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“Exceeded expectations!”

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The Condado Plaza Hilton
Ranked #24 of 47 Hotels in San Juan
Reviewed April 20, 2006

Despite some recent reviews which praised the hotel, I still went there with some dread, wondering if I would be saddled with a dirty room, etc. I must say that we were very pleased overall and had a great vacation. We chose the Condado Plaza because the rest of the hotels closer to the airport had negative reviews about the noise level of the planes flying throughout the day.

The hotel occupies two buildings on either side of Ashford Avenue, which are connected by a walk-way from the casino. The main building (the one with the lobby) is towards the ocean and the building opposite is towards the lagoon. I asked to be shown two rooms and got to see the City Vista rooms in both buildings. The room in the main building was definitely run-down, with very old carpeting and worn out furniture. I prayed that the second room would be better and it was! I can only surmise that the people who wrote unhappy reviews got to stay in the City Vista rooms in tne main building. FYI, all City Vista rooms face the opposite buliding and from some, you can get a glimpse of the sea.

Like some reviews mentioned, the concierges are not very helpful and are standoffish, but not rude. One gave me false information once - I had asked how much a taxi cost to go to Old San Juan and he said I did not need a taxi and could just walk the distance as it was right around the corner and about a 5-10 minute walk. It was lucky I asked the bellman for specific directions, because it turned out that it was a 5-10 minute RIDE in the taxi!

The Condado beach is a public one and can be accessed by walking through the hotel, past the pools, or by the road. There is a person there to help you with the chairs. If you are a guest of the hotel, you do not need to pay the $4.00 to rent chairs. There are locals, at the beach, but for me, that was a great part of the charm. Puerto Ricans like to vacation with their families and it was wonderful to hear a new language, even if I did not understand it!.

The beach is small and you cannot walk anywhere as there are rocks that form a barrier. On the bright side this is exactly what makes it safe for children to swim in those waters and there are fish that fish that my daughter chased around. Because of the rocks, the sand is not fine and you can get a scratch or two if not careful. It didn't bother me and we all went barefoot.

The pools were on the smaller side and it was difficult to get chairs around the pool if you got there late. But the water-slide was great fun and the size of the pool was not an issue for me. The baby-pool is more like a fountain, but I was happy to have my little one wading in it, while watching my elder one at the water-slide.

Old San Juan is to the right of the hotel. To the left of the hotel a nice walk, with some interesting shops, restaurants and convenient stores. A mile or so down to the left, is a nice, lively area with lots of people and restaurants. That is where the Radisson and the Marriott are located.

Eating out is very expensive. We tried to find cheaper places to eat in, but the price in most places are fairly comparable. Since there is no sales tax on the island (good thing if you want to buy something from the Cartier, Dior close by), I suspect, restaurants make up for it. We were thankful to have Subway round the corner from the hotel and stocked up on snacks, orange juice and milk.

Maid service was regular and a couple of requests we had were met promptly. When we interrupted the service however (we came for a quick change, when the maid was cleaning the room) it never got finished.

Check-in and check-out were fast and efficient.

Sure the Ritz is better, but I would have spent $350 a night there, as opposed to $150 a night at the Condado plaza.

I would definitely stay at the Condado Plaza again, if we were to come back to the San-Juan area of P.R. It's proximity to Old San Juan (a $12 taxi-ride each way), but removed from the hustle bustle of the same, is very attractive. We went there every evening to eat and even tried this place called La Bombonera (unadvertised by tourist guides) which is a great little place with inexpensive and ethnic food; it also had some great pastries.

There is a bus-stop to the left of the hotel, a minute's walk, where you can take a bus to the old city for a mere 75 cents and save yourself a nice bundle if you had the time. I took it twice and the bus drops you off at the pier in Old San Juan. Puerto Rico is a lovely place and we will definitely be back to the island again. It is thanks to my fellow tripadvisors that I got information that was useful and if anyone has any question, please feel free to write to me at cleocap@hotmail.com
Happy trails!

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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10  Thank Cleo083
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
New York
214
Reviewed April 10, 2006

Just got back from a 5 night, 6 day stay at the Condado Plaza with 2 of my girlfriends and must say that this place was more than I expected given the mostly negative reviews on this site!

We booked a room through the hotel's website (which ironically, still states that it's associated with the Wyndham chain) and were able to get a city view room at the rate of $195 per night with the AAA discount.

Upon arrival, however, we inquired about the availability of ocean view rooms and were given a free upgrade to a room with a nice balcony on the 8th floor. No hassling required! I definitely recommend asking upon check-in....worst case scenario is that they say no and you're stuck with a view of the lagoon. Though I must say that it is quite nice to sip your morning coffee on the balcony while watching and listening to the waves crash on the rocks.

