On the edge of Old San Juan overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is The Gallery Inn (204–206 Calle Norzagaray, 787/722-1808, fax 787/724- 7360, reservations [at] thegalleryinn [dot] com, www.thegalleryinn.com, $175–350 s/d, plus 18 percent tax and tariff, includes breakfast buffet), one of the unique hotels in San Juan. This 18th-century home is packed with 22 small rooms tucked into a multilevel labyrinth of patios, courtyards, balconies, archways, fountains, and interior gardens. As if that weren’t enough, the hotel is chock-full of portrait sculptures and plaster reliefs by artist-owner Jan D’Esopo, as well as potted plants, hanging baskets, and an assortment of tropical birds, which have the run of the place. If the chockablock decor begins to feel a bit claustrophobic, there’s an elegant, airy music room with a grand piano and a rooftop deck for a change of scenery. Small rooms are well appointed with quality antiques and reproductions. Each comes with air-conditioning and a telephone.
Nearby is the equally modern, corporate-style SJ Suites (253 Calle Fortaleza, 787/977-4873, 787/977-4873, or 787/725-1351, fax 787/977-7682, sjsuites [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.sjsuites.com, $130–300 s/d, plus 9 percent tax, includes continental breakfast). Fifteen spanking-new, self-serve suites come with air-conditioning, satellite TV, and mini-refrigerators. There’s no reception desk or on-site management. Check-in is inside Kury Jewelry Store next door.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition