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“Feel like Family!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel La Playa

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Hotel La Playa
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   6 Calle Amapola, Isla Verde, Carolina 00979, Puerto Rico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 14 hotels in Isla Verde
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Feel like Family!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

Not only was this our first stay at the Hotel La Playa, it was our first trip to Puerto Rico. The hotel is very small, only 15 rooms, but makes up for it with a staff that is out of this world. And we mean ALL of the staff. Starting with Alberto, the owner, who is on site daily, who was always free to help with questions of where to eat, where's the best beach, etc. All the staff greet you with a genuine smile, and and a genuine concern. They went out of their way to engage us in conversation. My wife and I know about eight words in Spanish, but that made no difference to them, as most of the staff were very fluent in English. Jorge, the dining-area manager, made sure our dining/drinking experience at the hotel was the best. He's constantly walking through the area to make sure everything was just to our liking. The wait staff were incredible, always helping each other out. Our special servers were Anna, Normburt, Laddi, Hector, and Jonathan, not to mention the others whose name we did not catch.

The food at the hotel was to die for, we had the best Mahi, but we also loved the playita salad, arugula salad w/ chx, and all the monfongos. Don't leave without having the coco loco, a rum concoction that they make inside of a coconut. Don't expect to operate any heavy machinery after it though! The view from the dining/bar area is absolutely beautiful. Many days we would order a drink and just hang out on the deck area, gazing out to the beautiful green/blue hue of the water. We also ate at Carli's Bistro & Piano bar in Old San Juan. A small, quaint restaurant where the food was spectacular and our waitress Roxanne was extremely helpful in guiding us to the perfect food/drink choice. We also ate at Metropol, in Isla Verde, a short walk from our hotel. My wife and I both thought the meal was mediocre at best, and thought the restaurant was packed mostly because the meals were cheap and the quantities were great. Don't waste your money at the Metropol, there are many more good authentic places to go eat.

At the hotel, even though the rooms are somewhat small, they were very clean. Trust me, my wife is a clean freak and she was impressed. Margarita, our housekeeper, always greeted us each morning with a smile, and she did her best to try to teach us some Spanish! We failed miserably, but she would always have a hardy laugh with us.

The only complaint that we had was the noise coming from the street side of our room. The hotel is located on a dead end, so people would congregate waiting for taxis, as well as late night beach goer's that sang terribly, as these street side rooms (only two) were directly across from the beach.

All in all, our stay at the Hotel La Playa was incredible and we will definitely be returning to see our new found friends.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
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86 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Stayed at Hotel La Playa for 3 nights in late October 2012 while attending a conference at the Hotel Intercontinental (ICSJ) located just down the beach. Overall a very enjoyable stay. Although small in size, Hotel La Playa provides much more of a ‘San Juan Real’ feel coupled with a down-to-earth experience not possible at the neighboring mega-resorts. Keep in mind – this hotel may be a better fit for those individual-minded, budget-conscious travelers seeking an ‘on-the-beach’ vibe with average amenities – if you’re looking to relax and post up at a resort-style pool area with little sense of adventure, it might not be the best fit. Considering the incredible deal I scored for this room, albeit off-season, I can't call out any negativity to the minor 'small-hotel' issues that some TA reviews have focused on: the hotel does charge your credit card for the full amount at check-in, occasional paint wear/tear, and there is no pool. Regardless, Hotel La Playa is virtually encompassed by the ocean and this proximity plays a big part in it’s unique charm.

I called a week in advance after discovering a deeply-discounted rate right on TripAdvisor (see tip below) and Linda answered the phone; she was very warm and helpful from reservation to checkout. Located just 1 mile from SJU Int’l Airport, the Hotel lies at the end of a small dead-end street (Calle Amapola) atop a small peninsula with two adjacent beaches on either side: to the west/left is Sunset Beach (ESJ, ICSJ and the main Isla Verde strip) and to the east/right is Sunrise Beach (Ritz Carlton). Sunset Beach is virtually across from the Hotel, while the latter is a short (very worthwhile) 1-minute walk down the street – Sunrise Beach is considerably quieter, cleaner, and IMHO much more enjoyable than the main Isla Verde area.

For anyone that might be skeptical of this Hotel’s accessibility, take it from a New Yorker that the beach is perfectly safe and well-illuminated for walking, especially at night: 2 of my 3 nights involved intoxicated > 1 AM walks home along the beach from Hotel ICSJ, with ATV police patrols and other tourist walkers in sight – no sense of insecurity whatsoever (even without drinks). Taxi’s are always nearby and know the location well. Walk 8 minutes down the street and there’s a Walgreen’s with other misc. shops and restaurants. For reference, ESJ is a 5-minute walk down Sunset Beach and ICSJ is roughly 7 minutes.

Rooms are very clean and comfortable, considering that the structure is upward of 30+ years old. Furniture and in-room features are modern and simple, with plenty of storage/closet space; a small couch, REFRIGERATOR, and LCD TV were all big pleasant surprises given how quaint and secluded the hotel feels. Another plus (for all you climate-control obsessive types) are the individual, remote-control electric A/C units in each room, which respond immediately and effectively (there’s also a great, mild tropical scent / air freshener noticeable throughout the room and common areas, adding to that tropical ambiance). The King Size Bed and linens were very clean and comfortable. See room tip below. My only issue at all with the room was quirky rapidly-changing water temperature in the shower.

