Cervantes Chateau (329 Recinto Sur, 787/724-7722, fax 787/289-8909, reservations [at] cervantespr [dot] com, www.cervantespr.com, $225 s/d, $285 junior suite, $425 suite, $975 split-level penthouse suite, plus taxes and resort fees) is a new luxury boutique hotel near the piers in Old San Juan. Tastefully but playfully decorated by clothing designer and former fashion editor at Esquire magazine Nono Maldonado, the hotel combines mid-century modern elements with Spanish colonial style. The emphasis is on luxury, apparent in the Egyptian linens, HDTV flat-screen TVs, and free wireless Internet. The fine dining restaurant, Panza, is on-site.
To get a true sense of history, spend the night in a Carmelite convent completed in 1651 by order of King Phillip IV of Spain. Hotel El Convento (100 Calle Cristo, 787/723-9020, 787/721-2877, or 800/468-2779, elconvento [at] aol [dot] com, www.elconvento.com, $325–445 s/d, $710–1,520 suite, plus taxes and resort fees). A recipient of many awards and accolades, the 58-room hotel encompasses a four-floor colonial structure with an enormous well-landscaped courtyard in the center. Common areas are filled with gorgeous Spanish antiques and reproductions. Rooms come with air-conditioning, cable TV, VCR, stereo, telephone, and refrigerator. Amenities include a fitness center, plunge pool, and whirlpool bath on the fourth floor, which overlooks Old San Juan and the bay. It has four restaurants.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition