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Reviewed December 15, 2007

i stayed in the San Juan Maarriott resort in Dec 07. I have to say that the hotel itself is great, the staff is very helpful and nice and the property is well kept. On the flipside being our first time in puerto rico ( me & my girlfriend NYC yuppies in mid 20s) there are a couple of things that are were new to me. Anyways, to summarize:

The Good:
* nice property, friendly staff
* located prettly close to old San Juan (12 USD cab ride)

The So - So:
* the beach is not so nice. very small, has a couple of moldy in construction buildings around
* the hotel is located in the Condado area of San Juan which is basically a residential area for rich old people there (hence no bars, etc, etc)

What we did not like:
* there are basically no restaurants / bars / terraces in the area that one can go to and have a well priced meal and hang out with a good crowd
* the hotel has 3 restaurants - 2 are good but quite expensive. the third is bad (how can you mess up a burger and still charge 14 bucks for it???)
* there is no miami type beach area (beach is very small with some residential buildings next to it)
* if you are in your 20s or 30s and wanna have fun this is not a place for you (no bars - the hotel has one but it's only a 50 and above crowd there....)
* it is very pricey there....if you think you are in the cheap part of the carribean....think again...

hope this helps for any future takers. as a general comment on puerto rico that has nothing to do with marriott me & my girfriend were quite surprised that everybody seemed to have an attitude there - what i mean by that is the "you need to be thankful that i do this for you although this is my job" attitude (again the Marriott staff was very nice and no complaints there) but this is quite different from the other experiences we had in Mexico or Dominican Republic for example.

  • Stayed: December 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
12  Thank NYC_yuppie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2007

Just got back from a stay here. Unfortunately the weather was horrid most of the time. Subtropical storm Olga kicked up as soon as I arrived and ruined two days of my stay, and made the next two only tolerable weather wise. It was finally nice when I left. Ha!

The hotel is older, but newly renovated. Everything inside is nicely decorated, including some nice holiday arrangements. It was very clean in all areas.

There are two restaurants, one casual (La Vista), one slightly more formal ( Tuscany's). The food was good, the service very nice. There was a good lunch buffet at La Vista with excellent dessert. They weren't too pricey either, for a hotel. But they weren't really local cuisine. I ate there mostly when convenient as the weather kept me in at times. There are also several small venues for coffee and sandwiches. There is also a Asian noodle bar in the casino which is pretty good.

The casino is decent, there are a couple BlackJack tables, some 3 card poker and Texas Hold'em games that go on. Of course many slot machines are there as well.

I didn't get to use the Spa services, but the Fitness center was pretty good, fairly well equipped with modern machines.

The room I had was pretty small but very nice. It had a fantastic King sized bed, a nice 32 inch LG Flat screen, and all the typical amenities including Internet access. The balcony was nice and large. Everything was clean and daily cleaning service was prompt and well done.

The pool was beautiful, but very shallow. It was more form than function. For some odd reason, the whirlpool was only for use up to 6pm, which is when I believe they turned off the heat. This seems silly, the best time to use the whirlpool is at night.

The beach was right off the pool, but only marginal. Scenery wise there are several hotels around that look like they may collapse at any moment and there was construction next door. This hotel is in the city, don't expect a beautiful remote tropical beach. So with that said, the sand and water are nice, no seaweed or rocks, no jellyfish when I was around.

The surf is DANGEROUS and UNGUARDED. The red flag was up the entire time. But if you are careful ( adult ) and a good swimmer in shape, the waves can be a blast.

Condado is OK, but I would not really bother exploring it much given the Old San Juan is minutes away. Old San Juan is a fantastic old city with much to explore. Great shopping, restaurants, clubs, and history. It is great fun to just walk around it.

I would recommend this hotel as a base, Puerto Rico has a ton to do, so I would just use this place as place to relax after exploring the island. Unfortunately for me, I could only do that a couple days.

Liked: Service in all aspects, room ( bed, tv, balcony), beach access, pool, lunch buffet
Disliked: Condado, beach aesthetics, whirlpool hours

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank SilentSeeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2007

