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Hotels in San Juan

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I stayed at the DoubleTree and really enjoyed it. They had a shuttle to the beach, a huge grocery store across the street, and plenty of restaraunts nearby. It was also easy to catch a bus into Old San Juan.

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Sheraton OSJ is awesome.  We are staying there in June before boarding the Adventure.  It has great access to OSJ, restaurants, forts, great walking.  But it has no beach and an pool isn't that great.  I've stayed at the Caribe Hilton which was really nice for beach and pools.  It's more expensive, and it's been a few years since I've stayed there.  There is also a Sheraton near the Pan American Pier.  However, they don't call it the "nothing to do Sheraton" for nothing.

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We have stayed at the embassy suites which was very nice. For the budget minded, we have found best western plus condado palm to be a great alternative. Half the price, interesting and safe area and we kept. We have now had three good experiences at best western plus locations.

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San Juan is a noisy city and not having gotten a lot of sleep the first time I was there, I looked for a quiet hotel. Found one - the Howard Johnson Centro Cardiovascular San Juan. As you might guess from the name, it is located in a hospital. An entire floor of hotel rooms, but they are run by Howard Johanson. A little out of the way and some of the taxi drivers (and dispatchers) don't know where it is (so be sure to take along the address). I found it blissfully quiet. Also for the budget minded. If you want a hotel that's in the middle of everything, this probably isn't the place for you.

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San Juan is a noisy city and not having gotten a lot of sleep the first time I was there, I looked for a quiet hotel. Found one - the Howard Johnson Centro Cardiovascular San Juan. As you might guess from the name, it is located in a hospital. An entire floor of hotel rooms, but they are run by Howard Johanson. A little out of the way and some of the taxi drivers (and dispatchers) don't know where it is (so be sure to take along the address). I found it blissfully quiet. Also for the budget minded. If you want a hotel that's in the middle of everything, this probably isn't the place for you.

Very interesting option

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Let me tell you a little about a cruise we took last week out of San Juan, what we found, and a little of our decision making process.

 

Flights this year (we have done a February/March sailing out of San Juan for the past 3 years) never dropped to the low levels we had seen them before. We settled at $600 a person round trip to/from Chicago.Our direct flight landed at 2am San Juan time. get bags and a cab ride and we are reaching our hotel at 3am. Boy, this is sounding like one of our trips to Europe... We booked early summer 2015.

 

Being a frequent Wyndham guest we had booked the Cardiovascular early on, because it was only $100 a night. I did not do much else searching at the time, a frequent Wyndham guest I can cancel a reservation at any time without penalty. I made this reservation in the middle of summer.

 

Now Wyndham is a goofy company, I think everyone agrees. But the Cardiovascular thing began to raise red flags. One, the name is damn strange. Two, where is this place??? Three, my wife read some of the trip advisor reviews and we got cold feet fast. The hotel makes sense if you have a loved one in that hospital but does not sound that accommodating to vacationers arriving at 3am.

 

Have I mentioned Puerto Rico is near bankruptcy? Keep that in mind.

 

So we searched elsewhere. We came up with a common theme. A large hotel with a beach costs about $200-$225 a night. That price doubles when you add the taxes and the resort fee. So for a night in San Juan expect to pay $400 for one of the beach front hotels. There are many other hotels that are a short distance from a beach. We found their prices to cost about $300 a night, final tally.

 

We settled on the Caribe Hilton at $400 for reasons that really should be the subject of an entire new post. As a man, a husband, and for my sanity; I've found it well worth "some" extra dollars to give my wife a much nicer bathroom that we have at home for a night. $400 was really way beyond what I had budgeted but I wasn't coming up with a better answer. Bobroo, you are arriving at 3am make this as simple as possible. Make it a hotel every cab driver knows. Make it a hotel to make the wife happy. Dude, you can reward yourself with a pina colada from their birthplace on Saturday afternoon.

 

I'm getting to the economic distress of Puerto Rico soon...

 

Here is what we found when we landed. The airport is busy 24 hours. We certainly weren't the only flight that had just landed. A cab was easy to hail. Surprisingly, we were not the only ones checking in at 3 am. For our purposes and reasoning, I made the correct choice to stay at Hotel Fancy Pants.

