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“A fabulous stay”

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Caribe Hilton San Juan
Ranked #20 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
GreenLeadersSilver level
Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A fabulous stay”
Reviewed January 26, 2009

We were a party of seven just a couple weeks ago and stayed for about a week. The Hoel and rooms were spotlessly clean. The employees were obviously well trained, courteous, obliging, very pleasant.

We noticed in particular how they all respected the General manager, a Sr. Campo, who we eventually met since it wasn't difficult. We saw him on the lfoor constantly, day or night. Cannot undrstand when the man rests, he seemed to be all over the place making certain everyone had their questions answered and wishes attended to.

His associates were also most accomodating.

Would recommednd this lovely vacation spot to any and everyone, we will be back

Al Hoffman

P.S Rumor has it their Casino may return

Stayed January 2009
Helpful?
1 Thank Jetzon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Louisville
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2009

I was in San Juan for business and my hotel stay was booked through a corporation. I didn't have a choice of hotel. After reading the reviews on Tripadvisor I was apprehensive but it was O.K. if not great. I will list below the pros and cons of my stay. The negatives are divided into things which didn't really bother me and things that did.

Pros:
1. How bad can sitting on a balcony in 80 degree weather, overlooking the Caribbean be?
2. The staff was friendly if not super efficient. The bartender at the pool really does know how to make a good cocktail.
3. The pool and beach are nice. Not as nice as some other beaches (e.g. Luquillo) I've seen but, again, how bad can 84 degree water in January be?
4. There are some wonderful restaurants relatively nearby. The liquor store across the street is good for most drinks and snacks.
5. The complaints of paying $12 for a cab ride to old San Juan or most locations in San Juan seem silly to me. When is the last time you were able to take a cab for $12 in New York, L.A. or any other big city?

Cons:
Things that might bother some people:
1. I stayed in the Hhonors Towers 18th floor. There is some sort of hallway nearby where carts are being pushed all day and night. This noise didn't bother me as I am a sound sleeper but might bother you.
2. The air conditioner made a loud clunking noise when it cycled on and off. I slept through it.
3. The room decor is a little dated but the room was clean and comfortable.

Things that bothered me:
1. My shower door, I suspect, was installed backwards, requiring me to scrunch up in the corner of the shower against the cold stone wall to get in out out.
2. The toilet had a slow leak in the floor gasket which created a very slow trickle of water. This was easily dealt with by placing a towel at the base of the toilet. I reported this to the front desk and was told someone would be up to take a look. Nobody ever showed up. I did not call back or ask for another room but I shouldn't have to.

If I go back to San Juan I will likely look at and probably stay at a different hotel but if my business sends me back to the Caribe Hilton I will be very happy.

A few restaurants you may like are:
Bonbanera in old SJ on San Francisco street. The locals go there for breakfast. Try the Mallorcas.

Panaderia Espana Reposteria is a great cafe and bakery. Locals eat there. Our cab driver took us there for a late night snack. Great coffee too.

La Fonda del Jibarito 270 Sol St. Old San Juan. I didn't eat here but one of our fellow travelers who is a native of Puerto Rico recommends it highly. It is also reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Likewise a restaurant called Picayo.

I also agree with other members that seeing the old forts is worthwhile. Take the tour at San Cristobal. When you buy tickets for admission you can get a combo ticket for both forts. I recommend seeing both but you have to really like forts to fully enjoy both. You may want to see just one or the other. If you see just one I recommend San Cristobal.

  • Liked — The view of the ocean.
  • Disliked — The bathroom shower.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank concors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2009

I booked this Hotel through Hotwire (4 stars) for about 52% off the listed rate. The grounds and the check-in area are very nice. I was upgraded to one of the villa rooms with a view of Condado and the ocean. The room was very nice with a balcony, marble bath, microwave and refrigerator. The wood work and furniture were nice as was the furniture on the balcony. Mattress was comfortable (I like a plush mattress, so if you like firm you are out of luck).