Overall, the room was average. We were 3 girls in the room with plenty of luggage in tow, so the enormous walk-in closet came in extremely handy. There was also a bar with not one, but two fridges in it, which we used to store a couple of bottles of wine that we bought from the convenience store next door. The bathroom was also average, though our tub did have the tendency to clog. We called housekeeping on the second day and they immediately sent up a repair man who fixed the problem.

Service was below average. Although housekeeping was very pleasant and responed immediately to extra towel, extra pillow, and extra hair-dryer requests, the other other hotel staff was not very helpful nor very friendly. The concierge staff was quite rude, and though they did make a few dinner reservations in Old San Juan for us, they did so somewhat reluctantly. The young lady at the tour desk was extremely haughty and relatively uninformed regarding the various trips they had to offer. In addition, the staff in the various restaurants spoke limited English and were not very attentive.

The pool and beach area were also below average. There were plenty of chairs and a nice poolside bar, though the pools themselves were extremely small and had a lot of debris in them. We walked onto the "beach" one day to check it out and immediately walked off. Although the water was warm and seemed clear, the sand was kind of dirty and had a lot of locals on it. Definitely no privacy or sense of calm. Of note, access to the hotel from this public beach is guarded by hotel security, who require that you show either your room key or the wrist band that they give out at the towel stand. Security also patrolled the pool area regularly and promptly removed people who were not patrons of the hotel.

The food at the pool bar is extremely expensive! A salad there is $18...the same exact salad at the Italian restaurant on the Mezzanine level is $4.95. Definitely worth the short trip upstairs.

We spent most of our pool/beach days at the Caribe Hilton which is right across the lagoon and is accessible via a short walk across the bridge. Our friend gave us his Hilton Honors card, so we were able to walk right into the hotel, get towels, use the facilities, etc. The pool and beach area is 100 times nicer at the Caribe Hilton than at the Condado Plaza, but at a rate of $400 a night, I think our strategy was better! The Caribe Hilton also has a very nice spa (1 hour massages in the $120-150 range) and a beautiful Pan Asian restaurant called the Lemongrass Grill. Definitely on the expensive side ($25-30 per entree), but the food and the ambiance seemed well worth it (I personally don't know how much our bill came to since our friend knows the owner, who came over and sat with us for the majority of the meal and then waived the bill!!!) The Caribe Hilton also has a Starbucks in its lobby, which we visited quite frequently!

In terms of other restaurants in the Condado area, there is a nice Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant called Ropa Vieja that's about a 3 minute walk from the Hotel. Very large portions and very reasonably priced (Our bill with appetizers and wine came to about $65 in total). I also recommend checking out Calle Fortaleza in Old San Juan which has a ton of really good restaurants.

Lastly, the gym at the hotel was pretty nice...4 treadmills, 4 stationary bikes, and a whole slew of weight machines and free weights. There's a sign on the door that says a $7 fee will be automatically charged to your account once you swipe your hotel room key to get in, but no such charges showed up on our bill upon check-out. There is, however, a standard $48 per night resort fee/resort tax that is automatically charged to your account, so beware that you actually need to add on about $50 to the rate they initially quote you.

Overall, the hotel superceded my expectations, though after staying at the Ritz Carlton on a previous trip to Puerto Rico and seeing the Caribe Hilton, I doubt I'd go back.

Hope this was helpful!

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2006

Truly not a bad hotel. Given all of the seasonal weather that the Caribbean experiences, I did not expect Ritz Carlton service nor amenities.

Upon my arrival on 4/3, my reservation was lost in the system. So I had to wait for an hour to get checked in. I was apologized to and upgraded to an ocean view from city view. The hotel was not full so, it would have been unoccupied anyway. However, I am thankful. The rooms are a bit out of date and reminded me of the Holiday Inns we stayed at many years ago as kids. The decor was modern. The bathroom was slightly larger than 3 lavatories on an aircraft. If I leaned too far I would probably fall out of the shower and onto the toilet or floor. It would be nice at renovation if they gave less room to the huge walk in closet and more bathroom space.

The staff was quite pleasant. Our first night/into day 2 resulted in a mix up with housekeeping. We didn't have our room serviced since they waited so long to clean our room. They brought up towels and promptly took care of us the next day. We did have low pressure to our sink faucet, but they immediately made necessary repairs.

Beach is not great but will do. Lots of debris and coarse sand. The pool is okay, yet a good cleaning or fresh paint from staining would be nice. The hot tub was fab. The kids loved the slide.

The one thing that I did miss was the hotel in room guide on what the hotel itself had to offer. I am assuming since their ownership is changing they've removed the marketing material. Also the cable went in and out and often switched to channel 02 all by itself. That was aggravating. And Channel 33 (the hotel channel) had digital pixels which required you mentally putting the picture together.

