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“Magical, Historic Luxury Hotel with amazing amenities and central location!!”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Magical, Historic Luxury Hotel with amazing amenities and central location!!”
Reviewed March 15, 2013 via mobile

I decided to treat myself for a night at El Convento during my recent visit to Puerto Rico. I had stayed there about 15 years ago for my cousin's wedding. All my memories of it are magical and were reconfirmed when I stayed there in January. I hold a very special place in my heart for El Convento.

I called ahead of time from the US to make the reservation and told them that it was such a special special to me. Having said that, I found out upon arrival that they had upgraded our room. Not only that, but while we were at dinner they had left chilled rose champagne and an array of gourmet chocolates. I couldn't believe how much they treated us like kings!! It was service at its best.

The room we stayed in was spacious and ultra comfortable. The fantastic, elegant decor made me feel nostalgic for a long-gone era. Outside of the rooms are wraparound patios with tables and chairs overlooking the hotel's beautiful, open air, ivy-draped restaurant (we ate there and it was fabulous). The amenities are just great!

The pale yellow facade of the building itself was a pleasure to walk home to after exploring old san juan. It's Old San Juan's most beautiful hotel.

When you stay here, you really feel like you're part of Old San Juan's history. A truly magical experience!! I'd go back time & time again!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank NaomiBishop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Arizona
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

OK. I hate to do this. EConvento is in most ways a great hotel good price fantastic location. The staff is trained fun energetic and useful. The restaurants are Ok to good and the whole experience is unique and interesting being in old town in a historical building is the treat. And worth the price
Now the CON. We left after one night of a two night stay. My wife woke up with about 100 insect bites. Welts. All over her side and back. They were nice enuf to let us out early and paid for a car to take us to our next hotel. Maybe it was just a rare case of one bug. We hope so. But it is what it is. Doubt we would go back.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Bobbyb120
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, March 17, 2013
Mr. Bobbyb120,

Thank you for you comments regarding our location, well trained staff and restaurants. I am glad that you were able to experience first hand what sets our hotel apart from the rest, our employees. We are very proud of their passion for what they do.

I am sorry that you experienced insect bites while you were traveling. For years now we have contracted the services of Ecolab Pest Elimination who regularly inspects our hotel for any type of insects and I am proud to say that they have never encountered bed bugs. I also regret not having the opportunity to personally meet you and have a professional inspect your room in your presence to set your mind at ease.

Did you visit the beach while you were traveling? Most often people mistake sand flee bites for bed bug bites since they look similar. This tends to happen when one lies on the sand. They stick to your clothes, skin and foot ware and later affect your skin. The bites look very similar. You can look it up in the internet and judge for yourself. I still appreciate your concern and will make sure to ask our contracted source to once again inspect every room since our guests are our biggest priority.

Once again thank you for your concern and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Sincerely,


Efrain Rosa
General Manager
erosa@elconvento.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland, United States
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2013

We do not usually stay at such nice hotels, but my husband and I were on our delayed honeymoon and decided to splurge. It is expensive-- be prepared for a high base room rate, plus a "resort fee" on top of that. But that said, the difference between El Convento and a regular hotel really showed. The service was simply outstanding. This is not one of those hotels where, when you have a question or need something, you can't find anyone to help you. El Convento is well-staffed, and the staff are extremely well-trained. They are nice AND sincere and speak excellent English. The building itself is historic and beautiful. We had a Queen Vista room on the 4th floor that looked out over San Juan Bay. One major plus was that the room had a second door that could be closed to keep out noise from the courtyard (from the bar and restaurant). Their restaurant El Picoteo has excellent paella. My only complaint, and it is minor, was that breakfast was NOT included in the rate. I expected that, paying as much as we did, that some kind of complimentary breakfast would be offered. We were a little shocked at the $70 tab for breakfast on our first morning. But it was of very high quality at least, and you can find places in town to eat for much cheaper if you want (try Cafe Mallorca). The free wine & cheese hour every evening partially made up for the expensive breakfast, and they also have good coffee and tea available round the clock. El Convento is a place I could easily live, just whiling away the hours on the veranda or in the courtyard sipping coffee and enjoying the breeze...

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank DCEE888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2013

The Hotel El Convento is located in the heart of Old San Juan, just across the street from the cathedral. It is an historic building with a rustic feel. The rools are comfortable, but not luxurious. The food in the restaurant and cafe are worthy of a visit, even if you are not staying at the hotel. It is great for an afternoon snack and to get out of the heat outside on the streets.

Room Tip: Make sure you ask for a room facing the internal garden
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Lance B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2013

This is an exceptional hotel, ideal for a special treat - expensive but definitely worth it. The hotel is a very fine historic building with superb public rooms, and bedrooms all furnished with fine taste to a very high standard. The staff are very helpful and friendly, and the facilities are first class. We enjoyed the tapas restaurant, and the 6pm Wine & Cheese event every evening free to all guests - a great chance to meet up with other people in the open-air terrace overlooking the city and the sea. The roof-top pool is small, but the whole area and sun terrace is very pleasant - given that this is a city-centre hotel.
The location is outstanding - being in the cathedral Square facing the cathedral, in the old blue-cobbled narrow streets - really interesting for wandering and exploring (El Morro Fort is spectacular - just a few minutes away on foot).

