From stylish beachfront boutiques to charming guesthouses, here’s where to stay.
If you were watching the news in 2017, you probably saw the destruction that closed many of the hotels and resorts in Puerto Rico. What you probably haven't seen are reports of the many properties that took the opportunity to rebuild, renovate, and reimagine themselves. From affordable urban boutique hotels to the most luxurious of secluded resorts, Puerto Rico now has the best selection of new and refurbished accommodations in the Caribbean.
Here are some new and notable places that are welcoming to all, and popular with LGBTQ visitors.
Hotel El Convento
El Convento is perfect for pre/post-cruise stays as it is just steps from the cruise port in Old San Juan. Complete with a rooftop dip pool and several gourmet restaurants to choose from, it embodies the historical charm of San Juan. The staff is LGBTQ-friendly, as many are part of the community. As evident in its name, the hotel was originally a convent housing Carmelite nuns for 250 years before it was converted into a hotel. The bar and restaurant surrounding the open-air courtyard is a great spot to grab cocktails or dinner.
This boutique hotel offers 15 rooms and an easy walk over to the beach. Expect a full Mediterranean-style experience from its modern eclectic decor to the rustic, Mediterranean restaurant in the hotel. As a member of “Small Luxury Hotels,” you can access preferred rates and be upgrade-eligible just by joining their free club.
Caribe Hilton Hotel
Reopened in Spring 2019 after a comprehensive renovation, this historic resort on 17 lush acres offers a full resort experience in a unique location between Old San Juan and Condado. It’s great for families, popular with groups, and as irresistible as a classic Piña Colada. The hotel bar is one of two locations on the island that claim to have invented that legendary drink.
Condado Ocean Club
On the Condado strip, the Condado Ocean Club is a design-centric boutique right on the ocean. With 96 well-appointed rooms — colorful, modern, and loaded with amenities — the beach-chic aesthetic here sets the tone for your trip to the island. The hotel is close to LGBTQ nightlife and trendy restaurants. Come for the infinity pools, and stay for the weekend brunch overlooking the ocean.
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
To the west of San Juan, this iconic property built by the Rockefellers was reborn as the second Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world, offering the highest level of luxury. A mere 115 rooms (of which 14 are one-bedroom suites) are spread over 50 acres, including an entire mile of beachfront — the best on the island. The Spa Botánico is a breathtaking, five-acre reserve with open air and tree-house treatment platforms. For a big celebration, you can rent Su Casa, the original plantation hacienda from the 1920s that's been modernized and renovated — complete with four bedrooms and utter exclusivity. It opens to a private veranda and infinity pool.
La Concha a Renaissance Resort
La Concha is the most popular hotel in the area for gay visitors from all over the world, due to its friendly vibe, proximity to the gay beach (next door) and the self-perpetuating nature of popularity itself — you can always expect to see other gay guests here. It is a glamorous four-star luxury hotel located in the heart of Condado — trendy day and night. It has a mid-century modern look, the upscale casino, the Perla banquet hall — set in a fabulous oceanfront shell-shaped building, multiple swimming pools, and a sexy lobby bar.
Andalucía Guest House
The Andalucia Guest House in an LGBTQ-owned gem in Ocean Park. This cozy inn — decorated with Spanish/Moroccan flare — is surrounded by trendy restaurants and shopping, and just four blocks from the beach. The owners are lovely and welcoming and eager to share their favorite San Juan tips. This guest house remains one of the city’s best values.
Coquí Del Mar
This small gay-owned guest house is gay-popular but not exclusively gay. All are welcome. The units are mostly apartment-style with full kitchens, and the property is located in the beachside neighborhood of Ocean Park. Nearby you’ll find a few good gay-popular restaurants that the friendly owner Rob Villacres can recommend. He’s also a font of knowledge about the island in general and the gay scene in particular.
Among the best hotels in San Juan is the Gallery Inn, with its super-cool pool built around a tastefully ruined structure. The entire property is a sprawling compound made up of several historic buildings stitched together into a fabulous 23,000-square-foot structure. They also have a fabulous kitchen and beachside sister property on a cliff. This place simply oozes character. Views are incredible and there is a rooftop garden deck with a full panoramic view of the city.
La Terraza Hotel
With rooms and suites, this small luxury inn is a good choice if you wish to be in the heart of historic Old San Juan and need a little space to spread out, privacy to do your own thing and the conveniences of an apartment (in their larger suites). This gorgeous hotel is located in a 19th-century Spanish colonial building.
AC Hotel by Marriott
The AC Hotel is a modern business hotel that’s close to the ocean and walkable to most LGBTQ nightlife. Check-in includes free drink vouchers on their stylish rooftop pool and bar, where a hot breakfast is served every morning. The rooms are spacious, most with balconies, and TVs equipped with Netflix. The adjoining coffee bar and restaurant – La Bodeguita de Manolo — are two hidden gems of Condado.
Join the celebrations!
Puerto Rico is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the founding of Old San Juan, the oldest city in the United States. Stay tuned for special events running through June 2022!