by Amanda Geronikos
Note: This resort has suffered damage in the 2017 hurricane season and is not taking reservations through Oct. 31, 2017.
At first glance, The Condado Plaza Hilton looks like any other city hotel — two flashy high-rise buildings (on two different sides of the street, connected by a walkway) between other hotels, restaurants and stores. If you walk around a bit, you’ll discover Condado Beach, a free, though surprisingly non-crowded stretch of sand and surf. You’ll also find an outdoor fitness area that’s equally fun for parents and kids, plus two swimming pools — one with a waterslide and swim-up bar- and that’s not even including what we like to call the “hidden pool.” Other gems not seen at first glance include Condado Lagoon, where families can kayak, paddleboard or simply float along the bay. All this before you’ve even entered the hotel-
When you do, you’ll be impressed by the swanky lobby, which touts a giant fish tank, funky chairs and orange-and-pink lighting fixtures. Once in your room, you’ll appreciate home-away-from-home features, such as mini-fridges and microwaves, plus access to Wi-Fi and, depending on which room you choose, a prime view of the ocean from your balcony. Alas, your vacation in Puerto Rico begins.
Our Editor Loves
- Waterslide and several pools
- Snorkeling at Condado Beach
- Scout About Program
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Guest rooms and suites are available in a wide variety, and include a Family Junior Suite. Mini-fridges, microwaves and free Wi-Fi are standard throughout, and many rooms provide private balconies with views of the vast ocean below -- so vast, in fact, that if not for the Caribe Hilton across the way, you might feel as though you're on a cruise ship.
Pack 'N Plays and rollaway beds are available upon request.
These rooms are 290 square feet in size and offer one king or two queen beds.
Deluxe Guest Rooms
These units are slightly bigger, at 390 square feet in size, and are outfitted with one king or two queen beds. These rooms also feature a palette of deep red colors, emanating a city hotel feel, versus a beach-like atmosphere.
Ocean View Rooms
These rooms are just like Deluxe Guestrooms, but with amazing views of the ocean below, and totally worth the cost.
At 680 square feet, these units provide plenty of space, plus a king bed and a sofa bed.
Family Junior Suite
Though smaller than the Junior Suites at 480 square feet, these units provide one king bed and two twin beds in separate rooms for privacy. A Pack N' Play can easily fit in the connecting corridor to sleep five altogether.
These rooms provide added amenities, such as integrated living and dining areas, giant bathrooms with Whirlpool tubs and Nespresso coffee makers. They can sleep four or five in a king bed, sofa bed and Pack N' Play or rollaway bed.
Penthouse Ocean View Suite
Located on the top floors of the hotel -- where you'll enjoy amazing views of the pools and ocean below -- these lavish suites tout larger-than-average balconies, private parlor entrances, wet bars and large living areas.
Penthouse Residence Three-Bedroom Suite
It'll cost you a pretty penny, but these units can accommodate up to six guests in three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. They also offer added amenities, similar to Penthouse Ocean View Suites.
This hotel hasn’t faired well since the hurricane. It needs a complete overhaul of the pool areas. The restaurant by poolside needs to come back. Pool side service needs to be reinstated. The bar looks like something I’d set up at a college house party.
by scott h
Overpriced for the experience. Came during offseason and it was minimally staffed. Bar/restaurant service was also very limited. Supposedly there was wifi which worked in the lobby but wouldnt work in my room. Location was right on the beach though and my peers said the pool was great
The hotel has four pools, though the Activity Pool is most popular, as it has a swim-up bar and a small waterslide enclosed in what looks like ancient ruins. Adjacent to the Activity Pool is a smaller pool, seemingly geared toward adults, with loungers and prime views of the ocean. There's also a Toddler Pool, and -- our favorite -- the Lagoon Pool. The Lagoon Pool is somewhat hidden, so it's rarely crowded -- you might even get lucky enough to have it to yourselves for an afternoon. All pools range from 3 to 5 feet in depth; lifeguards are not on duty.
