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“Charming boutique hotel. Management lacking.”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Houston, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Charming boutique hotel. Management lacking.”
Reviewed July 30, 2012

This was a great boutique hotel with so much potential but certain things were lacking. For the price being paid, I expected more. It goes without saying the location and look of El Convento is exceptional with so much character and ambiance.
Hotel staff was very nice, however, the front desk is lacking on staff. Many times we’d go to the front desk and there was only one person working while the line was at about 8 people deep. There was never a time that we didn’t have to wait.
Rooms were nice and clean. We had to switch rooms because the tub was not draining; our ipod station wasn’t working nor was the tv. This could happen at any hotel I assume and the front desk was very helpful in helping. Room service was also very quick.
The elevator. 2 out of the 3 times we tried to use it, it never worked. Just take the stairs. Much faster than sitting there waiting for it. El Convento would do well if they invested in a concierge. We called the front desk one night to ask if there was somewhere we could go grab a bite to eat (it was around 11pm). We were told nothing was open at that time and we’d have to drive to Carolina to grab something. Also, we couldn’t order room service because the kitchen was closed. The next day we went to one of our favorite restaurants and while talking to the bartender, we asked him about late night eats. He then proceeded to give us a list of places to go to in OSJ. Maybe they should hire this bartender as their concierge. Just food for thought.
Overall, it was a very nice hotel. However, the price being paid per night is not worth it. I hate to say this because it is such a beautiful hotel! The items I mentioned are small items; however, these are things that shouldn’t be happening at a so called luxury hotel. If you are going to charge upscale luxury prices, make sure the hotel is giving upscale luxury services. Better management would do wonders for this hotel. I wanted to give 3 ½ stars but TA doesn’t have that option so I gave 4.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Mari6625
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

This is such a charming hotel, and a rare find in San Juan (compared to all the chain hotels on the beach). The property itself is beautiful (in an old monastery), staff is friendly, and food is good. There are also complimentary cocktail hours every day (with delicious snacks). The rooftop jacuzzi is relaxing and affords great views of the city. Though not on the beach, El Convento is a good place to stay for a weekend to escape into the heart of San Juan... steps away from cute restaurants, bars, and shops. Also, you can visit the sister hotel, La Concha, which is located on the beach in Condado.

Room Tip: We booked a room through Expedia or Orbitz that led us to believe it was a Queen sized bed, but ende...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank cantakavita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

This former Carmelite convent in the center of Old San Juan, and overlooking the sea, is absolutely beautiful. The inner courtyard with the Nispero tree is out of a dream. There you can enjoy the best mofongo in San Juan along with exquisite white or red sangria, also one of their specialties. On the second floor is a Spanish tapas restaurant, el Picoteo, which is also great. In the evenings, after the 6pm wine and cheese tasting on the third floor terraces, you can enjoy a swim on the adjoining fourth floor terrace. There San Juan lights up with the sky at sunset, and it's breathtaking.
This is really an amazing hotel--you actually feel like you're in Old San Juan, as opposed to any generic tropical location Hilton or Marion.

Room Tip: All awesome rooms.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank medeeny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Catharines, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
60 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2012

We stayed here for 4 days following a Caribbean cruise in July, 2012. The hotel was charming from top to bottom, plants are everywhere, open walkways which allowed a nice breeze to flow most of the time, and lots of places to sit and relax. The location in Old San Juan is close to so many things that I spent quite a bit of time just walking along the sea walls, around the fort and government buildings, and in the local squares. Food was generally good, and service was excellent. The courtyard and restaurant are delightful, and there are several deck areas to take the sun or watch the sunset from. There was always fresh fruit and coffee available for free in the lobby, and wine and cheese in the evenings. We truly got more than we had expected, and we expected a lot. It deserves the high recommendations it gets on this site. The only thing to quibble over is that service can be slow, and when we arrived at 2:30 PM we were told that we could not check in until 3:00 PM, but our room was actually not ready until 3:45 PM. A minor issue, well offset by the rest of our experience. I would go back anytime, and definitely recommend it to others, particularly if you enjoy walking around the district.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank SSwith3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2012

My 15 year old son and I stayed a few days in this hotel. It's a gorgeous old monument, centrally located in old San Juan and beautifully renovated. The inside courtyard was lovely, with fruit bats flying in the evening and coqui frogs singing. The staff is very gracious, professional and helpful. I got a great deal with my AAA discount calling the hotel directly. Beds were heavenly. Have a computer station where I could print up my boarding passes before leaving. We enjoyed the hot tub and tiny pool on the roof terrace one evening.
The food in the restaurant was good, but very overpriced.

