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“wonderful experience”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 30, 2009

My husband and I recently spent a few days on Old San Juan. We loved Hotel El Convento!!! A nice boutique hotel feel with many extras. The hotel had a nice intimate and boutique feel, yet felt very spacious due to its configuration with an internal courtyard. We had two days of rain, but thoroughly enjoyed sipping sangria and tapas at the in house tapas bar. We enjoyed the rooftop pool. While it is small, it gave us the chance to have some nice conversations with some other interesting guests. The cocktail hour was also a nice chance to relax around the interior courtyard.
I don't want to miss the location, which was dead center Old San Juan and far from the bustle of the cruise ship guests. I would gladly return.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ACAkka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,221 - 2,227 of 2,762 reviews

Reviewed November 29, 2009

Our stay at El Convento was great. This hotel is centrally located, close to all local shops and nice little restaurants. We walked around Old San Juan and come back to the hotel to rest a little when we're tired. It was really convenient. The front desk receptions were very helpful in giving suggestions on where to eat and hang out. The room was very quiet (completely soundproof) when you closed the doors, window, and curtains. The bed was so comfortable that I slept like a baby. I love the Spanish designs of the entire hotel and the rooms plus the modern touch (high speed internet complimitary) on the amenities. The only minor complaint I have was that our room was not cleaned timely due to a little misunderstanding. I put out the sign on the door that said "Housekeeping Service Please". I think in general the housekeepers don't read the sign and they assumed that if there's a sign, it meant "Privacy Please". Perhaps the hotel should either reinforce the housekeepers to read better or simply not have double-sided signs to be hung on the doors. Our room was not cleaned until later in the evening during their "Turndown round" or evening room setup. I guess it wasn't a big deal since we were out most of the day.
We were too busy trying out local restaurants and cafes nearby, we forgot to try out the Tapas place at the hotel, which we heard it was good too.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cyz2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2009

If you want luxury, comfort, perfect location, the friendliest and most gracious staff, first class accommodations you need to stay at El Convento. We have stayed in numerous hotels and nothing compares. El Convento is PERFECT across the board. Cannot say enough great things about this treasure. We did not want to leave.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank stabletrading
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

I really can't say enough about this hotel. Situated perfectly in Old San Juan, near all the must-see sights and activities in Old San Juan (El Morro, museums, San Juan Cathedral, SoFo restaurants, etc), this beautiful boutique hotel is by far the best place to stay in Old San Juan. The staff is first rate, the rooms are charming, and the overall atmosphere of this hotel is perfect.
The hotel is located across from San Juan Cathedral, with tons of restaurants, bars, and shops within steps from the hotel entrance. Because you are in Old San Juan, there is no beach within walking distance, but there's a beach just a 10-minute taxi ride away if you want to catch some rays, or you could just lay by the small hotel pool that over-looks Old San Juan and the bay.
They have a complimentary wine and cheese reception every evening on their main terrace over-looking San Juan Cathedral and a small square. There are 3 excellent restaurants within or connected to the hotel (season finale of Top Chef in Chicago was filmed at one of these restaurants). The staff is the best I have ever experienced at a hotel, extremely friendly, catered to our every need, recommended excellent restaurants outside of those associated with the hotel, and made sure our stay was perfect every time (we've stayed here 4 times). If you are looking for top-of-the-line service in Old San Juan, this is were to stay.
The rooms are well decorated, come with free internet and a flat-screen TV. Every room that we have stayed in has a desk, table with chairs, queen size bed and end tables. There is at least one room in the hotel with a HUGE terrace off of it over-looking the street below, and the hotel also offers a couple suites that are quite large and private.
Of course, this hotel is not cheap. You can find a Howard Johnson a block from this hotel for alot less, but you will not get the Old San Juan atmosphere, excellent service, and amenities that this hotel offers. If you are visiting San Juan for leisure and want to truly experience Old San Juan, there is no other hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank aortiz40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

We stayed for three nights in El Convento Hotel before boarding a small yacht to cruise around the caribbean. If you want a glass and steel hotel dont stay here. If you want a unique hotel with excellent service situated in a wonderful position overlooking a small square and the cathedral in the old part of San Juan this is for you. There is a small pool and jacuzzi on the hotel roof which is wonderful and was never crowded - we were often the only two people there. The cheese and wine the hotel offers for an hour early evening is a really nice touch and the balcony where you sit overlooks the square, so you can see the world pass by, weddings take place in the cathedral and there is a very good guitarist who sits in the square for a couple of hours in the evening. The tapas bar served wonderful food, the breakfast was delicious. The only disappointment was a meal we had in the restaurant across the road which is featured on the hotel's website, Il Perugino. We had a very poor meal there, very expensive and certainly not of the standard I would have expected. The rooms are furnished in dark Spanish furniture, the beds very comfortable. The bathroom was small but had everything one would need. The hotel itself is incredibly beautiful situated around the open courtyard with a wonderful old tree within the courtyard. Weddings also take place in this area but we didnt find this a problem at all and in fact it added to the interest of the place. The staff were very helpful and I was very impressed to get prompt response to an email I sent before my arrival requesting a good view (which they honoured) and I received another email on my return hoping that we had had an enjoyable stay. I would not recommend this hotel for children - a beach hotel would be preferable as there are no places for children to play and the pool is small and parents would have a hard time preventing them aggravating anyone else in it. Another positive for me was the Coach handbag shop not far away with some really good bargains! You can walk to most places, the fort, restaurants, shops. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LadyLSuffolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2009

