VIP pet services like grooming and walking for additional fees
Pet friendly (small pets only, for a hefty daily fee)
Pool and fitness center are tiny
Nightclub-inspired decor and lighting doesn't suit all guests
Rooftop restaurant only opens at night
San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel did not sustain significant damage during Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and is currently open and operational, though travelers should note that the island of Puerto Rico was significantly impacted by the storm. The upper-middle-range Water Club offers 80 rooms and a cool boutique vibe in ritzy Isla Verde, San Juan. Set right opposite the beach, guests have access to free deck chairs, beach umbrellas, and towels, plus a rooftop pool and two on-site restaurants with top-notch food and cocktails -- one offering trendy alfresco lounges overlooking the beach. Rooms include flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, flashy LED lighting, and some take in gorgeous beach views (while other views are drab). Hotel features aren't as impressive as the more expensive properties nearby -- the pool and fitness center are both small; and there's no spa (although beachside and in-room massages are available). But for travelers looking for a great beach, central location, comfortable rooms, and affordable rates, this resort is hard to beat.
Laid-back beach atmosphere by day; contemporary cool-lounge-bar vibe by night
Set at the end of a quiet dead-end street running right alongside the beach, the Water Club is nowhere near as tall as other loftier hotels that line the Isla Verde beachfront -- but its size is consistent with its boutique vibe. A minimalist decor dominates by day, with Art Deco details at play. But at night, LED lighting takes over common areas, like the lobby, elevator, and restaurants, giving a nightclub-inspired feel that’s certainly unique -- though not for everyone. The elevator’s transparent top makes for a fun upward view, although one elevator was out during our stay so many guests chose to take the stairs over long waits. Mist, the rooftop restaurant and bar, delivers a fun, laid-back evening vibe, with a mix of tourists and locals, cool beats on the speakers, cocktails flowing, stellar food, and views to die for (it’s worth getting there before sundown). Guests can also get breakfast “to go” from Zest downstairs and eat it on the rooftop. Despite its teeny size, the pool here is a pretty sight -- aqua like the ocean, and surrounded by clear balustrade that highlights the blue sky and beachfront -- where many guests are positioned, making use of the free deck chairs. Even if the pool is full (there are just four deck chairs), it’s worth heading up there to at least check out the view, before going back down to get amongst the Isla Verde action that’s quite literally at the doorstep.
Right opposite Isla Verde Beach, close to the airport and old San Juan
Located in the heart of tourist hotspot Isla Verde, the Water Club sits directly opposite Isla Verde Beach, with plenty of water sports action on offer (from outside vendors). The shopping and dining scene isn’t mind-blowing in this area, the north eastern side of Puerto Rico. Tourists come here for two main reasons: the wonderful beaches bordering the neighborhood’s edge, and the short drive to the airport. It’s a 10-minute drive from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, 24-minute drive from San Juan (and the historic Old San Juan), and 16 minutes by car from the Puerto Rico Museum of Art.
Rooms best described as "modern beach house meets trendy nightclub”
Guest rooms have a contemporary, beachy look topped off by a splash of nightlife lighting. Deep aqua feature walls and matching color accents offset crisp white bedding, lounges, and sheer curtains, for a fresh modern feel, while jet-black tech features add bold contrast. When guests arrive, curtains are drawn and blue LED light illuminates rooms giving a nightclub atmosphere that’s fun, though not practical. A flick of the light switch restores more traditional lighting; and curtains can be pulled open for plenty of natural sunlight. Transparent glass desks are neatly hidden behind dark timber bedheads. Beds are positioned in the center of rooms -- but the layout can feel somewhat cumbersome given rooms are already quite compact, especially in lower categories.
Categories embrace a range of rooms and suites with king or queen beds and small to large layouts, with city, ocean, or partial ocean views. The higher the category, the better the view, the larger the layout, and the flashier the perks. All rooms feature cable flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, safes, irons and ironing boards, free water, pillow-top beds, robes, and coffeemakers. Each room features a “Tus Deseos” (your dreams) board that invites guests to select from a menu of romantic requests, like couples Swedish massage, French Champagne, and sensual kits -- all at extra cost, of course. Business Boutique Rooms cater more to business travelers with bigger work desks and ergonomic desk chairs, multi-plug and USB outlets, and high-speed Wi-Fi. Ocean Front Suites feature walk-in closets and living areas with telescopes for stargazing. Travelers who appreciate a good view should opt for Ocean Front -- and the higher the better.
Rooftop pool, two on-site restaurants/bars, a gym, beach chairs, and valet parking
The Water Club's features tend to be every bit as atmospheric as the resort itself -- with a few exceptions. With sky-high views up and down the beach, the rooftop pool is a highlight, however it’s terribly small and only offers four sunbeds. Beach-goers will be pleased to know there are plenty of deck chairs and shade umbrellas available for their use down on the beach. For dining, there are two on-site restaurants. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch, Mist Rooftop Bar & Kitchen offers open-air dinner and drinks on the rooftop -- alfresco lounges, bar tables, and the bar itself take in spectacular coastal views. The place is known locally for its top-notch burgers. While Mist isn’t serving meals around the clock, guests still have access to the area, which can be a beautiful spot to nap, read, or sunbathe and admire the view. Zest restaurant, off the lobby, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (most nights) with a modern take on Puerto Rican and Latin American flavors.
A fitness center is located in the basement, although it’s on the small side (and has no windows). The lobby offers a concierge to assist with tours, activities, transport, and reservations, and a small business center is also located in the lobby. Valet parking is available for a fee, and free Wi-Fi is provided throughout.
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