The staff overall were very nice here. The open lobby is very nice and relaxing. We didn't spend much time at the beach or pool but it seemed nice, and like they had lots of options for sun-worshippers: I think at least two pools, a real beach with sand, another area where you could lay out in a sort of peninsula that extends out into the water with lounge chairs, some beach beds with curtains, etc.
There was also another nice area, small but very lush and tropical feeling, with dense trees and geese, a swan, some peacocks, and I think a rooster or two.
My sense (at least during my visit in December) was that a whole section of the hotel seems to be not in use. From our room which overlooked the roof of the hotel's conference rooms/function halls and the ocean beyond, we could see another attached building (it had the old looking Caribe Hilton sign on it), and that building appeared to be entirely unoccupied. Sort of strange as to why it was so empty seeming....
Since our package inlcuded complimentary continental breakfast at the restaurant (I think it had an Italian name?) near the stairs in the main lobby, we partook of that most days. It was fine...nothing extraordinary but it did the trick. Most days we found available muffins, english muffins, wheat bread (though soft, not very hearty), jams and peanut butter, oatmeal (but sorta liquidy at that), and usually some kind of cut fruit (pineapple or cantaloupe) and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. They also had a coffee machine which made pretty good cappucino. There was another section in the buffet that I think offered scrambled eggs and some other items, but that was not part of the continental breakfast plan and we'd have to pay more if we wanted that.
As for our room, it was fine. Nothing extraordinary (but then I don't find your average hotel room anything special anyway...). There was quite a bit of humidity when we were there and some nights it was downright uncomfortable to sleep but if we turned on the A/C that seemed to help. Even still, the sheets and our clothing did end up feeling/smelling a bit damp. (It seems to me that dehumidifiers should be in order in such climates, but I suppose the people who live there are used to all the humidity....?)
There's a Starbucks in the lobby which is nice for those of us looking for something familiar.
One night we ate at the hotel's Lemongrass restaurant, a sort of pan-Asian restaurant I guess you could say. It is located near the lush, tropical area I previously mentioned, so when you first enter, you could almost imagine you were in Thailand or something. The restaurant has indoor seating as well as outdoor seating where you can feel you are part of the tropical forest.
As for the food, I was not so impressed and thought it was quite expensive all things considered. My friend got a tuna appetizer....I think it was raw tuna on little cracker things. The tuna was more or less a pink/shrimp color, NOT a color I'd expect to see for raw tuna?! The taste was very bland. My friend also got a sushi dish that was very bland as well. I got the salmon with a wasabi crust which was actually quite good. But overall I think this place is grossly overpriced.
Also, just in case the hotel is interested in noting this, the hostess that night seemed very out of place. She was wearing like a leather jacket, a white hoodie, and dark jeans. It just didn't go at all for an asian restaurant in Puerto Rico. Also, we were sitting on the outside veranda somewhat near to the body of water/pool. We could smell a sort of dank/musty odor there.
As for the overall area of this hotel, you can walk to other parts of Condado (though it is a bit of a walk and requires walking over a bridge that is currently still under construction). There is a bus stop nearby where you can catch a bus to Old San Juan. There is also a park just across from the hotel where we were fortunate enough to catch an outdoor fair with some free live salsa music (but I'm not sure how often events like this might occur there). Other than that, there didn't seem to be much for tourists to see or do in the general area of the hotel. It didnt' seem conducive to going for a nice leisurely walk at night.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the Fitness Center. It was quite nice, and more comprehensive than many other hotel gyms I've seen. They probably had over 20 machines, free weights, balls, and yoga mats. There is also a spa attached where one can get beauty services, massages etc. This spa also has a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna but (much to my surprise) hotel guests must pay $25 just to use these things. I would have expected these things to be free to all hotel guests.
All in all, I'd say this was a pretty good hotel. There's also a Morton's (steak house) here, and I think an Italian restaurant, but we didn't try either of those....
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Caribe Hilton, the ultimate beachfront hotel in San Juan, is set on an exclusive peninsula made up of 17 acres of lush tropical gardens. This Puerto Rico Hilton is ideally situated between historic old San Juan and the exciting Condado area, offering a secluded beach, lavish accommodations and amenities tailored to families, couples and business travelers alike. This San Juan hotel is just a 15-minute drive from Luis Munoz Marin Airport and the closest resort to Old San Juan area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Caribe Hilton San Juan Hotel San Juan
- Hilton Hotel San Juan
- Hilton Hotel Caribe
- Hilton San Juan
- San Juan Caribe Hilton Hotel