Stayed at the Resort Dec. 8th-12th. Unfortunately the weather was horrible. They were having a sub tropical storm Olga. We got one day of sun. We were there for a business trip so it wasn't as bad as if we had to pay for everything ourselves AND have bad weather.
Hotel: The hotel is nice 20 something floors high. The lobby is huge with a large bar in the center. The casino is off of the lobby. Check in was a breeze however we were there early 1:30 and check in is at 4pm so our room wasn't ready. They had it ready by three however. Our room was neat and clean sort of on the small side for an ocean view room but it was fine for two. THe bathroom was very tiny for a resort hotel but quite fancy with marble top and large tiled bath tub.
The food at the hotel in my opinion is limited. Let me explain.
Food: Arriving we sat at the lobby bar waiting until our room was ready. There was a small menu scattered on the bar and in leather books on surrounding tables. It listed mostly Japanese/Tai appetizers like Satay Beef, Wonton soup etc. THere were also american meals such as buffalo chicken fingers, a Turkey club ad a few other things. We went to order and the bar attendant said that menu is for after 6pm. It said this no where on the menu. I think he could see our disappointment so he did some asking around and agreed to place our order. The food was fine. We ate at La Vista for lunch one day and had burgers they were fine as well. THe italian restaurant Tuscany had many seafood dishes and very few typical italian dishes Chicken Parm and Fetuchini alfredo were the only basic two I recognized. The items were very expensive. We did not eat there because of this. The hotel has an executive lounge available to elite members I believe. We are Marriott rewards members so we had access. It was the hi-light of the trip. Continental breakfast each morning, H'ordervs from 5:30 -7:30 and deserts from 7:30-9:30 the food here seemed a bit fancier than in La Vista or the bar food we ordered. All the food from the lounged was included in our room price.
Pool Area: The pool area seemed nice. We only sat by it one day. It was very windy so we only stayed two hours. Drinks by the pool are not served until around 11am or so. We did not try the drinks.
Over all if I had to go back to San Juan for business I would stay there again. No major gripes except for the weather. I do have to say though for a Marriott Resort I really didn't get that "Luxury" feeling as I have at say the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

Stayed: December 2007
5  Thank littlemeshe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2007

My review of this hotel will be positive in all areas, but I thought it was important to start with-------------
MUST READ ADVICE:
If you're staying at this hotel with children, you can't let them swim in the beach! No lifeguard on duty, large rocks close to the hotel perimeter and a very dangerous under-toe are all reasons to keep your children by the beautiful pool. We found out that there are numerous deaths at the beach each year, so its something you have to be strict with your children about.

Beach:
The beach is beautiful and throughout the week its very private. Nice waves all year round if you're into surfing or boogie boarding. High water temperatures and a sparkling blue color make it very pleasent. If you're not a strong swimmer you can still enjoy the beach because the waves don't crash directly on the sand...you have 10 feet of calm water to enjoy; (again, i just wouldn't trust any children to stay within the calm waters unless you're with them). As soon as you walk onto the sand the cabana boys set out your beach chairs wherever you want to lay out and once in a while waiters will come on to the beach at your service. Extremely relaxing place to lay out with great views in multiple directions. The beach bar is a great place to have a drink and even watch the games and the bar tender there is superb!

Pool:
The pool area has its own bar and even a slide. The sun doesn't hit the entire pool area, so you might have to move around a bit as the sun moves around the hotel, but there are more than enough chairs to find a good spot. With views of the ocean, there's just nothing not to like about the pool area.

Lobby/Casino/dance floor:
This is what seperates this hotel from any other in the Condado area. The casino is a decent size and its open 24 hrs. The lobby has a great bar which seemed like it was 24 hrs as well. Also, there is a great band that plays Latin music at night. Ther were always people on the dance floor, and during weekends you'll see some locals dancing at a near professional level. Lots of fun late into the night!

Food:
The hotel makes the best Pina Colada you will ever have. Make sure you try it with and without alcohol. You also won't find a better mojito. Seriously, the pina coladas and the mojitos in the hotel are a trip highlight!!! The pool bar, beach bar, and lobby bar all make these drinks the same way, so you can get them any time.
The restaurants at the hotel are high quality as is the food on the room service menu, BUT, the prices are high and you can do better just outside of the hotel. I'll elaborate on this more in a bit, but I guess it makes sense to dine in the hotel for that one or two times a trip when you really don't feel like walking a few blocks.

Rooms:
The rumor is that the hotels upgrade your view for fairly cheap...You're shelling out nice money to go to the Caribbean; Go the extra mile and get the ocean view!!! I enjoyed sitting on the balcony for about an hour each day and you will too. The room itself was very high quality. Nice beds, nice flat screen TV, nice bathroom, nice decor...The room was perfect!

Service:
Top notch in all areas. I hate when people leave their one bad service experience in these boards...pay no attention, the staff knows exactly how to serve its guests! I was continually surprised at just how willing they were to pamper their guests.

