When staying in San Juan, the Caribe Hilton was the perfect choice because of it’s proximity to the city and also the best beaches in San Juan. Just off Escambron Beach, the only Blue Flag beach in San Juan, and next door to Escambron Marine Park, this area is the perfect home base if you’re looking for some relaxing beach time or snorkeling near San Juan.
If you’re wanting to stay in the Escambron area, the Caribe Hilton is the only hotel located directly on the beach, so it was our pick and we loved it! Not only is it close to all of the off-site activities, but it’s a world of it’s own with tons of amenities that I’ll go over in detail throughout our Caribe Hilton Review.
Fun Fact: The Caribe Hilton is also known as the birthplace of the Pina Colada, and you can read the whole story or find the original recipe here. And, Pina Colada tastings are included in your stay!
Check prices and availability here.
In this Post:
CARIBE HILTON SAN JUAN MAP
We love that the common areas have several large openings allowing an open air feel to the lobby and bar. When arriving, it feels like a natural tropical oasis with birds chirping and a massive wall of windows and retractable doors looking out onto the pool and ocean.
Although we read several reviews stating that the resort felt a bit rundown, we didn’t feel that way at all. The rooms have all been updated within the last few years and all of the interior common areas have a fresh modern Caribbean feel with white walls, dark wood accents, and new furnishings.
The exterior common areas do show just a few signs of wear, but overall are updated as well. We noticed tiles missing along steps and rust on some patio areas. But, all in all, the resort seems very well kept and modern.
In our opinion, the comments may stem from the fact that almost all of the rooms overlook the roofs of the banquet halls. Now, the views beyond the roof such as the San Geronimo Fort, Playita del Condado, Escambron Marine Park, and the resort beach are phenomenal. But the dirty and rusty looking roof does mar the view a bit.
CARIBE HILTON ROOMS
Figuring out the wings seemed a bit of a mystery before arrival, so hopefully this and the map help explain the property layout a bit better.
The resort is made up of 3 separate buildings, the beach wing, the garden wing, and the Wave Wing, that are joined by open air common spaces offering dining, shopping, and lounge areas.
The Beach Wing is the original hotel from the 40s, with the Garden Wing, and then the Wave Wing being added later.
Caribe Hilton Beach Wing
The views from the top floor, even numbered rooms on the pool/ocean end would probably have the best views on the property. The rooms run along both sides of this building with the even numbers facing the Escambron area and the odd numbers facing the San Geronimo Fort and Condado. The hotel rooms begin on the third floor in the beach wing with meeting rooms located on the second floor.
So, any rooms on the 3rd floor will have more roof in their view, and they get better as you go up. The beach wing also offers the shortest walk to most of the restaurants and the pool and beach areas.
Caribe Hilton Wave Wing
The Wave Wing is the newest addition to the resort, and is a high rise offering 20 floors with nearly all of the views overlooking water. The rooms face 3 directions with room numbers ending in 58-61 overlooking Condado Lagoon(the lower levels in this direction may have views blocked by buildings) ,62-65 overlooking the tennis courts and the beach, and 66-70 offering views of San Geronimo Fort and the Condado area. The rooms are modern, completely renovated, and have larger balconies. The bathrooms are the most updated on the property, but note that there are only showers, and no baths in these rooms.
Caribe Hilton Garden Wing
When planning our trip, I discounted the garden wing, which is the furthest from the beach area. However, after seeing the rooms, this building became one of my favorites. The floors are all tile with area rugs, giving it a clean and modern look. The views from the lower floors all face the gardens, and the top floors have views of the ocean, San Geronimo Fort, and the gardens.
All rooms are on one side of the building facing toward the garden and ocean with only the hallway along the other side. So really, no bad views from this building.
The rooms have traditional hotel amenities with small refrigerators, a safe, clothes irons, and bathroom toiletries.
A daily per room resort fee of around $40 will be added to your reservation and covers use of the in room internet, fitness center, tennis courts, resort beach with chairs and umbrellas, and the daily on site activities including yoga and pina colada tastings.
CARIBE HILTON LOBBY AND CHECK IN
Upon arrival, we were greeted at the cab by the bellman offering to help with luggage and checking our temperatures(due to COVID). We were then directed through the open air to the front desk with a direct view out to the pool and ocean.
The front desk was quick and efficient, even though we arrived at the same time as several other groups. We were given information on the activities available for the month like yoga classes and tours of the adjacent Fort San Geronimo.
Given the number of shops and restaurants on site, as well as points of interest in the area, it would have been nice to have a site map, but it was pretty easy to quickly explore the property.
CARIBE HILTON RESTAURANTS
Full Service Restaurants
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Morton’s is the fanciest spot of all of the hotel dining options and requires reservations. It’s a higher end chain restaurant specializing in, you guessed it, steak.
Rustica Ristorante is a nicer Italian restaurant, and I would call it a sister restaurant to Lola’s. They both seemed of similar quality and price, were adjoining, and you could order off both menus at either restaurant. Their pasta dishes were good and offered generous portions. But, the pizza that we ordered for the kids turned out to be everyone’s favorite!
Check out the menu for Rustica Ristorante HERE.
Lola’s Puerto Rican Cuisine
Lola’s is just adjacent to Rustica Ristorante with a doorway connecting the two and the same staff serving. Here you’ll find polished traditional Puerto Rican flavors dishes like mofongo, plantains, cassava, with a focus on fish and seafood.
