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“great place”
Review of Hotel El Convento

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Hotel El Convento
Ranked #2 of 48 Hotels in San Juan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 14, 2010

My wife and I stayed here for 2 of our 4 days anniversary trip to Puerto Rico. We truly enjoyed our stay. We appear to have received a good deal on our rate during the poor economy. If you want new and ultra-luxurious, I would not recommend staying here. However, if you enjoy character and personality, do stay here. The room was large and had the two door for sound. The bed was very comfortable. It was pouring when we arrived and we still needed to eat lunch. We received recommendations from the front desk and the bellman provided us with a large hotel umbrella for our walk. The cocktail hour was fantastic. On top of being free, the servers took time to explain the various cheeses and recommend pairings. In addition, the cocktail hour provided a perfect forum to met and chat with other visitors. We didn't use the pool at all. Instead, one afternoon we went to La Concha (i think is the sister hotel name) where I gambled and my wife sat by the pool. The lack of pool and beach was no big deal to us, because we had just come from staying outside of San Juan on the beach, but that is something to keep in mind if you are only staying at El Convento. It is certainly a swank trendy hotel if that is what you are about. Keep in mind that walking in Old San Juan is no small chore.
All small concerns aside, it was exactly what my wife and I were looking.

Likes:
the character and beauty
service
general personality (both hotel and guests)
location

Dislike:
had to pay for cab to use the sister resort pool and beach. they should provide a free shuttle.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wacoraised
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,227 - 2,233 of 2,785 reviews

Reviewed January 9, 2010

Most everything about this hotel is fantastic: the location in the historic center of the city; the rooms (even the small ones are spacious enough); the interior courtyard; the history; the a.m. coffee; and so forth. We really loved this place.

The service was odd. The staff was very nice, but never seemed to deliver. Information was incorrect; promised services didn't happen. One would be wiser to consult guidebooks than to ask the staff -- with one exception: the walking tour guide, Sr. David, was great.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank SurfJogger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2010

We actually never made it to the hotel and were still charged almost $400. I had spoken with a couple of hotel representatives regarding our situation and found them most uncooperative. They were not rude and I found them to be pleasant and nice, but they would not budge and were inflexible (but, in a nice way). I want to be fair about the review and their staff and I think the staff is very nice. It's just an unfortunate situation. My mother grew up only a few miles from the hotel and was very excited about my husband & I staying there for our honeymoon. But, we were scheduled to arrive only a day after the petroleum explosions had occurred across the bay. It's a shame because we would have loved to visit the hotel.

I have severe, chronic asthma and was advised by my doctor to not travel to San Juan at this time as the fumes & particulates in the air would jeopardize my health and I didn't want to spend my honeymoon in the hospital. My doctor was willing to provide any supporting documentation to show that my health could have been severely compromised had I traveled at this time as we were not able to cancel within the allotted time frame of 3 days.

Unfortunately, El Convento would not work with us to either refund the 1-night penalty of ~$400 or, at least, apply it to a future visit. I understand that they have a policy in place, but it was such an unusual circumstance that it would have been nice if they had made an exception considering the circumstances at that time. We booked the reservation with American Express which did try to dispute the charge with supporting documentation from us, but even AMEX was unsuccessful.

To date, my husband & I have not had a honeymoon and hope to take one this year, but to lose ~$400 has not helped our budget. It's just an unfortunate situation.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank whereigo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2010

We stayed two nights at El Convento post-cruise and we found it to be overwhelmingly beautiful with a great staff and in such a convenient location to everything in Old San Juan. We had two connecting rooms, 509 and 510 which worked beautifully for my family. The courtyard is so romantic, and it was such a treat to take a break up on the rooftop where the kids could take a dip and I could relax and enjoy the stunning view. The manager's reception was a great bonus, we were able to enjoy complementary water, wine and cheese and crackers before going out to dinner. There were also bottles of complementary water in our rooms and free coffee, too. We dined one evening at the El Picoteo restaurant where we enjoyed tapas outdoors with a really good white sangria and a delicious creme brulee dessert. There is a coffee kiosk in the Plaza de Armas a block away where you can get a great cup of coffee and pastries for a very nice price. The hotel allows access at its two sister hotels' beaches if you desire, we had stayed at one of these hotels, the Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde, before the cruise and recommend it for an afternoon at the beach if you use this service. This hotel is heavenly and I am so glad we had a chance to stay here.

Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
Thank FreidaMn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2009

I just organized a trip including 16 others and we chose to stay in el Convento for four nights. It is in a perfect location in Old San Juan... walking distance to El Morro, La Fortaleza, shopping, dining, bars, etc. The manager's wine reception from 6PM to 7PM is awesome. They cart out tons of bottles of wine and nice cheese and crackers. We'd always meet up there on the verandah before leaving for dinner leaving with a few nice glasses of Spanish wine in our bellys. Not too bad. The rooms were smaller per se, but fine. The balcony views were awesome. The plunge pool was warm and sunny, but small. Close by I would recommend eating at Raices and el Jibarito. We had a blast singing karaoke at Lupi's as well, but the food there (Mexican) was so-so at best. You can also visit the sister properties. We went to the Marriott at Isla Verde. Nice to hang at the beach, but glad we didn't stay there with the airport being right on top of us! Also, the beaches at El Condado were not as nice. VERY glad we stayed in Old San Juan and at El Convento while in San Juan.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ChatoAguilar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2009

If you are going to Puerto Rico and don't intend to just hang on the beach each day, I highly recommend Old San Juan - it's a mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and friendly, clean and hospitable - a joy to discover.

If you are going to Old San Juan, I highly recommend El Convento in the heart of Old San Juan. The hotel fits nicely into the traditional looking town. The furnishings, exceptionally friendly and helpful staff, great food, open air restaurant in the courtyard, wine and cheese parties on the roof, and more make it one of the truly exceptional hotels in the world. I believe that I speak with some authority having traveled extensively to Central America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S., and having had the privilege of staying in top hotels (and some that claimed to be).

And by the way, if you want beach, you can always use their sister hotel that sits right on the beach.

El Convento will leave you relaxed and happy.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank moretripsneeded
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2009

My 16 yr old daughter and I visited early in December.
We were pleasantly surprised that this was also the SoFo Food festival in Old San Juan. There were over 30 restaurants who set up outdoor bars, food samplings and bands. Lots of fun mingling in the streets and trying different local cuisine choices.
We loved El Convento. Explore the hotel and some of the small terraces. We were always the only ones there and great for grabbing some quiet time with a book.
Our best find however, by far, was the creme brulee at the Tapas Bar in hotel. A must try!
This is the only place to stay in San Juan in my opinion!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank natreb
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: $240 - $569 (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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