El Convento

100 Cristo Street, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Action Bar

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El Convento offers the following privileges to Tablet Plus members:
  • Complimentary upgrade upon hotel check-in, based upon availability

  • US $25 massage credit

  • El Convento signature tote bag

  • Welcome fruit plate

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18
Rating

We select, you rate. Ratings are on a 20-point scale, and they're based on feedback from verified Tablet guests. If a hotel's rating falls below 16, it's gone — so your post-stay review is actually our most important quality-control tool.

Ratings Breakdown

  • Rooms17.5
  • Public Spaces18.5
  • Service18.5
  • Overall18
43
Reviews

Most recent review:

What I liked:

Great location in the heart of Old San Juan - you can walk anywhere around the city easily and safely. The restaurants were beautiful and we were treated to the most spectacular tasting menu which we would highly recommend. We were also spoiled with small touches like champagne and chocolates the first night. They offer free water 24/7 which is absolutely fabulous and the wine and cheese evenings are nice.

What the hotel could do better:

They don't have a full time concierge but we found the front desk staff helpful when we asked questions. The room cleaning was not always completely thorough but adequate.

Although the wine and cheese was lovely we would have preferred a free continental breakfast

Erica

Stayed August 2015

Read the Reviews (43)

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Hotel Description

One need not be a student of the Spanish language to surmise that El Convento, in English, means "the convent." And it was, in a previous life, a Carmelite convent, established in 1651. Hard times befell the property in the twentieth century, as the convent became a dance hall, a flophouse, and finally a parking lot for garbage trucks.

The tourism industry underwent something of a renaissance in San Juan in the fifties and sixties, and El Convento was renovated and reopened in 1962 as a European-style casino hotel, attracting popular singers, Hollywood stars, and Hemingway. Perhaps this sense of history is what accounts for the peculiar charm of El Convento. San Juan is hardly the most exotic of destinations in the Caribbean - in fact the casual observer could be forgiven for mistaking Puerto Rico for Florida. The tourism renaissance, sadly, was a smashing success, dotting the Puerto Rican landscape with shining monolithic megahotels, spreading a sanitized American monoculture that threatens to change Puerto Rico into an Epcot Center shadow of itself.

This hotel, though, stands out as a uniquely Puerto Rican place, charmingly Spanish Colonial in architecture and design. Though the hotel has been completely refurbished, in fact rebuilt from near-ruin, a careful authenticity has been established. Interiors are rendered in a distinctively Spanish style, with mahogany beams, handmade furniture, and Andalusian tile floors. No longer a casino, El Convento is still a destination, a remarkably unique hotel in a world of plain vanilla resorts.

Though the hotel is old-fashioned in atmosphere, there is no deficit in modern comforts. Rooms are oufitted with all the expected conveniences, from air conditioning and television to the all-important data ports. Patio del Nispero — named for its century-old níspero fruit tree — serves classic San Juan cuisine in a gorgeous, open-air setting. And you can probably guess what sort of Italian-American specialties can be found at Pizza e Birra.

As in any luxury hotel, there is a pool, a fitness center, and a ballroom which doubles as a meeting room. A simple massage can be had, and a fine one, but thankfully absent is a spa purporting to offer ancient indigenous secrets of wellness. In fact the dignity-assailing word "pampering" is nowhere to be found. All in all, proof positive that there is some authentically Puerto Rican experience remaining in San Juan, and that one need not forsake the comforts of modern luxury travel in order to enjoy it.

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Hotel Criteria

  • 58 Rooms
  • Style: Contemporary Classic
  • Atmosphere: Quiet

Map

Hotel Amenities and Services

  • 24 hour concierge
  • 24 hour front desk
  • 24 hour gym
  • Bar
  • Boardroom
  • Business center
  • Central air conditioning
  • Free wi-fi
  • Jacuzzi
  • Library
  • Lounge
  • Luggage storage
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Self service parking (charges apply)
  • Valet parking (charges apply)

Need to Know

Pets are not allowed. Wi-Fi is complimentary. Parking is available on site at USD 20 per day.

Credit cards accepted:

Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Check in:

3pm,

Check out:

12pm

Hotel Booking Widget

Hotel Amenities and Services

  • 24 hour concierge
  • 24 hour front desk
  • 24 hour gym
  • Bar
  • Boardroom
  • Business center
  • Central air conditioning
  • Free wi-fi
  • Jacuzzi
  • Library
  • Lounge
  • Luggage storage
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Self service parking (charges apply)
  • Valet parking (charges apply)

Need to Know

Pets are not allowed. Wi-Fi is complimentary. Parking is available on site at USD 20 per day.

Credit cards accepted:

Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Check in:

3pm,

Check out:

12pm

Map