Thursday, June 30, 2011
Earlier this month I traveled to Puerto Rico for a four-night stay at the Ritz Carlton San Juan. It was my first trip to the island—we chose Puerto Rico because it's an easy, direct flight from New York and since it's part of the United States, there aren't any taxes, making it a more affordable flight than other Caribbean Islands.
The weather was overcast and rainy, somewhat unusual for June, so that may have clouded my experience (pardon the pun). That said, San Juan, and even the Ritz Carlton, left much to be desired. I had read on reviews of the hotel that it's near the airport and that the beach isn't particularly nice. No worries, I figured I would simply hang by the pool. But the pool is surrounded by buildings and lacks a breeze, making it hotter than the beach. As for the beach, the reviewers were correct—the hotel is not on a pristine stretch of coast. There were dilapidated buildings to our left and our right, and, as my hubby pointed out, the beach was filled with pigeons, not the usual seagulls. Being near the airport didn't bother me, at least.
Our room was a decent size, but I was surprised to find out that a pool view meant no balcony—and no window that you're able to open. I have a slight case of claustrophobia, so not being able to get fresh air was an issue for me. So in JSG tradition, where we consider the first room a first offer and are never shy to change, I asked for a different room, with a balcony. The front desk attendant, very kindly, moved me into a different pool room, this one with a balcony, for no extra charge. (NB: There are a handful of these rooms. Be sure to ask for one if you're staying poolside.)
On the plus side, the hotel is home to branches of BLT Steak and an Il Mulino. Our meal at BLT Steak was as delicious as the one in New York. We didn't eat at Il Mulino.
Note: I received a press rate for the room.