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“You won't go wrong” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel San Juan

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Hotel San Juan
Calle General Torres 9-59 y Gran Colombia, Cuenca, Ecuador   |  
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Hotel amenities
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$60 (USD)
Ranked #11 of 48 hotels in Cuenca
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
354 reviews 354 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 103 cities Reviews in 103 cities
277 helpful votes 277 helpful votes
“You won't go wrong”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

This hotel is very conveniently situated in a fairly busy street within an 8-minute walk to the Cathedral. The furnishings are elaborate but somewhat dowdy. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and we were fortunate to have a back room ensuring quietness for sleeping, although the view is unattractive. Actually, the back courtyard is like a cloister, with a grassy centre and arcades around the side; a pleasant place to read and relax. The WiFi was rather temperamental, and frequently unavailable. The Dining Area ( hardly a “room”) is really part of the lounge and closes at 8 pm. There are, however, several useful restaurants nearby. Breakfast is served here each morning, but was mediocre at best. Service was not the best, but no real complaints. Reception was efficient when it really mattered. You will not go wrong here, but you can probably do better. As this was part of a package, I have no knowledge of cost and value.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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48 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    34
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10
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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 (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Panama City, Panama
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

We were very pleased with our 2 nights in the San Juan hotel. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful, our room was huge, and the many social areas/ patios were very nicely decorated. And all of that for a more than reasonable price!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Grass Valley, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

Nice old world hotel within a quarter mile to excellent restaurants,main square,shopping,and old cathedrals. Nice size room and plenty of hot water. The staff recommended a couple of local restaurants that turned out to be excellent. Only sort of negative was our late night flight was cancelled and we tried to check back in around 1:30 in the morning and they wouldn't let us even though we had just paid extra for a 7:00 PM late checkout. Nevertheless, we'd stay there again on our next visit to Cuenca.

Room Tip: Our room was on the lower floor and the window faced an inner courtyard so we had to keep the shades...
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  • Stayed May 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
    • 5 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.
Jaco, Costa Rica
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

Just walking through the doors tells you that you made the right decision. All the public areas are beautifully decorated, the staff I encountered spoke enough English to make things easy. It's always good to know a little of the language for the country you're visiting also!! My friend and I rented a room with two double beds. Large, nicely appointed room with huge bathroom. We stayed toward the back of the hotel and noticed no problems with the outside noise. If you want something nice in the center of "old town", this is the place. We paid about $100 a night (breakfast included) for two nights. Would recommend!

Room Tip: If available, try and secure a room toward the back of the property. Streets are very busy and nois...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Durango, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

The hotel's location is a big plus in every way. The staff welcomed us to the point we felt like family, catering to our every want and need. The cost is very reasonable for a luxury hotel.
Rooms are spacious, clean and well appointed.
We will return and HIGHLY recommend staying at the San Juan Hotel.

Room Tip: do NOT book the room next to the supply room unless you are an early riser.
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  • Stayed February 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
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Denver, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

The San Juan in Cuenca is a jem. The hotel is decorated in even the smallest places in
a fine Ecuardian style. Rooms are large, beds great, and baths excellant. The staff is the best
part, always ready to help and very proffesional. Well located. I have now stayed here twice.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanJuanHotels, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Hotel San Juan, responded to this review, February 15, 2013
Dear Robert H,

Thank you so much for sharing your comments about San Juan Hotel. We are very happy to know you like the decor and location of our Hotel. We have also shared your comments with our hotel staff and we will be honored to have you stay with us again. We are happy to be your home in Cuenca.

Hope you enjoyed your trip around Ecuador.

Best Regards,

Bryan Vidal B.
MARKETING AND PR MANAGER
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walnut Creek, CA (SF Bay Area)
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

As a potential future expat, my wife and I were curious about what it is that puts Cuenca on the top of the list as "the most livable retirement community in the world" for three years running according to InternationalLiving.com and various others. So after our Galapagos Island and rainforest trips, we decided to skip Machu Pichu and headed to Cuenca for a few days. Originally we were supposed to stay at the Santa Lucia Hotel but they refused to allow us three nights in a row even though my agency had been requesting the rooms almost a year in advance. Instead they chose the San Juan Hotel, another "boutique" option.

