I was almost turned off this hotel by some of the negative reviews. I found myself arriving ready to be negative and was pleasantly surprised. The $21 less than 15 minute cab ride from the airport (posted as $19 but a "family rate" is $21) I thought here we go getting nickel and dimed already. We arrived to the hotel where at checkin we were told about the 16% fee. (we already knew about it, most of the decant hotels have it in some form) I really wish they just upped the room rate rather than this “amenities” fee. What next extra for the sheets and credit card deposit for pillows.
I was traveling with wife and 2 kids 6 & 7. Our room on the 4th floor had a very nice view of a rooftop so we asked to be moved to a higher floor. coming from NYC rooftop view for the weekend is a no no. We were asked to go back downstairs which we did bags and baggage and they put us on the 8th floor which had a beautiful view of the rough ocean and one of the historic watch towers was part of our view. The balcony is narrow but enough to fit table and chairs. The beach at first glance looks small and man made but it is nicely sheltered and the water is warmer than the pools. Saturday we quite happily spent most of the day on the beach - and got nice red sunburns to prove it- even though it was somewhat overcast. Toys were supplied by the hotel and the kids got a kick out of the oversized chess/ checkers, dominos and connect 4. We missed the hula hoop contest on Sat.
Fri. night the concierge advised going to Plaza Colon in Old San Juan and recommend a number of restaurants to us. We also asked the cab driver for advice he recommended cafe Puerto Rico on the Sq. there was quite a wait which with tiring kids we couldn’t do but the “mater D” asked where we were going to eat when we said Balys he said it would be fine but La Madre would be better. One block away we found La Madre and thoroughly enjoyed it, great food, really nice staff and priced for the area.
Breakfast: Palmers restaurant in the Caribe Hilton is more expensive for breakfast but its worth it, nice open view of the ocean as you sip nice PR coffee. with wide buffet choice. The other restaurant is nice, but its enclosed. We didn’t eat at Mortons Steakhouse or Lemongrass on site.
Cab rides to Old San Juan cost from $12 - $15 which seems to be at the drivers discretion. Its a ten min drive (i assumed that included tip and got no complaint). other reviews had said use cash which I did for all cab rides. FYI No stores likes seeing anything over a $20 bill. My wife speaks Spanish but everyone speaks English anyway - think Rickey Martin- thats how the majority speak.
the furthest we went on our short weekend break was El Morro which is one of the watchtowers with a lighthouse. Locals fly kites there... a lot. We walked from there to the walled Fort which is worth the $3 entry - kids free- to see the view.
Sat night the Hotel concierge recommended Barrachina which is in the heart of Old San Juan, It claims to be the founding location of the Pina Colada the concierge gave us a ticket for a free taste, (it tasted like more) and has a flamenco dance show which is nice. food was just ok. reservations are required for the Fri. and Sat night Taxis are recommended. We came across only nice people very willing to help out.
We ate at Metropol ($25 cab ride) family cuban/ P.R food with no frills and we felt just a bit rushed. We walked over to the intercontinental Hotel after dinner which looks great. nice beach but no loud crashing waves like CH.
Marmalade is a highly recommended eatery but was booked and we were told not for kids. Pamela's the only beach food spot we were told had mixed reviews recently.
- 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