Caribe Hilton San Juan
We (Mom, Dad & Sons 17, 20) spent 2 nights precruise at the Caribe Hilton, arriving by Taxi from SJU at about 11:00 am on Wednesday December 21, 2006.
The hotel is not really within walking distance of anything except a park and a few storefronts. Cabs are readily available. The port was a 5 minute cabride.
After identifing ourselves as HHonor Club members, we were moved to the Hhonors Club counter and checked in. They had us reserved for 2 rooms w/inside views (aka construction site) and two double beds. I asked if they could give us 1 room with a King. (The rooms were booked through a bidding website for cheap!) They agreed. Although our king room wouldn't be ready for at least 4 more hours, when it was- we had a beautiful view of the ocean and a nice balcony in the Towers.
The room for the boys was ready immediately so we stored our luggage and headed for the pool. Our room was on the same floor as the boys but not next to them. The rooms were beautifully appointed, the beds extremely comfortable. They were still doing construction on our floor but it was quiet in the evenings and never inconvienced us. The rooms had safes in them which were in excellent condition and worked easily without any problem.
As this was the home of the Pina Colada, we went to the pool bar and ordered some, Over a light (but not inexpensive) lunch of Pina Colladas & appetizers we watched an iguana climb a tree and listened to the surf break. Later the kids toured the grounds and my eldest son apparently lost a fight with a hammock.
The prices of the food on the property were pretty high: a Cuban Sandwich was $14. However next door to the property is a little food joint that sells them for $4. There is also a small liquor store for water & soda as well as a Subway Sandwich franchise 1 block away with employees w/great personalities! It is actually closer to the towers then the restaurant! The Starbucks inside the hotel was excellent.
Conceirge & Bellman services were superb. In fact, the bellman that welcomed us when we arrived always greeted me by name throughout our stay! The Hhonors concierge was both pleasant and helpful, as were the servicce techs that retrieved my son's cell phone when he dropped it off our balcony onto the roof 4 stories below.
The lobby was open and housed a loud cockatoo and green amazon parrot with a cute vocabulary. Plenty of pool toys and lounge chairs. Some good live music too!
The only incident that prevents me from giving this hotel an excellent rating was on our last evening in the main bar area where they have a limited menu. A group of 8 of us ordered a round of drinks and dinner at about 11:00 (just returned from the Biobay tour in Fajardo). The waiter disappeared and didn't return for 1 1/4 hours!!! We tried to order more drinks...tried to talk to other waiters. They wouldnt talk to us. Or find our waiter. In fact everyone in our area had empty glasses and no service. One gal was out and out rude. We went up to the bar to get our drinks and the bartender was very nice, but didn't know what happened to our waiter. Finally my son went over and talked to the manager who then delivered us our drinks. Our waiter finally showed back up with food for the entire section. Seems he went to the restaurant to place everyones order at once and stayed there til all the food (and his break I am assuming) was finished. By the time we got them, they were cold. The manager comped us the last round of drinks. As we were finishing they turned the house lights on.
Given that we got such good deals on the rooms, we felt we recieved excellent value for our money. Overall the hotel was outstanding and I would return again in a heartbeat!