We ate breakfast one morning at Max's. Horrible. Kids ate free, but after leaving Vegas with the $10.95 buffet and paying $21.00 per person for this was bad. Bad eggs. Omelette chef needs some major help. Churrascos a little tough. Our waiter Rafael was great.

Go out of the hotel and walk across the street to the Sizzler for lunch. They've got an all you can eat buffet. Get there about 1030A, cause the locals really show up for lunch. Also walk around the Condado area (go left leaving the hotel). It is a nice after dinner walk. Besides we discoverd Subway, Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts, Wendys, Walgreens, Banco Popular (ATM machine on site). Also upscale shopping at Christian Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Also the B21 bus takes you to Plaza las Americas (the mall). It was raining the day we went to Sizzler and the guy charged us $10 to go across the street. WALK! What a waste. He made me use my known Spanish. We had paid $12 to go to Old San Juan the day before. Oh while in OSJ, make sure you eat at Cafe Puerto Rico and order mofongos de mariscos (seafood). Excelente!!

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
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6  Thank Deltagurl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2006

My husband and I stayed here for part of our stay during our honeymoon in January. It was not nearly as bad as some made it out to be, but it certainly isn't a 5-star hotel. I would agree to not pay too much for the room. We had a decent room with a balcony and view of the lagoon, perfectly fine for the $200 we paid a night. Based on what I've seen of other hotel prices in SJ, it's a decent enough value. Definately take the bus to Old SJ, but be warned that it does not stick to a schedule - or at least that my husband or I could figure out. One day we only waited 10 minutes, the next over an hour (we kept telling ourselves the minute we left, it would come...). Definately walk down the way further into the Condado area. There are some good restaurants and it is a nice walk. Overall, I don't think I would stay here again. I'd like to try another hotel first. However, should I not have luck with the next hotel, I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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4  Thank sarahlg33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2006

My wife and I stayed there for one night (3/17) before a cruise. We had gotten a good rate through Hotwire. The property is dated. The room furnishings were worn. However, the room and bathroom were clean.It is definitely not a four star hotel.Breakfast was expensive. The food not so great.In all fairness for the price it wasn't that bad.

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
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2  Thank NewJerseyJohnM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2006

I stayed at the Condado Plaza for two separate nights. The first time I was in the building on the lagoon side, with a beautiful view over the water. As earlier reviews state, this building is dated and not nearly as nice as the ocean-front building. The ocean-front rooms are very nice, modern, larger, and with a refrigerator and walk-in closet. The view was amazing from my 7th floor balcony. These rooms are also about twice as expensive.

You have to watch your spending on food and drinks. The breakfast buffet is now $21, and you'll pay at least $10 if you order a la carte. There are a number of restaurants within a 10 minute walk so I suggest taking a stroll and checking them out.

The rooms have high-speed internet, but you'll pay a surcharge of $15/day to use it. Once connected it worked fine. I had no issues with hotel staff, and check-in and check-out were easy. I walked by the casino but didn't linger because I don't like smokey areas.

The Condado Beach area is OK, but if you want a beautiful long white sandy beach I would stay elsewhere. The area is convenient to Old San Juan, about a $12 taxi ride away.

There are lots of hotels in San Juan, so next time I will try someplace different.

  • Stayed: March 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
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1  Thank Mikey72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
28
Reviewed March 7, 2006

We were extremely disappointed in this hotel and some of the staff left us feeling utterly unwelcome. We will never return to this hotel nor would I advise anyone else to ever stay at it. It was extremely expensive - over $45 for 1 hamburger, 1 turkey club sandwich and 2 sodas at the poolside cabana. The 'beach' was tiny, crowded and right next to a major bridge thoroughway - local children literally were jumping off the bridge and into the beach area for fun. The poolside bartenders were downright rude and a 10 oz can of beer will cost you $5. The hotel itself is quite a bit past its prime and in need of a serious update. The only good thing I have to say about this hotel is that the front desk staff and room attendants were all very pleasant and accomodating. Too bad the rest of the staff made our visit so very unpleasant - the difference between a great hotel and a terrible hotel is not how much it costs you, but the quality of it's staff. Apparently the Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino isn't aware of this.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Condado Plaza Hilton

Address: 999 Ashford Avenue, San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico (Formerly Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza)
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) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in San Juan
#8 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan
#12 Luxury Hotel in San Juan
#15 Business Hotel in San Juan
Price Range: $180 - $409 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Condado Plaza Hilton 4*
Number of rooms: 572
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 
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Also Known As:
Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza Hotel San Juan
San Juan Conrad
Condado Plaza Hotel San Juan
Hotel Resort Wyndham

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