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank john_farrington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY
Level 4 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2013

We landed and, as luck would have it, there was no power. But this isn't their fault. An accident (blown transformer) had most of OSJ wi/out electricity. It came back on several hours later, which was a godsend, as it was really humid (what did we expect?).

We stayed in room 518 which, for the price, seemed over-rated. Some of the furniture looked dated, had scratches and some dust. BUT... it grew on us during our stay and lent to the charm of the place.

The bed was incredibly comfortable and the sound-proof door and black out curtains over the windows made this an incredible haven for sleeping. So much so that we had a hard time getting out early most mornings! Totally relaxing!

The showers are clean and somewhat modernized with good water pressure and a vanity mirror. The room has your standard locking safe, a TV (who uses that in OSJ?), ironing board and hair dryer. (WE LEFT A CORKSCREW FOR THE NEXT GUESTS! ENJOY! ;) )

518 is right next to the stairwell so the closest ice machine is actually right below you on the 4th floor.

The tables right outside your door on the veranda offer a view of the central courtyard where you can see the hotel bar, the tappas restaurant Il Picoteo and the seating for Pizza e Birra (look for my separate reviews about these places). From here you can also see the branches of the large, brooding Nispero tree where, in the evening, bats swarm to snap up insects. A coqui (tree frog) usually starts his signature chirping at this time.

At 6pm, there is a FREE wine and cheese reception on the 3rd floor. Though it's true that the cheeses aren't "special" and the wines aren't "rare", it's still a fine treat, a nice way to meet fellow guests and a welcome perk. Whoever complains about the "quality" of these wines and cheeses is simply missing the whole point and may not understand hospitality.

Here is where you will also find a bin constantly filled with bottles of ice water and free coffee, tea and decaf, 24/7. The water was an incredible asset to bring to your room after a night out or to take with you as you explore the streets in the heat of the day.

There is also a small library here that, I assume, is a lending library where you can take a book and leave a book in exchange. But I would double check with the desk first! LOL! They also have 2 computer terminals if you absolutely MUST check in to Facebook. ;)

(My only suggestion for Level 3 would be to maybe include a Continental breakfast from, say 7-9a. Some pastries and additional fruit would be helpful for folks who want to get a fast start on a day of sightseeing.)

From Lev 3, it's a short flight of stairs up to the 4th floor where the roofdeck offers a nice place to relax and catch some sun. There's a shaded palapa with tables and a series of lounge chairs. The pools is VERY small & is only 5ft deep so if you're a family looking to keep the kids entertained, this is not the place to go. But, as a dipping pool for adults, it's welcome. There's also a jacuzzi.

The staff is also incredibly helpful and friendly (except for 1 bartender, which I'll address in a separate review of the bar itself) and everyone looked you in the eye and greeted you. The front desk and porters were professional and well-attired and looked crisp in their uniforms. You felt like you were being pampered in the colonial British era.

The location is perfect allowing easy walks to El Moro and the rest of the town for shopping and dining. It overlooks a small square where, daily, a guy comes with his guitar and harmonica and plays for tips.

You cannot beat El Convento for ambience. If you're on your honeymoon, a couple on a romantic getaway or established folks looking for a mature and pampered experience, this is for you. If you're into all-inclusives and a crazy party scene or travel with a loud, rowdy bunch, go elsewhere.

We will return! Thank you El Convento!

Room Tip: Rooms '08-18 (318, 418, 518, etc.) seem to face out on Calle Las Monjas and have limited, uninsp...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank DawgFish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Encinitas, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 9, 2013

My husband and I got engaged in December of 2011 and was planning a wedding locally in La Jolla, CA. After looking at venues and near next to signing a contract, we decided to just do what we really wanted – a destination wedding. Although we wanted a beach vacation, I still wanted to hold true to the type of wedding I had always envisioned, which was an old world vintage Spanish theme. I literally googled that term to see what type of places popped up and El Convento did. I immediately fell in love with it. We could have the wedding we want while still having a beach vacation with family and friends. (stayed at La Concha in Condado Beach). We booked the hotel without even physically travelling there. We visited San Juan in June of 2012 to meet with all of our prospective vendors, wedding planner, and to go to the El Convento to do a tasting. I was nervous at first since we had not seen the venue yet in person, but upon arrival, I couldn't be more pleased. I fell in love! Our tasting was so much fun. We had a beautiful private room where we served every course from start to finish of the selections we had made. Everything was so good it made it difficult to decide what we wanted. The sangria here is amazing. The catering manager ended up leaving and were assigned to Glorimar. Glorimar was excellent and very responsive. The ceremony location, cocktail hour location and reception room (Salon Campache) were all perfect. Every guest said that the place was stunning and how classy the setting was. The food and service was top notch. The bartender, I was told by many guests, knew every one of my guest's drink choice and the managers and servers that night kept everyone happy, especially Greg and I. The only thing I would say is to make sure to get the Vanderbilt suite to get ready in that day. I was in the Casal's with 10 others and it was cramped. It really was the best day in my life. It turned out exactly as I hoped and the El Convento was fabulous to work with.

Room Tip: do the Vanderbilt suite for larger parties. Casal was cramped.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank kissa13
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

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 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business 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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