The hotel is more like a resort with several different restaurants, beach area and outside bar/grille. Restaurant choices during the night I stayed (a Thursday night) were limited. I live in Chicago; so I was not interested in Morton's Steak House since I can eat there at home. Morton's has some of the best steak I've had, so enjoy, but know that you will spend about $75/person (steak, side, glass of wine). I wanted Puerto Rican inspired food, but the restaurant that sold local dishes (Palmeras) was closed, so I ordered room service. The meat was dry and tasteless, but the rice and beans and Amarillo's (sweet plantains) were tasty.

I was disappointed to find out that the Palmera's was also closed for lunch the next day. The book in the room described the Palmeras as a restaurant that sold breakfast and lunch and/or dinner with a local menu. However, I learned that the restaurant was only open for dinner by calling the front desk. I checked out of my room and held my bags with the valet while I waited on a friend to pick me up. I ate at the Atlantico, which is the outside bar and grille. Rum Punch was very good, however food selections were limited and not impressive even for "bar food". The service at the Atlantico was excellent (the staff was quick to wipe down tables for me after a brief shower interrupted my meal).

Beach front was small, but functional. Overall, I would recommend the Hilton Caribe if you want a quiet place to relax with easy access to Old San Juan and Condado.

  • Liked — Staff attentiveness, views
  • Disliked — Restaurant prices and selections. No Live/DJ music
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Angelique0706
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lytham St Annes
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2009

Booked the Hotel for a 3 day pre cruise stay, on the basis of its site, on its own promontory with sandy bay, tall pines, and the ocean in 3 directions. Boy did the Hilton grandpa get it right! the original hotel was built here in the 1940's. I dont normally like chain hotels too much but this scored on all fronts. 4 different
style resturaunts on the site. The Hotel breakfast was great,as good as it gets! Conveniently located for the cruise terminal,5 mins by Taxi. The old Town of San Juan 10 mins by taxi, Airport 15mins by taxi. My standard room was in the Garden Block was spacious,up to the minute and befitting of 4 stars. and had an excellent view of the tropical garden and ponds and through the trees the ocean. Not surrounded by tacky dives and no casino on site! stay was great.

  • Liked — best site near San Juan
  • Disliked — poolside food was not great
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank beachhouse5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
College Park, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
163 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 512 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2009

This hotel should be above average, but unfortunately owing to laid back management and poor upkeep, I cannot recommend this once proud hotel.

To be sure, The Caribe Hilton has advantages no other San Juan hotel enjoys. Since it was one of the first resorts on the island--the main building dates from 1949--it has an incomparable location, spreading out over 17 beachfront acres halfway between Condado and Old San Juan. 60 years later, the city has largely grown up around the property, so the beach, pool area, and park complete with a fort, is even more notable given the surrounding congestion. The main building, situated to enjoy ocean balcony views from nearly every room, connects to a later tower with a large open air lobby-cum-
shopping mall; the tower also enjoys waterviews from most accommodations, though the number of roofs and loading docks may make that vistas less than postcard. The hotel's bars and restaurants are numerous, and most surround this lobby area. There is even a Starbucks.

I am a Hilton HHonors Gold member and I used points for my stay. It took me three rooms to get what was appropriate accommodations. My first room had two beds--I'd requested one king--and the second room had the doors ripped off the armoire; just the hinges remained. These two were in the main building--the third one was on the 11th floor of the tower. While I remained in this one--and in my opinion, it was nicer than the other two--upkeep issues are apparent all over the hotel, and in a number of cases, the decor is a bit dated. One notable difference between the main building rooms and the tower rooms is in the bathroom. The main building, dating from 1949, has very standard bathrooms, now updated to include curved shower rods, whereas the tower rooms have only showers--but very nice ones. Still my shower head was duct taped in place. Guests here get used to such makeshift remedies. The emergency exit door in the hallway opposite my room had peeling paint, and the carpet in my room was stained--as was the lampshade. Beds throughout the hotel are very nice--quite cushy--and the bedroom portion of the tower rooms is smaller than the bedrooms of the main building.

