Casa Condado Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This no-frills value hotel has 24 clean, sparsely decorated rooms, with wooden floors, small flat-screen TVs, and loud AC units. Bathrooms are nothing special either, with large, concrete-floor showers and no counter space. The hotel itself has no amenities whatsoever -- no elevator, no fitness center, no pool -- but its location in the heart of the glitzy Condado neighborhood, a block from the beach, is convenient. Also, there's a pleasant terrace where the (free) continental breakfast is served, free Wi-Fi in the common areas, and a nice sushi restaurant.
The Beach House Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The boutique Beach House Hotel sits right on a small stretch of private beach, and offers perks like free Wi-Fi, nighttime film screenings, and a pumping DJ on the weekends (a pro, for those who don't mind the noise). Although it lacks the amenities -- fitness center, business center, pool -- of a larger hotel, the price and value of this hotel is tough to beat.
Verdanza Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This mid-range hotel is nothing like the nearby luxury properties in ritzy Isla Verde, but it's a block from a sandy beach, and has 222 bright rooms, some with pool views and small balconies. The contemporary decor is nothing special, with plain wooden furniture and muted colors, but all rooms come with iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. Property highlights include the three solid restaurants and wine bar with daily tastings, a nice pool area with a water play feature for kids, and an airy fitness center overlooking the rooftop terrace.
Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The mid-range, 240-room Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino is located in the heart of Old San Juan, the city's most romantic, popular area. In a city where budget lodging abounds, the Sheraton is a safe, familiar bet, with a modern fitness center, casino, restaurant, and (small, but decent) rooftop pool and hot tub. While rooms aren't stylish, they're clean, comfortable, and have flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and safes.
Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 260-room Courtyard by Marriot Isla Verde Beach Resort is about as close as you can be to an airport without being on a runway. Having said that, rooms are clean and spacious with 37-inch flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and balconies; the pull-out couches, microwaves, and mini-fridges make it a convenient option for families. The hotel also offers access to what is widely considered to be one of the best beaches in San Juan, featuring hammocks and volleyball.
Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The massive, 600-room Rio Mar Beach Resort has sprawling grounds and a wide array of activities (including two championship golf courses) -- although a rental car will be necessary for guests planning on venturing off of the resort's premises. With three pools -- a kids' pool, an adults pool, and a shared pool -- and a big beach on-site, it's a great option for families. As at many other beach resorts, humidity can be an issue, and the resort could use new carpets (especially in the hallways). Rooms are clean, large, and have great views, but are short on local charm.