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“Historic boutique hotel in walking distance to everything in Old San Juan”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 29, 2013

The location was great and allowed us to walk just about everywhere...we even hiked back from the beach at their sister hotel La Concha (this is more than most people will want to walk tho). From the moment we arrived the staff was fantastic and very accommodating to any of our needs. Our room was on the first floor and might be a little noisy if you are a really light sleeper. There is an extra door to close off the noise from the bar outside and it was not an issue for us. We also had a patio area outside that had a nice water feature. The bathroom was clean and contemporary in contrast to the rest of the hotel and room.

We took advantage of the wine and cheese on the 3rd floor and really enjoyed relaxing up by the pool. The pool area is small and the view is not the best but you also have access to the amenities at La Concha which had several very nice pools both on and off the beach.

Only two negatives I can think of was a slight musty smell in room and a leak in the shower if you hit it at the right angle. Really minor issues that had no impact on our stay. Great place to stay to explore Old San Juan.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BrianWenhold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 29, 2013

Hotel El Convento is very quaint and convenient to taking nice scenic walks or for browsing shops. The tiny little roof top pool and the nightly happy hour of complimentary wine and cheese is perfect for a way to chill out and relax on a lovely vacation.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TBOSS411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

We loved it...great location with large rooms. The staff was extremely friendly and courteous. Evening wine and cheese on the patio. It's close to everything in old San Juan. We walked everywhere from hotel, took the ferry to Catano island to visit the Bacardi distillery. You will not regret staying there. Close to most cruise ship piers

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank Retanner0513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2013

We just returned from a lovely stay at the Hotel El Convento, and we've already started thinking about planning a return trip. Hotel El Convento is perfectly located for activities in Old San Juan - there are dozens of good restaurants, bars and sights within easy strolling distance.

The two rooms we saw were large and comfortable - with lovely views of the beautiful old city. It was quiet at night, and calm during the day. The beds were completely comfy, the black-out shades WORK, the windows open to allow in fresh air, the AC BLASTS (wonderful when you need to re-charge after one of those strolls in the heat and humidity of the area), the Aveda toiletries were just fine, and there were live plants, a small refrigerator and good seating areas in the rooms (which are serviced twice daily - and serviced very well - by a superb housekeeping staff).

There are a couple nice restaurants on the premises, a neverending supply of iced water bottles in the lounge (fruit, coffee and tea as well), a pleasant plunge pool and jacuzzi, a great patio, places to stroll, to sit, relax, have a drink. The popular nightly wine reception has a variety of wine and three cheeses to try. WiFi is free (if spotty - it was just fine in the room). The open-to-the-sky courtyard is kept clean. Tile is perfectly maintained. Crews were painting to keep everything fresh. The feel of the place could not be more removed from a sterile "business hotel" - you feel at home here.

All the people who work at the Hotel El Convento certainly contributed to this. Warm, welcoming, genuine smiles, as well as genuine concern for guests' comfort from all here really make the place shine. It's clear that service is a hallmark of the establishment.

Now, this next is NOT intended to dissuade you from staying at Hotel El Convento (and it's certainly not intended to trouble the management into thinking that we had anything less than a wonderful time - we really don't require any sort of apology or explanation) but to alert a reader who sees my five-star rating that s/he should not expect everything to be _perfect_.

The Hotel El Convento had some small flaws that were not any different from those we would find in Santa Fe . . . but are not the sort of thing that are found in a true five-star hotel (and you're not paying a true five-star rate, so there you go). The safe in the room was broken - stuck open in a way that interfered with the closing of the closet door and threatened to bonk us in the head when we went to grab something from the fridge. The drain in the bathroom sink was slow . . . and got slower and slower throughout the week - no way the cleaning staff could miss it. The WiFi didn't initially work. The toilet was initially broken (just a small issue with the chain and handle) - again, no way the cleaning staff could miss it. One of the shower's two heads didn't put out water properly. A design flaw with the open shower guaranteed that water would leak out onto the bathroom floor (what are you going to do?). The elevator made an alarming squealing noise and lurched a bit (leading to mock-terror bonding conversations between strangers). The number of utensils set out for the daily wine service was often not up to the onslaught of guests trying to use them. Maintenance of a stairway caused it to be taped off for a few days - leaving me scratching my head about evacuation in case of a fire (no safety issue actually was presented: we decided the stairwell was passable, just being painted).

None of this was a big deal, and none of it interfered with out enjoyment of our stay at the Hotel El Convento. However, we mention it because we do know people who would have their noses put out of joint by such trivialities. On first checking in, we mentioned the broken toilet, WiFi and safe to the front desk. They said they would send an engineer up within an hour or so. An hour later, none had arrived, so I called down and told them to aim for the next afternoon. I called the WiFi help desk and talked to them for 10 minutes. They promised to call back in an hour - but did not. The problem went away, so whatever they did must have worked (or else it was the fact that I unplugged and re-started the router). The toilet: I fixed myself (not a big deal). The next day, I stopped by the front desk on the way out and told them that I'd fixed the toilet and WiFi, so they didn't need to send the engineer (because we could live without the safe), and they said, "Well, if you want the safe, just let us know and we'll send the engineer right up."

So, _the problems were resolved just fine for our personal expectations_. But we've stayed at so many places where a call with any one of these problems would have had an engineer at our door within minutes. When the slow drain issue on the sink arose during the week and when we noticed the issue with the shower head, we just sort of shrugged our shoulders: not a big deal and not the sort of thing that would interfere with our enjoyment of the place. But not the sort of issues or resolution one would expect at Wynn/Encore or ONE Bal Harbour.

But I mention this only so that folks who seem my five-star rating and choose to stay here will not be the persnickety sort who get _bothered_ by such minor issues. We LOVED Hotel El Convento, and we can't wait to return.

A word on cats (for those who, like me, are not enamored of the things), which others have mentioned. Old San Juan is positively _infested_ with cats (probably as rodent control, which is not a bad thing) - and this includes Hotel El Convento. The cats don't bother you and are actually pretty cute. It is unusual to notice the smell of cat urine and my cat dander allergies were not triggered a single time. Hotel El Convento staff shooed a cat outside one time, but there are so many of the things that there is no way they could keep them all out. They stay out of your way and don't try to sneak into your rooms. While I was concerned when I read about the cats, I did not find them to be a problem in any way.

Again, we LOVED Hotel El Convento and are eager to return. Our thanks to the staff and management for a terrific stay.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Erich505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2013

I really loved this historic hotel. We visited in the spring of 2012. It is in a wonderful location in Old San Juan and there are many places of interest that you can easily walk to. It is a gorgeous building. They have a social hour each late afternoon with complementary wine and snacks. The hotel itself is not on the beach and the pool is small, but they do have a sister property that is on the beach and has several large pools and is quite beautiful. They allow free access to their sister property; I can't remember the name of it. But we did go there for an afternoon and it was very nice and enjoyable. The restaurant at Hotel El Convento is excellent. We ate there the first day we were in town. Another evening when we were there we did have some issues with the service because of how busy they were (due to a large party unexpectedly showing up) and there was not enough wait staff to support the number of people so we ended up having many issues with our orders and service that evening. My sister spoke with the hotel manager the next morning and he arranged for a comped meal that evening, in which they more than made up for the problems of the evening before. It was very clear that they wanted to make things right and to do so swiftly, and I appreciate that greatly when I'm on vacation. I would definitely recommend staying here.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Megan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2013

We just visited Hotel El Convento for the second time. This stay was for four glorious nights. The atmosphere at this hotel is like no other. It allows visitors to truly experience he flavor of old San Juan. The entire facility is well maintained. I especially like the fact that we could visit a sister property, La Concha, and have a day at the beach with full use of that facility. It allowed us the best of both worlds - old San Juan along with beach time. I can't imagine staying anywhere else when visiting San Juan.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank 2disland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We stayed for 2 nights and lived a dream! Very old historical building (was really a convent, and the place of filming of The Flying Nun) redesigned to provide all comforts and luxury of modern times but still feel you are in the mid 1700's. All the staff was courteous, friendly, helpful specially our Bellman Jaime Robles! Old San Juan is a city built to be walked- shopping, dining, clubbing, relaxing,sightseeing. After all is done you come back to the fairy tale Hotel , soak in the spa, have a glass of wine , go downstairs and do Tapas at El Picoteo. Now you've recharged and do it all over while the staff roots for you!
Gracias, volveremos!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank taino55
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: $316 - $742 (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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