Noticeable wear-and-tear in dark rooms, some without windows
Some guests note rooms are noisy, untidy, and lack sufficient hot water
Units don't have TVs, mini-fridges, and don't all have Wi-Fi
No full restaurant or on-site parking
The property isn't suitable for guests with mobility concerns
The Gallery Inn tends to provoke polarized reactions from travelers: people either love it or hate it. The three-pearl bed-and-breakfast, located in Old San Juan, is housed in a 19th-century colonial mansion. Its name is apropos, as the inn's owners are artists and their works can be found throughout the property, and in its 22 guest rooms. All are ornately dressed, equipped with air-conditioning and quality mattresses, but they lack mini-fridges and TVs and some lack windows. Travelers should be prepared to deal with the quirks of staying in an old home, such as insufficient hot water or noise issues. Top features include an inviting plunge pool and a rooftop deck with ocean views. Those interested in unique accommodations might also consider Hotel El Convento, which occupies a former convent, though rates here can be higher.
Eclectic, sociable inn defined by a vivid collection of art and rambling gardens
Those arriving at The Gallery Inn will immediately understand how the property got its name -- it truly looks much more like an art gallery or museum than a hotel. Guests are invited to explore its labyrinth of hallways, courtyards, and gardens, and poke around dozens of rooms, which feature a dizzying collection of eclectic original artworks and antiques.
Choice spots to convene include the bed-and-breakfast's stunning rooftop deck, with panoramic ocean and city views, and a beautiful little plunge pool surrounded by crumbling remains of old brick walls. The property isn't for everyone -- some may find it cluttered, and there are numerous squawking parrots. The owners live on-site, and tend to interact regularly with guests, many of whom are couples.
Convenient location in Old San Juan, close to San Juan National Historic Site
The Gallery Inn is set in Old San Juan, facing toward the coast. It’s a practical base for guests looking to sightsee, although the nearby La Perla area can be somewhat seedy after dark. San Juan National Historic Site, which includes Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristobal, is less than a five-minute walk away. Guests will also find tons of shops, restaurants, and bars a five- to 10-minute walk away, particularly along Fortaleza Street.
Although there's a beach in La Perla (where the owners’ cottage is located), it isn't the nicest on the island. The best beaches, including those found in Condado and Isla Verde, are a 15- to 25-minute drive away. San Juan International Airport (Luis Muñoz Marín) can be reached in about a 25-minute drive.
One-of-a-kind rooms packed with antiques and artwork
No two guest rooms at The Gallery Inn are exactly the same -- each is filled with a unique assortment of ceramic busts, handwoven tapestries, silk screens, old books, and an array of artworks and antiques. Fabrics are equally diverse, tending toward floral and damask prints in deep shades of gold, burgundy, and olive green, and many rooms have four-poster beds or elaborate bed canopies.
Rooms are generally dark (some are windowless) and also show wear-and-tear, but all have air-conditioning, Tempur-Pedic mattresses, and side chairs or seating areas. There are no mini-fridges or TVs, and the property's free Wi-Fi doesn't reach all rooms. Bathrooms also differ significantly from room to room, but most are small, with pedestal sinks and no-frills showers. Bath products are provided.
A select number of rooms have kitchenettes and look out to the inn's gardens. Family Rooms, Vista Rooms, and Top Side Suites feature terraces or balconies with ocean or city views. Family Rooms can accommodate up to four people, and offer separate living areas. Some guests have noted that rooms are noisy, untidy, and lack sufficient hot water.
Plunge pool, rooftop deck with views, and free continental breakfast, but no full restaurant
One of the drawbacks of The Gallery Inn is that it isn't located on the beach. Thankfully, it does have a plunge pool and pergola shading wrought-iron patio furniture, and a rooftop sundeck, with ocean views and tables and chairs set under an elegant trellis.
There's no full restaurant, but a basic continental breakfast is included in the room rate. Other meals can be arranged in the inn’s lavish dining room by special request. There’s a small honor bar where guests can help themselves to drinks, or bring their own drinks onto the property, but they'll need to pay a steep $20 corkage fee.
Chamber music concerts are regularly held in the inn’s Venetian-style music room, which features a grand Steinway piano. Advance-reservations for performances are required.
Guests also have access to the Beach House, the owners’ off-site cottage, which is located on the nearby beach in La Perla. The Beach House, along with 17 of the inn’s other rooms, gardens, and spaces, can be rented for weddings. Free Wi-Fi is available in the common areas (though it doesn't reach all rooms). There's no on-site parking. Also, the property isn't suitable for guests with mobility concerns.