Restaurant serving dinner with impressive cuisine and wine
Some suites have pretty views of the Condado Lagoon
Free continental breakfast and local coffee each morning
Spa services are available
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Not all rooms have views and some rooms are compact
Closet space and hanging fixtures are limited
Some street-facing rooms pick up street noise
The upscale, 15-room Olive Boutique Hotel is an inviting Condado hotel with a rustic-chic ambience and a vibe that feels laid-back and high-end at the same time. Rooms are modern and stylish, and include thoughtful details like daily fresh cookies and premium toiletries. Outdoor terraces in all rooms are a major bonus -- they have vibrant Spanish tiling and luxe modern furniture, and some feature Condado Lagoon views. A beach is just two blocks away, and the hotel has a swish rooftop bar and lounge with a plunge pool, plus excellent on-site dining at Sage Steak Loft. This is a great choice for romantics, but guests looking for an Old San Juan boutique stay should consider Hotel El Convento, a gorgeous converted convent.
A sophisticated boutique hotel with a romantic, Mediterranean vibe
A Puerto Rican couple opened the doors to this charming boutique hotel in 2012 after a family member handed over the keys during a surprise speech at their destination wedding in Sorrento, Italy. It has received a lot of attention in a short amount of time and is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. With its rustic-chic, Mediterranean decor (and location next to the Condado Lagoon), the hotel largely appeals to romantic couples, and when we visited there was more than one pair of honeymooners staying on site.
The hotel is laid-back, cozy, and sophisticated at the same time. There's a charming seating area out front, behind the heavy front gate, and double doors lead into a rustic-chic lobby displaying a mix of decor and photography from the owners' travels through Italy, Spain, France, and Morocco. Check-in takes place seated at the hotel's front desk, and the attendant guides guests to their rooms for a tour of in-room features. An elevator and staircase off the lobby, followed by the stylish, rustic restaurant that's becoming a local foodie destination. Each floor has a travel-inspired theme, and the top floor of the hotel is its crown jewel -- an airy, swish lounge and bar that has plenty of seating nooks and views over the spectacular Condado Lagoon. The rooftop draws a trendy mix of locals and tourists, and there are DJs and live entertainment on many nights.
Quiet corner of Condado, just two blocks from the beach, shops, and restaurants
For those familiar with tropical destinations, the hotel's Condado neighborhood will call up some serious South Beach vibes. Located a 10-minute drive east of touristy Old San Juan, Condado is a posh enclave lined with luxury high-rise hotels, impressive Art Deco architecture, high-end shops like Gucci, and scores of cafes and swank eateries. The neighborhood is safe and exclusive, and has it's own stretch of public beach, the western end of which begins less than a five-minute walk from the hotel -- be warned that the current and surf can be strong here. Locals also enjoy morning swims in the gentler, protected waters at the tip of Avenida Ashford, a 10-minute walk west of the hotel. Condado is filled with shops and restaurants that will be familiar to Americans, like Italian restaurant Serafina and a CVS drugstore, but there are plenty of more interesting local haunts around as well, including Cocina Abierta, which has excellent small plates and a vibrant upscale atmosphere, and Oceano, an oceanfront seafood restaurant with a glitzy atmosphere. Plenty of local, more down-to-earth bars are tucked in throughout the neighborhood, offering cheap cold drinks and a more casual atmosphere. The eclectic and bohemian Santurce neighborhood is a 15-minute walk from the hotel, or around 10-minutes away by cab. It's home to bookstores, galleries, and museums. Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport is a 15-minute cab ride from the hotel.
Rustic-chic rooms range from compact to massive, all with handsome outdoor terraces
Across all categories, rooms have a sophisticated, rustic charm. Colors throughout skew toward muted tan, green, and yellow shades, and most surfaces have been given a deliberate weathering. The look is antique-contemporary, and includes heavy sleigh-inspired bed frames, wardrobes and hardwood tables with classic lines, bleached wood floors, and glass desks. Wardrobes don't provide much space in the way of storage, but there are hangers for clothes tucked inside. Beds are firm, but with yielding pillow-tops, and are made with white linens and striped blankets. Walls are antiqued and are hung with art that's inspired by the owners' worldly travels.
The highlight of all rooms are the outdoor terraces, which are roomy and covered in vibrant tilework, reclaimed wood accents, and luxe outdoor furniture like daybeds in some rooms. Many have striking art pieces, and higher-end rooms even include an outdoor wine fridge or hot tub. Terraces in rooms at the front of the building offer Condado Lagoon views, which can be especially lovely over the in-room breakfast, though some terraces offer no views whatsoever.
Each room includes free bottled water, powerful air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, DVD player, and fresh cookies or pastries every day. Modern bathrooms have luxury fixtures, rainfall showerheads, high-end L'Occitane products, and bathrobes. Bathrooms vary, and in many cases the glass showers with chic white mosaic tiling (as well as the sinks) are visible to the rest of the room. In some rooms, though, the entire bathroom has been closed off -- these are more private. Rooms at the front of the building, while benefitting from amazing views and breezes, can pick up a bit of street noise. The Gran Cru Suite is an especially delightful splurge, with a separate bedroom and massive terrace with a fountain.
Plenty of thoughtful freebies, a trendy rooftop lounge, and a great steak house
There are plenty of thoughtful extras on offer at the Olive, especially given its small size. Free bottled water, sweets, and fresh fruit are available throughout the day in the lobby, and beach towels are provided (which also double as pool towels for the rooftop plunge pool). The hotel's best feature is the stunner of rooftop lounge, with a bar, plunge pool, and plenty of seating areas that are perfect for romance or socializing with a mix of locals and tourists. There is a small area to the side for pre-arranged spa treatments and the plunge pool is open throughout the day (it has massage jets but is not heated). At night, the pool lights up and becomes a romantic spot to take a dip while sipping a signature cocktail. Parties are held on the rooftop throughout the year with DJs and live entertainment.
Sage Steak Loft, the hotel's restaurant, offers an excellent menu that blends Caribbean, South American, French, and Asian flavors with an eye towards quality cuts of meat and comfort food. The space is intimate and upscale. The hotel also serves an excellent light breakfast with hot sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, and fresh fruit as well as local coffee. It is included with all bookings.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, and meeting space with a projector can also be arranged. Valet parking is available in front of the hotel. The property is non-smoking, although smoking is permitted on the rooftop.
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