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“Romantic and Atmospheric. Unique!”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 18, 2012

First of all, let me explain what El Convento is NOT:

1. It is not a beachside resort
2. It is not a modern luxury hotel
3. It is not a chain

I have reviewed all the "negative" comments here and it floors me. I have stayed here multiple times and I think the main issue with dissatisfied customers is one of expectations. If you are looking for a huge, modern room with an ocean view, bikinied chiquitas on the beach drinking mojitos or a swim up bar, this is not the place for you. If you want a manager to pour your free (yes FREE) wine every night at 6 pm at the daily reception on the terrace, this is not for you. If you want an invisible staff, doors that don't creak, or carpet in your room, this is not for you.

What El Convento offers is a trip back to a more gracious time. Things move slower. The rooms are smallish, but every one I have stayed in was lovely and had a juliet balcony (this is not a terrace, but rather a large set of french doors that open to a railing.) I have stayed in suites and regular rooms. Yes, the hotel often has renovation projects going-- it is an OLD property-- and sometimes those make noise. The 300 year old doors often squeak. If you are put off by these trivialities, you need to stay in a modern high rise facility.

As mentioned, every day at 6 there is a reception with no fewer than 8 different types of free wine and four different types of cheese, half a dozen kinds of crackers and a variety of grapes. You can sit on the patio and chat with your fellow travelers. This is not a sit down service meal but it is a free reception. Again, I have read complaints that no waiter served the wine. Really? You can't walk three feet and pour your own?

The courtyard is gorgeous with little coquis singing all night. The rooftop pool is small (plunge pool) but it offers great views. The food is a little pricey but its good. There is an atmosphere of calm charm that pervades the hotel. It is the deal place to get some quiet and gather your thoughts. The rooms are outfitted with Spanish tile which can be a pain if you break something. And the cleaning staff visits somewhat late in the day, but again, trivialities.

I have also read that people are paying $900 a night to stay here. On my multiple visits, I have never paid that much, even for a suite. My suspicion is that the prices fluctuate wildly depending on the season. If I had paid that much, I might want a personal attendant for my every move. But I actually find el Convento to be very reasonably priced in relation to other popular hotels. I highly recommend it and will be back.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank L S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,601 - 1,607 of 2,775 reviews

Reviewed November 13, 2012

The hotel staff is very welcoming and helpful and the hotel is in a lovely unique and historic building in an ideal location; great for walking the streets of old San Juan. The rooms and bathrooms are small but well equipped. The rooftop pool and hot tub are nice, though small, with beautiful views of the bay. The evening wine and cheese reception is excellent. They serve a large variety of wines and cheeses. The hotel offers privileges at their sister hotels on the beach, so you can stay in the city but still enjoy some time at the beach. My husband and I will definitely stay here again on our next visit.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kathy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

I stayed at this lovely hotel for a conference. It was beautiful and located in a perfect place for walking and seeing in old Caribbean city. There was easy access to wireless all over the hotel. The bed was very comfortable and the room was nice, clean and well-appointed. I had a great view of the sea.

If you're going for a conference, take note: the rooms are freezing and you should bring a jacket or sweater. Also, the conference food was tasty but if you're a vegetarian, there seemed to be no options except for perhaps the side veggies. Also, if you ask to use the house projector and screen in the conference room, you will pay dearly. If you can bring your own, do so and save the money.

