The good news: Puerto Rico, which was lashed by hurricanes in the fall of 2017, is ready for visitors. With more than 125 hotels open for business, there are plenty of properties to choose from. And if you visit this coming summer, you're likely to score some great deals — especially at luxury hotels. We chose the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, and here's our review.
Budget Level: Luxe ($200+/night)
Lodging Type: Resort (212 rooms and 107 suites)
What You Need to Know
Since its inception in 1919, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel has catered to an upper crust clientele that's in search of luxury on the beach. The hotel's original Spanish Revival architecture is complimented by modern interiors; this feature makes it an ideal choice for those who appreciate history, but prefer the creature comforts inside their hotel room. You'll find everything you need here: a gorgeous spa, loads of dining options, fitness facilities, meeting and event spaces, pools and a beach, and a handsome bar and lounge — the resort's gathering space for evening music and cocktails.
Located in the trendy Condado neighborhood, this hotel is popular with guests who appreciate fine dining and a good bar scene. You'll see loads of couples, groups of friends, and even families. The hotel has an adults-only pool and hot tubs, but you'll find that most people flock to the larger pool area with a bar, restaurant, and an additional infinity pool that overlooks the ocean; it's made for Instagram.
Who Will Love It
This hotel really does have something for everyone: there's nightlife, an incredible spa, high-end dining options, and a beautiful beach.
Who Might Not
Those who are interested in staying in Old San Juan might find themselves frustrated by the location. That said, we took a short 1.7-mile run and bike ride to the area, so you can visit relatively easily.
1919 is the hotel's most buzzed-about, high-end dining concept. Helmed by chef Juan Jose Cuevas, who previously spent time in the kitchens of Arkelare, Lespinasse, and Blue Hill, the food lives up to the hype. A three-course tasting menu (just $55) might feature a starter like a hamachi crudo; mains like day boat scallops or seared cod; and a banana bread pudding for dessert. The wine list is equally impressive. Guests are sent home with a signature treat, and the service is outstanding.
The spa — with complimentary steam room and sauna open to all guests — is a close second.
Each room has French doors that lead to private terraces and balconies, fine linens and toiletries, complimentary bicycles, WiFi, turndown treats, and Apple TV. If you're staying in a suite, 24-hour butler service is included.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Food, spa treatments, and taxes are extra.
How to Get a Deal
Visit in the summer. We found rates for the a Heritage Queen room on a weeknight in August for just $160 per night; the Commodore Ocean Front One Bedroom Suite (which includes the butler service) rings in at just $300 per night.
In the Neighborhood
The hotel is located in the swanky Condado neighborhood, just east of Old San Juan. Among a handful of hotels, you'll find luxurious homes nestled between the high-rise condos, shops, museums, and restaurants.
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is about 15 miles from the resort.
The Bottom Line
A luxury beach hotel — with all the bells and whistles — at a fantastic price.