The Beach House Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls

The rooms, despite the stylish, South Beach-y veneer (decent bedding, bright orange accent walls, up-to-date technology) are pretty basic and worn, with cheap floors. But, as the pillows implore, "Keep calm and carry on."

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Puerto Rico's Best Boutique Hotels (2 of 12)

 The rooms, despite the stylish, South Beach-y veneer (decent bedding, bright orange accent walls, up-to-date technology) are pretty basic and worn, with cheap floors. But, as the pillows implore, "Keep calm and carry on."
Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat or a party destination, you will find it in Puerto Rico -- it’s only a matter of choosing the right place (and time of the year) to go. Servicing all of your needs are these intimate stays, our favorite boutiques on the Caribbean isle. 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). But (like many boutiques) it lacks the amenities -- fitness center, business center, pool -- of a larger hotel. The rooms, despite the stylish, South Beach-y veneer (decent bedding, bright orange accent walls, up-to-date technology) are pretty basic and worn, with cheap floors. But, as the pillows implore, "Keep calm and carry on." The draw of SOFO CasaBlanca Hotel is its location -- right in the middle of historic Old San Juan, near countless restaurants, nightclubs, and shops. Perks like free breakfast and Internet add value. The funky, chic decor of the lobby doesn't quite set the tone for the rest of the hotel, which features rooms that -- despite the cute, eclectic decor -- are on the small side, with thin walls, and tiny bathrooms. It's still one of the best boutique options in Old San Juan. The 80-room Water Club is a mid-range option in San Juan. It has all of the beach vacation essentials: a location almost right on the beach (you have to take a small pathway by the parking lot), two on-site restaurants, a rooftop pool, and bright rooms. Amenities are mediocre, but numerous, with both a pool and fitness center on-site. Rooms are contemporary but sparse, with just a blue accent wall and little furniture, and there is no full spa (although beachside and in-room massages are available). Nonetheless, the hotel provides a solid value and rooms have quality amenities, including flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and coffeemakers. This charming boutique hotel on a quiet side street in Old San Juan might make you feel like you've stepped back in time. In the common areas, the old-world decor blends with quirky, eclectic modern accents, like zebra-print chairs and bright oil paintings. Each of the eight rooms is furnished differently, but all share comfortable beds, high ceilings, antique furniture, ornate light fixtures, and direct access to a sunny courtyard. But while the location in Old San Juan helps make this a romantic spot, the hotel lacks a pool and a full-service staff, and it's a 10-minute drive to the beach. This quaint, 10-room bed-and-breakfast on Vieques Island is full of the charming, personal touches that so many chain hotels lack. It's an undeniably romantic pick, with phenomenal ocean views from the stone infinity pool and open-air lobby; airy, Mediterranean-style architecture; and wild horses roaming the grounds. Three bedrooms are in the main "inn," and others can be found in various bungalows dotting the property. The clean, lofty rooms are styled with eclectic antiques and tropical flowers -- but they're not quite luxurious and are showing minor wear. The on-site beach is a bit rocky, but some of the best beaches in the Caribbean are a short drive away. Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is run like an informal B&B -- guests are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). Also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property's main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The innkeepers are both artists, and it's evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration -- expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.
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