Courtesy of El Convento

One way to help Puerto Rico? Spend your money there.

Betsy Andrews
March 23, 2018

According to Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the island’s official tourism bureau, 121 hotels—85 percent of the total—are currently open on the island.

If you're considering making the journey, here are three (open) hotels with great food and lovely views.

Condado Vanderbilt:

Courtesy of Condado Vanderbilt

You can imagine Frederick William Vanderbilt swanning down the original staircase in the lobby of this three-year-old property on the beach in Condado. An elegant mashup of Old World glamour and modern luxury, it’s built around a 1919 retreat founded by its namesake. You can bet old Vanderbilt never dreamed of the infinity pool the resort has now, or the spa’s hammam with its multisensory shower.

Courtesy of Condado Vanderbilt

The Avo cigar lounge and Marabar Martini bar by Krug, however, seem perfectly fit for railroad magnate, as do the private pool cabanas and the suites’ butler service. Rooms are chic and contemporary in creams and whites, with balconies and floor-to-ceiling views in the towers. And at 1919 restaurant, chef J.J. Cuevas sources from island farms for one of Puerto Rico’s best meals. Multi-hued heirloom carrot salad with Aleppo pepper, grapefruit, and avocado; and just-this-side-of-rare kingfish with mussels, clams, and shitake in an intense shellfish jus are highlights of the menu. (from $350)

1055 Ashford Avenue, San Juan; 787-721-5500

Hotel El Convento:

Courtesy of El Convento

Those 17th-century Carmelite nuns sure knew how to live. There’s a seductive romance to the mural-draped nooks and crannies of this former convent in Old San Juan. The restaurant sits in a central, open-air courtyard shaded by an enormous níspero tree, whose fruit attracts a nightly host of bats (while the resident calico cat, Trixie, remains nonplussed.) Much of the human action happens in the air, as well: The fifth-floor pool overlooks the harbor, and evening wine and cheese is served on a balcony with a view of the governor’s house. Andalusian tiles, carved wood furnishings, and Juliet balconies with louvred doors, some opening onto vistas of El Morro, give the rooms an authentically Spanish Colonial feel. (from $310)

100 Cristo Street, Old San Juan; 787-723-9020

Copamarina:

If nature is your thing, this chill beach resort on Puerto Rico’s wilder, sleepier southwestern coast borders the hiking trails of the Guánica dry forest, a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve that is home to endangered plants and rare native birds. It’s also a stone’s throw from the bioluminescent bay, and pontoon boats take picnickers out to nearby Gilligan’s Island. For real adventurists, dive boats launch from the hotel’s dock for trips to excellent scuba sites along the 1,500 La Parguera reef wall. Of course, you can just loll around the beachfront pool all day and toast marshmallows at the firepit at night. Or get hitched here—it’s popular for beach weddings—and honeymoon in your room; every one of the breezy accommondations has an ocean view. As for the fare, dishes like carrot soup with orange cream and rack of lamb with truffle risotto bear the signature of the chef who developed them, the late and great Alfredo Ayala, a beloved Puerto Rican culinary figure. (from $130)

Road 333 Km 6.5, Guánica; 787-821-0505