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El San Juan Hotel & Casino: A Storied Tradition in the Heart of Isla Verde

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El San Juan Hotel & Casino: A Storied Tradition in the Heart of Isla Verde

The Bottom Line

It's all about the ambience at the hallowed El San Juan Hotel. A blend of the glory days of the 1950s and modern luxury and amenities, this hotel has it all: a class-of-its-own casino, sexy and hip club, gorgeous pool, beachfront access, a gallery of shops and plenty of comfortable rooms. Its new, multi-million dollar renovations vaults the hotel into five-star status.

Pros

  • The hottest casino on the island
  • The hottest nightclub on the island
  • Newly renovated and updated rooms
  • A lively new restaurant featuring a very cool Rum Bar
  • Right on the Isla Verde Beach

Cons

  • Among the pricier options in San Juan
  • Not the place to be if you're looking for Puerto Rican food
  • There is precious little to do or see around the hotel

Description

  • The lobby area at night is a good place to people-watch ... keep on the lookout celebrity sightings.
  • The shopping arcade has kitschy decor (note the fake trees), but it's one of the most complete of any hotel in Puerto Rico.
  • Beach access is further improved by the nearby location of San Juan Waterfun, where you can rent all kinds of watercraft.
  • Keep an eye out for specials and packages. You can find excellent deals at this hotel, especially in the summer.

Guide Review - El San Juan Hotel & Casino: A Storied Tradition in the Heart of Isla Verde

A luxury resort since the days of the Rat Pack in the 1950s, the El San Juan Hotel & Casino is an opulent throwback that honors tradition while updating the basics. The result is one of the most popular and cherished hotels in Puerto Rico.

This is the kind of hotel where you step into the elegant lobby and instantly find yourself in the splendor of the tropics. The bustling, boisterous lobby bar never seems to stop, and the hoots and hollers from the casino will tempt you before you get your room key.

As for the rooms, they've gotten a major uplift in 2007, transforming from the trite tropical hues of the past to a modern, minimalist look with iPods and flat-panel TVs at the ready. Once you're ready to eat, you've got a plethora of (mostly international) dining options. Leading the way in my opinion is the Italian La Piccola Fontana, but there's also a branch of Palm, the famed steakhouse, and a nouveau-latin newcomer called Koco.

During the day, if the casino doesn't get you, the free-form pool, surrounded by lush tropical foliage, might, and the Isla Verde beach probably will. In the evening, you might want to relax in the lobby bar, catch the live band warming the crowd up for the night, and enjoy the timeless feel of the place. The El San Juan also has La Galería ("The Gallery"), a shopping arcade made up of 12 shops including high-end jewelry, fine chocolates, and curios. Lest we forget, there's also the Edouard de Paris Day Spa, located on the tenth floor, to pamper you.

And then there's the night. The El San Juan has one of the best clubs in Puerto Rico in Club Brava. It's got that swinging lobby bar, and it's got the casino. And just to spice things up further, there's the new Rum Bar at Koco.

Throw it all together, and you have a timeless, time-tested bastion of resort-style island living.

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