Review: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino

American consistently has cheap fares between Tampa and San Juan, thanks largely to the fact that JetBlue flies the route nonstop. I really like San Juan, so since the weather forecast was nice I decided to fly down there for one night earlier in the week. I stayed at the Ritz Carlton last time, which I really liked, especially given the beach front location. However, this time around I wanted to spend more time in the actual city, so decided on the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino. While it’s an older hotel, it’s within walking distance of the Old Town, so if you’re in town for just one night it’s definitely worth the trade off to stay here vs. a more modern hotel with not as good of a location (like the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino).

The rate was just $109, which is amazingly low, but then again it’s the low season in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico has a bit of a taxi mafia with fixed prices by zones, so from the airport to the Sheraton is $19 each way. One thing I’ll never understand about taxis in Puerto Rico is why they’re so damn big. They’re all more or less gas guzzling semi-trucks, which I can’t understand when you have fixed prices and are carrying one party at a time. Anyway…

I arrived at the Sheraton at around 1PM and was immediately helped at the front desk.


Hotel exterior


Lobby


Lobby

The hotel was still showing lots of suites for sale online, so I was a bit concerned when the associate said “since you’re a Platinum member your amenity is late check-out tomorrow. Would you like that?” I didn’t need it, and the way he made it sound is that the late check-out was the only Platinum amenity, which was rather concerning. But after a brief pause he continued with “and we’ve of course upgraded you to a suite, you’ll have free internet, and you can also choose your Platinum amenity.” This was my first suite upgrade without even having to ask in quite a while at Starwood hotels.

While I selected 500 Starpoints as the Platinum amenity, it’s worth noting that they give you a “legitimate” continental breakfast if you choose breakfast as the amenity, with the option of upgrading to the full buffet for a small charge if you’d like.

I was assigned room 332, a one bedroom suite on the third floor.

The hallways of the hotel are awfully… festive looking, straight out of an era where overalls and turtlenecks were considered cool.


Hallway


Hallway

The suite was really nice. The living room had a couch, table with chairs, desk, and flat screen TV.


Living room


Living room

The living room faced the cruise ship terminal.


View from the room

The bedroom featured a comfortable Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed.


Bedroom

The bathroom was pretty standard for a Sheraton, with a sink, toilet, and shower that doesn’t take an MBA to operate.


Bathroom


Shower

The hotel also has a small but functional gym overlooking the harbor, and a small pool that’s probably more practical for sunbathing than swimming.


Gym


Gym


Pool

I’d definitely return to the Sheraton Old San Juan and highly recommend it. This isn’t a hotel you stay at because it’s modern and luxurious, but it has a great location, comfortable rooms, the Platinum recognition is excellent, and the rate I paid was unbeatable.

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Comments

  1. Lucky,

    How did you get a $109 rate? I’m currently looking at rates for up to 3 nights in October, and I’m seeing them start at over $300/night when taxes are included!

    Is October somehow no longer slow season? Even looking at booking this weekend, best price I could find was $149.

  2. @ Jason — That was the standard off peak week day rate on spg.com. I see it available next Tuesday as well, for example. I suspect October isn’t off peak anymore since its the end of hurricane season.

  3. @ JetAway — LOL! Not happening. I can’t be disconnected for that long.

    @ Kyle — Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the immediate location, but it is walkable to the old town, which isn’t the case for most hotels. Is there another hotel you prefer in terms of location?

  4. @ Lucky,
    Do you think there is any real difference between a Sweet Sleeper and a Heavenly Bed, or is it just branding hyperbole?

    JRL

  5. @ WorldWingedExplorer — I actually flew American and paid about $250 roundtrip (I was just saying JetBlue helps keep the fares down in the market.

  6. I have an MBA, and I find it difficult to operate a lot of hotel showers. Also, my father is an engineer at NASA and even he can’t figure out some hotel showers.

