San Juan - 3/4 days/nights

Sep 13th, 2011, 06:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 27
San Juan - 3/4 days/nights

Hi -

I'm just starting (and hopefully finishing soon) research on places for my wife and I to go for Christmas break for a short trip (we are both in our early 30s). We want somewhere warm, with beaches, yet also enough other things to do in the day like explore a city - and some fun but not over-the-top nightlife. San Juan seemed like it had all of these. While we like sitting on the beach and getting into the ocean, we aren't really 'resort' types, and I've heard the luxury resorts (Conquistador, Ritz, etc) are actually a decent distance from San Juan. I was hoping to get people's views as to whether San Juan did fit the bill for what we are looking for - we are planning on spending 3-4 days/nights, and wanted to see if people thought there was enough to do in terms of exploring Old San Juan, enjoying the beach, eating at local restaurants, and going out a little at night. Any thoughts much appreciated
mscott2010 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 02:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

Nice place great vibe there for me

very enjoyable... might check that out
qwovadis is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,360
I would think San Juan would meet the bill. While the Conquistador is about a 45 minute (or more, depending on traffic) drive out of town, there are several "luxury" resorts right in town. The Ritz, as well as the Intercontinental and El San Juan are in the Isla Verde neighborhood of San Juan, near the airport and a few minutes from Old San Juan by taxi or car. The Condado area is closer to Old San Juan, with several resorts as well (the Marriott Stellaris and Conrad, among others). The in-town resorts are fairly compact beachfront properties with pools, restaurants and casinos -- not resort-y per se (like El Con, which is a mega-resort, complete with water slides and the hubbub of a family destination).

The beaches right in San Juan are not the best the island has to offer, but they will certainly do. Aside from beaches, there is plenty of explore, as well as fun dining and a club scene (of which I've not really partaken).

qwovadis recommends El Convento. I've always wanted to stay there myself, but have yet to do it. But, FYI, it's right in Old San Juan and not on a beach.
Callaloo is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 04:10 AM
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There is plenty to do. Explore Old San Juan, hike through the rain forest El Yunque. Visit famous Luquillo beach, rent a car and explore other parts of the island. We love exploring PR.
schmerl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Callalo has given you good information. From your description of what you are looking for, I think hotels in either the Condado or Isla Verde areas of San Juan would fit the bill. In Condado, I suggest you research the Renaissance, the Marriott and the Condado Plaza. Regarding the Condado Plaza, it's a nice hotel but just to warn you that most of the property abuts a breakwall so there is no sandy beach. There is a tiny, not very attractive beach area to one side of the hotel. The Renaissance and Marriott both have better beaches. In Isla Verde, the top three choices are El San Juan Resort, Ritz Carlton and Intercontinental.

There is plenty to do in San Juan and surrounding areas to keep you busy for 3-4 days (or more).
tom42 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 27
Thanks everyone, these thoughts are super helpful and we decided on Puerto Rico. I'm spent time on tripadvisor and other sites on the various very helpful hotel suggestions above. I'm trying to decide between the Condado or Isla Verde areas - I'm leaning towards the Renaissance in Condado. Just wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on the Condado vs. Isla Verde areas in terms of beaches, 'clientele', cost, etc. Thanks again
mscott2010 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
I've not stayed at either hotel, but I've spent about five hours during the day at both the Ritz and the Water Club, plus lingered over a few long lunches at the restaurant at Hotel Numero Uno, and all three had lovely beaches. My personal nod would go to the beach at Water Club since part of it is shaded by groves of palm trees and it was quite picturesque, with the remaining stretch long and wide and perfect for activities such as beach volleyball. I cannot comment on the rooms at any of these places, but the service was great at all three. My husband and I frequently have very long layovers when we travel in the Caribbean, so we always leave the airport and spend the day at the various beach hotels/resorts. (People will say that the Water Club is across the street from the beach, and they're right--sort of. It's separated from part of the beach by a little two-lane road, but all of the rooms there are closer to the beach than most rooms in the larger resorts.)

Definitely spend some time in Old San Juan. The forts are worth seeing, and it's lovely to stroll through the old city on the cobblestone streets and admire the colorful buildings and old architecture. We love El Convento and have overnighted there a few times, but if you're looking for a beach vacation, you might want to look elsewhere (though I believe they offer complimentary shuttles to their sister hotel, La Concha, so perhaps if you want beach by day and city by night, it might work for you after all).
ejcrowe is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 490
Another vote for El Convento if you decide to stay "in town" for a day or two. Competely charming and fabulous for wandering around Old San Juan at night.
tejana is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Both areas (Condado and Isla Verde) have their advantages. The beach is better in Isla Verde but Condado is closer to Old San Juan. I've stayed at the Renaissance in Condado. It is really nice. It's one of the newer hotels in the San Juan area. There are restaurants within walking distance. The Condado area itself is in the midst of a bit of renaissance. They've improved some of the public spaces and there has been a good amount of new construction going on the last few years. On the other hand, my favorite hotel is in Isla Verde - El San Juan Hotel and Casino. Even if you don't stay there, it is a great place to go for restaurants and evening entertainment, especially on the weekends.

That being said, the two areas are not that far apart. Can easily taxi it from one to the other.
tom42 is offline  
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