The free/included breakfast buffet was simple faire; cereals, fruit, bread and muffins are served on the main restaurant/bar terrace with an amazing view and ambiance – geckos, lizards and crabs are all fun to spot from the lower deck area. I did not sample the restaurant ‘La Playita’ but the menu appeared reasonably priced with lots of PR/local choices. The lush, landscaped courtyard and lobby area have teak decking and great ambient music, adding to a SouthBeach-style vibe that doesn’t overshadow the authentic sound of the ocean waves and Coqui Frogs at night. There’s an incredible 3rd floor rooftop terrace, normally closed after 1pm, which hosts morning yoga classes and provides for excellent photo opps. There are always hotel staff/maintenance members visible around the site (even at late hours) which definitely contribute to the personable and safety factors.

Room Tip: My first-floor room (Room #106) was located offset the small external ‘cabana’ rooms, not among the...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed her for our Honeymoon for a week February 4-10, 2013. We had an amazing experience from start to finish.
We got in very late from our flight and they had everything set up beautifully in our room. We were ready to celebrate, and although the bar was closed they served us and recommended a wonderful place to eat that was open 24 hours, Don Jose's, that was only a few blocks away. I highly recommend the mofongo.
Although we had special requests all along the way, Linda at the front desk and the rest of the staff, were willing to accommodate us every time; from room requests to late housekeeping since we are night owls.
The bar downstairs is wonderful, everyone should have at least one Coco Loco(thanks Carlos!), and the food was delicious as well. They have live music on the weekends, which surprised me!
The view was the best, I don't know how many pictures we took from our room and the restaurant/bar. There is one beach that was across the street and a second one on the other side that is a two block walk, both wonderful.
I would stay here again, the location was excellent and the staff was amazing!

Room Tip: We got an ocean front room, where we could see the ocean from our bed. This was one of the best part...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

We just returned from our first trip to Puerto Rico and chose to stay in the Isla Verde area. It was a good decision as was our decision to stay at La Playa Hotel.

Most important, the location of this small hotel is perfect. The open air restaurant and bar where you eat your complimentary continental breakfast is literally at the water's edge. We enjoyed dinner and happy hour there as well, just looking at the waves and enjoying the warm weather while it was snowing at home. One bit of advice, however. Check the itemized bill they give you before the credit card slip as they automatically add a service charge (tip) to each bill, whether it is dinner or just drinks. The credit card slip you sign will only have the total amount with a space for the tip.

The beach is steps away from the front of the hotel. There was always a parking space available for our rental car. The room is basic but clean with a comfortable bed, large walk-in shower and flat screen TV.

La Playa was just a couple of blocks from the main street with restaurants, shops and casinos where we walked every evening. It was also in a good location for our days trips to El Yunque rain forest and Old San Juan.

There are both positive and negative reviews of La Playa Hotel. I would have to say while all of the positive reviews are true, some (but not all) of the negative ones are as well. But don't let the negative ones stop you from staying here. I'm glad we didn't. You will get the true flavor of Puerto Rico by staying here and not in one of the high rise casinos. The location, open air dining and friendliness of the staff (especially Julio and Linda) far outweigh the negatives of La Playa.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We just got back from Puerto Rico and had a great time. We stayed at this hotel for two nights. The location is great and the people, for the most part, are very friendly. I don't think that Linda (who is on the desk during the day) is "ideal". She's neither particularly warm or helpful. The owner (or GM) is more friendly and approachable. If you think you're going to stay in a cool, boutique hotel, you are not. The rooms are clean but the furniture is dated and very basic. The hide-a-beds are not very good. Our room had luke warm water. The sheets on the hide-a-bed had some small stains. We told the manager on duty and the owner and nothing was really done about it. It was not a disaster. Just be clear on what you're getting. It is very, very basic. The breakfast is also very basic. The first morning they didn't have any real fresh fruit other than some apples. Like I said, it was okay but I don't see how it can be referred to as a "gem". A gem to me would be an up to date room, good linen, interesting decor, everything in total working order.

Room Tip: The bar/restaurant is very close to the rooms. Bring ear plugs if you are alight sleeper.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012 via mobile

I was in PR for a wedding/vacation when I stumbled upon this hidden gem! I had originally booked a room at the Embassy Suites and Casino but decided to change hotels at the last minute, which I'm glad I did because La Playa was perfect. Not only are they literally on the beach, they are within walking distance to a Walgreens, where you can pick up your neccesities, great restaurants like Metropol, Platos, Las Canarias and to top it off, the wedding was located at the Ritz Carlton, which is also within walking distance, about 3 blocks away! The La Playita restaurant, also located in the hotel, is great. It is an ocean front restaurant with a great view of the beach. The food and service is fabulous! My only negative about the hotel was the room. A little outdated! The water pressure in the shower is really low and I didn't like the fact that our television was above our bed. But, who stays in their room, besides to sleep, while ok vacation anyway right!!! This hotel is a bang for your buck and it definitely beats paying high prices and extra fees at the chain hotels! I will stay here again!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012 via mobile

We had the most amazing time staying at La Playa. We mention this gem of a place to every one we speak to! fabulous staff, yummy food and drinks and a view you can watch for hours! we miss it and can't wait to go back!!!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Playa

Address: 6 Calle Amapola, Isla Verde, Carolina 00979, Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Carolina > Isla Verde
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Verde
#5 Romantic Hotel in Isla Verde
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel La Playa 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Newly renovated 15-room motel-style hotel, restaurant and bar in Isla Verde - only 5 minutes from San Juan's airport. Only 10 steps to the best beach in San Juan from our front door. La Playita restaurant and bar on ocean-front deck for fantastic views. New 'Miami-style' design and decor feature new beds, flat-panel cable TV, air conditioning, new bathrooms and complementary continental breakfast every morning. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Playa Hotel
La Playa Carolina
Hotel La Playa Puerto Rico/Isla Verde

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