Adjacent to the hotel, this small stretch of sand and surf is free to the public, though surprisingly calm and not crowded. Plus, it has a shallow, artificial reef for snorkeling. Ask the pool concierge about rental gear.
For more snorkeling, plus kayaking, paddle boarding and peddle-boating, head to Condado Lagoon. The large bay, which fronts a cityscape, is also a nice place to float on an inner tube. Additional fees apply.
When the kids need a break from the heat (inevitably, everyone will), they can go to a small children's center and play games, create arts and crafts, and land a spot on the Wall of Fame. Hours vary.
Kids are encouraged to partake in Scout About, a scavenger hunt that allows them to learn about the area and collect souvenirs. Grab a map and find each station to get a special slip, redeemable for color-coded bands.
The service is exceptional, the views are fantastic and the food is just right at CafÃƒÂ© Caribe, a casual dining spot. Standard fare includes pancakes and omelets for breakfast and sandwiches and salads for lunch. There's a bar right next door, too, so it's possible to enjoy a mimosa while you look out onto the ocean. CafÃƒÂ© Caribe is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
This might be the nicest Denny's you ever visit, and it's an easy choice for families, who enjoy more staple options, such as the Grand Slam for breakfast and burgers and club sandwiches for lunch or dinner. It is open 24 hours.
Eight Noodle Bar
If you've got adventurous eaters, be sure to visit Eight Noodle Bar for sushi. It's located next to the casino, but if you prefer to avoid the noise, you can grab already-prepared meals for your room. Open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
All the traditional offerings -- coffee, lattes, tea, pastries and fruit -- can be found at this location, a convenient choice for early mornings on the go.
Aqua Bar and Grill
For snacks, lunch and refreshing drinks (try the frozen lemonade) by the pool, stop at Aqua Bar and Grill. Plenty of tables and chairs are available in a covered area. Hours vary, though it's typically open until 6 or 7 p.m. daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Viaggi Grab-'N-Go offers snacks, beverages and essentials you may have forgotten, from batteries to toothpaste. It's located near the lobby and is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Bikes are available on a first come, first served basis. Take advantage of them -- the surrounding area is actually frequented by cyclists and runners.
The hotel's fitness center is open 24 hours, and provides a decent selection of equipment, plus men's and women's locker rooms with saunas.
Babysitting services can be arranged; inquire at the front desk.
The Art of Smart Timing
If it's cold in the Continental U.S., it's busy in Puerto Rico. You'll actually find reasonable rates and smaller crowds during the summer months, convenient for vacations. September and October are good times to visit the island, too.
The Condado Plaza Hilton is just 10 minutes from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, and you can utilize flat-rate transportation services via Puerto Rico Tourism Company. It'll likely cost you $10 to $15, at most.
By car, it'll take you just five minutes to reach Old San Juan. Other restaurants and stores are within walking distance of the hotel, and the surrounding area is entirely safe. The hotel can also assist in arrangements for day trips to El Yunque National Rainforest, Isla de Vieques and more.
If you have a car, hotel parking is available, though limited; self-parking is $18.19 per day, and valet parking is $24.61.
For Mom and Dad
At The Condado Plaza Hilton, you'll find the best restaurant in San Juan: Pikayo. Chef Wilo Benet cooks every entrÃƒÂ©e -- including steaks and seafood -- to perfection; try the Puerto Rico Sample Menu to enjoy it all. Reservations are highly recommended. Note: The restaurant's dress code is Elegant-Casual -- T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are not permitted.
Afterward or beforehand, head to the onsite casino -- just across from the restaurant -- or the Eternal Lounge or Moon Bar for a cocktail -- we highly recommend a mojito.
If you prefer to leave the hotel, head to The Parrot Club, where you'll enjoy live music, delicious food and a casual atmosphere in the heart of San Juan.