 

So Puerto Rico is financing old debt with new debt, a fiscal crisis. The beginnings of a new Detroit. Guess who's gonna get them out of the hole they dug? Vacationeers!!! Here are some examples of prices I paid last week:

 

Sales tax in Puerto Rico = 11%

 

(2) pina coladas at the Caribe Hilton = $28

 

(2) bottles of wine (my normal $10 variety)to bring aboard = $39

 

A halibut burrito from Lupitas = $16

 

A cab ride = $15- 20 one way

 

I am in no way complaining. Why shouldn't wealthy, jet setting vacationeers be extorted? I like San Juan, it has a lot to offer. It is unique and sort of exotic. As I would tell anyone, it is pricey everywhere you turn. So just be careful and bring your wallet. If you have never been, it is a unique place to go to; do it.

 

On the other hand, reflecting back on this; boy, cruising can be really, really cheap. Thank you Royal Caribbean!

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 The hotel makes sense if you have a loved one in that hospital but does not sound that accommodating to vacationers arriving at 3am.

 

 

It was. Accommodating. Remember I said it was run by Howard Johnson. Not a lot of amenities but they apparently get a lot of cruise ship passengers checking through.

 

We also arrived at the airport around 2:30 in the morning. I thought that would be a problem, but it wasn't. It was more of a problem getting up in the morning after only 4-5 hours sleep.

 

The $20 cab fare was par a year ago, as it was 12 years ago last time I was in Puerto Rico.  So were the $400 to $500 hotel rooms, last year as well as 12 years ago.  Your inflated Hilton prices seem to be because you were at the Hilton. Tho I remember a $200 meal at a really cool raw bar (Aguaviva) but I figured that was cause it was seafood and a trendy place and oddly they flew in a lot of their seafood.

 

This last time we were there, we walked down the street, found a Walgreen's and some local food type establishments (one open 24 hour) as well as more American fare like a Subway. I remember feeding the three of us lunch for about 12 bucks at one of the local places.

 

Anyhow. Puerto Rico has always been expensive, at least to my knowledge.

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I stayed in the Sheraton Old San Juan and it was great

We also stayed at the same hotel and I agree with Matt......it was great!   Old San Juan has a free tram system.  One that is inside the city and one that skirts the outside of the city ( the forts etc).  One of the bell hops at the Sheraton explained how to use the tram system and also told us about some very good local eateries just a few blocks from the hotel.

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In OSJ there is a tradition of flying kites on the grounds of El Morro that is really neat.  There is always a breeze.  We plan to do it with our kids (18, 15, & 9) when we are there in June.  The 18 year old may roll her eyes at her old dad, but I think she will remember doing it with us.  The 15 & 9 year-olds will think it's neat.  Pretty sure the CVS located by the Sheraton has kites.  It's a pretty wholesome thing to do with teens, and maybe one day they'll do it with their kids.

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In OSJ there is a tradition of flying kites on the grounds of El Morro that is really neat.  There is always a breeze.  We plan to do it with our kids (18, 15, & 9) when we are there in June.  The 18 year old may roll her eyes at her old dad, but I think she will remember doing it with us.  The 15 & 9 year-olds will think it's neat.  Pretty sure the CVS located by the Sheraton has kites.  It's a pretty wholesome thing to do with teens, and maybe one day they'll do it with their kids.

Not only is it fun, it's quite pretty to see

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There is a cruise pier right across from the Sheraton.  This is NOT the cruise pier you will be using.  Your RC ship will be leaving out of the Pan American pier which is about a 30 minute ride from the hotel ($25)

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There is a cruise pier right across from the Sheraton. This is NOT the cruise pier you will be using. Your RC ship will be leaving out of the Pan American pier which is about a 30 minute ride from the hotel ($25)

Is it really 30 minutes? It seems a lot closer than that.

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If it took you 30 minutes to get there, you must have had traffic or the cabbie worked you over pretty good.  It's probably 10 minutes or less.  I don't remember the cost, but I don't think it's $25.  It's really cool to see the ships right across the street, even if the Adventure is not one of them.  However, if you are an early riser, head outside at about 5:15 AM.  You may see the Adventure arrive.

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Starting to do some research now for my upcoming April 2018 cruise out of San Juan. So the RCCL cruise port is not the San Juan Cruise port, but the Pan American?

 

Any idea of costs from the airport to the port? Any hotels that include airport shuttle and cruise port shuttle perhaps?

 

Jewel doesn't leave until 8:30pm but I am hoping that boarding would still start around noon?

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