Budget by the Beach:
I have to admit; when I first came across the Beach House Hotel, I was dumbstruck to find it smack in the middle of the hotel strip along Isla Verde. I must have passed by it a thousand times without ever really noticing it; and I think that's a big part of its charm.
This is the kind of place that caters to a specific crowd. It's cozy, budget-friendly, and modeled after European-style hotels. The rooms are small but clean, a TV sits in the corner on a wall mount, and the pillows on the beds say "Keep calm, carry on." The Beach House feels more like a club than a hotel, with its intimate size (it's a small two-story building dwarfed by the high-rise lodgings nearby), total lack of branding (there's no sign proclaiming the name of the place; the only visible sign from the road announces Cafe La Plage), and, of course, its location right on the beach. But this is one of the best values for money in the city for those who want beach access above all else.
Beach and Board:
Bang for the Buck (and the Beach):
The Beach House may not have the grandest accommodations in San Juan, but there's no denying the cafe, its outdoor daybeds and white decor add a little bit of South Beach chic to Isla Verde. It's a relaxing, breezy oasis where you can hear the lull of the Atlantic, enjoy an oceanfront massage or indulge in a candlelit dinner on the beach.
The hotel only has 17 rooms, so it gets booked quickly. All rooms have air-conditioning, flat-panel cable TVs, DVD players and iPod docking stations. The rooms also have coffee/tea makers and complimentary bottled water, and a feature I really love: free wireless Internet access! Rooms range from singles with a full-size bed to a suite with an ocean view.
The restaurant, Cafe La Plage, specializes in seafood and Caribbean fusion creations like shrimp curry with a tamarind plantain chutney or fried adobo-rubbed grouper with a citrus mojito and tostones. At night, tiki torches are lit to give the place a truly romantic and tropical vibe. For those who prefer something livelier, a DJ is on hand to keep things hopping. Things get really busy on weekends, when there are nightly happy hours and a very popular beach party on Sundays.
The Beach House has two other perks worth mentioning. On Saturday mornings, you can get in shape with personal trainer Jeovanny Carrasquillo for just $10. And kids will love the bouncy castle that sometimes can be found facing the beach.
All in all, the Beach House is a terrific deal that places you right on Isla Verde's spectacular beach and right in front of 15 Knots and their outstanding kiteboarding school.