This hotel was nice… once. It is in desperate need of some upgrades. The pictures of the rooms on the hotel’s website are nothing like the real thing. Aesthetically, I expected so much more from a Hilton property. They seemed to invest a lot in the lobby, bar and pool/beach areas, but the rooms are seriously lacking. There were some upsides to my stay, however. Here are the pros and cons.
1. The lobby area is bright and colorful. There’s a very large fish tank at the entrance with eel, and a baby shark and Lionfish and other tropical fish inside. It would complement the lobby décor so much better, were the coral reef in it not brown and grey and soiled. A small upgrade in some new, more colorful coral would make a big difference!
2. If you need anything, just ask. You’d be surprised what accommodations can be made. We brought back some yummy leftovers from dinner and realized there was no microwave in the room. The maid was servicing our room at the time we decided to eat them, and we asked her where we could heat our food. She did us one better and had another maid bring us a microwave!
3. Hungry? There’s a 24 hour Dennys in the lobby of the tower across the street. It’s not Puerto Rican food, but it’s quick and tasty, and the service is pretty good.
4. The restaurant by the casino (Café Caribe?) has pretty good appetizers. GREAT WINGS! Drinks aren’t bad either, but not very strong and a little pricey. The manager and wait staff there are AWESOME! Very kind and sweet. I was starting to lose my voice and they overheard me tell my friend that a little lemon juice and honey usually help me to get it back. I asked for a slice of the lemon that the manager had just cut; meanwhile, the server went to the back to get me a bottle of honey and a big spoon and said to me “Here is your medicine”. :) It was a really sweet gesture and very much appreciated!
5. AMAZING (private!) BEACH! The water is crystal clear and CLEAN! No trash. There is a wall of rocks that block the big waves from making the water too rough, but there is still a little bit of a current, so don’t venture too far out if you are not a good swimmer. Great place to snorkel too! If you don’t want to go to the fish, no worries…they will likely come to you! Just don’t get in the way during feeding time... We had a few bump into us as we frolicked in the water. They are not afraid of humans, but they won’t hurt you… maybe just startle you a bit.
6. The hotel gift shop is large and has a lot of nice stuff inside. Worth a visit. The inventory definitely has the guest in mind. If you’ve left something and Guest Services cannot provide it, there’s a good chance they have it in there.
7. Beachfront massages! The massage itself was pretty good, but just being outside, feeling the ocean breeze and listening to the crashing waves was enough to make the experience spectacular! Just make sure you are wearing something you are comfortable getting massaged in, and can remove easily. I’m assuming most ladies get massages in bikinis, because the masseur asked if we’d brought our swimsuits to the appointment. A decent pair of bra and panties will suffice, just keep in mind that you are outside and only a few feet from one of the hotel pools (he covers you with a towel during the massage, but you still have to open it enough to lie down on the table). The prices are reasonable, but be sure to bring cash to pay for your service. You CANNOT charge your massage to the room (the masseur is independently contracted to the hotel, not employed by them).
TIP: Be sure to ask the masseur to see his pic of Jean Claude Van Damme. He gave him a massage while he was shooting a movie on location in Puerto Rico and says that Van Damme called him “the best [masseur]i n the world”.
1. This hotel is in need of some upgrading. The room is spacious enough but the bathroom is very small. As my friend described it, “So small that you can’t even change your mind, much less your clothes, inside it”. She’s not exaggerating. The bathroom is around the size of an airplane bathroom, plus a shower. It has a sliding, frosted glass door which leaves very little room for privacy. (So make sure you have the TV or the shower on if you have to go to the bathroom with someone else in the room). Our bathroom door did not close all the way because the floorboards by the door were broken and had detached from the wall, prohibiting it from shutting completely.
2.The beds were adequate, but on our last night there, the maid put sheets and pillowcases on the bed that were stained (and the stains looked like they could be either coffee or dried blood. I wasn’t taking the chance, either way.) I called guest services and asked for our sheets and pillow cases to be changed. Instead they sent someone to our room with more towels and washcloths (the one time we actually had enough of them… see the next set of comments below.) I had to call again before the maid was finally sent to change the linens. Since she had just made up the room about 30 minutes before, we tried to assist her by only taking off the soiled linens that needed to be replaced. She came in and stripped off the rest of the linens anyway and she even ripped one sheet in half right in front of us, like she was the Hulk or something! It was evident that she was less than happy to have to do this, but we had no idea what the sheet-ripping was about. We decided to hang out on the balcony (where it was safe!) until she finished changing everything.
3. Each day that the room was cleaned, we were given more than half a dozen clean towels, but only ONE wash cloth. The first night, we thought it was an accident or an oversight. But it kept happening. We called and asked for extra, which were sent fairly promptly, but the next day the maid took the clean ones when she cleaned our room, never replacing them and leaving us again with only one. My advice? Order extra and hide the clean ones somewhere where the maid won’t find them if you don’t want to have to keep calling guest services.
