I know it used to be a convent, but...
December 4, 2013 3:24 AM   Subscribe

My soon-to-be-wife and I will be in San Juan, PR, this weekend, staying at El Convento. The photos on the web site seem to indicate it's not very laid-back in terms of dress, but hotel reviews I've read haven't mentioned anything about how dressy or casual the place is. Can anyone provide some firsthand knowledge? Bonus restaurant recommendations are welcome, too.
posted by emelenjr to Travel & Transportation around San Juan, PR (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was there several years ago - just for drinks. If I recall correctly most people were dressed casually.
posted by bunderful at 4:35 AM on December 4, 2013

My niece and her husband and in-laws stayed there and I'm sure they didn't dress up.


The Gallery Inn is a unique experience.

We also enjoyed Aguaviva.
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:45 AM on December 4, 2013

Marmalade was very tasty... but a smidge pricey and fancy.
posted by larthegreat at 4:46 AM on December 4, 2013

I would strongly recommend La Bombonera for breakfast. I still crave their pastries two years later.
posted by teleri025 at 4:58 AM on December 4, 2013

I was just there in July and was dressed casually. We didn't stay there, but we had drinks in the garden and watched the Flamenco dancers.

That's a great spot — you'll be very close to some of San Juan's newest hotspots. I highly recommend Inaru for dinner and La Factoria for drinks.

(This is like the third thread this week in which I have shared my love for PR.)
posted by Brittanie at 4:58 AM on December 4, 2013

Response by poster: Great tips! Thank you.

Casual like shorts and flip-flops, or casual like no tie? And how about for ladies?
posted by emelenjr at 5:53 AM on December 4, 2013

Best answer: My wife and I went there for our honeymoon (September 2012). We dressed nice and went out on the town one night, but for the most part we kept our dress very casual (sandals, shorts, t-shirts for me; sundresses and flip-flops for her). Hey, it was our honeymoon - we were going to do what we wanted!

Nobody seemed to care. We had breakfast in the hotel most mornings (highly recommended, by the way... the mofongo is excellent, though it may render you immobile for several hours), and ate dinner there at least once. It was never an issue.
posted by duffell at 6:57 AM on December 4, 2013

Best answer: We've stayed there twice -- nice place. Dress as you would in any tourist hotel at that price point... I'd say most people are shorts and sandals rather than shorts and flip flops, but nobody's going to bat an eye one way or the other.

Restaurants nearby: the Waffle-tea place is great if you have several hours to kill (seriously service is sloooooow but it's perfect if you want to sit and sip coffee for an afternoon). Verde Mesa is an incredibly good seafood and vegetarian place, absolutely worth going to even if you're not a vegetarian. (Make sure you order one of the infusions as a cocktail, they're amazing). The tapas bar in the hotel is quite good as well (and I'll second duffell on the mofongo...)

In general for old San Juan restaurants it seems like the quieter and more unassuming the exterior, the better the food will be... We never had an outright bad meal, but the more obviously tourist-oriented places tend to be more about the decor than the food.

Have fun!
posted by ook at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2013

Dragonfly was seriously one of the tastiest dining experiences of my life. They seem to have a bigger emphasis on sushi now than they did when we were there ~3 years ago, but the Criollo BBQ pork bao were amazing.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:51 AM on December 4, 2013

Best answer: Yes, agree with dressing casually and that you will see more sandals or sandal-like flip flops than plastic Old Navy flip-flops and more plain Tshirts or collared shirts than Disney Tshirts or NFL jerseys. I would wear my usual non-tan shorts with a casual shirt/blouse but not gym clothes personally. My husband would wear Keen type sandals, khaki shorts and a non-printed T. You will see dressier on the older guests. You could certainly go dressier - casual day dress, trouser shorts and collared shirt if you wish. Beautiful place, enjoy!
posted by RoadScholar at 6:43 AM on December 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the helpful suggestions about what to wear and where to eat, folks. You were right on the money.

Verde Mesa was hard to find, but worth it. The herbal infusions were indeed amazing.

I think because we had arrived on a Sunday and had a stretch of weekdays in Puerto Rico, we had Inaru completely to ourselves, but it was some of the best mofongo I've ever had.

Bombonera was on our list, but we found it to be closed. Our morning coffee spots instead ended up being Café Poetico and Café Cuatro Sombras. We were usually the only non-Puerto Ricans in Cuatro Sombras, so we felt like we were doing something right.

Never did make it to The Gallery Inn, Aguaviva or Marmalade. Maybe next time!
posted by emelenjr at 7:39 PM on December 15, 2013

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