Check out our picks for the San Juan boutique hotels, chain branches, bed and breakfasts, and old-fashioned guest houses with the best value.
The 80-room Water Beach Club in ritzy Isla Verde offers great value, with 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, and a rooftop pool. The bright rooms are contemporary and sparse, with just a blue accent wall and little furniture, but they do have flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and coffeemakers. Hotel features aren't as impressive as at the more expensive properties nearby: the pool and fitness center are both very small, and there's no full spa (although beachside and in-room massages are available). But if your priorities are access to a great beach and solid rooms, it's hard to do much better for the price in San Juan.
Embassy Suites San Juan is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel located in San Juan’s fashionable Isla Verde neighborhood. The hotel is within a six-minute walk of Isla Verde Beach, as well as nightlife and entertainment. Its 299 suites are large and cheerful, offering separate sitting areas with sofa beds and kitchenettes with microwaves. The decor throughout the rooms and common areas is generic and indicative of the chain, but the pool area is attractive and there are loads of freebies: breakfast (featururing hot and cold items like made-to-order eggs), Wi-Fi, and evening happy hours with cocktails and snacks.
TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde is a modern 115-room hotel with a splashy design, conveniently located amid Isla Verde’s vibrant dining and nightlife scene. All guest rooms are eye-catching, and feature local coffee, free Wi-Fi, and 39-inch flat-screen TVs. The outdoor pool, two restaurants (one of which serves a free continental breakfast), and other facilities are all bright and appealing.
The 18-room Tres Palmas Inn -- named for the trio of tall palms at its entrance -- is a small, mid-range hotel with beach-inspired decor, a sunny rooftop terrace with a hot tub, and a courtyard swimming pool. The hotel is located across the street from Ocean Park Beach, but this section of the beach is narrow with little room between the road's barrier concrete wall and the sea. There are many inviting places to lounge on-site, including hammocks and colorful Adirondack chairs within earshot of the ocean waves. The free continental breakfast is served daily in an open-air dining room. Rooms have a residential feel and are outfitted with mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs; suites have kitchenettes and private terraces.
This 201-room budget-friendly chain hotel offers excellent freebies, including breakfast (which can get busy) and evening refreshments (including beer!). Guests can walk to Isla Verde Beach within five minutes, or hit the outdoor pool and terrace. Rooms have flat-screen TVs, work desks, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers -- though better coffee is available in the lobby -- and suites have more space and microwaves. The pool bar serves basic American fare (including great burgers) for lunch and dinner, and it’s not too far of a taxi ride to get to more buzzing city spots for more choice. Airplane noise might bother light sleepers. Wi-Fi is free, though parking will incur a daily fee.
Renovated in 2014, the Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado is a budget-oriented chain hotel that caters to tourists and businesspeople, some on extended stay. While not directly on the beach, the hotel is located in San Juan's upscale Condado neighborhood, around the corner from luxury shops and restaurants and just a block from Ventana del Mar Park and the path that leads to Condado Beach. The 115 rooms are equipped with coffeemakers, Wi-Fi, and two types of pillow choices, and include free breakfast.
A few blocks from Condado Beach and some of the city's best restaurants and nightlife, this boutique hotel has a cozy bed-and-breakfast feel. Its tropical courtyard is filled with palms and orchids and its 28 rooms have unexpected extras for the price, such as original artwork, jetted tubs, and wine chillers. Three Penthouse Rooms -- great for small groups -- have late-night access to the enormous penthouse lounge and rooftop deck (all guests get access until around 7 p.m.). The pool is pretty small, but there are plenty of hang-out areas, including a library. Wi-Fi, continental breakfasts, and 24-hour espresso are all free.
La Playita is on a cape in Isla Verde, set between two picturesque stretches of beach. Its 15 tidy-but-simple rooms include flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges. Amenities are limited to an airy, ocean-view restaurant that serves a free continental breakfast (cereal, fruit, and bagels) and free Wi-Fi. Plenty of dining and entertainment options can be found along Avenida Isla Verde, which is easily accessible on foot.
Set in the suburban Ocean Park district, Coqui del Mar Guest House is a quaint option that's within walking distance of beautiful Ocean Park Beach, as well as a number of local restaurants and shops. The guest house’s six units are old-fashioned, but welcoming, and feature kitchens with full-size fridges, ovens, and cookware. The small property also includes an outdoor hot tub set amid leafy grounds, but there isn't a pool. Bikes and beach gear are available to borrow.
El Canario by the Lagoon is a modest two-and-a-half-pearl hotel located in San Juan’s fashionable Condado district. It's less than a 10-minute walk from scenic Condado Beach, and there are plenty of dining and entertainment options in the area geared toward all budgets. The hotel’s 44 rooms are inviting, if relatively generic, and come with mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs. On-site amenities are limited, but the hotel does offer a basic light breakfast and free Wi-Fi.