Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
The writer was partially hosted.
Paradise is waiting, a quick plane ride away. Puerto Rico is a great, year-round place to visit; no passports required and direct flights from most major U.S. cities. Your biggest decision will be which area you want to stay in, since there are dozens of hotels and resorts on and off the beach to choose from.
Fun fact: Although Puerto Rico is called a Caribbean “island,” it’s actually an archipelago; a group of islands.
Which Puerto Rico Neighborhood is Right for You?
Many of the most popular hotels are located in the heart of San Juan’s Condado neighborhood, an oceanfront area that features some of the most beautiful historic and luxurious homes in San Juan, upscale shops and restaurants. It’s also the epicenter of vibrant nightlife with clubs, dancing and buzzing casinos.
Close to the airport is Isla Verde, which features long stretches of beautiful beaches and calmer waves. There are also some cute boutique hotels in downtown Old San Juan and elsewhere.
Although Puerto Rico doesn’t have any official all-inclusive resorts (they should…Hello, Sandals!), many hotels offer packages that include meals and more.
To help make your choice of where to stay easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best hotels in Puerto Rico, that cater to all types of travelers and budgets:
200 Convention Blvd
The Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino is a large, modern, urban hotel, with views of San Juan Bay that great for families and girlfriend getaways. Although it’s not on the ocean, the hotel recently added a complimentary shuttle service to a nearby beach.
Plus, the huge outdoor, rooftop deck gives the hotel a resort-like feel. It has tropical landscaping, an infinity pool, bar/restaurant, whirlpool, a kid’s pool, lounge chairs and grassy areas perfect for early morning complimentary yoga classes.
Definitely head up there at sunset to take in the views, have a drink and grab a free piragua (a Puerto Rican shaved ice with fruit syrup that comes with or without rum). There’s a DJ Fridays to Sundays. The hotel also boasts the 24/7 Casino Metro and live bands in the lobby on weekends. There’s something for everyone here.
The bonus of this hotel is its location. It is steps away from the Puerto Rico Convention Center and Distrito T-Mobile, San Juan’s newest, multi-million-dollar entertainment complex with a movie theater, concert venue, dozens of restaurants – including a create-your-own churro bar – and live free performances on the weekends. More retail stores are planned.
There’s also Toroverde, a multisensory adventure playground, complete with arcade games, VR experiences and a zipline where you can fly Superman-style outdoors, high above the crowds, to the Convention Center.
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
The Sheraton offers:
- 503 renovated rooms, including 22 suites
- Seven dining options on property, including Metropol, serving Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisine, and many more within walking distance.
- Zen Spa Retreat with 11 treatment rooms and a salon
- Close to cruise ship ports
- Take the free shuttle to the beach or to nearby Old San Juan for a shopping or dining experience. Visit local chocolate restaurant Chocobar Cortes for all things chocolate (chocolate martinis, chocolate French toast and at least 10 varieties of hot chocolate). You’ll find another local treat in the heart of Old San Juan, at Senor Paleta, with its all-fruit ice pops in tropical flavors like coconut and passionfruit.
250 Convention Blvd
Next door to the Sheraton and part of Distrito, is the new, modern Aloft San Juan. Without all the bells and whistles of a resort, it’s a great place to stay for a few nights if you’re stopping over before or after a cruise, or attending an event at the Conference Center.
Ask for a front-facing room, which will be much quieter than those that open right up to the Distrito entertainment center with music and lots of activity, often late into the night. Hot and cold breakfast is served at the lobby bar and a grab-and-go option is available 24/7.
The rooftop pool area has great views and a bar that’s open on weekends. There’s also a large gym. The lobby has many workstations and a pool table. You’re also right next to numerous restaurants, theaters and the casino at the next-door Sheraton.
Aloft San Juan offers:
- 177 guestrooms
- Complimentary laundry machines (bring your own detergent packs or buy there)
- Traveling with a furry friend? The Aloft offers Arf®, a pet-friendly program that welcomes dogs up to 40 pounds. They’ll supply a special bed, bowl and doggie bag of treats and toys.
- Traveling with kids? Get a room with a tub. You can also request a Camp Aloft bed-in-a-bag which comes with a tent and air mattress.
1309 Ashford Ave
In the Condado Beach area, the family-friendly San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is great for multigenerational families. There are so many great things about this hotel, chief among them: every room has a balcony with great ocean views! Trust me, you want this if you are visiting Puerto Rico.
Most nights I left the balcony doors open in my room and fell asleep to the soothing sounds of the ocean. Plus, there are great views of both sunrise and sunset.
Hang out in the resort and then take a long walk on the beach and a swim in the warm Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a complimentary lounge chair and umbrella or have a swing in a hammock. But beware: the current in Condado Beach is strong, especially during the winter season.
On weekends, get ready to salsa. There’s a lively party scene around the lobby bar, with DJs, live bands and dancing.
For those with elite Marriott Bonvoy status, the lounge provides free wine, soda and coffee all day.
Head down the spiral staircase and you are in a kid’s paradise. There are two large pools, including one with a sloped entry, perfect for young children. The other has a swim-up bar and water slide. They let adults down it, too. I’m here to say that it was a lot of fun.
The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers:
- 533 rooms and 17 suites
- Five restaurants and bars, including a great breakfast buffet at Gingambó, with fresh-squeezed watermelon and green juice. They thought of everything: there’s even a kid’s-only table with daily sweets, including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies (and yes, I saw adults indulging). There are also free mimosas to keep you happy while you wait to be seated.
- Every day there is some special mid-day treat including ice pops and popcorn for all.
- The Marriott offers the fullest schedule of complimentary activities for all ages I’ve seen at a hotel. There is yoga, aqua aerobics, dance lessons, bingo (I won a pina colada), scavenger hunts, sand art, beach tennis, s’mores nights and lots more seasonally themed kid’s programming. From March to July there’s an educational turtle conservation program.
- Ocean Club Wellness Center with 24/7 fitness center and spa
- Stellaris Casino
- Bicycle rental
1077 Ashford Ave
La Concha is all luxury beach chic, from its fountain-filled entryway to its open lobby/lounge/bar/check-in setting. You’ll find beautiful people drinking frosty fruity drinks in the garden and hanging around the adult’s-only infinity pool, eating fish tacos from the beachside bar.
There are fewer kids than at the Marriott, but they’re definitely welcome here. One of the four pools even caters to families, right off the beach, complete with lots of sand toys.
Get in some exercise in the large gym with great views of the ocean. It’s always stocked with fresh apples and bottled water. Welcoming you poolside, are friendly attendants handing out complimentary cold face towels, passionfruit sorbet and fresh fruit juice at various times during the day.
This iconic beach resort, built in 1958, is set to become part of Marriott International’s premium Autograph Collection after 15 years as a Renaissance. It’s scheduled for a major $45 million renovation to upgrade its suites, add an adults-only beach club and build a full-service five-star spa and wellness center.
La Concha is also planning a new, as yet unnamed concept, to be housed in the resort’s signature seashell-shaped Perla event space that was previously a restaurant.
The hotel also boasts the action-packed 24/7 Casino del Mar and Fifty Eight, a lively nightclub hotspot that opens after 10 pm on weekends.
La Concha offers:
- 478 rooms and suites, including 235 with kitchenettes. Six Spa Suites also have private balcony whirlpools overlooking the ocean.
- Five restaurants and a take-out café serving local coffee. Ideally situated on Ashford Avenue, so you also have access to numerous restaurants, both high end (Jose Enrique and Mario Pagán) and more casual (La Maqueta, a fun seaside food court) within walking distance.
- Four pools including an adults-only one and two small whirlpools
- Great for long-term stays; the one-bedroom suites in the Suite Tower all have full kitchenettes, sitting areas and large balconies. There’s even a shared pay laundry room.
- 24/7 Casino del Mar now offers sports betting
- Live DJ by the pool on weekends.
1055 Ashford Ave
Enter the gilded age of elegance from the moment you drive up to the entrance of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, a 1919 Spanish revival property that has been refurbished for the 21st century with two new towers and many upgrades.
I immediately felt underdressed in my beach wrap in the Art Deco lobby with its two spiral staircases and view of the ocean beyond, as I pictured the stylish Roaring Twenties ladies in gowns and gloves and men in top hats who hung out here a century ago.
Take time to explore the hotel’s art collection. You’ll find two 19th century sphinxes that welcome you as you enter, gilded Rococo mirrors lining the amber-tiled hallways and three Botero sunbathers on the oceanfront deck. Even the public bathrooms are classy.
There’s also a mini-museum of historic documents and souvenirs from the hotel’s past and a painting done in honor of its recent 100th anniversary. (Can you spot Hamilton creator and beloved Puerto Rican son Lin-Manuel Miranda in the 100th anniversary painting just past check-in?)
A must is sipping a frosty drink at sunset while lounging in the warm infinity pool, as waves crash on the rocks below and the sky turns cotton-candy pink.
The hotel has three additional pools and a small beach. In addition, guests are invited to use the much larger beach area at the adjacent La Concha resort, with their own dedicated area with beach chairs, umbrellas and drink service.
Condado Vanderbilt offers:
- 317 guest rooms and 53 suites, featuring 300-thread-count Italian linens, marble tubs and French Press coffee makers
- Four restaurants, including fine dining at Michelin star chef Juan José Cuevas’ 1919 Restaurant and the upscale STK Steakhouse San Juan.
- A main bar with live entertainment from Wednesday-Sunday nights. Plus a mojito poolside bar serving 17 varieties of the minty drink.
- Cigar lounge for guests
- Adults-only outdoor pool and hot tub
- The full-service spa has seven themed massage rooms. They also offer Puerto Rico’s first multi-sensory Hammam ritual, an ancient purification practice where you lay on a heated marble table and get exfoliated, bathed and pampered from head to toe. Or try a café con leche scrub of hands and feet to improve circulation.
6063 Isla Verde Ave
Get another blast from the past when you enter the mahogany lobby of the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel on Isla Verde Beach. You’ll be greeted by an enormous, Czechoslovakian chandelier made up of 7,000 glistening crystals; the third largest of its kind in the world.
