The city of San Juan is one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean. In part that’s because it’s a beautiful and interesting city on its own. The “Old San Juan” district gives you a sense of both city history and current culture, the seaside fortresses are always fun to explore, and the local restaurants and bars are a ton of fun. The city is also an ideal destination in that it can make for a great base as you explore the larger island of Puerto Rico. There’s a lot to see, and from San Juan you can drive to most of the top sights and attractions in a matter of hours (though the inner island roads can be somewhat treacherous!).
If that all sounds good to you, read on for a few of our picks for the best places to stay in this charming island town.
Hotel El Convento
This hotel is not the most luxurious option you’ll see on the island, but it’s one of the most authentic you’ll find anywhere in the Caribbean. The venue was recognized by a site detailing historic hotels of the Americas, and there it was noted that the building has stood since 1651 (though it was originally a Carmelite convent). An old courtyard that has been there since the beginning is still accessible to guests, and a 300-year-old fruit tree there is a point of pride for the hotel. But the place has also been updated with modern rooms and amenities, making it as comfortable as it is charming.
La Concha Resort
All things considered, this might objectively be the best resort in San Juan. For one thing, it’s right on the water, which gives you the feeling of some of the more remote areas of Puerto Rico with the convenience of the city. The beach is relatively private, the rooms are comfortable (and some have glorious views), and the pool area is great for kids. The main attraction, however, may be the in-house restaurant La Perla. It’s on a sort of platform over the beach and shaped like a gigantic seashell, such that you’re eating inside with sloping windows (the grooves of the shell’s opening) facing out toward the sea. The menu is full of delicious seafood and you can certainly enjoy a nice cocktail or two, but the actual architecture of the restaurant is the draw.
Mariott San Juan
This place is fun for the whole family. It’s located right on Condado Beach, though there’s also a fun pool area complete with a waterslide. There’s a luxury feeling to the resort itself, and one of the main attractions for some tourists will be the inclusion of the Stellaris Casino. It’s a fun, real world alternative to the mobile gaming options that have largely taken over the casino industry, and you can find a nice mix of games. Rather than having to gravitate toward poker tournaments or endless slot selections, as you often have to online, you can browse the gaming room, plopping yourself down at tables or enjoying upwards of 400 machines. It’s not the only casino among San Juan resorts, but it’s probably the best.
Intercontinential San Juan
This place rivals La Concha in providing the total package, particularly if you’re traveling with a family. It’s near Old San Juan, yet right on Isla Verde Beach, though it takes up enough space to almost feel like a sort of island unto itself. The ocean view rooms are simple but elegant, and there are five on-site restaurants and a few bars to keep you busy at night. Perhaps best of all, however, the huge, winding pool, complete with stone caves, a waterfall, and a swim-up bar, is outstanding. It made a list of the best hotel pools in Puerto Rico, and it may just be the best one actually located in San Juan.