4. If you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs. A lot of riff-raff were staying at the hotel while we were there and it was not uncommon to hear them thundering up and down the halls. The walls are also thin. Sometimes I could hear conversations taking place next door, random knocking, bumping and thumping (which became VERY annoying when I was trying to sleep!), the sound of someone dragging furniture across the floor… One night the guy in the room next to us yelled “I WON SOME MONEY!!!” Annoyed, I yelled back, “CAN I HAVE SOME??” Didn’t hear much from him after that.
5. There are so many places to sit in the lobby and bar areas…. But almost none are near an electrical outlet. Since many people like to check their phones or use their laptops/tablets while they wait for taxis/shuttles to take them where they want to go, it would be nice if the hotel added outlets in the seating areas for guests to be able to charge their devices while they wait.
6. Not sure what the resort fee is for. We went down to the waterfront to go kayaking and were told that we had to pay extra. We also had to pay extra for massages, drinks…. The only things we didn’t have to pay extra for were use of the hammocks and towels. So, I’m still not sure exactly what the fee covers. Since you’re paying for it, make sure you make good use of the pool and beach facilities.
7. Inattentive hotel staff:
-We called at 8:00 a.m. (as they had instructed us to do the day before) to request late check out. They said ok. We went to get breakfast, massages, and then go to the beach only to come back and find that our room key had been deactivated. This would not be a problem if the lobby were only downstairs, but we were staying in the tower across the street and on the other side of the hotel... and we were soaking wet. We were not happy about the sopping wet 10 minute elevator ride and walk (each way) to fix a mistake that they made.
-I had a few errands to run in the city before my return flight home so I asked the doorman to hail me a cab that accepts credit cards, since I was not sure what the fare would be or how long I would need the driver to wait. He hails me a cab and as I get settled in I just happened to ask the driver if he accepts credit cards. He gave me a horrified look and told me no (imagine how uncomfortable THAT situation would have been when it was time to settle up). The doorman was able to hail me another cab quickly, but his inattentiveness could have caused me a serious problem had I not had enough cash to pay my fare.
-We were looking for a place to get massages and read terrible reviews about several of the places near the hotel. We called the Concierge who told us to try the Caribe Hilton. We looked up their reviews, which weren’t much better, and had decided to forego massages altogether. The next day, as we’re walking to the pool, we see a sign right in front of the pool advertising massages AT OUR VERY OWN HOTEL! Why would the Concierge recommend that we go elsewhere, when they offer massages on site?
8. The ATM (or ATH, as they call it in Puerto Rico) in the hotel charges a $5.00 surcharge. Make sure to bring plenty of cash if you want to avoid that fee.
9. Skip the swim up bar. The service is slow and inadequate. I waited 15 minutes to order a drink, even after the bartender has acknowledged me (There were only 2 other people at the bar, who also said they had to wait an impossibly long time to order anything). I asked for a Blue Hawaiian and the bartender gave me a puzzled look. In a thick Spanish accent he says “Blue Hurricane?” (which made in clear that he didn’t understand English…. Not good with so many English speaking guests staying here). I speak Spanish, but before I could ask him again in Spanish, he disappeared. The couple beside us told me that he was looking it up in a drink book (I could have easily told him what was in it, had he asked), so I really wasn’t worried… until he put 2 green drinks in front of me. They weren't bad, but nowhere near what I asked for. They weren't even frozen. I was really uhappy when I got the bill and saw that he charged me $26 for something called a Beso Boricua… something I did not ask for. It’s one thing to not know how to make something… it’s something else entirely to make whatever you feel like, and pass it off to the guest as what was ordered.
Overall, I don’t think I would return to this property. There are much better hotels in Puerto Rico for about the same (or less!) as what I paid. Nevertheless, it was a fairly enjoyable stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Condado Plaza Hilton, the only hotel overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon, is an enchanting alternative to typical San Juan hotel. Our unique location boasts cool ocean breezes, breathtaking sunsets, and a shimmering, protected beach. Whether you're traveling for work or play, this sparkling hotel offers it all, superb dining options including the award-winning Pikayo restaurant, elegant event venues, three glistening pools, water slide, waterports, 24-hour fitness center, tennis, poolside massage and bustling nightlife. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hilton Hotels Direct, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Orbitz, Expedia, HotelsforEveryone, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, HotelQuickly, Hotwire, Cancelon, TripOnline SA and getaroom.com so you can book your The Condado Plaza Hilton reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza Hotel San Juan
- San Juan Conrad
- Condado Plaza Hotel San Juan
- Hotel Resort Wyndham