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“Historically Quirky” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 46 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Hamilton, Hamilton, Bermuda
Level Contributor
28 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Historically Quirky”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 11, 2013

I will start by saying that the overall experience was very good. The Front of House staff are excellent and really went out of their way to help.
There were a few minor issues that should be noted:
1. Breakfast service was unbelievably slow. My wife and I sang "..everyday we're shuffling" at the breakfast table. How long should toasted bread and a cup of coffee take? 45 minutes? - now to be fair Caroline the manager of the restaurant called me in my room in the afternoon to apologize for the poor service. She went out of her way to ensure that the matter was corrected. Well done.
2. San Juan has power problems. During the time when we were there July 1st to July 5th 2013, there were power outages in the guest rooms , daily, for an hour or more per day, at random times. sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. This means no lights, and no A/C. - Now to be fair, this is not the hotels fault. This is a problem with the infrastructure in San Juan. The hotel front of house staff were very nice and removed some minor hotel charges as compensation, which they did on their own, without asking. On the plus side, the power outages added to the adventure.

The room had very high ceilings and was nicely appointed and had a great view of a small alleyway at the back. One of the nice highlights was the managers cheese and wine party every night at 6 pm on the 3rd floor terrace. The cheese was excellent, the wine was excellent and it was a popular and social event every evening. There was a good camaraderie for guests to discuss power outages over a glass of chilled Prosecco.

One additional thing to mention. The air conditioning system in the rooms was incredibly noisy. I was very glad that it worked, but it quite honestly starts up with a "click, BANG" followed by the A/C noise that was similar to standing in the toilet of an inflight 747. After 3 days we got used to it. I was glad that it worked. and it was cold air. But it had a mind of it's own and randomly switched on or off depending on how it felt.

Overall it was a great experience. Come with a sense of history and adventure. Don't expect the Mandarin Oriental, but do expect warm and friendly staff making an historic building do it's best..

Oh one last thing. If you look up in the courtyard just after sunset, there are bats flying around the tree. This is amazing. Sit and have a glass of wine at the 6pm cocktail hour and watch the bats. It's the best kept secret.

Room Tip: Anything with a high ceiling.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Michael D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,497 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (497)
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florida
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2013

We stayed here for just two nights but it was wonderful. The location was perfect, staff was helpful and friendly. We had two adults and three teenage children. There was two doubles and a pullout sofa. They had a wine and cheese reception in the evenings and water, tea and coffee available all day. I would stay here again.

Room Tip: They have a AAA rate.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank fla_susan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Easton, PA
2 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2013

Overall, the hotel was quaint and the staff was very nice. I was not impressed at all with Old San Juan. Lots of graffiti, traffic, rough walking and generally disappointing. The hotel was expensive in terms of meals and the food was very ordinary. They did offer round the clock complimentary coffee, water and a wine and cheese tasting every afternoon. The pool is minuscule for a hotel this size. I had a good time because my entire family was there but I have NO desire to ever go back to Old San Juan, the hotel or PR.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Clean_Freak02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
33 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2013

We stayed here last week as a family with two children (13 months and 9 years). We booked a one bedroom suite (room 303 I think) which had a bed in the lounge for the 9 year old and a crib. We were very pleased with the rooms which were large and spacious and decorated in a basic chaming period style in keeping with the hotel. The hotel itself is a delightful historic building with a wonderful central courtyard and various other overlooks to the main streets below on the other floors. We dined at the tapas restaurant and thought it was rather good quality with very friendly service and a wonderful view of the courtyard and the bats flying around the central tree.

As throughout Puerto Rico the staff were unfailing helpful with the children and more than willing to engage them. We stayed as a family but this place has all the elements required for a romantic San Juan escape. The location could not be better on probably the most charming square in old San Juan with the Cathedral and the original road down to the City's historic gates. Everything is an easy walk. I drove a rental car to the hotel and it does take a little getting used to driving old San Juan's very narrow one way streets but once you understand the street grid its simple enough. Utilizing the hotel valet is essential as parking spots are very rare to see.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PADILL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
161 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

This place is one of those places worth even just for a night. An old convent turned boutique hotel, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everything from the court yard to the room is marvelous and all wishes are taken care of to the finest detail. The location is superb, steps from the fort and city center. If you are not careful, you, you begin to feel as if you've stepped back in time.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank patterd7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reeders, PA
Level Contributor
35 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for about a week in June. Beautiful historic hotel with inner courtyard. Our room was not large but was very comfortable and nicely appointed. Very comfortable. There was a small patio attached. I thought the hotel was great. So what caused a four rating and not a five? There was a pool but it was very small. Small like 10x10 (just a guess). The pool area is nice but small. Mostly what left me uncomfortable was the staff. Some were friendly, helpful and accommodating. Some not so much.

The area of the hotel is nice. It is located in Old San Juan. The streets are cobblestone, narrow and historic. Lots of little shops and restaurants. Historic sites within walking distance.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank HowieGman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

El Convento is a historic hotel in the heart of historic Old San Juan,and you can really feel the history when you stay there. It is a beautiful place built around a large inner courtyard. If you expect typical luxury, you may be disappointed, as the landmark status of the building necessitates constraints to adhere to certain standards. For example, it may seem a bit dark, room service is limited, there is only a plunge pool (but you have access to facilities at two other resorts with beach and pools), and only one guest elevator. However, the beauty of the hotel and its public spaces, and the extraordinary charm, graciousness and helpfulness of the staff more than makes up for that. You are also in the heart of Viejo San Juan and can walk through the stunning district, go to shops, bars and restaurants, visit amazing Morro Castle, walk along Paseo de la Princessa, and more, very easily. The complimentary daily wine and cheese hour was lovely. Hated to leave the old world charm of El Convento, can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: The ocean view rooms on the top floors are very nice, and quiet.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NYcath
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 Business Hotel in San Juan
#1 Family 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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