Condado Vanderbilt HotelLocation: San Juan, Puerto Rico • 27 May
A few weeks ago, I went on a mother-daughter trip with my mom to the Caribbean. Since our cruise left from San Juan, Puerto Rico, we decided to get there a couple of days earlier so we could explore. I highly recommend visiting San Juan if you haven’t already because it’s filled with bright, colored buildings, beautiful beaches, historical sites, food, and awesome people (everyone we met was extremely friendly and helpful). San Juan reminds me of some of the cities I’ve visited on the coast of France and Spain, which is not surprising considering that the city was under Spanish rule many years ago.
We stayed at one of the oldest hotels in the Condado Beach area of San Juan, called the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. I was originally attracted to the hotel because of its breathtaking views and the interior and exterior design.
Location: The Condado Beach area has a Miami Beach vibe. The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is in walking distance to a lot of great restaurants and shops as well and is only a short 10 min cab ride to Old San Juan.
Décor: If someone asked me to point out a hotel or resort that reminded me F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Jay Gatsby’s mansion in The Great Gatsby, I would immediately respond with the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel—not only because the hotel dates back to 1919, but because the hotel is filled with long corridors, large chandeliers, lots of mirrors, many banquet rooms, and a spiral stair case that’s to die for (no pun intended to the Gatsby reference)! Needless to say, we were blown away by the hotel from the moment we stepped foot in the lobby. We found out later that the architectural firm, Warren and Whitmore, who designed New York’s Grand Central Terminal, also designed this hotel.
Room: The room we stayed in was huge. It had a King size bed, a living room, a dining room, a kitchenette, a large bathroom, and 2 balconies that overlooked the ocean. We could even see the ocean when we woke up each day from our bedroom window. The décor of our room was modern and beachy with blue and green accents. We also loved watching the sunrise and sunset from our balcony each day.
Amenities: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel felt more like a luxurious resort than a hotel since there was an east and west tower (which divided the new and old part of the hotel), 4 pools with ocean views, a spa, a gym, 3 restaurants, the beach club (with a butler), and 4 lounges/bars. There’s so much to do just at the hotel that you wouldn’t have to leave to go somewhere else unless you wanted to. While we were at the hotel, we ate at Tacos & Tequilas (Tacos) and Ola Oceanfront restaurant (American/Puerto Rican food), which were good, but a little pricey.
Staff: The hotel staff was very friendly and went the extra mile to make sure that we had an unforgettable experience from setting us up with chairs on the beach, giving us great restaurant recommendations, and recommending some hot spots in Old San Juan. After we checked-in the bell boy recommended that we have breakfast in our room one day on one of our balconies which overlooked the Condado Beach. I highly recommend doing this, if you have an oceanfront view at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. It was so relaxing eating breakfast on the balcony and hearing the sound of the waves crashing—a memory I will cherish forever.
Recommendation: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel was one of the best beach hotels that I’ve ever stayed in. We enjoyed the food/drinks, ambiance, and service. I definitely agree with TripAdvisor that Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is the best hotel in San Juan. I highly recommend staying at this hotel if you ever travel to San Juan. We had such a great time that we didn’t want to check out. Simply put, there’s no better place to stay in San Juan than the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.