Your resort fee--14% of your rate, so a $300 per night room for five nights will cost an additional $210--includes two in-room coffee bags. I asked twice for decaf to be delivered--it never came. The resort fee also includes the fitness center--nice, but usually crowded--beach towels, and a few other things that might prompt you to ask what you are paying for in your room rate. The hotel's beach, a likely man-made comma of graham cracker-colored sand, is quite popular, and the hotel does a nice job of creating a comfortable place for sunbathing around its crescent.

It is customary for Gold and Platinum HHonors members to get complimentary internet and breakfast. Such guests here get both, but with a catch. You must visit the ninth floor lounge in the main building to access wifi--not supremely convenient for a guest in the tower. And the breakfast for HHonors members is a special continental breakfast buffet in an otherwise closed Italian restaurant. If your idea of a tropical getaway includes a lavish breakfast outside by the pool or beach...well, the hotel's "most valued" guests aren't treated to that. The breakfast area is windowless, and capped by a cracked skylight. The spread is carb-heavy...and not particularly well restocked. The room itself is made even more depressing by inattention to detail...the second day I was there, half the tables had had their tablecloths removed to expose bare, unvarnished wood. Better still, the staff was using paper placemats over again, so the previous guest's coffee stain was on the mat you got to reuse. Coffee comes out of a machine like those you might find in a college dorm's dining hall, and a jar of peanut butter--half used, with a butter knife standing upright was among the only protein on the buffet...not even yogurt was a part of the morning menu for this "special" breakfast. Even for free, this was just too much--so I had breakfast in the restaurant the other mornings...the buffet there, with tip, is $30 a person. For the record, that is a nice spread.

The staff overall wasn't hostile, but you aren't likely to confuse them with any Nordstrom help, either.

In fairness, I brought a number of these issues up with the management
--the hotel manager bought me breakfast two mornings, and re-credited my account with one of four nights' worth of points. What he didn't do, and really couldn't, is renovate a hotel that was last redone 9 years ago in 2000, or even make the repairs that would paint doors, fix ceiling stains, or touch-up caulk in the bathtub. If you are considering this hotel, ask whether such inattention to detail is worth $300 a night plus a $42 resort fee (though in fairness, this hotel is also available with some frequency on Priceline at very advantageous rates--I've seen $85 a night in season, in fact. And yes, at $85 I could overlook these lapses...)

Will be interesting to see if other competition makes things a bit better here. The newly renovated 1958 La Concha, down Condado Beach from the Caribe Hilton, sports stunning public areas and a new parkside setting--and seems to be trying harder, if such appearances are any indication.

For now, unless you are getting a screaming Priceline deal, or have mega-points to burn, best to wait until the planned 2010 renovation is done. It will be great, for sure. Right now, however, it is just an unfortunate shell of what this once-glamorous resort once was. . .

  • Liked — Ocean views, nice grounds amidst San Juan's urbanity, central location, big shower heads, cushy beds
  • Disliked — Poor upkeep, outrageous resort fee, indifferent resort staff, high cabfare to nearby Old San Juan (hotel should run a shuttle)
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank TravelBeard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
1 review
Reviewed January 20, 2009

After spending two weeks at the Caribe Hilton this January on business I can say I've seen all aspects that the hotel has to offer and I have to say, I was highly disappointed.
The hotel is beautiful and fun to walk around but bring a lot of money if you plan on eating and drinking (drinks range from $10-$14) a piece, $10.00 grilled cheese. Also,word to the wise... if you stay there for over a week they will charge your card without contacting you.
The rooms are very standard, not what you would think was worth the extra cost. We ended up switching rooms three times only to find that there was really no difference between any of them from the villas to the tower.
One plus would be the front desk staff, they were all very helpful and always went above and beyond to find us answers.
And now for the bad. There is absolutely no security at this hotel, we had three bags stolen while we were at the pool. There were no cameras in the facility to help find the people who were to blame, and no one manning the front pool area to make sure that only hotel guests came in. The property boasts a private pool and beach but it is generally inhabited with non-guests day in and day out.
The worst part of the stay was how the Hilton handled the theft, this resulted in buying us room service at 11:30 p.m. after we were forced to switch rooms once again. The meal that we got from room service did not make up for the hundreds of dollars lost due to their lacking security. My personal dish was cold.
I would not recommend staying here to anyone that likes security. You can just stay anywhere else and use the facilities as it seems everyone else on the island does.
Word of caution...keep your stuff in your sight at all times.

  • Liked — Front Desk Staff
  • Disliked — Security
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank travellingedna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2009

My friends and I stayed at the Caribe Hilton for 2 weeks while participating in a study abroad course in Puerto Rico through our Master's Program. Our university booked the students as part of this program in a locally owned hotel in Condado, but we felt we'd be much safer at the Caribe Hilton and chose to pay extra to stay there instead. Unfortunately, we learned a lesson the hard way.

The third evening of our stay, my wallet and my 2 friends' purses were stolen from the pool area with us just 10 feet away. The hotel security guards claimed this sort of thing "never happens" there, but we have a very hard time believing that when there were no security cameras and absolutely anyone is allowed in the pool area. Our belongings were stolen within minutes because we made the mistake of allowing ourselves to feel safe at this expensive hotel.

Hotel security was very cooperative and nice and did what they could to "lessen the blow" of having our items stolen. By the next evening, hotel security had retrieved our belongings, minus the cash, medications, cell phone and cameras (basically anything someone could quickly sell). However, cooperation aside, this event made us hyper-aware of the lack of security at the hotel for the rest of our stay.

ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE can walk right through the lobby, into the pool area, take a towel, and stay for the day. Only ONCE in TWO WHOLE WEEKS were we asked to show a room key to enter the pool area, and it was the morning we were checking out to go outside and take a few last minute photos!!! One afternoon, there were several shady-looking local adolescents at the hotel (who were very obviously NOT guests) hanging around the pool area, scoping out everyone and their belongings. PLEASE, if you stay here, WATCH YOUR STUFF!! Better yet, don't bring anything to the pool. The hotel security guard slipped and said people get their cameras and cell phones stolen all the time from the pool (after he already told us this sort of thing "never happens". Riiiiight).

Another disturbing incident happened one evening when we returned to the room and none of our room keys were working. I called the front desk from the lobby of our building (the Towers) and they said they would send a bellman up with new room keys. That's it! They didn't ask my name, didn't ask me to come to the front desk to verify who I was or where we were staying. They just -- in blind faith -- sent someone over with new room keys to let us in. They didn't even know who we were or if it was our room. Again, ANYONE could have gotten in our room!!! SCARY!!!

This was my 4th trip to Puerto Rico and I would NEVER EVER stay at the Caribe Hilton ever again. I have been a travel agent for 12 years, stayed at resorts all over the Caribbean and have never experienced less security in a facility in my life.

The hotel is very pretty and I hope you enjoy your stay if you are already booked, but PLEASE WATCH YOUR BELONGINGS!!!!

  • Liked — Beautiful pool/beach area
  • Disliked — NO SECURITY! MANY ISSUES AND PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED AT THE HOTEL - Anyone allowed in!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank caribbeanqueen88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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
#10 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 historic and iconic Caribe Hilton offers an ideal combination of leisure facilities and activities and is home to Caribar, the birthplace of the pina colada. The resort is situated on a private 17-acre lushly landscaped peninsula with a secluded beach and is located near the Old San Juan historic district and many of the destination's top attractions. ... 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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