You’ve come to Puerto Rico for a sample of its new pulse through the best boutique hotels in San Juan. Bored with chain hotels and mega-resorts, you’re part of the latest flock of travelers the city now attracts, hunting for more than cookie-cutter experiences when booking where to stay. There’s a burgeoning side in Puerto Rico’s capital and you know it. And so you arrive in vibrant San Juan dreaming of afternoons drinking rum in a terrace, where a salt-primed breeze perfumes you and quaint surroundings make you feel at home. You’re about to explore the charming boutique hotels in San Juan that are shaping a new kind of city.
You arrive in Old San Juan’s flourishing SOFO area, the southern part of Fortaleza street, adorned with colonial pastel-colored buildings and home to the Casablanca Hotel. You walk inside to find that arabesque and antique details flutter all around you, leaving you feeling detached from the busy Fortaleza street. You’ve seemingly traveled to decades past and entered into another world. Up to your room you go where silky afghan fabrics, exquisite Moroccan lanterns, and a beautiful hand-glazed ceramic sink welcome you. But you want to explore the rest of the hotel, so you go back to the lobby for a drink at the bar, noticing on your way there that the classic movie “Casablanca” is playing in the background. As the bartender sloshes rum and coke into a glass, he tells you that the rooftop deck with its glistening plunge pools, a blowy open terrace and gasp-worthy views of the old city is awaiting your arrival.
Villa Herencia Hotel
When looking for where to stay in San Juan, you read that the Villa Herencia Hotel is a restored 18th century mansion, and now you’re strolling on a cobblestone street called Caleta de las Monjas on your way to this rare enclave built in 1772. You enter the lobby and immediately notice the melange of Spanish Colonial and New World decor of colorful art pieces depicting tropical scenes and antique furnishings with pattern-rich prints. You’re handed the keys to a room that’s near the rooftop deck. The tile floor you’re walking on has a delicate print of blue flowers and along with a canopied bed and antique armoire, you can feel the history and strong charm of this place. It looks like a museum and feels like a home. It’s the boutique hotel of your dreams.
Olive Boutique Hotel
You leave Old San Juan behind and head to posh Condado, where one of the most popular boutique hotels in San Juan is found. A nod to the stylish coasts of Morocco, France, Spain, and Italy, the owners set out to make the Olive Boutique Hotel an authentic slice of Mediterranean charm right in the heart of San Juan. You never thought you’d find a place like this when booking where to stay. You feel the warmth of the decor which emanates from elegant floor-to-ceiling wood panels, matte rustic furniture, luxurious beddings, and other delicious details, like the world globes, antique books, miniature pine trees, and black and white travel photos. There’s a spirit of traversing, of discovery, and of a world you hope to uncover slowly during your stay. What’s your favorite part of it all? It’s the private terrace overlooking the lagoon where city lights reflect the vibrancy of the tiny metropolis against the water and you safely soak in the pure rustic bliss.