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“Black Swans” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Caribe Hilton San Juan

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Caribe Hilton San Juan
Ranked #19 of 46 Hotels in San Juan
GreenLeadersSilver level
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
211 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Black Swans”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2014

Two of them are in residence, along with two mute swans (the pretty ones), a Bantam Rooster, an astounding male turkey (and mate), and many other birds outside and three inside.

After you read this, you will wonder why 4 stars? The beach and pool areas are spectacular, the location is great, the view is lovely, there are two good places to eat, and the massages were excellent. And, of course, the bids. So, despite many issues, it was great, a good value since I got it for a modest number of points as a Diamond member. (By the way Diamond members, there is no Executive Lounge and the amenities consist of a truly lousy continental breakfast.) The place is more expensive than the Condado Hilton nearby probably because that has no private beach and is a large casino.

Watch out for check in during peak times. The hotel seems to be primarily a business convention place, with groups bussed in, and the Gold/Diamond check in line (the only one) can have 50 people in it. Apparently, it is also used for pre-cruise stays with busloads of older pre-cruise people in and out occasion. It can take a while to check in or out.

My room was small by current standards but acceptable except for the sliding bathroom door which seemed to move on its own (open or close) and did not offer more privacy than a shower stall.

Watch out for noise if it bothers you. Even numbered rooms in the main building face an incredibly noisy fan that runs most of the time - white noise, but it was annoying white noise. I would have opened the sliding door for fresh air, but there is no screen and the noise was too much to take, so lovely tropical breezes were wasted. My room (528) across from the elevator had a lot of elevator noise in the bathroom. It was generally drowned out by the fan outside in the bedroom, but the elevator noise became a real problem the few times the fan shut down.

The AC unit in my room had not been serviced in a long time and was spewing out mold. It seems they wait until they get a complaint, because the maintenance guy came prepared for a thorough cleaning.

The beach is great - the best I have seen for a hotel beach. Private, small, clean, and with sheltered swimming due to a breakwater. The palm trees are great, and the hammocks as good as they get. There are two very small scenic forts, one of which you can visit.

As for hotel food, there are only two places I recommend, Morton's (yes, the American Steak House chain) and Lemongrass, an indoor/outdoor place near the birds. Lemongrass has excellent food and service, and makes at least one very interesting and unique drink. Morton's food and service are as good as anywhere, but other than the bar it's décor is sadly lacking. The manager is exceptionally friendly and helpful, while the maître de was not either one, and the receptionist was more interested in the internet than in being helpful. Go for the happy hours specials at Morton's - the only moderately priced food and drinks in the hotel worth eating.

The Italian place is so overpriced, most people order the mediocre pizza. (They serve a truly bad continental breakfast there, so if your room says breakfast included, go to the other place and get a good buffet breakfast for $10 more.) The food in the Pina Colada was very poor - how do you ruin Puerto Rican deep fat fried chicken (no batter) - it was noisy and it was expensive - we should have walked out like the next couple. By the way, the PR chicken was great at the pool bar - not greasy at all since the skin cooked off, very moist and tasty.

For more food choices, walk to Condado and eat on the beach (less than a mile) or any of several chain restaurants (mostly higher end) or there is a Sizzler about 1/3 mile away. The place we found was a much better value!

The help/travel/concierge desk was especially helpful.

The location is now a little out of the way, since most hotels are on Condado and the Sheraton is at the convention center, each less than a mile away. The famous Normandie Hotel next door closed for the third or fourth time a couple of years ago, and is awaiting another renovation - it is not totally derelict, but really run down locked up. The rest of the nearby buildings are empty new condos and office buildings. But, the hotel is very convenient to Old San Juan - you could literally walk it if you want - which I recommend since walk is really nice and Old San Juan has been largely renovated and now serves not as a real place to live, but as apartments, some for rent, some not.

The woman at the Hertz counter was the worst representative of a car rental company I have seen in more than 35 years. She absolutely refused to take a reservation, saying something vague like I am not sure when we will have a car for you, even though I went to my room and found several could be reserved on line. She insisted we had to go across the street to a little hole in the wall rental - it must be owned by a close relative, since she was obviously directing business away from Hertz to him.

