You know you’re in for something unique as soon as you pass the tall contemporary waterfall and koi pond at the entrance to Hostería del Mar (1 Calle Tapia, 787/727-3302, fax 787/727-0631 or 787/268-0772, hosteria [at] caribe [dot] net, www.hosteriadelmarpr.com, $89–199 s/d, $179–239 ocean view, $244–264 suites and one-bedroom apartment, plus 9 percent tax). This compact oceanfront hotel has a lot of pizzazz in its common areas. The small lobby features an artful mix of antiques and tropical-style decor that give way to a tastefully designed Polynesian-style bar and restaurant filled with warm woods and rattan furnishings. The wooden top-hinged windows open out from the bottom, revealing the sand and sea just a few steps away. The restaurant, Uvva, specializes in what it calls Nuevo Mediterranean cuisine and serves three meals a day. The small, basic guest rooms have air-conditioning, cable TV, and telephones. A second-floor room is recommended for those sensitive to noise that sometimes emanates from the bar at night.
Acacia Boutique Hotel (8 Calle Taft, 787/725-0668, 787/727-0626, or 877/725- 0668, fax 787/268-2803, www.acaciaseasideinn.com, $105 s, $175–210 d) is a small, newish beachfront property from the folks at nearby Wind Chimes. Modern, modest rooms have air-conditioning and basic cable TV; some have balconies. Wireless Internet is available in common areas. Guests can use the bar and pool at Wind Chimes.
The pink oceanfront Atlantic Beach Hotel (1 Calle Vendig, 787/721-6900, fax 787/721-6917, www.atlanticbeachhotel.com, $115–149 s/d) serves a primarily gay clientele, but everyone is warmly welcomed. The exterior and lobby are a bit shabby, as are some of the 37 rooms, but there are some newly remodeled rooms that are more modern and comfortable. Each room has air-conditioning, satellite TV, and telephone. It has a rooftop terrace, a casual restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, and a popular ocean-side bar (happy hour 5–7 p.m.). On Sunday nights the bar hosts the Black Cat drag show. It starts at 9 p.m., but things don’t really get going until around midnight.
It’s at the far eastern end of Condado, several blocks from the nearest restaurant or shop, but At Wind Chimes Inn (1750 Ave. McLeary, 787/727-4159, fax 787/728-0671, reservations [at] atwindchimesinn [dot] com, www.atwindchimesinn.com, $80–95 s, $109–150 d, $155 suite) is just a block from the beach. Two Spanish-style haciendas have been combined to create a quaint, artful, 22-room boutique hotel. Each room has air-conditioning, cable TV, telephone, and wireless Internet; some rooms have kitchenettes. Rooms are tastefully decorated with high-quality furnishings and bright cheery bedspreads. Amenities include a small pool with jets and a waterfall, and a shady courtyard bar and grill.
Although it’s about three blocks from the beach, El Prado Inn (1350 Calle Luchetti, 787/728-5925 or 800/468-4521, elpradoinn [at] prtc [dot] net, www.elpradoinn.net, $89–139 s/d, plus 9 percent tax and 6 percent service charge) has the benefit of being close to all the action on Avenida Ashford but with the quiet residential feel of Ocean Park. Each room is different, but they’re all pleasant and comfortably decorated with a bohemian vibe. A modest continental breakfast is included, and there’s a tiny pool in the courtyard. Another bonus is the lovely shaded Parque Luchetti across the street. Free parking.
The three Canario (800/533-2649, canario PR [at] aol [dot] com, www.canariohotels.com) hotels in Condado offer small, clean, modern, no-frills accommodations at a budget rate. Rooms all come with air-conditioning, telephones, cable TV, and room safes. Service is minimal, continental breakfast is included, and all three properties are within walking distance of the beach, restaurants, shops, and bars. The one with the most attractive entrance and lobby is El Canario Inn (1317 Ave. Ashford, 787/722-3861, fax 787/722-0391, $115 s, $129–144 d, $144 t, $159 q, plus 9 percent tax and $5 in surcharges). Dramatic black-and-white floors and lots of plants provide a cheery welcome to its 25 units. El Canario by the Sea (4 Ave. Condado, 787/722-8640, fax 787/725-4921, $115 s, $129–144 d, $144 t, $159 q, plus 9 percent tax and $5 in surcharges) has 25 unremarkable rooms, a dull lobby, and lax service, but it’s a mere half block from the beach. The largest property is El Canario by the Lagoon (4 Clemenceau, 787/722-5058, fax 787/723-8590, $119 s, $130–145 d, $145 t, $160 q, $150–180 penthouse suite, plus 9 percent tax and $5 surcharges), with 44 small basic rooms in a high-rise building beside Laguna del Condado. Rooms have balconies, and there’s free parking on-site.
If paying bottom dollar is a primary concern, you can’t do much better than Coral by the Sea (2 Calle Rosa, 787/791-6868, fax 787/791-1672, www.coralbythesea.com, $81–103 s/d). Its small, functional, slightly dreary rooms have air-conditioning and cable TV, but it’s just two blocks from the beach. Bring some air freshener, as the rooms can have a funky odor. There are two restaurants on the first floor: Platos, serving Nuevo Puerto Rican cuisine, and Piu Bello, a deli.
It may be worthwhile to pay a little more and stay at Hotel Villa del Sol (4 Calle Rosa, 787/791-2600 or 787/791-1600, info@villadel solpr.com, www.villadelsolpr.com, $100 s, $130 d, $180 minisuite). In a cheerful yellow faux hacienda-style building two blocks from the beach, the inn’s 24 units have air-conditioning, cable TV, and mini-refrigerators. Some rooms are starkly furnished; others are a little nicer. Amenities include a tiny pool, restaurant, bar, free parking, and free Wi-Fi in common areas. Vias Car Rental service is on-site.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition