Inter Continental San Juan...why so dowdy??

Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:56 AM
  #1  
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Inter Continental San Juan...why so dowdy??

We plan to leave a month from today and will be staying at the Inter Continental San Juan and wonder why we have heard only negative responses about this hotel!?? Is the 4 Diamond rating by AAA not true? We have no doubt that the beach will not be like Grace Bay on Provo (Turks and Caicos Islands), but what is the downside of the hotel? Is it Puerto Rico in general, as we rarely read any I love this island responses. Also, any great spots for snorkeling? We plan to rent a car, so we will have wheels! Look forward to hearing some responses! THANKS
Momburd is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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I think the biggest problem with San Juan is that none of the hotels is truly great in every respect. And the beaches are not the best, though Isla Verde has the city's best beaches.

Regarding star and diamond ratings. These do not denote quality. Rather, they denote whether a particular establishment has particular features from a long, pre-determined checklist.

I actually love Puerto Rico, and I have no problems overlooking the shortcomings to see what's really good ... friendly people, excellent food and nightlife, and great weather.

There are no good places to snorkel in San Juan itself (the surf is just too rough since San Juan faces the Atlantic); you really have to go further out on the island for that.

Finally, I can't emphasize strongly enough that you should NOT rent a car for your entire stay if you are going to stay in San Juan. Rather, get a car for just those days that you are planning to leave the city. It's more convenient (and considerably cheaper) to ditch the car in town and take taxis. I'm very serious about that.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Dear Doug,

Many thanks for your information! So nice to hear from someone in the KNOW!
I have several more ?'s if you have the time to answer me.
1. Where could you recommend to snorkel outside of San Juan? 2.What are the best 2-3 natural wonders to see? 3.What area(s) of the island would be worth our time and driving effort to visit? (northwest to Rincon? or perhaps or northeast to El Yunque?)
4.Do you recommend visiting Culebra or Vieques? How should we plan to travel...the easiest/quickest way would be what? 5.We are couple with a 16 year old son and would like any tips that would make this an interesting cultural/historical trip for us. We enjoy walking and being active...as well as beach time. Thanks, again.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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I love this island! See, now you have read one. Seriously, the San Juan area of Puerto Rico is not for everyone. It is an urban setting, crowded and the beach, while very acceptable, isn't crystal blue and white sand. However, the culture, nightlife and food are probably among the best in the Caribbean. The Intercontinental is a good hotel. The rooms and bathrooms are a little on the small side but it is right on the beach (the best beach in the San Juan area), the grounds are pretty, and the restaurants are good. You may want to check to make sure that there is not any major construction going on. Many of the hotels in the area seem to be undergoing renovations and I think I remember a previous poster mentioning something about construction at the Intercontinental.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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I think you may find the snorkeling and beaches much better on either Vieques or Culebra, though I'd recommend Vieques especially because it has a phenomenal bio-luminiscent bay and is busy enough that there will be things to keep a 16-year-old occupied. If I were you, I'd plan the main part of the trip to be to Vieques and spend just a couple of nights in San Juan (making a side-trip to see El Yunque, the best natural sight on the island). However, I wouldn't bother with a side-trip to either Culebra or Vieques; if you want to stay on the main island, go to the Westin Rio Mar and then explore the island by car, spending much more time in El Yunque and doing a day-trip to San Juan for history. There are alot of interseting sights on Puerto Rico, but if you are on that end of hte island, Rincon probably isn't worth it. It would be worthwile to do a daytrip to the Camuy caves, though. There's another less special bio-bay just north of Fajardo, and you could easily do that tour staying at the Westin.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Thanks again! We have already paid for a week at the Inter Continental, so that is were we will be on this visit to P.R. I hope we will love it, too! You never know about a new place until you have been there. It is a big world, and we love to explore.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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El Yunque is a must see. At least I think so.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 08:47 PM
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YOu can still do the biobay tour in Fajardo, but you have to overnight in Vieques to do the tour there. Have fun and get out of San Juan and your hotel, and I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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We are planning to spend four nights in Puerto Rico in April and are having a difficult time deciding where to stay. We were looking at the Inter Continental, as well as the two Marriotts in the general area.

Does anyone recommend one Marriott over the other? Specifically, there is a Marriott in Isla Verde (I think that's the Courtyard Marriott near the airport) and the larger one in San Juan (the one with the Casino). Are either more preferred for location and for the beach???

Thanks for any help!
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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The beach is better in Isla Verde (the Courtyard), but that resort gets a big family contingent, so keep that in mind. The Marriott in Condado was recently renovated and is within easy walking distance of a lot of great restaurants (that's the real advantage of staying in Condado ... it's a bit harder to walk around in Isla Verde, and the Courtyard is pretty far out). The real downside to the Condado Marriot, in my opinion, is the loud and obnoxious lobby. There's a stage there, just behind the bar, and with the casino, it's just not a pleasant place to be. I've never visited the Courtyard, so I can't really speak to it, but my friend who prefers luxe hotels stayed there once and said it was "pretty good". High praise for someone who usually stayas at the Ritz-Carlton.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 07:29 AM
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Thanks so much for all the feeedback. Since we will want to expore some of the restaurants, etc. in San Juan, sounds like we would prefer the Marriott in Condado. Will request - and hopefully get - a quiet room.

P.S. The Water Club looks like a good option too, but the reviews I've read are awful! Any experience with this hotel?
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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I agree that, although the beach is better in Isla Verde, I would choose the Marriott in Condado over the Courtyard in Isla Verde. Also, unlike Doug, I think the lobby and casino are definite positives.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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I spent 3 nights @ Intercontinental last October it was average at best in my opinion and for the money was overpriced. I found San Juan to be expensive in many ways compared to other islands , it is very urban , lots of traffic not my idea of paradise.I only stayed in San Juan precruise so I did not venure out from my hotel, Im sure there are nice tropical beaches away from San Juan. Old SAN JUAN was interesting and had the old charm feel and look, very good food and excellent sangria @ Barrachina rest.I have been to San Juan twice and I do not think I would go back as there many other places I enjoyed much more in the islands
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