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About San Juan
San Juan has two sides to it: the gracefully restored colonial capital and the more modern, easterly areas, with their glossy bars and boutiques and lively nightlife. The best places to stay in San Juan are spread through both, from beautiful old mansions to ultra modern beachside resorts.
San Juan is old. It was only the second European founded settlement in the Americans - built around 500 years ago on a little islet which guards its perfect natural harbour and lagoon. The historic part of town, Old San Juan is rich with centuries old architecture, starting with Spanish forts. The most famous are Heritage Listed "El Morro", El Castillo de San Cristobal and the Castillo de San Jeronimo, which repelled an attack from Sir Francis Drake in 1595.
One of the main jobs of ports was to trade, and San Juan's markets hark back fondly to these times, with an abundance of local produce. The Santurce Mercado is a fun, and delicious place to be at almost all hours of the day and night.
San Juan also has a number of fascinating museums.
As well as San Juan's wonderfully colourful history, and colourful culture (and nightlife), this city also has some near-perfect beaches. There are all kinds, from the exclusive stretches of white sand on Isla Verde to the party beaches at Condado. So whether you're here for culture or simply a beach break, the best places to stay in San Juan should satisfy all.
For a beach break
- The Ritz Carlton Puerto Rico offers five star luxury right on the beach. There are also resort style facilities, like pools and tennis courts and several restaurants and bars. Certainly one of the best places to stay in San Jaun if you want to do Puerto Rico in style.
- The Olive Boutique Hotel is another five stay property, this time opulent in design, and right by the lagoon. The hotel is adults only, and they have lots of fun touches like spa showers and sleigh beds. They also have a rooftop terrace and extensive spa.
- The Water Beach Club is a very modern, even minimalist, hotel, right on the beach. Its windows are large and there's a fantastic roof terrace and a large pool. They also have a cocktail bar and a Spanish restaurant. Slick and trendy.
For a city break
- The Gallery Inn is a boutique hotel converted from a beautiful, historic mansion. They've kept many of the antiques, tapestries and artworks, and this hotel has bags of character. There's also an excellent array of tapas on offer in the opulent dining room.
- El Convento is one of San Juan's most regal hotels, with opulent, colonial style decor and an excellent tapas menu.
- The Cervantes Hotel is an elegant hotel decorated in a contemporary style with Puerto Rican artworks. There are just 12 rooms, but the gourmet restaurant is very popular with local people too, so it feels quite buzzy in the evenings.
- Hotel Milano is a charming old hotel offering colourful rooms and a rooftop terrace with spectacular city views. It's also well located for the main sights, and for the nightlife of San Juan. And it's very reasonable, so great for groups.
For great value
- The Hosteria del Mar is a family friendly spot, right on the beach, offering a choice of rooms or apartments, complete with full kitchens and dining areas. The atmosphere is laid back and there's a beachfront bar and restaurant with great food.
- Dreamcatcher Guest House is an eclectic property close to the coast. Rooms are filled with vintage treasures, the terraces are hung with hammocks and there's yoga classes on site. It's also great value, starting from only £49 per night.
- The Canario Boutique Hotel is also close to the beach. An intimate B&B with simple, Spanish style rooms, the Canario is also close to all San Juan's main attractions.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in San Juan for you?
