I’ll preface this by saying I am not much of a hotel person. I’m partial to Airbnb and experiences steeped in local realness. However, staying in Hilton properties during my Puerto Rico vacation was a welcome change from how I normally travel.
I was with my grandma for this trip, and she’s loyal to the Hilton brand. I wasn’t necessarily sold on staying there, but my experience with their customer service definitely changed my mind.
Here is my honest, uncensored review of Hilton’s DoubleTree and Embassy Suites hotels from my time in Puerto Rico. I hope it helps you decide where to stay for your own Puerto Rico vacation!
DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan
We started our time in San Juan as guests at the DoubleTree in Santurce. Upon arrival, we were greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies. That was definitely a nice touch! The property also provides bottled water. We found our room to be lovely, updated, and modern.
It was a little cramped for two people. We had a queen size bed and a double Murphy bed, which definitely contributed to the feeling of being crowded in the room. The bathroom and shower were very nice! I will say that the frosted glass bathroom door adds to the décor, but detracts from privacy. I don’t know about you, but if I want privacy nowhere else, I definitely want it in the bathroom…
The rest of the property was designed well, with a very nice pool and even nicer gym.
I kid you not, the gym at this hotel is nicer than the one I pay a monthly membership to go to at home. They also have a yoga room, which they will happily open for you! They don’t have an organized class right now, but having the facility alone is great. The pool and hot tub were very well maintained, and felt so luxurious.
With regards to food, we found the breakfast to be okay. It wasn’t necessarily anything to write home about. The coffee, on the other hand, turned me into a heart-eye emoji. It was impeccable. For people like me that don’t really eat breakfast (hello, brunch!), this wasn’t a big deal.
That coffee was the most important meal of my day. Yum! We did notice that it costs $18 per person for the breakfast buffet, which we found to be extravagant considering the quality of the food. Because my grandma has status within the Hilton Honors program, we got this for free. Otherwise, we probably would have gotten a cup of coffee and let that be it.
In total, we found the hotel to be very nice, the staff so friendly, and the pool relaxing. I do believe it was a tad overpriced for our dates considering what guests receive in return, namely the small rooms and average food quality. Overall, we definitely enjoyed our stay here!
Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar
After the adventurous portion of our trip in Vieques, we got an Uber to this resort from Ceiba Roosevelt Roads ferry terminal. We were so excited for this portion of the trip, considering the whole point was for rest and relaxation. We decided to pick one resort to lounge poolside and on the beach for our second week on the island. Needless to say, that was a bad idea.
In booking this property, we expected a laid-back area with a stretch of beach and some restaurants or shops nearby. While Dorado is certainly a nice area, we didn’t really enjoy our time there. This hotel is very isolated from everything else.
The stretch of beach that this resort boasts is very beautiful, albeit small, and the pool is definitely very nice.
However, the entire hotel is very dated and needs repairs. For example, the extra lock on our door hung limply from its latch. It barely worked. We did feel safe at this hotel, but we think things like that should be taken care of before guests arrive.
Our first night, we were coming from a 6+ hour travel day. We were wiped out. Instead of getting another Uber to find a restaurant, we decided to order room service. I think this is where everything really went downhill.I will admit that the pizza I ordered was really good! Unfortunately, nothing else was. My grandma probably spent a good $80 on that meal aside from tipping the staff and we had little to show for it.
When the representatives at the front desk asked about our stay, we were candid. This was a turning point for me: their customer service blew my expectations out of the water. I was, and continue to be, so impressed with how they handled the situation and did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable. All their staff was so kind, and I commend them for how they go above and beyond for their jobs. Thank you all so much!
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino
Because we knew our time in Puerto Rico was running out and we missed San Juan, we decided to move to the Embassy Suites there. Similar to the Dorado property, the pool was magnificent. The courtyards in Embassy Suites properties are so pretty, but any noise from the ground floor travels from the acoustics those courtyards create.
This made for a difficult night on my grandma, who is a light sleeper. People being noisy late into the night is absolutely not the hotel’s fault, but I think it’s fair for other travelers to know! I wasn’t bothered at all because I sleep like a log. If you don’t, I would recommend a Hilton property that does not have the indoor courtyard.
The rooms in this hotel are gorgeous.
They’re still rebuilding after Hurricane María, and the renovations look amazing. The rooms we had here were very updated, with comfortable beds and pullout couches, nice TVs, and a lovely kitchenette. This property is just a 10 minute walk from the beach, so it’s got the perfect mix of city and beach relaxation.
In the downstairs area, there are restaurants (including an Outback Steakhouse) and a casino. These don’t close until 2am, so that noise can travel. Like I said earlier, I didn’t even notice. On our last night, we decided to have dinner and drinks at the bar downstairs. Our bartender was so sweet and fun to talk to!
The food we had was also delicious, much better than I expected. I got some trifongo and we shared some Puerto Rican rice. Their rice was very good. This meal and the next morning’s free breakfast both definitely impressed me. Like the other Embassy Suites property, the staff are so kind and accommodating. I can absolutely testify that they will do what it takes to make your stay its best.
I absolutely loved my time in Puerto Rico, and Hilton’s commitment to quality service definitely added to my experience.
I hope this post was helpful for you! In the rest of my Puerto Rico series, I talk about what to see and do, where to go, and how to see the magnificent Bio Bay.