by Michael Blanding
There may be no better place to stay with kids in San Juan than the InterContinental. The venerable hotel provides the right balance of location, amenities and ambience to accommodate a wide range of guests, but it’s particularly well set up for families, with a large lagoon pool at the center and direct beach access. The stage is set for opulence as soon as you enter the library, which is wide and spacious, with pillars and marble-tile floor. The hotel was built in the 1950’s and saw a multimillion-dollar renovation following the hurricanes in 2017.
The property really excels in the outside area, which is landscaped with gardens around a curving natural shaped pool with large waterfall. The best units are located in a separate building fronting the pool, which has suites with exclusive cabanas right by the pool — but no rooms are very far from the pool, or the beach, which is accessible from a boardwalk that runs along the far end of the property. The hotel is located in Isla Verde, a barrier island halfway between the airport and downtown Old San Juan that is home to the city’s best beaches and most of its high-rise hotels.
A spa and kids club round out the hotel’s perks.
Our Editor Loves
- A huge lagoon pool area with waterfalls and swim-up bar
- Direct access to one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico
- Luxurious guestrooms and suites
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All 398 guestrooms and suites have been updated with a modern design and color palette.
The spacious guestrooms feature one king or two double beds. All have balconies overlooking the ocean, garden courtyard or city, and amenities including a flat-screen TV with On Demand movies, a mini-fridge and local bath products. Most of the rooms have replaced bathtubs with showers; if you need a tub, be sure to request it.
All of suites have a separate living room with a sofa bed, and some have a separate dining alcove, as well. The most luxurious suites are the Club InterContinental Suites, located in a separate building with balconies overlooking the pool.
In-room Wi-Fi is available for a fee; cribs and rollaway beds are no charge.
by Len d
This Resort Hotel was a very, very, pleasant surprise....My wife and I travel the world....much more often than most....The beach was super clean, quiet, just steps from our room....the staff was outstanding....helpful in every way....and what I always strive for but so often don't get is this: The taxi-ride from the San Juan Airport to the entrance to the resort is about 5 or maybe 7 minutes. I love that resort.
My mediocre review begins at check-in. The person who registered my spouse and me was incompetent, rude and displayed a "I could care less attitude." We were placed in a room that was wrong. Had to go back to same young grouch and get the bed arrangement listed on my reservation. It gets worse. When my baggage was moved to the next room, my neck brace never made it. I went to the baggage room. No luck. The baggage room Chief sent me to security. The 20 year old security "cop" was one of the most disrespectful person's I have ever encountered anywhere. I asked him if I could go into the security room and look for my neck brace. He said "No." Probably correct answer. However, he showed no interest in looking for it. Went to find a manager. Inter Continental management must have cave. Employees were afraid to disturb their hibernation. Finally, the Concierge helped me. He went the Security Room and looked. No such luck. However, the Concierge made my stay somewhat meaningful. I doubt that you can find a more competent Concierge. Inter-Continental should triple his salary.. The first thing a guest should do when you stay at the Inter-Continental Puerto Rico is to visit the Concierge. He is very distinguished person, well dressed, rather handsome, good hair cut, a pleasant smile and has a great personality. When you visit Inter-Continental Puerto Rico, the first question at Registration should be: "Are you under new management? Breathe a sigh of relief if hey "yes,"
Pool and Beach
Life at the Intercontinental revolves around the pool, a 208,000-gallon, lagoon pool, landscaped with rocks and waterfalls that meanders around a sunny garden courtyard. Cabanas are available for rent around the pool, but are hardly necessary -- there are ample beach chairs for lounging. Next to the pool is a heated Jacuzzi, as well as a small playground area for the kids. When they tire of splashing around in the pool, they can take a short walk to the ocean, which is located off of a boardwalk that runs along the beach. The beach here is one of the most beautiful in Puerto Rico, with two miles of white sand, palm trees and gentle surf with a gradual drop-off that makes it great for kids.
While the hotel itself doesn't have any water sports equipment, local vendors along the beach rent out jet-skis and take guests paragliding. In the lobby, a tour and travel desk helps arrange outings including catamaran sails, scuba diving, and trips to the El Yunque rainforest.
The hotel offers a Planet Trekkers kids club, though its amenities are somewhat basic. A small room near the pool contains games, coloring activities and movies; in practice, children spend most of their time outside, either on the playground, the pool or the beach.
The resort has several restaurants (all are great for families) and bars. All of the restaurants serve a kids' menu that includes burgers, chicken fingers, and wraps.
The signature restaurant Trattoria Italiana strides the line between elegant and family-friendly, with white tablecloths and a piano bar along with an airy dining room. It serves a menu of fresh Italian favorites, including house-made pastas, such as squid-ink tagliolini, and gnocchi with homemade pork sausage. A little more Puerto Rican flair comes in the form of some Italian-Boricua fusion entrees, such as short rib osso buco with cilantro and Caribbean lobster ravioli.
This oceanfront bar and restaurant serves salads, sandwiches and homemade pizzas.
This Asian restaurant offers an artful blend of Asian flavors with a tropical twist.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Ruth's Chris Steak House offers the chain's well-known menu of high-quality (though pricy) steaks and other hearty splurge-worthy cuisine.
This is hotel’s main breakfast restaurant.
This café and wine bar offers gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This casual swim-up bar also serves light lunch.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Babysitting is available for a fee.
- Fitness Center
A 24-hour fitness center that includes free weights and cardio machines looks out on the beach.
The Best Time to Visit
Puerto Rico has an almost perfectly consistent climate, with temperatures hovering around the 80-degree mark, year-round. The biggest crowds and highest prices are between Christmas and late March, while rates drop in late spring and summer. The resort remains surprisingly crowded year-round, however, including August, when many locals take their own vacations. Puerto Rico has a rainy season from April to November, when showers are possible -- though for the most part, they don't last long. Days when it rains all day are few and far between.
Flights to Puerto Rico arrive at Luis Munoz International Airport outside of San Juan. Rental cars are available at the airport -- but most of them are located offsite, which means taking a 10- or 20-minute shuttle to pick up the car. The resort itself is only located 10 minutes from the airport, so alternatively you can take a taxi ride and then rent a car at the counter at the lobby, which will deliver the car to the hotel without the wait.
From the hotel to Old San Juan is approximately a 15-minute drive.
The Akua Spa, located near the pool, offers several treatment rooms and a variety of treatments options. Among the treatments on offer are a hot stone massage, mango enzyme body wrap, and coconut sugar scrub along with the more expected range of massages, facials, and manicures and pedicures.