The upper-middle-range Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel is located in Old San Juan -- the city's most romantic, popular area with an abundance of sites, restaurants, bars, and boutiques scattered throughout. In 2017, the Sheraton reopened after a total overhaul -- with a handsome new business-like look in common areas. Its 240 rooms are practical (not fancy) with plush beds, coffeemakers, and lovely Harbor views from some. The rooftop pool (a rarity for Old San Juan), modern fitness center, and terrace happy hours are highlights, but it’s the location that really takes the cake. In a city where budget lodging abounds, the Sheraton is a reliable, familiar, and perfectly positioned bet. Travelers seeking a familiar chain brand closer to the beach could try Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort.
A heritage-inspired hotel with a bustling Harbor-side setting
Set right opposite the cruise port on the way into Old San Juan, the Sheraton is undeniably central and surrounded by regular foot traffic. (A Walgreens is parked on the ground floor.) Its soft pastel yellow and white trim facade suggests it has some historical past, but in truth it was actually built in 1997. The Sheraton pretty much stands face to face with the giant cruise ships that frequently dock in San Juan Harbor right opposite, which makes for some fabulous views from many rooms and the rooftop pool area to the delight of guests.
The hotel underwent a stylish renovation in 2017, resulting in a handsome lobby finished in mahogany-brown and teal blue. A grand wood banister staircase unfurls up to the mezzanine floor -- a real lobby showstopper that exudes Old World grandeur. Bright contemporary artwork offers bold contrast to graceful heritage elements like checkerboard marble-tiled floors and arched crown moldings. Common areas aren’t exactly huge -- so it can feel somewhat busy in the restaurant, around the pool (which is small), and in the lobby as guests come and go. The proximity to the port naturally attracts plenty of cruise passengers, plus tourists of all kinds keen to explore the old city, in addition to a fair share of business travelers.
In Old San Juan, a short walk from restaurants, bars, and attractions
Old San Juan, where this Sheraton is located, was built in 1521, and visiting still feels a bit like going back in time. You won't find skyscrapers or modern buildings here. Instead perfectly restored centuries-old colonial buildings and colorful low-rise homes line the cobblestone streets. This historic neighborhood is full of art galleries, sidewalk cafes, and beautiful colonial architecture. The hotel's proximity to the cruise port (just across the street) means there are crowds all year round, but most attractions are within walking distance, and there are wonderful tree-shaded squares where you can take a break halfway up the climb to the old fort.
The Sheraton sits at the south eastern edge of Old San Juan. An abundance of sites, restaurants, bars, and shops are scattered throughout the old city, within walking distance of the hotel. In fact, there’s a Walgreens on the building's ground floor. Some walkable highlights include Castillo de San Cristobal (seven minutes), El Capitolio (13 minutes), Catedral de San Juan Bautista (12 minutes), and La Fortaleza (15 minutes). Worthwhile sites a little farther but still walkable include Paseo de la Princesa (16 minutes), Paseo del Morro (21 minutes), and San Felipe del Morro Fortress (23 minutes). Beaches are nearby but require a drive; they include Condado Beach (11 minutes), Isla Verde (15 minutes), and Balneario El Escambron (also 15 minutes). It’s a 17-minute drive to Luis Munoz International Airport.
Modern and practical with comfortable beds and coffeemakers -- some with Harbor views
Rooms at this Sheraton aren't luxurious, but they’re practical, spotless, and pulled together. Available in Traditional, Deluxe, and Suite categories, all rooms were fully renovated in 2017 with a handsome, modern look that blends sky-blue and sand-hued walls with dark wood furnishings, white plantation-shuttered windows, and crisp white bedding. Beds are especially plush, and soft gray armchairs tucked in corners give another spot to rest. All rooms feature work desks with ergonomic chairs, flat-screen TVs, and coffeemakers. Closets are equipped with irons, ironing boards, and safes. Bathrooms are nice and big, with lovely wide vanities, large well-illuminated mirrors, shower/tub combos, hairdryers, and a free selection of individual toiletries. Layouts increase in size according to category topping out with Suites that feature spacious separate living areas and little Juliet balconies. Some rooms offer fabulous views of the San Juan Cruise Port across the way. Many guests find the rooms perfectly soundproofed, while others feel noise from neighboring rooms can seep in.
A pool (rare for Old San Juan), modern fitness center, and a Puerto Rican-fusion restaurant
This Sheraton provides some features that are truly above and beyond the norm for its location and pearl level. The top floor holds a small outdoor pool and whirlpool with deck chairs and wonderfully elevated views of the Harbor and cruise ship action over the road. While it is rather petite for a hotel of this size, the pool is quite the bonus for the area. A modern fitness center shares this level, offering a good selection of up-to-date cardio and weight-training equipment. For dining, Palio restaurant serves a buffet breakfast, and emphasizes Puerto Rican-fusion flavors for a la carte lunch and dinner. Sunset happy hour is held on the terrace some evenings. Room service is also available. Business travelers are catered to with a number of meeting and events spaces on the premises, and there’s a decent business center in the lobby. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout. The Walgreens, located just downstairs, can come in handy for basic essentials, too.
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