I booked the Hotel Plaza De Armas due to its location in Old San Juan. The hotel is conveniently located in the center of the old town and in walking distance of all of the key sites. One thing to consider is traffic in the afternoons in Old San Juan. If you are taking a taxi from the airport, the cost is a set $22-23. This is good as the traffic was stop and go for a significant amount of time while traversing one-way streets en-route to the hotel. Once at the hotel I was warmly greeted by the receptionist who checked me in and provided me with some information about the city. She also gave me a coupon for a free piña colada at the Barrachina Restaurant.
I understood from the initial booking that there were no windows in my room, as it is clearly stated on the website. If you want a suite with a window you have to pay more. From what I saw of the area around the hotel, while nice, isn't necessarily worth the price. Besides it was too hot and humid for my liking to sit outside on the balcony anyways. The room itself was very small, but since I spent most of my time outside exploring it didn't really matter. There was a single bed, a table, small dresser, bedside table with lamp and a small TV.
The dresser is a combination of drawers and a section to hang your clothes. However the top portion isn't really big enough to hang your clothes without them touching the bottom. The floor of the room and bathroom is all tiles. As such there is no sound insulation which is a problem when using the air conditioning. The air conditioner is a must as it gets hot and stuffy without it. It is impossible to sleep as you hear the air conditioner whining away. As other posts have mentioned, the room wasn't as clean as it should've been either. One benefit however with no windows as the room is nice and dark at night. The lighting is good and not an issue.
The bathroom had only a shower. There really was no hot water, only lukewarm water at best. I tried both in the evening and morning without any success for hot water. You also had to force the shower door shut as it did not close properly. Soap and shampoo are provided inside the shower in a container. It wasn't until I was in the shower that I noticed that the shampoo was completely empty and the soap was very close to being empty as well. There is no conceivable reason the container should be empty prior to a new guest checking into the room. I opened the container for the cleaning crew to refill it the next day. However when I came back the next day prior to going to dinner around 1800 the room had yet to be serviced. I had to go to the front desk to inform them and fortunately it was addressed by the time I came back.
There is free wireless internet available in the common areas. Fortunately it worked just fine in my room, but that is not the case for all rooms. However there is no cell phone reception in the room at all.
Overall the hotel could pay closer attention to maintaining its rooms. Since there is no carpeting it should be easy to sweep them. When there is built up dirt and spiderwebs on the floor it is obvious that the rooms only get a cursory look. For as much money you spend you'd expect a better product. The management can respond that the issues mentioned are not possible or being addressed, however it is all bark and no bite. I usually take into consideration when management responds to posts that there most likely are no issues - this is not the case here. Until they actually address the issues you should expect a sub par experience. Its a shame given its location and the friendly receptionists. If it wasn't for the location and reception, I would've given this hotel no higher than a poor rating.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Hotel Plaza De Armas, located in the colonial district of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hotel Plaza De Armas is for travelers looking to be in the center of Old San Juan. Hotel Plaza de Armas is a delightfully captivating colonial style hotel in the heart of picturesque Old San Juan, a city as rich in history as it is in culture. The colonial building features its unique and renowned antique elevator true to its history. In every direction you can find world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. Our completely unique location highlights spectacular views of the Plaza De Armas and puts you mere cobblestones away from 16th century Spanish fortresses, fascinating museums and art galleries. The modest standard rooms are windowless, excellent for a good night sleep. Suites overlook the city hall and Plaza de Armas. Hotel Plaza De Armas also offers high-speed Internet access in all common areas of the property. Even though everything is at walking distance, we have a trolley stop right outside our door and a taxi line across from the hotel .We look forward to your stay at Hotel Plaza De Armas! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Plaza De Armas
- Howard Johnson San Juan
- Howard Johnson Old San Juan
- San Juan Howard Johnson