Avis at the Sheraton Convention Center about a mile away was a piece of work as well. Two guys ahead of me reserved a car on line and was not told of the large airport drop fee on line. The guy ahead of us reserved his car for drop off at the airport, but the car they had for him could not be dropped at the airport since it belongs to that franchise - they said he would be charged over $150 if he went and dropped it off there anyway. Avis charges quite a lot for road service. They equip their cars with something like EzPass, which is great except they don't tell you of the large daily fee you have to pay them whether or not you use it in addition to the tolls (budget $15-20 a day for the fee and tolls). And be careful about sand in the car - you could get hit with up to a $250 detailing fee for too much sand. After some really nasty scenes with the last two guys, the couple who own and operate the place where very nice to me. Be aware that charges for a car to be returned at the airport are MUCH higher in addition to the drop fee - the hotel franchise is undercutting prices of the airport franchise.

Don't get discouraged by all this - rent a car and drive to the Rain Forest (spectacular), Observatory (amazing) and maybe the caves. The back side (southern entrance) to the Rain Forest is a spectacular drive by itself - it has the same route number but you have to drive around because the road does not go through. Get lost on back roads along the way, and discover a different way of life - but drive very carefully on the narrow roads. The island is wet to the north, and almost a desert to the south, so it is very interesting.

Room Tip: Avoid the main building unless that is the only way to get an ocean view. Avoid even numbered rooms...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Skipper090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
St. Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2014

Great location for our trip to San Juan. Spent a lot of time at the pool and beach! So convenient to have pool and beach access right on site. Also easy cab ride to Old San Juan to sightsee and eat. The balcony in our room was small but perfect for the two of us. Enjoyed eating breakfast out there and such a pretty view. There is a Starbucks on site which was very convenient. Enjoyed the on site restaurants and bars, but a little pricey. My only feedback is while the room was clean, it probably could have been a little cleaner. Overall, we really enjoyed our time at the hotel and would go back.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson T, Manager at Caribe Hilton San Juan, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for staying with us and for your candid feedback of your stay with us. I apologize that we did not meet expectations with regards of our cleanliness. We shared your comments with our housekeeping team to ensure our standards of cleanliness and comfort are consistently met.

we hope you give us another opportunity to serve you.

Nelson Torres, Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, AR, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2014

The beach was still beautiful and the rooms were nice enough,but the service was awful! They didn't clean our room with any regularity, the umbrella & towel service on the beach was lackluster, if you could get any help at all. The fire alarm went off at dawn for no apparent reason and, of course, the food & drink is insanely overpriced for what you receive.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
Thank Mitch J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
30 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014

This was our first trip to Puerto Rico. The Caribe Hilton was referred to us by son. On the surface you could say that the property is in need of a face lift, but, come on it's Puerto Rico. 86 degrees, sun, beach, the historical scenery, the overall beauty of where you are standing. All sins are forgiven. The accommodations were better than good, the staff was attentive and friendly. The only thing that would have made the Hilton more of a complete Puerto Rican experience would be more regional food choices. Two Starbucks on site, an Italian restaurant made things seem very familiar. We would recommend taking a taxi into Old San Juan and experience the culture. We will definitely return.

Room Tip: We stayed on the 15th floor with an ocean side view. Great view if that's what's important...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tony U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson T, Manager at Caribe Hilton San Juan, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hello there! thank you for choosing the Caribe Hilton as your home away from Home in Puerto Rico. we are delighted to hear you enjoyed your vacation. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to your prompt return.

at your service

Nelson Torres, Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

My husband booked this trip to San Juan for our family a month prior to us going and we received a decent rate. It being the Hilton, I expected it all to be top notch. While we enjoyed ourselves immensely, I did feel that the hotel looks like it could use an uplift. In our room there was mold around the a.c. vents and a few holes in the bathroom walls. We had a garden view, which means you are looking at the area with all the birds. If you are a light sleeper they just may wake you with their screeching and what not.

The staff was always pleasant and quick to answer any questions we had and go above and beyond what was expected. Though I will say it would be nice if they told you about all the dining options just over the bridge near their sister hotel!

We will be back, as the kids enjoyed it and so did us grown folk.

Room Tip: If you have a garden view and are a light sleeper, might opt for higher floor, as the birds may scre...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank oneluckyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson T, Manager at Caribe Hilton San Juan, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hello there, thank you for staying with us and for sharing your feedback. We appreciate your loyalty and sincerely hope you and your family visit us again soon.

