The minute I went through the front gate of the Gallery Inn, I was delighted the El Convento had been totally booked. I felt as though I had entered a magical realm. Trees, fountains, bushes, sculptures everywhere and a macaw calling out ola.
My husband and I stayed there for 4 nights and we never tired of wandering every inch of the inn. Unlike most “winter tourists” we did not come particularly for the beaches but for the culture and history and people. So talking to Jan D’Esopo, the owner and her sister Tessa, both artists, we felt drawn in to a personal world.
Every nook and cranny of the inn is filled with art, much of it Jan’s. It is her home, her gallery and her inn. A well-noted painter and sculptor, she shares it all. Our Christmas Eve afternoon was highlighted with a string quartet playing in the terraced garden. Christmas Eve dinner in the artistically, baroque dinner room was accompanied the entire time by an amazing classical guitarist.
Our room up two short flights of stairs (hey, it’s an inn not Trump Towers) was moderate sized on the inside with an enormous terrace, including hot tub, and a 180 degree view of the Atlantic Ocean on the outside. It was clean, maintained, and air-conditioned.
The staff was helpful and friendly. A continental breakfast was even more enjoyable in the botanically abundant terrace garden. Cooked breakfasts are prepared upon request, in an open kitchen off the garden by a smiling chef.
My husband and I suffered none of the offenses mentioned in other reviews. I accept the mustiness because I treasure the history and experience more. It is, after all a hot, humid, rainy, Caribbean island. No, you can’t do laps in the salt-water pool but you can totally relax and experience such a special, personal décor, not to be found elsewhere. There is no way I would trade our stay at The Gallery in for any of the cookie cutter luxe hotels. Nowhere have I ever had an oil painting hanging in a clothes closet. I cannot wait to go back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This sprawling 22-room ocean-view boutique hotel features lush gardens, tree-shaded patios and secluded and private nooks at every turn. The Wine Deck offers breath-taking, panoramic views from the highest point in Old San Juan. The newly completed sculpture waterfall pool meanders through ancient brick passageways, past fragrant gardenias. Six active art studios and world-class piano recitals are all open to our guests. Unique, elegant and exotic: the Old World charm of The Gallery Inn. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Gallery Hotel San Juan