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.
- 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