This hotel is just perfect. The location, the building, the rooms, the service, it has everything.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank AOVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2009

My partner and I were so excited to be staying at El Convento for the first two nights of our much-needed vacation in Puerto Rico--we travel frequently in Central America and the Caribbean, and this property looked like the perfect combination of historic charm and upscale service. We were assigned room 315, on the hotel's third story, and found the bed comfortable, the bathroom small but adequate (good Aveda amenities, too!), and the little seating area with a table and two chairs a nice place to have coffee in the morning. We enjoyed the free hot coffee, tea, and bottled water, liked the manager's reception, and had a nice lunch at El Picoteco (the hotel's tapas restaurant) on a day when rain poured so hard that leaving the hotel really wasn't an option (street drainage in a city that old is, not surprisingly, a little lacking). But all these good memories, unfortunately, are overshadowed by the fact that someone from the hotel's staff came into our room, in our absence, and stole my partner's cell phone from where it sat on the desk just inside the secondary door to the room (each room has a little hallway which leads to the bedroom), along with a small amount of money also sitting on the desk. How do I know it was a hotel person? Well, there were two keys to the room, and they were with us at all times, and secondly, this theft occurred the same night that I had answered the door to refuse turndown service before we headed out to dinner. When we left, the people doing the turndown service were a few doors down and clearly watched us leave (as in, I saw them looking at us as we walked away). We came back around 10 and went to sleep, and thus did not realize the theft had occurred until the next morning (when we noticed the phone charger was still plugged into the wall but, um, not connected to a phone, and that the couple of dollars we'd set aside for the maids was also missing). After tearing the room apart to make sure that the phone hadn't fallen behind something, or gotten tossed in a bag of ours, we contacted the front desk immediately, and the man working said he'd look into it with housekeeping, but when we got in touch with him three hours later he told us he was still checking on the situation. What was there to check out? Someone ON THE STAFF CAME INTO OUR ROOM AND STOLE OUR PHONE. In my opinion, the issue should've ended there with them filing an incident report and compensating us for our stay (you think it's excessive to ask the hotel to cover a two-night stay because one of its own employees is a thief?) And unfortunately, tracking down the thief was made impossible by the fact that a) the hotel has NO video surveillance in its corridors (and yes, I understand that the hotel is extremely old, but I think that's taking an unnecessary risk--what if someone fell in a hallway, or was assaulted by someone? It'd be his/her word against the hotel's!) and b) uses actual keys for their rooms, rather than the digital cardkeys more modern places use (which leave digital records when they're used so that entry/exits from rooms can be tracked if necessary). The front desk guy said he would fill out an incident report, and asked us if we wanted to file a police report too. I said that since it was a theft, we might as well, and he explicitly said that he would take care of both. So we left with no resolution, just a promise on their end to look into the situation (which included calling the place where we'd had dinner the night before to make sure we hadn't left it there--in case we were mistaken, I guess). We went on to our next hotel (we stayed at a total of four hotels on this trip, and this--the most upscale of them all!--is the only one where we had a problem), and heard nothing from them for two days. Then, on the fourth day, WE called THEM and were given a little bit of a runaround on the phone (the manager was not at the desk, but would return in an hour or so and give us a call back; three hours later we called back (incurring charges for all these calls, of course!) and reached one of the receptionists/front desk people--a sweet and helpful girl, but utterly powerless to do anything--who said that the manager had left for the night but that someone would call us tomorrow about it), so on the fifth day of our vacation, we spoke to Soledad, reexplaining the situation AGAIN, and she told us that all she could do was to get in touch with the hotel's insurance company and send us paperwork to fill out so we might be reimbursed for the value of the phone. She also told us that we'd been misinformed by the first man we spoke to at the hotel, and that it was impossible for them file a police report on our behalf--we'd have to be present to do so. We felt that this was completely unacceptable--the insurance paperwork would take several weeks at least to be processed, she said, and we'd been dealing with this situation for most of our brief vacation and wanted a resolution. Soledad called us back the next day and offered to compensate us for one night's stay at the hotel (as well as for a $99 phone usage charge we'd incurred while calling a COLLECT number at El Convento, believe it or not). We were exhausted at this point and accepted the offer so that we could finally stop thinking about it and enjoy the last day of our vacation. Overall, my impression is that the hotel is a great property with nice amenities, but in light of its internal security issues I cannot comfortably recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank christianneanastasia
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 Family Hotel in San Juan
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#1 Business Hotel in San Juan
#2 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
Price Range: $204 - $598 (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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