First off, I must declare that I really like Da House, so much so that this was my third stay. So, let me get the 'this place is not for everybody' negatives out of the way first.
It's located directly above San Juan's best salsa club, the Nuyorican Cafe. They stay open late, and the bands are loud. If you go to bed before 2 AM and are a light sleeper, this might not be your best choice. There's no elevator, but I figured with all the bad-for-me Puerto Rican food I was eating every day, a little stair climbing was not a bad thing. The rooms are pretty small, but serviceable. There are virtually no amenities like TV, coffee maker, etc., but there is internet through an ethernet cable and wi-fi in the second floor lobby.
Now the pluses: It is extremely stylish, with original art covering the walls of the lobby, stairwell, atrium and rooms. The whole look is a great mixture of elegant and funky. The young staff matches the decor and is very friendly and helpful. If you are accustomed to hipster (I use that word with fondness, not scorn) urban environments, you'll love it. There is a rooftop deck with lounge chairs and a hot tub that has one of the highest vantage points in the old city, with excellent views to the east and toward the harbor. If you can spend a bit more money, there are two rooms with semi-private terraces that are quite lovely.
Location, location, location! Restaurants, bars, plazas, cafes, museums, historic sites and the harbor are all a short walk away. And did I mention that the Nuyorican is right downstairs?
OK, one more little negative. You can opt to get a bit away from the party at night by staying in an interior room. We did on this visit, but I wouldn't recommend it. First of all, no view. All the exterior rooms have little balconies or terraces. Secondly, there's no air circulation (San Juan has great ocean breezes almost all the time), which pretty much forces you to use the air conditioning. On our second night, the AC wouldn't turn on, and that's not really a problem you can fix at 1AM. So, hey, bring earplugs and spend the money on one of the terrace rooms. You'll be glad you did.
A suggestion: It would be great if they had a espresso bar in the second floor lobby. Because the only thing missing from the aforementioned terraces and deck would be a nice cup of Puerto Rican coffee in the morning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of Old San Juan, above legendary cafe teatro The Nuyorican Cafe, we offer clean, comfortable, eclectic accommodations in a friendly, vibrant setting that is reminiscent of the character of hostels in great European cities like Amsterdam, Paris or Barcelona. In the 1970s this beautiful four story building in colonial Old San Juan housed the Centro Nacional de las Artes. The Centro was an artist collective that ran an art gallery and workshops. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Da Hotel San Juan
- Da San Juan