Best Hotels in San Juan
Dreamcatcher Guest House 10 rooms from $79San Juan, Puerto Rico
Eclectic guesthouse close to the beach. Rooms are filled with vintage furnishings, hammocks and terraces. Yoga and meditation classes held in hotel; excellent vegetarian breakfasts. Bohemian, friendly and laid-back.Groups - Eco hotel with focus on vegetarian food and meditation classes, ideal for younger groups to explore city fromLocal markets - In Old San Juan, a ten minute driveFull of characterGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Frommers
Canario Boutique Hotel 25 rooms from $95San Juan, Puerto Rico
Intimate B&B close to the beach. Simple rooms have Spanish style furniture and large bathrooms. Sit out terrace and elegant lobby lounge. Excellent value and location.Local exploring - Great value hotel, with easy access to all of the city's sights and historic old town, as well as beachesSurfing - World-class surfing at Rincón, Puerto RicoGreat walks - 'La Ventana al Mar' ocean front parkSights nearby - Museo de Arte de Puerto RicoRecommended by - Frommers
Hotel Milano 30 rooms from $95San Juan, Puerto Rico
Charming hotel in old town. Rooms feature colourful prints and tiled bathrooms. Rooftop terrace with city views. Good international cuisine in the restaurant. Great choice for younger groups to explore the city. Excellent value for money.Local exploring - Perfect location to see the historic sights, plus enjoy the restaurants and buzzy nightlifeGreat walks - Historical and art walking tours of Old San Juan can be arrangedSights nearby - El Morro and San CristobalRecommended by - Frommers
Hosteria del mar 23 rooms from $99San Juan, Puerto Rico
Family friendly hotel on the beach. Spacious rooms have Balinese furniture, large bathrooms and some open right onto the sand. Great international cuisine at the beachfront hotel. Laid back atmosphere with plenty of attractions close by. Apartments are ideal for families.Families - Larger apartments have full kitchens and dining areas, beach on the doorstep with activities for all agesGreat walks - Through Barbosa ParkSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.On the beach - In front of the hotel.Recommended by - Fodors
Cervantes Hotel 12 rooms from $147Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Elegant city hotel. The contemporary rooms are in cream, with Puerto Rican artworks and lovely balconies. Outstanding gourmet menu in the popular restaurant. Chic, boutique and intimate.Local exploring - Ideal location to explore the old town, with the port close by. Art galleries and historic features galoreLocal markets - Arts and crafts, and you can find plenty of options in Old San JuanSights nearby - Castillo de San Cristóbal, El Morro and La FortalezaDesigner - Contemporary luxury designed by Nono MaldonadoRecommended by - Frommers
The Gallery Inn 20 rooms from $135Puerto Rico
Boutique hotel within historic mansion. Rooms are filled with antiques, tapestries, four poster beds and artworks. Outdoor pool, leafy courtyards and roof terrace. Superb Tapas cuisine in opulent dining room. Quirky and full of character with excellent service.Romantic Break - Eclectic mix of antiques, tapestries and courtyards in this boutique and romantic hotel in 200 year old mansionGreat walks - From the hotel's Beach House in La PerlaSights nearby - Castillo de San CristobalFull of characterRecommended by - Fodors, Frommers
Water Beach Club 78 rooms from $149San Juan, Puerto Rico
Contemporary hotel on the beach. Rooms have minimalist furniture, enormous windows and ipod docks. Roof terrace with outdoor pool. Gym and direct beach access. Excellent modern Spanish cuisine, trendy cocktail bar. Modern, chic and perfect for younger couples.Romantic Break - Slick decor, swimming pool and roof terrace with outstanding views, beach a few minutes away and romantic dining tooLocal markets - In Old San Juan, 15 minutes awaySights nearby - Jose Miguel Agrelot ColiseumGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Fodors
Olive Boutique Hotel 15 rooms from $160San Juan, Puerto Rico
Opulent 5* hotel by the lagoon. Elegant rooms have enormous spa showers, sleigh beds and antique touches. Roof terrace, outdoor plunge pool, spa treatments available. Sublime pan-Mediterranean cuisine, atmospheric bar lounge. Grown-up, chic and very romantic.Romantic Break - Adults only hotel with spa showers, roof terrace to enjoy champagne, plunge pool and superb cuisineSights nearby - Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and Plaza del MercadoLocal markets - 10-minute drive from San Juan’s Old TownRestrictions on children - Over-18s hotelRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet, Frommers
El Convento 58 rooms from $165San Juan, Puerto Rico
Regal hotel in Old San Juan district. Decor is opulent and colonial with Andalusian floor tiles, mahogany furniture and enormous beds. Outdoor pool, gym, library and sun terrace. Both excellent gourmet and tapas menus, elegant bar. Luxurious, chic and historic.City Style - Walking distance to many of the city's sights, opulent interiors, pool, terrace and excellent diningSights nearby - San Cristobal FortressSailing - San Juan Nautical ClubFull of characterRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet
Ritz Carlton Puerto Rico 416 rooms from $269San Juan, Puerto Rico
Luxurious 5* hotel on the beach. Creamy rooms have silk furnishings, marble bathrooms, contemporary furniture. Outdoor pool, beach access, tennis courts, gym, spa and full casino. Outstanding Italian, Tapas and American cuisine; elegant bar. Opulent, exclusive and idyllic.Beach Life - Hotel leads right onto the white sand beach, with pool close by, and palm trees keeping you company alongside superb serviceRomantic Break - Superb beach side pool, excellent spa with couples' treatments, romantic creamy bedrooms and dining for twoKids Club - Supervised activities for children from 5-12 years.Local markets - In Historic Old San JuanRecommended by - Fodors