The following post is written by guest reviewer Sue Rodman of Field Trips with Sue.
The sound of crashing waves lulls you to sleep at night, and eases you into the morning. The view is like a cruise ship, nothing but water and white caps as far as the horizon. Welcome to the Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the only hotel to overlook both the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquil Condado Lagoon.
Puerto Rico Hotel Review: The Condado Plaza Hilton
The Condado Plaza has two towers with 571 guest rooms. The hotel was built in 1963, and the interior was recently renovated. The sleek mid-century design by Leo Daly, made me think it was the type of place you’d find Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin back in the day. Indeed many of the A-list crowd in Puerto Rico visit the hotel’s signature restaurant Pikayo, an award winning eatery by top Puerto Rican Chef Wilo Benet.
Our group stayed in the tower overlooking the ocean. Another tower has family friendly suites and overlooks the Condado Lagoon. Parents have room options, which include a door that will separate them from the kids, always a nice feature when little ones go to bed before the adults. Balconies on this side of the hotel offer skyline views of San Juan, which is beautiful in the evenings.
Exploring San Juan
The Condado Plaza Hilton is located about 15 minutes from Luis Munoz Marin International airport, and a few miles from Old San Juan, a must stop on your trip to Puerto Rico. Old San Juan reminds me of an ocean side New Orleans with colorful buildings, iron balconies and cobblestone streets. The National Park Service maintains two forts in Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and Castillo de San Cristóbal. My family loves visiting old forts and getting the Junior Ranger books. The weathered stone structures with the crystal blue green ocean in the background are also beautiful picture spots.
Activities at the Condado Plaza Hilton
After a day exploring Old San Juan, the Condado Plaza 24-hour pool area is the perfect place to relax. The lush green grass of the lawn, with blue lounge chairs is perfect for resting in the ocean breezes. The main pool complex has a salt-water pool, as well as a larger pool with swim up bar and water slide and baby pool for the kids. Off the pool area is a beach with swimming protected from the larger ocean by a series of rocks. We went snorkeling off the beach. The hotel provided all the equipment, as well as an armband booklet of the types of fish we might see. Our trip was in December, when water is perfect for surfing, but it was a bit rough for snorkeling. Instead, take out a kayak or stand up paddleboard from the water sports desk located by the Condado Lagoon. Our group went kayaking and came upon three manatees that played with us as we paddled toward the other side where music festival was setting up.
ScoutAbout at the Condado
One of my favorite activities at the Condado was the ScoutAbout scavenger hunt. Kids pick up a map at the front desk and search the grounds for kiosks where they find information about the hotel or area and collect a colored armband. Collect all the bands and hand them in to the front desk for a special one with the hotel’s name. Although this is supposed to be a kid’s activity, it’s fun for teens and adults too because you learn about the area. I discovered the story behind the dog like rock out in front of the beach. It is said to be from a dog that waited faithfully so long for it’s owner that it became petrified in the spot.
As we disclose whenever applicable, Sue visited Condado Plaza Hilton as a guest of the resort, on behalf of Pit Stops for Kids. All opinions remain her own.