Surrounding area:
The biggest pleasent surprise for me about my trip was Ashford ave. (the street the hotel is on). Walking directly outside of the hotel you have everything you could ever want. Bars, dozens of great restaurants, internet cafe, starbucks, food markets, fast food chains, puerto rican food stands, great clothing stores, gift shops, more casinos etc. etc. etc. Do yourself a favor and take a few walks in both directions on Ashford; its really a classy street!
-There's a restaurant open 24 hrs called STAR a block or so down from the hotel (make a right out of the hotel). Full bar (with great margaritas) and tasty authentic Puerto Rican food with outdoor seating. Great for breakfast, lunch or a 2 AM snack!
Walk 5 blocks down from there to find two great restaurants for dinner: WAIKIKI and ROPA VIEJA. Both have a good bar, good food and outdoor seating facing the ocean!!! There's a Japanese Hibachi place almost touching the hotel called Cherry Blossom. Its no better than other hibachi places you'd find, but its a nice place with good food and its so close to the hotel that you might as well go. We had a good dinner there.
Everyone loves to give tips on where to eat on Ashford, but the truth is you really can't go wrong with anything there.

Tours:
I think its imperative to either do a tour of the rainforest or to do a boat tour of some of the near-by islands. We took the Caterman tour (booked it right in the hotel). They take you on a nice boat to a beautiful beach and they bring you to a great place to snorkel. Its really a nice day for 90$ a person including food and even drinks! It was worth the money. Next time we're going to do the rainforest tour; we heard good things.

$$ saving tips:
-Old San Juan- they do tours in old San Juan...Save the $40 per person...Just take a $12 cab ride in and explore the area yourself. You'd probably find this to be more enjoyable anyway (Its not a museum; its just an interesting little city and you don't need a tour gide to enjoy it!!!)
-The rooms have a refrigerator...Do yourself a favor and load up on drinks, fruit, snacks, water, even alcohol at the nearby food markets, walgreens, or liquor stores.
-Don't eat more than once in the hotel...better food cheaper within 2 blocks of the hotel. + eat lunch cheap at some of the little in-door food stands.
-don't rent a car....its just not necessary...the airport is a $15 cab ride and everything else is in walking distance other than the rain forests, which you should do with a cheap tour anyway!!!

It was hard to find a good review (no offense to others) when i was thinking about booking this trip. Looking back I can't believe i let some of the other reviews make me hesitate on booking the trip, because we had a blast and it was pretty reasonable. For this reason, I tried to put down exactly what I wish I had been able to find (an honest, realistic, and thorough review)...so i hope it was helpful..Enjoy your trip!
any other ?'s, you can email me at marcs12@yahoo.com

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
40  Thank Marcs12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2007

I can't say enough about this hotel and I am PICKY PICKY PICKY! I use to manage a hotel so I notice don't accept so so service or accomodations.
We had a 15th floor corner ocean room with a balcony facing the pool and one facing the ocean. The balconies wrapped around the ENTIRE room! Worth EVERY PENNY! The beds are very comfy! There is a fridge in the room with bottled water left every day.
There was also an executive club offering breakfast, pop, juice, water, fruit, cheese and hor dourves with happy hour each day on the 21st floor with an amazing view of the city. This is not offered to every room so ask in advance.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. Concierge goes the extra mile to assist you. The doormen and taxi driviers have no idea where you are going so have directions and name of where you are going in hand ahead of time.
Everything you need is at your doorstep. Starbucks, restaurants, shopping, drugstores, Old San Juan, airport, and Charles Car rental will come to the hotel and pick you up. You don't need a car as taxis are quite affordable but if you want to explore the island or go to El Yunque a car is your best option.
The beach is clean and has a boardwalk near you. The wait staff brings drinks right to the beach and even though they are a bit pricey, you get your monies worth! Very yummy and very potent!
The gym has up to date equipment with great locker rooms and sauna. The massage was out of this world!
We ate at La Vista for the Thanksgiving Buffet and again outstanding.
I highly recommend a restaurant called Pamela's. I have been there in 2005 and now in 2007. One of the best restaurants I have been to with not the highest pricetag! Many awards on the wall. It is a short taxi ride there from the hotel.
Also Carli's Concierto Cafe in Old San Juan has great service and live jazz perfomed by one of the origianl Beach Boys!
There is live music in the lobby and dancing.
Did a boat excursion with East Wind Tours that was amazing. You must see the secluded islands, breathtaking!
Didn't gamble but the casino looked nice and full of people.
The only suggestion I have for the hotel is to have room service 24 hours and offer appetizers and maybe extend the hours of the pool area to just be able to sit down in that area and enjoy the outdoors. They close it off at 11. Also the bellmen need a computer outside to locate where you are going to. I would also start the service at the pool at 11 as opposed to 12 for the menu and drinks.

Other than that this hotel gets FIVE STARS in my opinion. It is very hard to get what this hotel offers in the Carribean. I have been to many and this is the first hotel that has delivered what they advertise! Good Job Marriot Stellaris! You should all be very proud!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
17  Thank pbennetts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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