Hotel El Convento
What We Love
- Daily Manager's Reception, serving a variety of wine and hors d'ouevres at La Veranda Terrace
- Staff is super-friendly, greets guests by name
- Three restaurants, serving cuisine ranging from Spanish tapas to traditional Puerto Rican fare
- Herbs from the hotel's garden are used in its cocktails and cuisine
What To Know
- The Old San Juan location means it’s not on the beach
- Don’t expect to swim laps in the rooftop plunge pool; it’s small
- The hotel is a popular wedding venue
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Amid the glitzy megaresorts along San Juan’s waterfront, El Convento, located in the historic walled quarter, is a one-of-a-kind oasis. Originally a 17th-century Carmelite convent, the three-story pale yellow building has been reborn as an intimate luxury hotel, with a romantic inner courtyard and rich wall tapestries that will attract those looking for a more authentic Puerto Rican getaway. Wrought iron chandeliers, terra-cotta tile floors and dark wood beam ceilings speak to its Spanish colonial past, as do the panoramic views of Old San Juan’s pretty pastel-colored buildings and bougainvillea-filled cobblestone squares from the rooftop terrace.
Bed and Bath
The 58 guestrooms are individually designed, but many feature high ceilings, mahogany furnishings, wooden ceiling fans and original artworks from noted Puerto Rican artists, along with such amenities as flat-screen TVs, free WiFi and AC that really cranks — most welcome in steamy San Juan. Top suites include the One-Bedroom Pablo Casals (the famous cellist was a frequent guest and gave impromptu courtyard concerts) and the Gloria Vanderbilt, which has a kingsize bed, a Jacuzzi tub, a dining room and Spanish louvered doors that open onto a spacious veranda with views of Plaza de las Monjas and the old city.
The hotel’s heart is the courtyard, where the Patio del Nispero offers alfresco dining, whether it be café con leche and pastries in the morning, grilled fish and mofongo (garlic-flavored fried plantains) for lunch, or late night passion fruit mojitos. On the second floor is El Picoteo, which serves tapas (marinated mushrooms, garlic shrimp), paella and killer sangria. There’s also a trattoria with thin crust pizzas and craft beer, as well as a rooftop plunge pool and a small (but well-equipped) fitness center. And the convent’s former chapel is now a popular wedding reception venue; ask a staff member to show you the historic, art-filled space.
In the Area
Just a few steps from El Convento is the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, where Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer and first governor of Puerto Rico, is buried (mass is still said there). Nearby is the massive El Morro Fort, the Spanish-built citadel that once kept watch over the harbor (be sure to take the tour), and streets like Fortaleza Street, which is lined with boutiques, jewelry stores and restaurants serving Puerto Rican fusion cuisine. When you’re ready to party, the quarter has plenty of fun bars and hole-in-the-wall salsa clubs where locals hang and dance up a storm.
How to Get There
Beautiful hotel in the heart of Old San Juan- walking distance to most of the attractions in OSJ. the courtyard is charming and the hall on each level has cozy tables overlooking the courtyard. Highly recommend!
There is much to appreciate about this hotel...the history, location, attentive staff, wine and cheese reception and the third and fourth floor terraces with views.We found the hotel to be lovely but not luxurious and were disappointed with several things. Only one restaurant and bar, Patio del Nispero, was open. We had breakfast every day of our stay and found the service inconsistent. As in other historic hotels, the room and bathroom were small. We had no view from the room. Our room faced another building across a small alley. WiFi was good in the lobby area. Sometimes it was weak in the room and we had no WiFi on the terraces. If you have never stayed here, we recommend a short stay. Perhaps our stay was too long.
First let me start by saying-overall this has been a wonderful stay. The staff are so friendly and helpful-the grounds are beautiful and the location can not be beat-we walked everywhere! The view was stunning from our room. The AC was wonderful. We would certainly stay here again. I can’t say enough about the location...
For me I think the biggest con was quality of pillows & linens on the bed. I love blankets but the bed had layers (like 5 layers) of just sheets, no blanket which was disappointing. Pillows probably need to be switched out.
If you like hot showers look elsewhere-it’s not cold by any means but the water doesn’t get hot.
Very limited WiFi-which didn’t bother us too much-we got by just fine!
I would not recommend the restaurant in the hotel-we had undercooked pancakes & a savory breakfast panini (ham, egg, cheese) that was covered in powdered sugar. But there are AMAZING restaurants in walking distance (again-location is perfection)
Thank you Hotel Convento for a wonderful experience!
Stayed here for 2 days prior to a cruise in late January 2019. Third stay at this hotel. Room 212 has some issues. The bed is terrible and needs to be replaced. The bed linens used have seen better days and should be thrown out. The bathtub/shower combination hot water never gets very hot. Maybe it gets warm if you are lucky. Air conditioning control can barely be read and it doesn't seem to do anything different when buttons are pushed. The shower head is terrible as in the faucet in the sink and trying to make adjustments to them doesn't help. On the positive side, the hotel is beautiful. Breakfast and dinner was great and free cocktail hour on the 3rd floor overlooking the plaza and cathedral was nice. There used to be a restaurant/bar up on the 2nd floor of the hotel but this has been closed down since the hurricane and now the only bar is in the patio area where food is served. Hopefully that area will reopen again.
Could it be more perfect? This is the most beautiful, luxury hotel in the heartbeat of Old San Juan. The restaurant is superb and the staff excel in high quality service. We will return again and again.