MrsMJ and I recently completed a 2-night stay at San Juan’s Hotel El Convento. This was a pre-cruise stay in order to get to port early, and enjoy Old San Juan. I’m pleased to tell you that we loved the El Convento. If you are not comfortable staying anywhere other than the cookie-cutter big box hotels, do not book El Convento. The hotel is housed in a former convent that dates back to the 1600s. After almost booking one of those big box hotels, MrsMJ insisted on trying the El Convento. I’m glad she did. We booked the hotel through our Virtuoso affiliated travel agent, and as a result, were eligible for some benefits which included a $75 dining credit, spa credit, space available upgrade, etc.

Check In

We arrived via taxi, which took about 25 minutes. Traffic wasn’t too bad for a Friday afternoon. The lobby area was open, as in the Caribbean Sea breeze blows through, and the front desk is old school. You get an actual key. The building itself is beautiful and well cared for. Within a few minutes, we were checked in and on our way to our fourth floor room.

The Room

Our fourth floor room was a standard room, with a partial bay view/city view. What it lacked in view, it made up for in character. The room was equipped with a fridge, TV (that was not turned on once), super air conditioning, and high speed wireless internet which was complimentary.

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The room was comfortable, and well furnished. What can I say? The place just felt authentic, and I liked it. 🙂

Around the Hotel

Old San Juan is chock full of shopping and charm. We enjoyed every bit of it. A favorite spot of ours was none other than Marilyn’s Place which was very near the hotel. A small bar with good food and reasonably priced beverages. The clientele was primarily local, so that sold us as much as anything. Plus they had a bar cat, Tabo. We also enjoyed the evening wine and cheese receptions in the third floor lounge. Definitely worth planning your day around. Very sociable atmosphere. We sampled a lot of everything around town, but our favorite Mojito was served at none other than the hotel bar.

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The Bottom Line

We both loved El Convento. If you are looking for a different kind of hotel experience, and would like to be close to all that Old San Juan has to offer, consider El Convento.

MJ, January 18, 2014