After reading some of the reviews of this place on Trip Advisor, I was a little worried. But the stay was going to be free, paid for through my Delta Skymiles so I decided to chance it.
I can see how someone might be disappointed if their entire traveling experience consisted of major American hotel chains. If the Holiday Inn is your sole basis of comparison then you will be disappointed. No little bottle of shampoo, the TV didn't work properly, and you have to let the shower run for a few minutes before you get any hot water. This kind of thing is why the hotel is as inexpensive as it is.
However, the place was very clean. Having seen some reviews from people here about poor maid service at this hotel, I decided to do an experiment. On the first day, I left no tip. The result was a poorly-made bed and some crumbs I had deliberately left on the floor were not swept up, etc. Then on every day thereafter I left a $2 tip. It should come as no surprise that the service improved 100%. Please remember that these women have a fairly unpleasant job that many people would consider demeaning and they get paid next to nothing in what is practically a third world country. Put yourself in their shoes and just give them the tip they deserve. You will see a difference.
The staff were unfailingly polite and helpful to me in response to my treatment of them as equals. Yet I observed some of these same people giving the cold shoulder to tourists checking in at the desk who failed to use words like 'please' and 'thank you.' Bad manners led to receiving bad service.
I think that perhaps there is just a cultural difference here that guests need to get used to. At a major chain hotel run by an American corporation, all employees are expected to give excellent treatment even to crappy, rude, non-tipping guests. Here in Puerto Rico, at a locally-owned hotel, normal human nature seems to be permitted to dominate. As someone who tries to make a point of having good manners, I'm pretty ok with that.
My room was totally fine and I would have been happy paying up to around $70 a night for what I got. Clean linens, comfortable bed, clean bathroom, reliable wi-fi, no bugs and there was air conditioning. There is a public beach only a few blocks away and the neighborhood was completely safe and well-policed at all hours. The point of the trip was not to sit in a room for 4 nights and 5 days - it was to see San Juan. I only really came back to the room to sleep and check my email. I would definitely stay at the Coral by the Sea again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Coral by the Sea is situated only steps away from many of the area's most popular attractions. A variety of recreational activities, including various water sports, as well as the historic Old Town San Juan are nearby. The Coral not only provides guests with an ideal location, but also with a variety of modern amenities. Enjoy complimentary wireless internet access, a modern business center and the on-site restaurant. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Sea Hotel
- Hotel Coral By The Sea
- Coral By The Sea Hotel
- Coral By The Sea Puerto Rico/Isla Verde