Luxury has many shades, and some of them stand far from the mere and easy concept of opulence and richness. Travel these days, is all about life event and experience. which in one way or the other, while rough around the edges, leave an unforgettable mark, La Terraza de San Juan, is to me best described as homemade luxury. A true rustic colonial take on Puerto Rico, with impeccable charisma y local traditional camaraderie, deliver by it owners themselves and their casual but professional staff. Located in the heart of Old San Juan, over Calle Sol, La Terraza de San Juan was my ideal epicenter, to discover this charming district, unveiling a new face of Puerto Rico, full of traditions and heritage, which I truly enjoyed. A cute simple getaway trip of three days.
I have been many times to Puerto Rico in the past, but never focused or stayed in the historic UNESCO World Heritage district of Old San Juan, other than walking but the main promenade where the massive Cruises and all tourists where located. That was for me a bit of a turn off, but since it was a short trip, I decided to take the chance. I checked the website of La Terraza of San Juan, (which BTW does not do honor nor truly represents the style of the hotel, plus as for today, does not show the suites and rooms of the new building) and I must say I was not quite impressed with their look, and this got me thinking if I should really stay with them of opt for the classic and safe choices like El Convento or Gallery Inn, right a few blocks away from them. My email exchange with the owners began, and they were so happy to have me come, friendly and happy, that I've decided to go along. Plus I did some background check on them via TripAdvisor and the comments were all very positive.
I arrived to the hotel, 19th Century Spanish colonial building, after a short 15 minutes drive from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, and the minute I stepped into Old San Juan, a special feeling began growing on me. We drove through the charming and colorful narrow cobblestone paved streets, until we reach our destination. To a warm welcome by Beatriz (my host) and her on-duty staff. Check in was not even so, I felt like my family were waiting for me to arrive and taking me, after a characteristic cup of local coffee, to my old room where I grew up. You know that feeling.
The hotel consists into two buildings. The first building, which was taken by them and turned into a Boutique Hotel, for the last three years, where they have mostly rooms with full kitchens and from 2 to 3 bedrooms (ideal for group of friends or families). But I was hosted at the new building, which adds 16 new rooms and suites to the property, upgrading their classification now, to a full hotel. FYI the hotel is still undergoing some constructions, so keep that in mind if you are planing to follow my advise and travel within the next few weeks.
I must admit, I am a shaded traveler, and I have an avid eye for details and hotel operations overall. As I walked into their property, my first instinct was, ... If I would be a walking client, most probably I would have walked away, and checked in at El Convento hotel... just to be safe...". After spending 3 days with them, I realize, that would have been a great mistake.
I was hosted at a street view with balcony Suite, and I must say in full honesty that I LOVED my suite. I loved the simplicity of it, but still decorated with great minimalist taste. My bed was EVERYTHING, and old wood poster bed, which was so beautiful and went along so well with the colonial concept of the hotel and the Old San Juan experience. I like the fact that the original wood window doors had no glass allowing the life of the streets to come live and present into my suite, despite being perfectly refrigerated by air conditioning and fans. Bathroom was of a very comfortable size. High wood beamed ceilings, lovely colonial artisanal tile floors. FYI my suite was #321. I STRONGLY recommend it. Daily breakfast included, WiFi, TV, Minibar. They are in the process to finish they a small fitness center room. Would I suggest my clients to stay at any of the room, hmmmm most probably not. But I do feel very confident recommending the rooms/suites at the new section of the hotel.
Their rooftop terrace, where I had breakfast every morning, offers spectacular views of San Juan Bay and historic Old San Juan.
Do I agree and endorse their classification as a Luxury Hotel, well probably not. But I do 100% certify, my own particular classification as understated homemade luxury. A luxurious experience of a local Old San Juan house, in a rustic very comfortable way. If you are looking to experience and submerge into the Old San Juan charm, then you cannot go wrong. The staff is friendly and professional, everyone is there to make you feel welcome, share their stories and guide you to the best options, restaurants and tips to make your visit to Old San Juan more enjoyable.
La Terraza de San Juan, was my ideal headquarter for my recent visit to Old San Juan, located on Calle Sol, 15 minutes away from the International Airport, Condado and Santurce, which were the spots were other than Old San Juan, I hang out for restaurants and fun.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We offer one bedrooms, one bedroom suites and two bedroom, two bathroom suites, as well as suites with balconies. Individually appointed rooms and suites with gorgeous personal touches. Romantic, yet family friendly environments are La Terraza's trademarks. Delicious, homemade breakfasts compliment a relaxing trip to sun drenched Puerto Rico. La Terraza is walking distance to Old San Juan's historic landmarks, a locals only beach and azure waters. La Terraza is San Juan's newest hidden gem, a spectacular boutique hotel with superlative service and the highest attention to each guest's needs. ... more less
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