot tub to heat and asked the girl at the front desk who simply told me that I was doing it correctly and it should get warm later (it never did).
Saw the owner chatting with an employee in the lobby and waited several minutes for them to finish their conversation so we could ask the employee a question about directions -- owner finished her conversation and walked off, never acknowledging our presence. Saw her again at an adjacent table at dinner and again she never even spoke (and it's not like it was crowded -- only four tables were occupied, including hers).
When we were checking in, I asked if I might have some water and the desk clerk brought me some -- I discovered later that she'd billed it to my "honor bar" tab.
Most disappointing was that we had really looked forward to the Beach House--it was presented in the material we'd read that happy hour was held there every afternoon from 5 to 6 and it just sounded like a unique experience, yet when we inquired at the front desk we were told that someone is not there every day and that we could walk down there and just sit on the porch. Of course no one was there and sitting on the porch wasn't much of an experience.

Am I glad we stayed there? Absolutely.
Would I stay there again? Absolutely not.

Room Tip: Felipe room is on 3rd floor, has queen bed and huge private balcony with hot tub.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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567 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (149)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

Starting witih the negatives: Our first room (the Patria room, in the basement) was a complete dump. It was damp and even running the noisy dehumidifier they give you the musty smell never went away. The room was filthy and had bits of the peeling ceiling paint all over the place, including on the bed and pillows. After the first night we reported the ceiling issue, then followed up again that afternoon and both times were assured it would be addressed by that night. We got back at bedtime and nothing had been done; with no more rooms available we had to live with it another night. My wife had to brush the paint dust off of herself in the middle of the night, and I almost stepped on a cockroach in the bathroom. That was the last straw; the next morning I asked again for another room, and this time to their credit the staff was much more apologtic, upgraded us, gave us some free drinks, and so on which made us feel much better (otherwise this would have been a one-star review). Our new room (like most of the other rooms we saw) was much nicer. Not perfect (mildew in the bathroom, slow sink drain, shower water temperature fluctuated wildly every few seconds) but nothing we couldn't live with.

The positives: This is a really interesting, unique, and fun hotel. The public rooms and courtyards are all open air and have tons of secluded nooks with couches and so on where you can sit and chat with your group while you enjoy the cool Caribbean breeze, perhaps also enjoying drinks from the 24/7 honor bar. They have a roof deck which is uncrowded and has probably the best panoramic view in San Juan. The staff was very outgoing and helpful with reservations, information, and so on. The hotel's parrots in the lobby are a fun attraction. We'll probably stay here again on our next trip. But for our issues with our first room we would have rated 4 or 5 stars.

In short if you're looking for a no-nonsense luxury place stay somewhere else. If you're looking for something fun then this inn is a great find.

Room Tip: Avoid the Patria room, and probably any other basement rooms as well.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

Being new to trip advisor this reveiw is long over due! We wanted a place to stay in Puerto Rico and stayed at this living art studio with bedrooms. Sexy , elegant, quiet, we talked about coming back to get married in the cannon room. Cobblestones and chameleons, flowers and plants. Gorgeous views, beautiful rooms.

Stayed February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Coral, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

Overall, a great experience if you are looking for something different, authentic, interesting BUT not for you who are looking for one of those bland, luxury hotel chains. Breakfast was adequate, happy hour fun, dinner delicious and the owner, since the early 1960's, Jan, is a very unique and talented lady and she makes sure you are enjoying your stay in 'her home'. Her artwork including paintings, sculptures, silks and screens are everywhere bringing to life the history and essence of this hotel.

The mattresses are divine and give you an excellent night's sleep - Tempurpedic.

Room Tip: Our king bedroom located as you enter through the gate of the property includes a view of the Atlant...
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

If you like quirky this'd be 5 stars - if not it might be very few. We did like the "stay in an antique shop" set up and while the room and bed were on the small side they were comfortable and clean and the place has a good atmosphere. It ls very convenient for the old town. That convenience means that over the four day San Sebastian Festival (typically the weekend before and Monday of Martin Luther King's birthday in January) you might not get a whole load of sleep and you could find it exceptionally difficult to get to and from the hotel except on foot. This would be true of any hotel in the old town at that time though. What may or may be true of other hotels was the somewhat "and so?" attitide to the inability to get in and out. So it's the relatively poor front desk service that gets this three stars overall. No restaurant but basic breakfast was OK and there are plenty of palces to eat in the town.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

You have read what has enthralled others about this "inn," so I thought I would tell you a few things to be wary of, since I stayed here with my husband in January 2014. First of all, I am no stranger to eclectic, different, "artsy" places so if you want to stay in someplace totally different, this is the place for you. Good luck.
1.) No sign. Yes, there is no sign on this inn, so, if you, like me, are not familiar with OSJ and your phone has died, you will drive around looking and then second guessing whether that is the place or not. Once you have rung the bell (in the rain) and they let you in, then you can drive around another hour looking for a place to park in OSJ because the parking spaces in the front are reserved for the maintenance person 24/7--and believe me, they need them!
2.) Do not bring luggage. Unless, you, like me, want to take your suitcase up two narrow flights of stairs, only to bring it into a room that TA DA--does not have any place to put a suitcase!!
3.) Do not plan on taking a shower. If you stay in the SCARY "Stevie" room, you will take a spit shower. Do not sit on the toilet, unless you want to be pushed off sideways because they can't replace a broken toilet seat. BTW, they left a scant roll of toilet paper with no replacement. The rug in there has sat on the same floor in the same place after hundreds of gross feet and whatever else has landed there.
4.) Do not plan on blow drying your hair or doing make up or charging phone. Again, the forenamed "Stevie." Perhaps all the other rooms are up to date on this. I doubt it. I unplugged the light source in order to charge the phone. The light, even during the daytime, was minimal, so looking in the old wavy mirror was useless. There is no source to use to blow dry your hair, but that didn't matter, since there was not even water pressure to do that.
5.) Do not be allergic to mold or mildew. Everything--and I mean everything, from what you think is "artistic" to the kitschy doll house crap--is dusty and full of mildew. That is because every nook and cranny is full of crap and the house is open to rain, etc. Took a week and a huge dose of Zyrtec to get rid of it all.
6.) The only good thing was that it has the highest vantage point of OSJ from its roof deck. Very beautiful view. Had to walk past a lot of the owner's "memory crap" to get there.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2014

From the moment you enter the courtyard, the experience begins. Lush flora, exotic birds, sculptures, and stone invite you to a cinematic and timeless experience. Every room is its own art directed world. There a little spots all over the inn that two people can escape to with a beautiful view or a quiet corner and feel like they are the only two people in the world. The location is great. It's easy to walk all over Old San Juan from there. The staff is not only help but friendly in a genuine way. They want to share their love of the hotel, its owner and the city with you. Words don't do it justice. It's an experience I will never forget and always hold close.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms.
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  • Stayed August 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
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 The Gallery Inn

Address: 204 - 206 Norzagaray St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 25 B&Bs / Inns in San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Gallery Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This sprawling 22-room ocean-view boutique hotel features lush gardens, tree-shaded patios and secluded and private nooks at every turn. The Wine Deck offers breath-taking, panoramic views from the highest point in Old San Juan. The newly completed sculpture waterfall pool meanders through ancient brick passageways, past fragrant gardenias. Six active art studios and world-class piano recitals are all open to our guests. Unique, elegant and exotic: the Old World charm of The Gallery Inn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Gallery Hotel San Juan

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