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“Value on Isla Verde; great first or last night location in PR” 4 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
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Value on Isla Verde; great first or last night location in PR”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Location, location, location ..... 5 mins from the airport (but I never heard a plane) Isla Verde beach is the best in San Juan. Famous expensive resorts sit to the right and left of this small, older inn and patio bar/restaurant on the water (I mean over the water; the patio is literally on pylons over the surf). To the right on the beach is the Ritz Carlton; to the left almost next door is the El San Juan Resort and Casino. Hotel La Playa offers comfortable, no-frills (but good free perks) accommodations in the midst of this beautiful location at 1/3 the price of the resorts (or even less if you consider the hefty resort service fees added to the final bill at the other places). They provide a simple free continental breakfast on the patio where I am now using the Wifi (provided free) to write this review while I sit only feet away from the surf watching a couple of little crabs scurry about at the edge of the deck, and a couple of paddle-boarders out beyond the surf. There is also free parking - a nice benefit in this area.
We stayed 3 days here, long enough to get to know the staff a bit; and they are very sincere, helpful, and friendly. Norbert always had a smile and joke; Julio at the front desk escorted us to our cab in the pouring rain with 3 umbrellas; and Caroline kept our room fresh and neat, even folding clothes and straightening our things. The housekeeping staff assisted us with doing a load of laundry for $2.25 in quarters and a generous tip. I saw a load of fresh coconuts being brought in via wheelbarrow, and we watched as the bartenders cut the top off with a machete and pop in a straw for us for instant Coco Frio ($5++) and then use another to make the house special drink Coco Loco with 4 rums ($12++)... fun !
For a small inn (15 rooms) there is much staff on-hand because the outdoor bar/restaurant (La Playita) is a popular local spot. We arrived our first night just before mid-night and Julio met us out on the curb when our cab dropped us off; and got another cab for us 20 mins later to go out. I always felt safe, even when I awoke at 5am and sat in a darkened patio using the Wifi while the night security guard sat nearby. We took a 20 minute walk after dark to the Walgreen's and Pueblo grocery, seeing lots of locals, and asking one of the ever-present policemen for directions.
So, keeping in mind the value offered, here are the things some tourists may not find appealing: while the beaches are the best in this part of Puerto Rico, the immediate neighborhood is older with refurbished condos and some abandoned buildings next door. The community seems to know and like each other well, whether they be the PR staffers, the retired Ford manager and his dog from Michigan who lives here 5 months per year, the law school student having a party next door at his mom's older beach condo, or the 2 established homeless men who are out on the street every day. Yes, there is a bit of real-life seediness here, including a touch of gummy beach-front bar grime left behind even after the hard-working staff does their job. The nice new French-engineered doors that proved too challenging for us dumb Americans to lock or unlock were a test of one's true "beach attitude"; but the staff was always quick to do the job if they saw us fumbling.
If you stay here, try to dress-up go over to the El San Juan Resort lobby on a Thur, Fri, or Saturday night for a real "old-days Cuban-influenced" Puerto Rican experience with live Salsa, dancing, and lots of drinks in a beautiful location. Also don't miss having a drink at sunset on top of The Water & Beach Club hotel. Great day trip was spent with Acampa Adventures ... they picked us up and handled everything for an amazing day of hiking and ziplines in Toro Negro rainforest.
Last note is that when I realized our luggage was overweight for the small plane to Vieques, they offered to keep a bag in the office for us for 2 days, at no extra charge. I like it here. It feels like family.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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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
    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 (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Connecticut & NewJersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

I wanted a getaway for my birthday again and I was glad that I was given a good rate for being a return guest this year. My boyfriend and I stayed longer this time and it was really amazing. The hospitality here is 5 star worthy. The overall friendlyness of this island makes it our new fav getaway. Forget other nearby hotels that charge ridiculous rates and hotel fees. It's not worth it! This hotel is close to the airport and you are right on the beach. Early morning swims were refreshing. There are local buses near by for 75 cents that take you to Old San Juan. We didn't have an ocean view room this time but we didn't care. Every morning we had free breakfast on the deck watching waves. The free breakfast is basic bagels cereal fruit and coffee. Cant complain! The food on menu is delicious but pricey. Try the mofongo! The location is perfect because so many other restaurants are nearby (Metropol , Don Jose, Chilis )and a Walgreens too.

I also loved that even though the island had plenty spring breakers.... Our hotel remained quiet and safe! Also on the day we were leaving I got a call while we were out saying I left my jewelry in room. Which was really nice of them to return it even after we already checked out.

My boyfriend and I can't wait to come back!!
Thanks again Hotel La Playa

Room Tip: Ask for 209
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  • Stayed March 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surprise, Arizona
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

This was a quick one night stay, as we were heading out on a cruise. We checked in around 2 or so, but our room was not quite ready. We went down the way to the open air bar/restaurant. We enjoyed the sea breeze, views and great food. We were heading to Fajardo to Kayak that evening, and the waiter helped give us with very easy to navigate good directions.