Room Tip: The rooms on the 4th floor were a bit lower ceilinged than the ones we ended up in on the 2nd floor.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank jeutopique
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2012

A friend in the hospitality industry tipped me off to this hotel, saying it was terrific and had some of the best service he'd ever seen. He was absolutely right! We (a young couple) stayed for one night in Dec 2011 and were absolutely blown away. The hotel, from its understated but classic exterior to its beautiful courtyard as you step inside, embodies everything charming about Old San Juan while trimming away the touristy cruise stop feel. The open-air courtyard (which unfortunately for us was undergoing renovation at the time) is dominated by a beautiful ancient tree and is ringed on each floor by the walkway to the guestrooms, such that even walking to and from the room is a pleasure.

The room was spacious, with completely modern amenities. The polished clay tile floor, narrow shuttered windows with wrought-iron elements, and the exposed beams in the extremely high ceiling reminds one of the hotel's history. Everything was clean and comfortable, The only caveat I have at all was that our particular room was noisy with music and chatter from the restaurant/bar directly below, which was busy even on a Wednesday night. I don't doubt that had we asked, we would have been moved to a different room. Moving rooms for just a one-night stay would have been more of a hassle for heavy sleepers like us - we fell asleep quickly and slept right through it.

The service was courteous and competent at every turn. I didn't throw any unusual requests at them, but the aforementioned friend is a tough critic when it comes to service so I believe him when he said they have top-notch service.

One of the unique and delightful aspects of El Convento is the wine and cheese reception they host every evening - for FREE. If I recall correctly, beer and other alcohol is there on an "honor bar" basis as well. The wine and cheese are of nice variety (multiple varietals of both white and red wine + at least 5 kinds of cheese). We're not the type to talk up strangers on vacation, but we sat down at a table with a semi-retired couple (not our age group, but seating was limited and they offered us the seats) who turned out to be very well-traveled and very nice to talk to. They said they have come to San Juan multiple times, and El Convento is their go-to hotel there.

We did check out the beach access granted at a sister hotel in Condado, which had a nice lobby and an OK location at the end of the Condado beach - quiet and private but not the best stretch of Condado sand. We had spent plenty of time at the beaches in Vieques earlier in the trip, so this wasn't a big deal for us.

Bottom line, El Convento is a fantastic hotel for exploring Old San Juan as long as you're not planning on spending a lot of time at the beach. This makes it a better fit for couples than families with young children. Since San Juan is a hub of sorts for flying to the rest of the Caribbean, I would happily make El Convento a regular stop along the way in future trips. I paid about $150 including taxes/fees on a mid-week special, but would gladly pay $300

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ahungrypiggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toms River, New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2012

We stayed at Hotel El Convento for one week in July. We were hosting our destination wedding here and arrived earlier in the week to make sure things were all in order for the big day. From the moment we arrived we felt the warmth and hospitality El Convento offers. We were greeted by Ivan who graciously carried our numerous pieces of luggage and showed us around the property. I loved the open courtyard and the many nooks and crannies accentuated with seating. Live music floated from the ground level throughout the higher floors. We ate breakfast on Patio Nispero a few mornings and enjoyed the service (Hi Tony!) as well as the food. I recommend the western omelette. We participated in the nightly wine and cheese, and enjoyed being within walking distance of many places.

Our hotel room (#324) was larger and more open which allowed us to move about during wedding preparations with ease. I loved having more space, but if you are a light sleeper, you may find this location within the hotel to be a bit loud. #324 is located above Pizza e Birra and does sound very loud when the dj is playing for the night. I would choose this room again because of the open feeling and larger bathroom.

As for our wedding day...it was wonderful. Glorimar was our hotel liaison for the reception. She met with us a few times throughout the week to answer any last minute questions, or address concerns we thought of. Glorimar was very accommodating and ran a top notch event. The food was delicious. Glorimar also assisted us with a smaller event we hosted the following morning, a buffet-style breakfast. All menu items were tasty. We especially appreciated that El Convento is located right across the street from the Cathedral. Our guests simply had to walk across the street, avoiding any Old San Juan traffic.

I look forward to a return trip in the future!

The front desk was a fantastic resource when we were looking for places to eat or visit.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ValGal214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EROSA, General Manager at Hotel El Convento, responded to this review, July 25, 2012
Dear ValGal214,

Congratulations on getting married and thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of such an important event. This year is Hotel El Convento's 50th year anniversary since we turned this historic convent into a hotel. We have been celebrating weddings for the past 50 years knowing that every wedding is the most important day of the life of the bride, groom and family members. Ivan, Glorimar and Tony are all very good people and I know they will be happy to see your comments on trip advisor. I gives me great pride to see how we met all your expectations and certainly look forward to your next visit.

Best regards,

Efrain Rosa
General Manager
erosa@elconvento.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel El Convento

Property: Hotel El Convento
Address: 100 Cristo St | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel El Convento 4.5*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of historic Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento has set new standards of luxury, comfort and service while preserving the rich character of this former 16th century convent. This landmark treasure, a member of Historic Hotels of America and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has earned four diamonds from AAA each year since its opening. This is the exclusive hotel experience to indulge the most discriminating of travelers, and is a hotel like no other. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Convento San Juan

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