On a different, non-conference note, I dinner ate in the tapas bar on the 2nd floor and had a nice ceviche (I'm not a vegetarian). I took runs every morning along the wall walkway and I found everyone, hotel staff to local people, friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Ask ahead of time for a room with a queen bed. I had a room with two twins. I haven't slept in a...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Meg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

This was our layover to catch a cruise with a family of 12. Six of us stayed one night, while others stayed two.
One night was more than enough.It is unbelievable to expect so much and get so
little from a SLH. El Convento is anything but. Starting with the service which
is incredibly bad, to the rooms which seem to belong to a 3 star hotel. The a/c
was noisy, as the bathroom toilet and door. The door was in extreme need of oil.
The waiters at the cafe Nispero were rude and not attentive to our needs. One of my
brothers never got his breakfast. When we asked for our checks, the receptionist
took her time. Inside the patio cafe, we were surprised by an unemployed lady
who came in, asking for money with the excuse of selling chocolates. I repeat, this
is a Small Luxury Hotel, not a three star one. We expected much more than what
we got.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Exploringeurope
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 reviewResponded November 17, 2012

Dear Mr. or Mrs. Exploringeurope,

I truly regret that you feel this way. Please accept our most sincere apologies for the inconveniences mentioned. We work very hard to exceed our guests expectations and take very seriously our guest comments. You will be glad to know that this week we hired new management personnel who will be working with our restaurant staff evaluating every aspect of the operation.

In addition and as a normal practice, upon check in every guest is given my email address and personal cell number. Our goal is that every guest is so satisfy with the level of service that he or she will not feel the need to escalate any service issues. Thankfully and as evident by our guests comments I rarely receive a call from a guest and when I do it is to thank our hotel staff for the stay or ask for my assistance in sending an item left in the room upon check out. But make no mistake, our guests always come first and if there are any issues during your stay we want to know immediately to address them at once.

Please fell free to contact me if you feel the need to discuss this further as I would like to have the opportunity to have you visit us again and have a different and positive experience.

Cordially,


Efrain Rosa
General Manager
erosa@elconvento.com
Cell (787) 505-3780

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

My husband and I have been to San Juan many times. We always dreamed of one day splurging and staying at the famous El Convento in Old San Juan. We knew the history of this converted convent, originally built 1646. Renovated many times as hotels, casino, and even a flophouse. Now it is ranked one of the worlds oldest smallest luxury hotels. So, with a cruise starting and ending in SJ, we decided to book one nite at the end of the cruise, and treat ourselves. We were beyond impressed. We had a large room on the second floor, with old spanish feel, but modern technologies, and new marble bathroom. French doors opened to the outside, but no balcony. From 6-7pm there is the "managers reception" where guests are provided with free wine & cheese etc in an upstairs lounge area. No manager appears, just guests of the hotel to enjoy the comp refreshments, free of charge. Nice touch El Convento. We did not dine in the hotel, but did enjoy a comp breakfast the next morning, which was included with our online booking. Internet available in the rooms, printers are available to use. All around are fabulous eating places, and so much history that you will find in Old San Juan.There is a small plunge pool, and jacuzzi. If you are staying for a few days you will have time to travel to sister hotels to enjoy the beach.(not sure if they offer free transportation or not) Much more, you can see on the El Convento website...Absolutely a wonderful boutique hotel, and we cant wait to return to the awesome hospitality, service, and grandeur....dont miss this destination

Room Tip: booked through expedia and was cheaper than hotel website Book well in advance as the hotel often ha...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cruizinroxyroller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2012

This is a very historic hotel 350 years old. It was used as a monastery for Nuns and sits next to a very old chapel. It is located in the Old Town section of San Juan. Walking distance the EL Morro fort, shopping, resturants. The building has been tastfully redone, the rooms are nice. Staff was very helpful. They offer a wine and cheese tasting area every day around 6PM. We sat out on a large balcony drinking wine and eat different kinds of cheese - awesome.

Room Tip: Rooms are small in this historic building. I believe most of the room are very simular.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Beautifully renovated and well managed small hotel in the heart of Old San Juan across from the Cathedral and walking distance to everything. We spent a three day weekend here which was perfect. Complimentary coffee, tea and water all day and wines at 6pm were a nice touch. Only complaint was that the elevator was very slow and sometimes completely dysfunctional. We mentioned it to management and I'm sure they will attend to it.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Philip A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
Price Range: $255 - $680 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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