Once into our room, although it is not modern furniture, it was functional and very comfortable for the evening.

The next morning, we had a reservation to tarpon fish in the lagoon just a five minute ride away from the hotel. Well to our surprise, our youngest son had met with something that did not agree with him. He was very ill in the morning, and I have to say the hotel staff could not have been more kind, compassionate or considerate that morning to afternoon.

Linda and the owner were both very concerned, and allowed us to check out late to give him time to get to feeling better. As we headed out in the taxi, Linda even gave me a few bags and napkins, just in case our son felt sick again. As luck would have it, he was feeling better, and they were not needed. We were concerned that we would not be allowed to board the ship, and told us that we could come back if we needed to.

There is live music Saturday nights, and earplugs were the remedy. Not noisy, but we live out of the hustle and bustle of the city, so we are not used to noise. It was not ridiculous, but had I not known, I would have need to head out to Walgreen's just down the road to get some!

The location is a little tricky, as the hotel is located at the end of the a one way street, and you actually need to turn down the wrong way to get there. It does not have a beach front, but there are beaches on either side, and you hear the ocean form your room, All in all it was a wonderful stay, great customer service and would definitely stay again!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Indianapolis
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

I stayed at La Playa for five nights in January. It was an easy cab ride from the airport. It's location (right on the ocean , between two beautiful beaches) was very good. The appearance is that of a beach motel. I had a large room facing the ocean from the second floor. The room was spacious, with basic furniture but a very comfortable king bed. The bathroom had good towels and a very good shower. The aroma therapy candle was also a nice touch.

The reception was friendly and the personnel helpful. There is also a very good restaurant in the hotel (actually outdoors, with good food, great drinks, (and a great happy hour). I would happily stay here again, it is a very good and fairly priced alternative to the big hotels nearby.

Room Tip: Get a king room facing the ocean
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastham, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

If you want an alternative in San Juan to the big hotel casinos, Hotel La Playa is a great choice. It's a friendly boutique hotel, right on the ocean, with a small island feel. Friendly staff, great bar and restaurant (many come over from the big hotel casinos for a more authentic experience).

Room Tip: Get an ocean view room.
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  • Stayed March 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Burlington, Vermont
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

On the plus side, the hotel is located next to two beaches, and has a restaurant on the water with a great view. On the negative side, they use overpowering air 'freshener' that reeks of coconut oil, and leaves one smelling like a public bus bathroom. The window looks out onto a garbage heap next to the hotel. I asked specifically if they played loud music, and was assured that they did not. However, the droning thrum of bad 80's rock music lasted well into the evening. The restaurant, La Playita, is inexplicably popular -- we were served drinks, then waited 40 minutes to give our dinner order. The crab cakes were inedible, the hamburger not nearly the half pound that was advertised, the water full of chlorine and tasting of mold and mildew, and the main meals coming at least 15 minutes apart. Add to that a surly waiter's attitude, and I will never be returning. I travel frequently (at least 15 hotels per year for the past 22 years), and would place this at the bottom 10-15%.

Room Tip: By all means, choose the 2nd floor, otherwise you will feel the claustrophobia of being in an 'a...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Waltham, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We stayed at Hotel La Playa for a week. The location is great. Just steps from the beach and within walking distance to nearby hotels, casinos, and restaurants.

I really wanted to love this property, but it fell short of my expectations. The room was very basic and furnishings were worn. The room was very clean. The staff wasn't really exceptionally friendly in my experience--not unfriendly either, but reading the other reviews, I expected a little more.

We upgraded to an oceanview room -- the view was somewhat blocked by the roof over the restaurant and there were no screens in the windows which made it not ideal for keeping open for the ocean breeze at night.

It was nice to have a restaurant and bar on premises, but it was fairly expensive. Four drinks cost us $40! Food was just ok. For the most part, the servers in the restaurant were friendly and efficient. There is entertainment on the weekends which got loud, though that didn't bother us specifically, though I could see how it might bother other people.

The biggest issue for us is that we heard sounds in the ceiling/attic space above our room that sounded like some sort of animal. I believe it was bats. There was a squeaking and scratching sound throughout our stay there and it was unsettling. We never saw any signs of any animal in our room, but it was still not the best feeling to hear.

The price is definitely much cheaper than the other higher end hotels in the area, but I'd probably not stay here again.

  • Stayed February 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 La Playa

Also Known As:
La Playa Hotel
La Playa Carolina
Hotel La Playa Puerto Rico/Isla Verde
Address: 6 Calle Amapola, Isla Verde, Carolina 00979, Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Carolina > Isla Verde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach 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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