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.
- 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