By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
Looking for an intimate escape in San Juan? A hotel where the staff greets you by name, knows exactly how you like your coffee, and makes you feel like a friend instead of just another folio number? Look no further.
O:live Boutique Hotel
Dwarfed by Condado’s big-name, high-rise beachfront resorts, this 15-room adults-only gem is hidden in plain sight just off Avenida Ashford, and features a casual-chic design aesthetic inspired by the owners’ Italian wedding. Even if you stay elsewhere, dinner at the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, O:liva, or cocktails at the rooftop bar is a must.
You can’t ask for a more central Old San Juan location than this 32-room Calle Fortaleza charmer where the décor evokes the Moroccan setting of the namesake classic film. Rooms are compact and colorful, but we’re suckers for the atmospheric lobby, which features hanging lanterns and draped day beds and doubles as an art gallery.
A 200-year-old building is now a year-old bed-and-breakfast, its five rooms named after city icons. Eco-conscious travelers will appreciate the inn’s efforts to minimize its environmental impact, which include recycling and use of solar power.
This 27-room Old San Juan four-storey walk-up was previously an artists’ workshop and stays true to its roots with rooms and public areas embellished with vibrant local art. Love the nightlife? Live music and salsa dancing is just downstairs at the hotel’s Nuyorican Café.
In Old San Juan, this 17th-century Carmelite nunnery has been converted into a charming hotel with 58 Spanish Colonial-styled rooms surrounding a peaceful courtyard. Drinks a deux in the candlelit bar overlooking the courtyard makes for a magical evening.