Hotels in Old Town San Juan

by Joanne Thomas

Old San Juan in Puerto Rico is famous as the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, a National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the tourist hot-spot of the wider city, Old San Juan offers a range of lodging options, a handful of which are especially notable for their historic value, unmatched luxury or exceptional interior design.

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Casablanca Hotel

Casablanca Hotel is a 35-room boutique inn on a blue cobbled street characteristic of Old San Juan. The Morocco-inspired guest rooms are available in four categories, all of which offer high-end amenities such as plush pillow-top beds and an iPod dock and speaker system. Wireless Internet access is complimentary, and for an additional fee guests can arrange an in-room continental breakfast and pre-arrival grocery shopping services. Other services include car rentals, complimentary shoe shine, on-site concierges and laundry services. Guests have access to a rooftop sundeck and hot tubs, and also enjoy complimentary passes to a gym in Old San Juan.

Hotel El Convento

Hotel El Convento -- the oldest member of the Historic Hotels of America group and a landmark of Old San Juan in its own right -- occupies a 350-year-old Spanish Colonial mansion that previously served as a convent. The 58-room hotel is also a member of the elite Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, the only such hotel in Puerto Rico. Guest rooms overlook Old San Juan and the rooftop terrace offers views of sunrises and sunsets over San Juan Bay, as well as a plunge pool and hot tub. The elegant guest rooms feature marble bathrooms, stereos, goose-down bedding and plush bathrobes. Four on-site restaurants present a range of dining options that includes Spanish-style tapas, Italian cuisine and traditional Puerto Rican fare.

Casa Herencia

Casa Herencia, a historic mansion adjacent to El Convento Hotel and the Children’s Museum, offers eight guest rooms adorned with antiques and artifacts from all over the world. The historic furnishings, hand carved by master woodworkers, include grand four-poster beds and ornate hardwood armoires set alongside original stone walls. Contemporary touches include pillow-top mattresses and flat-screen televisions. In addition to its guest rooms, Casa Herencia features a library and an intimate 12-seat dining room.

Da House Hotel

Located above a well-known jazz and salsa cafe in the heart of Old San Juan, Da House Hotel takes its inspiration from the eclectic hostels of European cities. Although it is a budget-friendly establishment lauded by the New York Times Travel Section as a frugal choice, the hotel has features befitting a high-end boutique hotel, such as private furnished terraces and balconies, stylish modern furnishings and a rooftop sundeck with a hot tub and lounge chairs. Some of the rooms boast 10-foot windows with views of the city and ocean. In the spirit of the historic building's former role as the home of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, Da House Hotel's own art collection is displayed throughout the guest rooms and public areas.

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.

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