We look forward to serve you again in the near future.

at your service

Nelson Torres, Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellefonte,PA, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

WE reported loud music coming from outside our room on at 11 PM and were told someone from security would investigate.30 minutes later we were told again that they were looking into it .I went myself at 12:30 to investigate and quickly found a loud wedding reception going on on the first floor. I went to the desk and spoke to the manager on duty to complain and was told there was no noise anywhere in the hotel.I asked the manager to accompany me down the hall about 100 feet to confirm that there was a noise problem and he refused and said "that is not necessary". I then went back to my room after getting no satisfaction. The manager then called and said he found the problem and offered half a night stay credit. I told him that was not satisfactory. He said the noise would be going on till 1:30 in the morning.Upon checkout after getting almost no sleep the girl at the desk refunded a nights stay. instead of half a night. IO think being told he did not know a wedding that was obvious to everybody in the hotel was not going on and lying about it was the unbelievable part of the whole experience. Also the head of security was brought out and also denied there was a problem when it was so obvious and no one would walk down the hall to verify the problem. We were so upset that we did not get any sleep. They also admitted they had other complaints from more rooms than ours.I cannot believe that representatives from the 3M company were not given better service than this and will communicate this treatment to our colleagues. I will also be posting this experience online if I am not given more of a consideration than what was offered especially since you are supposed to offer a !00% guarantee of satisfaction.I know that traveling in many cities and staying in many Hilton Honors properties this would not occur.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
1 Thank Ron D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson T, Manager at Caribe Hilton San Juan, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hello, thank you for choosing the Caribe Hilton for your recent stay. We would like to apologize for the inconveniences you experienced while staying with us. Rest assured that a Manager will contact you to proper follow up upon your experience.

When we fail to meet the expectations of one of our guests, it causes great concern. Your experience was not the indicative one of our high service standards. Again please accept our apologies.

We look forward to have another opportunity to serve you.

Nelson Torres, Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maple Grove, Minnesota
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2014

I have followed the reviews for the Caribe Hilton since booking plane tickets to SJU last fall. I was worried about some of the posts, but we had a perfect experience! We had a king corner suite ocean view (upgraded from garden view) and it fit our family of 5 perfectly. The pullout couch was one of the most comfortable we have encountered in a hotel suite, and the rollaway was a real bed. The suite was clean and there were no signs of mold or a smell as other reviewers noted. The view was spectacular.

Everything mentioned in the reviews about the restaurants is true. At Morton's Happy hour, our family could eat a sizable amount for under 80.00, and it was delicious. The Subway, albeit a little sketchy, (the sign on the market next door says in spanish that they refuse to allow persons of ill repute in!) was a great spot to grab lunch and bring it to the beach. I noticed a sign at Caribe Hilton which said a Quiznos was opening in the resort soon. Starbucks also had good sandwiches and a PR delicacy called "quesitos" for a snack. We went to Old San Juan in a cab one morning (14.00) and only stayed for two hours because we found it more enjoyable and relaxing to eat sandwiches in the pool area. The concierge has a list of pizza delivery place and there is also pizza in the lobby bar.

The activity board near the towel hut has things like "free float hour" or "yoga" listed daily. The beach was clean and the amount of waves/tide was enough to play in as well as snorkel. My daughter counted over 20 varieties of fish. I brought snorkel gear from Target at home and was glad I did because we snorkeled every day for 3 days and it was expensive to rent. I noticed that they sold it in the giftshop for 25.00, which was about what I paid at home, so you could buy it when you arrive as well. We had so much fun at the private beach that we opted to cancel our rainforest tour and stay on site. We had the pool to ourselves each night and I saw it being cleaned each morning. There are animals on site, the kids were thrilled to hear the coqui frogs at night and see the tame iguanas during the day.

I would like to recognize Mildred at the front desk and Mayte via email for arranging the suite for us. We would like to replicate this trip every spring!

Room Tip: The rooms with higher numbers are closer to ocean. The main tower looked newer that the Honors Towe...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wendyc1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson T, Manager at Caribe Hilton San Juan, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for choosing the Caribe Hilton as your “home away from home” during your visit to beautiful Puerto Rico. It was certainly a pleasure to serve you and your family.

We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us. It makes us really happy to hear that your stay was a pleasant one.

We thank you again for staying with us and would be thankful to have the opportunity to serve you again in the near future.

Nelson Torres, Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Caribe Hilton San Juan

Property: Caribe Hilton San Juan
Address: 1 San Geronimo Street, San Juan 00901-2401, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > San Juan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in San Juan
#5 Spa Hotel in San Juan
#6 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan
#9 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
#11 Family Hotel in San Juan
#12 Romantic Hotel in San Juan
#13 Business Hotel in San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Caribe Hilton San Juan 4*
Number of rooms: 652
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

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