I was in Puerto Rico last weekend, and spent the first night at the Sheraton San Juan Puerto Hotel & Casino. Last time I was in Puerto Rico I stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, which is a property in a great location with great Platinum recognition, though the hotel could definitely use a refresh. But it’s walking distance to everywhere in the Old Town, which is really convenient given that taxis in Puerto Rico are a bit of a pain.
The Sheraton San Juan Hotel & Casino is somewhat the opposite — it’s a beautiful, modern property, located near the convention center and marina. It’s extremely close to the Isla Grande Airport (not the main one in Puerto Rico, which is Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport) as well as one of the two major cruise ship ports, though aside from that there’s nothing in the immediate area, so you’ll have to take a taxi everywhere.
Anyway, I decided to try out the Sheraton for my first night, since I was arriving off a redeye and really just wanted to sleep.
- My rate was ~$150 including self parking (which usually costs $16 per day).
- The Sheraton San Juan Hotel & Casino is a Category 4 Starwood property, meaning a free night redemption would cost 10,000 Starpoints.
- A cash & points redemption (if available) would cost 5,000 Starpoints plus $75.
The exterior of the hotel is really nice, definitely one of the more beautiful Sheraton properties out there.
The lobby was spacious with high ceilings and bright decorations, and just off the lobby is the neon-lit casino.
While there was a queue in the general line, the Starwood Platinum/Gold desk was empty, and I was promptly assisted by a friendly associate. I asked about the possibility of an upgrade, and he said it wouldn’t be possible because they were oversold and were apparently already going to have to walk people. I guess that’s not surprising given that I was staying there over a Saturday night, when most cruise ships arrive and depart, if I’m not mistaken.
Once I had my keys I headed towards the elevator, which I took to my room on the 10th floor.
The hallways felt “fresh,” and I quickly found my room, 1015, which was about halfway down the hallway on the left side.
The room had an entryway with the bathroom to the right and a closet to the left.
The room itself was the perfect size for a standard room — not too small, but not really big either. It featured a king bed, lounge chair, desk with office chair, and TV.
As an airplane nerd and former cruise ship nerd, I sure liked the views of the Isla Grande Airport runway and cruise ship port.
The bathroom was also a decent size, with a sink, toilet, and shower.
The toiletries were the Sheraton brand standard amenities.
After checking in I walked around a bit to check out the property, and was quite amused by the signs the room attendants placed on the doors as they were servicing rooms.
I first checked out the gym, which was located on the third floor and featured plenty of modern equipment.
The pool area, which is located on the fourth floor, was nice, in part for the facility itself, and in part for the fact that a plane was taking off every couple of minutes from the airport just half a mile away. 😉
The deck space was huge, though I feel like the pool itself could’ve been a lot bigger.
With the pool it kind of seemed like they were going for a Marina Bay Sands-like infinity pool design, given that it was essentially looking over the “edge” of the hotel. I don’t think it works quite as well on the fourth floor of a hotel vs. the 50th floor, though. Then again, it didn’t seem like people were really swimming, but rather just standing in the water boozing it up.
Since it was a Saturday there was some DJ playing loud music at the pool, and it’s probably worth noting the music was so loud I had a hard time sleeping in my room.
The hotel’s club lounge, which I had access to on account of my Starwood Platinum status, is located on the 12th floor. The lounge serves breakfast daily from 6:30AM till 9:30AM and hors d’oeuvres daily from 5PM till 7PM. Maybe it’s just me, but I always wish that vacation destination hotels would serve breakfast past 9:30AM. Surely I’m not the only one asleep at that hour, especially when the hotel is located in the Atlantic time zone, meaning it’s really 1-3 hours earlier for most guests visiting from the US.
The club lounge is spacious and well-appointed, and even features a huge outside terrace, though for whatever reason it was closed when I was there.
US club lounges in general are among the worst out there, so as far as I’m concerned an “average” club lounge is one that’s about as good as a domestic airline lounge in terms of food. Anything better than that earns bonus points.
In this case the evening spread was definitely better than average. There was pita bread with hummus, pasta salad, tomatoes and onions, artichokes, plantains, apples, granola bars, and a couple of desserts. Certainly not a dinner substitute or comparable to anything you’d find abroad (like at the Sheraton Salzburg), but compared to club lounges that serve just week-old veggies and ranch dressing, it was a good spread.
The breakfast spread was quite decent as well, and consisted of fruit, pastries, croissants, toast, yogurt, cheese, meat, and cereal. There weren’t any hot options, though in my experience when a club lounge has a single hot option it’s rarely edible anyway.
Anyway, there’s no doubt this Sheraton is nicer than the Sheraton Old San Juan, but the downside is that it’s a 10+ minute taxi drive each way to get into the Old Town, and there’s something to be said for just being able to stroll out of your hotel straight into the Old Town vs. taking a taxi.
I suppose if you want to disconnect for a day or two by a pool in Puerto Rico this is a nice option, but ultimately there are nicer “resort destinations” to go to. Whether or not this hotel is a good base for “exploring” San Juan probably depends on how much you value a modern hotel vs. having to take a taxi a few times a day.