Described as a virtual utopia by the aforementioned periodical, we were expecting a beautifully restored Spanish colonial town, similar to many you'd see in various Mexican cities that expats live in. Unfortunately, this is far from what it is. Having flown from Galapagos to Guayaquil, a guide met us and drove us on the incredibly new and modern three lane paved road that climbs from sea level to 12,000 feet before leveling off in a beautiful valley that hoses Cuenca. As you approach Cuenca, you pass through typical third world-ish food stands with stray dogs all over (albeit cute ones). These are the neighboring villages and you assume the niceness of the colonial city starts soon. But before you know it, you are driving on Gran Columbia, one of the main cobblestoned streets that comprise the "old town" of Cuenca.

The first thing you notice is that all the facades of the supposedly restored buildings are in need of repair with cracks in all the stones, graffiti covering the sides and looking like the city kind of ran out of money before they finished the restoration. All the streets are one lane and filled with enormous buses that spew pollution akin to Eastern Europe in the Cold War Days. Annoying car alarms blast on and on continuously like it's a national pastime and traffic inches along. Then you pull up to the San Juan Hotel or any one of the other boutique hotels and enter some bizarre alternate universe. In contrast to the dirt and noise, the lobby looks like the most sophisticated five star English style Tudor hotel you've ever seen with insanely over the top furniture, all colonial style and silverware fit for the King and Queen. It's quiet, almost spooky.

Sadly, virtually all of the hotel staff speaks about two words of English. Check in was difficult as nobody said welcome or gave us any kind of information whatsoever. The dining area where breakfast is served is the across from the small front desk but you can't really figure that out. When I asked for change of a $20 to give a tip, the woman motioned that they have no change. What kind of a boutique hotel has no cash? Oddly, our guide was somehow able to get some. The staff all look like some version of the Stepford Wives, dressed to the max in stuffy suits that are way too overblown for the kind of tourist that would visit Cuenca. As a city filled with thespians, I do not understand the obsession with the extreme formalities. This also applies to the best restaurants. We visited Villa Rosa, stepping over dust and open street construction to walk into what looks like the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan complete with tuxedo clad waiters.

Apparently the stone construction is what gives the buildings the strange quietness even though the streets are so noisy. Our room was facing the grassy courtyard in the back and except when one of the staff moved, didn't hear one sound for three nights. The room itself is large with two double beds and enough sheets and pillows to satisfy Theodore Roosevelt or any other dignitary of the 1920's. Hardwood floors means you can hear every sound your neighbor makes but there were about five rooms occupied when we were there even though they tell us it's the "busy season". The bathroom is large enough with a decent shower but like most of Ecuador, even the king must throw his soiled toilet paper in the garbage can and not the toilet.

During our stay, we tried several times to get directions to a restaurant that turns out was only two blocks away. The front desk clerk had to Google it and could offer absolutely no insight whatsoever to the city he calls home. Use the WiFi connection and Trip Advisor. The only thing in the hotel information sheet with about seven paragraphs that warn the traveler not to venture outside the old town and be mindful of everything; Example: "If someone sprays something on you like mustard or mayo DO NOT let them clean it up". What the hell kind of stupid thing is that to say to your guests? Not one word or brochure about Cuenca or anything it has to offer. Our guide told us this is due to a recent rash of Columbians and Peruvians that wander in aimlessly with no passport required and just beg and steal. Nice. Funny how International Living doesn't mention anything about the policies of the current government

For what it's worth, the temperature is absolutely perfect every day and the food in all the restaurants is top quality. And cost of living is significantly less than the USA. But that's what I expect in what is ultimately not really a developed nation. As far as things to see, there are a few cathedrals worth seeing and a museum that is actually the old location of the Bank of Ecuador central bank. It's free and you can spend a few hours. Don't bother with the Panama Hat Factory unless you speak fluent Spanish and can show the taxi driver a map. The river valley is nice but we've seen much nicer ones in other cities. The broken down feel of the colonial section was a big disappointment but should be seen if you are considering retiring here so you get the real picture.

We never saw the neighborhoods where all these expats are flocking to but are told that there are two areas and the wealthy ones rarely leave their area except to go to an occasional restaurant. As far as the San Juan Hotel, don't expect anything except some robots staff that whispers "Buenos Dias" and an overly expansive Colonial style hotel that still uses actual keys instead of key cards. I think we have learned that expat magazines obviously have a vested business interest in the places they tout as "havens".

Room Tip: rooms in the back are quieter
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, 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
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about Hotel San Juan

Address: Calle General Torres 9-59 y Gran Colombia, Cuenca, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Azuay Province > Cuenca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 48 hotels in Cuenca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
San Juan Hotel is conveniently located, only 7 minutes from the Airport in the historic town of Cuenca. It is a large historic home converted to a luxury Hotel with a charming environment offering the pleasure of resting in old colonial style. ... more   less 
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