Check out the menu for Lola’s HERE.
Mojito’s Caribbean Fusion
Located at the other end of the property near the Wave Wing, Mojito’s has a bit more of a casual feel. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all with a Spanish-Puerto Rican twist, Mojitos is a great spot to grab lunch or a casual dinner out on their patio.
Check out the menu for Mojito’s HERE.
Néctar del Caribe
Nectar del Caribe is the breakfast place. It is not a traditional restaurant, but more the place that everyone heads for the large breakfast buffet that includes an omelette station. They do offer a breakfast menu as well, but the buffet has a bit of everything. Since it is really the only spot for a traditional breakfast, unless you arrive early, expect a wait.
Bars and Snacks
Caribar is the signature bar at the resort just off the pool and beach area with plenty of lounge and table seating. It’s the best place to enjoy the outdoors while sipping on a cocktail or trying one of their many appetizer and small plate options. They even have wait staff for the beach lounge chairs.
It’s also the home of the Pina Colada! And, they even offer Pina Colada sampler tastings. It’s really something you MUST try while here.
If you’re looking for pool drinks, Bagua is the swim up bar nearly surrounded by one of the many resort pools.
We all know and love Starbucks, so there’s really not much to say about it except that it’s a nice and convenient spot to stop in and grab a quick familiar drink, pastry, or dessert.
Ice Cream & Cookies Co
Just down the corridor from Starbucks is the real dessert spot at the resort, Ice Cream & Cookies Co. There are several options for ice cream and cookies, but also breakfast pastries, acai bowls, and pre-packaged sandwiches for a quick take away lunch.
The Ice Cream Bar
Nestled just between the beach, pool, and hammock area, you’ll find a little wooden bar serving up ice cream that really hits the spot on a hot Caribbean day.
CARIBE HILTON POOL
The pool has a great set-up that caters to many different types of guests all in a cohesive and beautiful pool area. The main pool is the first that you see when exiting the building, and is the longest and perfect for swimming. To the right is an infinity pool just above and flowing into the main pool that serves as more of an adult environment with an adjacent hot tub and the swim up bar Bagua.
To the far end near the ocean, the main pool spills over another infinity edge into a pool that is crescent shaped and seemed to be the place for the older children to play. Finally, a small bridge separates the crescent pool from a small kiddie pool complete with multiple fountains.
Innertube rentals($15); aqua aerobics classes; kiddie pool with fountains.
CARIBE HILTON BEACH
The beach area is completely protected with a rock jetty making it a great spot to float in the calm crystal clear water. With plenty of space to spread out, beach chairs, a beach bar to one side, and a large party deck to the other, everyone can find a spot they like.
Beach lounge chairs are provided along the beach, with a nearby beach bar. There are also cabana rentals for $350 per day if you want to get out of the sun but still enjoy the ocean views.
Snorkeling at Caribe Hilton
The Hilton beach can only be accessed by resort guests and has plenty of colorful fish and a bit of coral running all along the rock wall separating the beach area from the ocean. Next door to the resort is the Escambron Marine park with several man made structures to explore. Turtles and even manatees are often spotted in this area. Just past the Escambron Battery ruins is Escambron Beach with rock jetties protecting the area and making a great home for even more colorful fish. Escambron Beach is known as one of the best snorkeling spots in San Juan.
The Caribe Hilton is a perfect spot for families to relax together. From the outdoor playground and kids pool to the variety of kids activities offered, the little ones will love it here. Our kids loved seeing San Geronimo fort next door, playing with the oversized chess set, and grabbing ice cream from the beachside ice cream stand.
ZEN SPA CARIBE HILTON
Located near the edge of the property, the Zen Spa Oceano offers services from relaxing massages to full service bridal hair and make-up. The dim lights, relaxing music, and beautiful decor help you to immediately relax. Although I didn’t have time to try any of the services, I did get to check out the spa and I was so sad I couldn’t squeeze in a stone massage.
Check out the full menu of spa services here.
The fitness center isn’t the place that I typically find myself on vacation, but many people love to start their day in the gym. With more than enough equipment to go around from treadmills and ellipticals to weight training machines, you shouldn’t ever have to wait in line for a workout. The best part though, THE VIEWS. The entire side of the building is a wall of windows facing the beach and ocean. So, if you must spend time on the treadmill, I can’t imagine a better spot.
The fitness classes are a bit more my pace. In addition to everything going on in the fitness center, you’ll find a schedule of classes for outdoor yoga(my personal favorite), tennis, and water aerobics among others. Oceanfront yoga is my idea of a perfect way to start the day!
Parking is available in the parking garage just across the street from the resort for $25 per day, and valet parking is also offered.
A taxi or uber to or from the airport will cost between $34-45, and getting to Old San Juan or Condado will each run you about $10.
The area around the Caribe Hilton is relatively safe(but as always, stay alert and use caution if something seems out of the ordinary), so walking is a great way to see the area. The trip to Old San Juan can be done along the oceanfront path, but it will take 45 minutes to an hour 1 way.
We loved the Caribe Hilton and it is one of our favorite spots in San Juan. The proximity to Old San Juan and nearby snorkeling combined with all of the services and amenities offered makes it the best of both a city and beach vacation to Puerto Rico.
Click here for more information and the latest prices.
Don’t think the Caribe Hilton is quite right for you? Check out our guide to all of the best beach hotels in San Juan HERE.