Situated on two miles of pristine oceanfront, the hotel is an oasis, minutes from the airport. Since opening in 1958, it has been a jet-set destination where such greats as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. performed along with other top entertainers. It’s been restored to its glory and soon other big names will perform in the renovated theater.
Post-Hurricane Maria, the El San Juan has undergone a $65-million renovation and upgrade to restore its classic architecture and modernize many facilities. It became part of the Fairmont collection of luxury hotels in 2019.
Today, the hotel is home to live entertainment Thursday through Saturday nights, when it rocks with Latin music and dancing. You’ll see lots of sequins here. There’s also Club Brava, a late-night lounge, that’s complimentary for hotel guests.
Though it still has an old-world elegance, it’s truly a modern resort experience. Highlighting this is the two-story glass fitness center that looks out onto one of the four pools and the towering 300-year-old banyan tree, overseeing the resort campus.
Rent a private cabana or hang out in one of the hammocks or hot tubs. Read a book sitting in the shallow pool ledges as the soothing water surrounds you.
Fairmont El San Juan offers:
- 388 rooms, suites and villas
- Beautiful beach with smaller waves than other nearby beaches
- Four swimming pools, including one with a swim-up bar and two whirlpools
- Close to the airport so pack your swimsuit in your carry-on and you’ll be on the beach within minutes of your arrival in San Juan.
- Foxwoods El San Juan Casino
- Nine restaurants including Meat Market steakhouse. Enjoy an outdoor buffet breakfast at Caña. No need to worry about the birds who love to swoop in for a snack from your plate; the hotel added netting around the patio so your food is safe. (Trust me, this is a big plus when eating outside in Puerto Rico.)
- Kids will enjoy a whole fleet of floats (including an avocado-shaped one), beach toys and balls available to borrow. Play a giant Connect 4 game and look for the complimentary fruit ices daily. There are various kid’s programs depending on the season and even free hair braiding and beading.
- The Well & Being Spa offers eight treatment rooms, including one just for couples’ massages. They offer a host of CBD treatments and products.
1 San Gerónimo Street
If you’re looking for a relaxing, family-friendly beachfront resort, then the Caribe Hilton is a great bet. One of the largest resorts in the area and a leisurely half-hour walk to Old San Juan, it sits on 17 acres with plenty to explore and enjoy. You can read our full review of the Caribe Hilton.
There is everything you need right on property including numerous restaurants and bars, a calm, protected private beach, three tennis courts, a basketball court and numerous clothing and souvenir shops. The pool complex consists of an infinity pool, two additional pools – one with a swim-up bar — a kids’ fountain pool and two whirlpools.
It’s a must to have a pina colada here, in the birthplace of Puerto Rico’s official cocktail. There are even free samples daily at noon at the swim-up Bagua Bar.
On weekend evenings you’ll find live music near Caribar, the lobby hot spot with a new and delicious menu featuring tapas and main courses like a deep-fried red snapper.
Escape the crowds in the tropical gardens and bird sanctuary where you can sit overlooking the scenic koi pond, watching the swans, geese and turtles. If you’re lucky, the roaming peacock may show off his colorful tail feathers.
- 652 rooms and suites
- Guests get a complimentary daily hour of tennis court time that can be booked three months in advance. Forgot your gear? You can rent a racquet and buy a can of balls.
- Zen Spa Océano has 15 treatment rooms, salon, sauna, steam room and whirlpool.
- The state-of-the-art fitness center overlooks the beach, so watch the waves while you work out.
- 10 restaurants including Morton’s the Steakhouse, two serving Puerto Rico food, a Starbucks and a buffet breakfast at Néctar Del Caribe, complete with sweet plantains and a salad bar.
- Protected cove so you can enjoy the ocean without the waves. Rent scuba or snorkel gear to see the fish and reefs underwater.
- Hang out in the shade in their seaside hammocks
- Some nice touches: a rotating bookshelf filled with books other travelers have left behind if you need a beach read; two ATMs, two public microwaves, a nursing room, changing rooms and laundry room off the lobby.
- Take a stroll over the nearby bridge and you’re in the Condado area with additional shopping, dining and night spots, plus easy access to kayaking in the Condado lagoon.
Resorts Outside of the San Juan Area
There are many other hotels and resorts all over the island. If you’re a golfer who wants to get a round in beachside, head about 35 miles west of Luis Muñoz Marín Airport and stay at the luxurious Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Or go east of Old San Juan where you’ll find world-class golf courses at both the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort and the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. There, you’ll also be close to El Yunque tropical rainforest and not far from the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo.
Away from the beach, there’s a DoubleTree near the Condado strip and a brand-new Residence Inn directly across from the beach in Isla Verde with both a kid’s pool and giant one for doing laps.
Many, smaller, boutique hotels dot the island. A more unusual one in Old San Juan is Hotel El Convento, a former 17th-century Carmelite convent turned upscale hotel. Now, 58 rooms welcome visitors with Spanish furniture, tapestries and antique marble floors. The welcoming lobby lounge is perfect for hanging out with a frosty local Medalla beer, even if you’re not staying there.
More hotels are coming, as the island welcomes a record number of travelers.
The plan includes the first