This year, my husband and I moved from Georgia to Puerto Rico, and we spent the first couple months living in hotels. In this post, I’ll cover some of the best hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico that we stayed at as well as the difficulties we experienced at each. I personally believe that we found the best hotel for exploring the San Juan, Puerto Rico area, and I saved the best for last.
Disclaimer: Our budget was around $200/ night. This excludes most resorts and most hotels in Old San Juan. So, let’s get started!
Located in Ocean Park, Tres Palmas Inn is a comfortable, Spanish-style hotel located right on the water. Although the hotel is technically on the “beach,” in the winter, the water comes close to the road, and is not exactly much to look at compared to other beaches close by. I much prefer smaller, boutique hotels versus large convention-style accommodations, and Tres Palmas is exactly what I was looking for. The breakfast is simple, but plenty, including cereal, bagels and cream cheese, boiled eggs, fruit, cheese, coffee and juices. The selling point for me was the rooftop hot tub. Cleaned daily, and smelling of chlorine, this hot tub was hardly used by anyone else. My husband and I would climb the stairs each night and watch the Christmas season fireworks light up the sky.
ROOM: Though stocked with a mini-fridge, lock box, hangers, a dresser, and a flat screen TV, the room lacked an ironing board and iron, which is a little inconvenient. Guests can check out beach chairs, towels, and even boogie boards. The first three nights, we stayed in a King room, but on the last night, we stayed in a room with 2 double beds. I preferred the 2 double beds to the King as it was more spacious. This hotel has a small pool and plenty of seating areas to wind down, but most daily activities during will be done elsewhere as this is not a resort property.
LOCATION: This hotel is beach front, but it is near probably the least desirable beach in the Condado/ Ocean Park area. Restaurants and pharmacies are not within walking distance, and UBER is necessary for every outing. The good news is that UBER is very cheap in Puerto Rico, making the price of this hotel and the amount of transportation you will use an affordable combination. They also have limited street parking if you decide to rent a car.
PRICE: The pricing of this hotel is average for the area and fair considering it offers daily breakfast and water-front property.SERVICE: Each staff member was extremely helpful at this hotel. The rooms were efficiently cleaned each day.
Right in the heart of San Juan’s vacation hub is the Condado Plaza Hilton. This waterfront hotel has resort grounds that are breathtaking. Two large pools, a hot tub, and beach access with umbrellas and chairs make it easy never to leave the hotel except for maybe a nice dinner. I spent my mornings enjoying my favorite part of this hotel, which was the outdoor waterfront seating area where I could watch the waves crash against the rocks. It had a Hawaiian lava rock feel, and truly should be made into a post card.
ROOM: This room was renovated and extremely nice. It was called a King with Deluxe Bathroom, and the bathroom truly was exquisite with a large wardrobe and glass shower. The wardrobe had a coffee maker, iron, lock box, and mini fridge. We stayed in the main tower, which appeared to have been updated more recently than the adjacent tower though I am not positive. However, the impressive gym and another pool/ hot tub are at the second tower and are hardly used at all. This resort is a great fit if your main goal is to relax by the pool or the beach for the majority of your stay in Puerto Rico.
LOCATION: Although this hotel is in Condado, it is right on the Condado Lagoon practically on its own small, bay beach. A company on the lagoon offers paddle board and kayak rentals on the other side of the bridge. This hotel has its own parking garage and valet. There are limited food options nearby, including the pricey hotel restaurant called Café Caribe, a 24/7 Denny’s, Starbucks, and La Marqueta. Denny’s tends to have very slow service and La Marqueta is a trendy outdoor food court of some sort. The quesadillas are good for lunch, but each vendor tends to run out of food by 5pm, turning this into a better spot for drinks rather than dinner. A 15-minute walk further into Condado will bring you to more food options, but all will be crowded at the peak tourist season of December-April.
PRICE: For now, the prices are excellent compared to resorts nearby. They have waived the resort fee of $30/ day, and I’m assuming that is because repairs are still taking place. But really, the only thing I recognized that was not fully functional were the tennis courts. The pools, beach area, and seating areas appeared completely restored. The towers are missing some paint on the outside, but the inside looks back to normal.
SERVICE: The front desk service was always kin; however, this hotel seems understaffed. I would call the front desk, but no one would answer. When they finally did answer, guest services would ask me to call the next morning as they were very busy. Housekeeping was exceptional, and our rooms were always clean.
This hotel truly felt like home after we finished staying here. This relatively new hotel has a chic design, and I didn’t realize how conveniently located it was until we arrived. Tropica Beach Hotel is also in Ocean Park like Tres Palmas, but the beach it’s near is much nicer, and this hotel is much more conveniently located near Ocean Park cuisine. Ocean Park’s food and bar scene is on Calle Loiza, which is only one street over from this hotel. However, we tried many restaurants, and found that it was hard to beat the restaurant located right at Tropica Beach Hotel.
Dulcesalado shares a building with this hotel and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesdays-Fridays and brunch and dinner on the weekend. They also have a coffee shop to the right of the restaurant as well as a beer garden outside. Our favorite dinner was the Chicken Piallard Salad with the Avocado Salad side. Their Mushroom Soup Burger also has great flavor, and we ordered this dish often too. For breakfast, I often would get an omelet with an almond milk cappuccino. They have more elaborate dinner options as well such as fried lobster, skirt steak, and shrimp mofongo. This hotel also offers guests beach chairs, towels, and bikes for checkout, although I would be a bit nervous to bike anywhere.
ROOM: We stayed in the King Deluxe room. This room is literally as big as a studio apartment. It has a spacious closet, seating area, and large restroom. We also stayed in a double room one night since the power was out and the generators connected to the other side of rooms. The double room was still functional especially for a vacation. Obviously, it was much smaller, but the only difference that was notable was that it has a clothing rack instead of a closet. The King Deluxe is also very open, as in there is no door to the bathroom or shower, but that was no issue for us. I bought a small coffee pot for our room while staying at Tropica for an entire month, but they have delicious specialty coffees to start your day off right if you are just staying for a week.
LOCATION: This hotel is close to restaurants, a Walgreens, and a Super Max grocery store. Because an UBER to Condado and even Old San Juan is so cheap, I really enjoy this hotel location. I feel like you get to retreat from the busyness of the city. Parking is valet, but if you are vacationing, it is likely that you won’t need parking.PRICE: The prices for this hotel are normal for this area. However, it does seem that they are having a “Keep it Tropica Special” right now.SERVICE: The service here is great. The hotel is fairly small so you will always be able to find guest services to help. They also use Whatsapp to communicate, so you can just send them a text if you need anything.