Hotels

Hotel Review: Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

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When deciding where to while away my few hours in San Juan, I looked at a lot of properties, toying with the idea of the Ritz or Intercontinental on the beach if the price was right, finally deciding on a cash & points stay at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino.

I wasn’t crazy about it from the description, but it was one of the best values for the date I was there. Later I read TripAdvisor reviews and became worried, it’s the hotel that cruise ship passengers stay at when departing/arriving and there were lots of stories about loud guests, big crowds, and less than pristine pools and common areas from those who drank too much.

I was just hoping I’d timed it right and was in between ships. I pulled up in front and ran inside to check in. There were 6 people working the check in desks and still a line, although only one person ahead of me in the Preferred Guest line. At a little before 3PM the lobby was bustling and I got the sense there were quite a few unhappy folks whose rooms wouldn’t be ready for awhile.

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Lobby

less crowded at 7AM

When it was my turn the clerk asked if I had to have a king or could I be in a room with two beds? They apparently had a large double immediately available on a high floor if I was willing to take it, and if I didn’t like it I could come back and they’d reassign me. I was only going to be there for a night so it didn’t really matter. I took it.

I ran back out to my car and circled the area looking for safe street parking nearby to avoid the $16 self-parking fee. At check-in they said overnight parking was allowed on the streets but they didn’t recommend it as it was sometimes not secure. I found some spots on the major road about a block away and scanned the area. My car was the nicest of those parked and it was fairly remote with no businesses or buildings around. With visions of a smashed window in the morning I drove back to the self-parking and sucked up the $16 charge.

My room wound up being at the end of the hall with a panoramic view of the convention center, harbor, and isla verde airport. Sheraton Puerto Rico Hall view

It was attractively decorated, and I particularly liked the reading chair.

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Hotel Room

Reading Chair in Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Hotel Room View

It also wound up being a wheelchair accessible room. So that’s why it was a “large room.” Still, it wasn’t worth pushing back and having to wait for a different room so I stayed put, donning my bathing suit and heading down to the pool.

As I was getting ready for the pool I watched a huge cloud come sweeping in dropping an insane amount of water. I, rather happily, watched the crowded pool area rapidly emptying of folks and decided to head down to the covered pool bar to get a drink and wait the rain out.

Rain sweeping over the Puerto Rico Convention Center

There’d been a miscommunication at check in as to whether I wanted points or a drink voucher for my gold welcome amenity and he handed me the voucher. I wasn’t really interested in spending  time to correct it, figuring I’d probably be having a drink at some point anyway. So I plunked down my cert at the pool bar and watched the rain sweep through for 45 minutes over a Sunrise Voodoo (rum, peach schnapps, mango and orange juice) and some angry birds on my iPad. I also scanned the food menu, which listed appetizers from $7-$12 and entrees from $10-$17. Expensive, but no more so than any of the other casual dining options at the hotel.

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino infinity pool

Eventually it cleared and I was the first out, grabbing a chair in front of the infinity pool with a great view of the Isla Verde airport and glimpses of Old San Juan. The sun never came back out though, so after an hour I headed back up to my room to do some work.

I wound up eating dinner at the Texas de Brazil steakhouse attached to casino, but was sizing up my other options beforehand. In addition to the hotel restaurants there was a Ficus Café Mexican restaurant right outside the hotel that was getting rave reviews on yelp and Tripadvisor. Room service was also not terribly priced with a couple of sandwiches priced around $15. There was also the option to order pizza from Pepe Pizzaria for $22 and have it delivered free to the room.

Texas de Brazil

Texas de Brazil was a typical Brazilian steakhouse like Fogo de Chao in the US. I was impressed by the salad bar though – there was very little salad and a wide selection of appetizers such as sushi, mozzarella balls, all kinds of charcuterie and cheese. And despite the restaurant being busy, they were very quick to come over when we flipped our cards to green. Within 90 seconds I was surrounded by 5 men bearing skewers of filet mignon, lamb, sausage, pork, and chicken. Sometimes it doesn’t get better than that 😉

The meal was pretty good and they had a decently priced wine list with several values from Argentina & Spain, but not sure it was worth the price unless you are extremely hungry.

Re-entering the hotel I found the lobby bar now featured a live band and the noise was deafening. I quickly said goodbye to my friend and hurried upstairs where the noise from the outdoor band at Ficus was only slightly audible.

Next morning  they slipped my statement under my door with a note attached saying that due to high occupancy late checkout was impossible and I’d need to be out by 11AM. I guess I was just missing the cruise ship! I was surprised to see a $15 resort fee added to the cash portion of my cash & points. I guess I’d missed that fine print when I was looking at the website.

I had another surprise when I went to retrieve my car – the parking garage only took cash! I was lucky I had some on me or my two minute check out would have taken longer if I had to run back into the hotel to hunt down an ATM.

Verdict: The rooms and pool at the Sheraton Puerto Rico are nice, but it’s a huge, noisy hotel. If you can get cash & points it’s a good value for the area. But if you’re looking for a nice ambience, try the Sheraton Old Town San Juan, the Intercontinental, or Ritz Carlton instead.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

1 Comment

  1. rich

    August 25, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Ah, the lovely take advantage of our customers resort fee. They definitely should be banned, it is just a way to screw customers by not telling them the rate until you check in/out. I did a test with the Venetian in LV and unless you downloaded the terms and conditions PDF document and read it you would not know there was a resort fee. It never appears anywhere else.

    $22 for a pizza? No wonder it is “free” delivery. I’m not a beach person and Puerto Rico won’t ever make my list of places to visit.

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