  7. What a timely review, I am taking advantage of the American fare as well and heading down there with some friends on Tuesday (we decided to make it a vacation and we’re staying until Saturday). We decided to stay at the other Sheraton location (seemed more modern and reviews said better casino). While I agree the location doesn’t look too great, we figured cabs would be easy to use to get around.

  8. Stayed here as well and got the same room on a different room as a Platinum. Good location and functional was my take too – I imagine the rate fluctuates with the cruise ship departures also.

    For others thinking of staying here, I /highly/ recommend this bar that’s walkable – La Taberno Lupolo. I got the recommendation from US Immigration in San Juan – awesome beer bar and a good (but small) menu of food.

  9. Stayed there couple of weeks ago for the weekend. Got upgraded to a suite as well without asking. The continental breakfast for Plats had enough selection for me that I didn’t bother with full buffet.

    The location is great if you want to visit the old town, the forts, etc. The old town is quite lively at nights on the weekends and great for walking around. However, this is not the place to stay if you want a beach/relaxation especially given the tiny pool. If you want to go to the beach it’s going to be $15-20 each way for a cab ride.

  10. Not so much a concern for you Lucky, but the cruise ship *dock* is right outside the Sheraton Old San Juan. The embarkation/debarkation terminal is actually on the other side of the bay near the new Sheraton. Learned that the hard way…

  11. I got the same rate as lucky:

    Rate Description: Aaa Hot Deal+giftcrd Aaa Or Caa Membership Required At Be Shown At Check-in.2 Nights $25 Gift Card, 3-$50, 5+ $100

    $109/night – I booked 2 nights so I will be getting a $25 gift card as well

  12. Room rate: USD 109.00 USD
    Room rate excludes the following:
    State Tax: USD 11.99 USD
    11.00 % Per Room / Per Night
    Hotel Svc Fee: USD 14.17 USD
    13.00 % Per Room / Per Night
    Estimated total: USD 135.16 USD

    the breakdown with taxes seem to be $135.16

  13. Great review, thanks!

    Any favorite places in Old Town?

    BTW, I find a difference in between Sweet Sleeper and Heavenly beds, maybe the Sweet Sleeper isn’t a pillowtop? Coiling might be the same.

  14. So funny about to head to SJU right now and had this hotel booked on a $109 BRG +2000 starpt rate until I cancelled it when I saw the Marriott in Condado had a simil ar BRG for $90/nt which would let me earn the free nt megabonus. Seems many deals to be had in PR.

    Had I read your review I may have kept as originally booked, but I have to say the Sheraton pool area look pretty bad and for a first PR visit was more interested in a beach scene.

  15. I stayed there last week with my family on the way to and from STX. My parents were there in another room. The hotel was clean and nice but with out a doubt the loudest hotel any of us had stayed in. People were partying all night, slamming doors , yelling. The elevators were noisy and we could hear the ice machine all night. Car alarms going off in the garage right outside our window .None of us slept and left exhausted both stays. It reminded my college dorm. If you are in san Juan to party this would be a good place to stay otherwise avoid .

  16. I don’t understand these trips. Why go for one night and spend all that time in transfers, dealing with TSA, etc? You have your own business, why not stretch the trip our for several days?

  17. @ Nguyen — As Dax said, no visa is required.

    @ MS — Because at the end of the day there’s a higher cost for multiple nights, and if you “maximize” your time there’s a lot you can see in a day.

  18. Hi. Mr. Silver Springer and I stayed there for one night, unfortunately it was the night before Hurricane Isaac was to arrive–luckily it mostly went south of the island. All of the tourist attractions were closed but we did enjoy our stay at the Sheraton and walking around the old city. We had a great dinner at Cafe Puerto Rico and a nice lunch at a place a block away from the hotel. I would like to return after hurricane season is over.

  19. Ben you were lucky. I spent a few days there this summer and it was a disaster from start to finish.
    Lets just say, three tweets to SPG, and two meetings with MOD.
    Can’t beat the location though. Right in the middle of everything.

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