The Best Beach Hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Caribe Hilton has a huge pool complex
The Caribe Hilton has a huge pool complex | Courtesy of Caribe Hilton / Expedia
Photo of Siobhan Grogan
18 January 2021

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an intoxicating combination of imposing fortresses, rainbow-colored houses, cobbled streets and lively late-night bars serving up every flavor of mojito imaginable. Choose a beach hotel if you’d like to spend time on the sand in the Caribbean sunshine, but dip into vibrant San Juan for shopping and sightseeing – though with lavish spas, Michelin-star chefs and even on-site bird sanctuaries, you may not want to leave the hotel at all.

Fairmont El San Juan Hotel

Chain Hotel, Luxury
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Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
Courtesy of Fairmont El San Juan Hotel / Expedia

A Puerto Rican institution, the Fairmont is 10 minutes from Old San Juan on the Isla Verde Beach, voted the Best Urban Beach in the USA. Pampering is paramount here, with four pools, a three-level fitness centre and a lavish spa where treatments include a heavenly Alpine arnica deep-tissue massage. You won’t go hungry either: restaurants include a family-run pizzeria and the renowned Caña by Juliana Gonzalez, serving authentic Puerto Rican dishes.

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St Regis Bahia Beach

Chain Hotel, Luxury
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St. Regis Bahia Beach
Courtesy of St Regis Bahia Beach / Expedia

Get back to nature at this chic resort on a former coconut plantation near Luquillo, in the foothills of the El Yunque National Forest. Lakes, nature trails, jungle hikes and the Espíritu Santo river are all on the doorstep for outdoor exploring with the resident naturalist, while smaller guests can sample birdwatching, turtle feeding and treasure hunts at the kids’ club. There are also art classes, tennis clinics, a spa and two whole miles of pristine beach if you’re looking for something a little less adventurous.

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Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury
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Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton
Courtesy of Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton / Expedia

Barefoot luxury is second nature at this elegant 1950s resort on a former plantation where no building is taller than a palm tree. Rooms come with indoor and outdoor showers, oversized soaking tubs, walk-in wardrobes, Bose wireless speakers in the bathroom and Nespresso machines. Elsewhere, there are cooking classes, an infinity pool overlooking a pineapple garden, a spa with treetop treatments and its own traditional healer and the largest wine cellar in Puerto Rico, with some 690 labels.

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San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Resort, Luxury
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San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Courtesy of San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino / Expedia

Make the most of the Puerto Rican sunshine at this Condado Beach resort right on the sand. As well as the beach, there’s a spa and an on-site casino where guests can try their luck; or you can soak up some rays by the palm-tree lined pool, with sweeping ocean views, bar and a water slide. There’s also an ice-cream shop, a Puerto Rican coffee house and an international buffet restaurant which hosts a special event each Friday, serving traditional dishes such as roasted pork and mofongo (mashed plantain) with local cocktails.

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Caribe Hilton

Resort, Luxury
Map View
Caribe Hilton
Courtesy of Caribe Hilton / Expedia

If the kids need more than a beautiful beach, they will be spoilt rotten at the Caribe Hilton. The hotel has a huge pool complex including a children’s fountain pool, an outdoor playground, a games room, tropical gardens and a bird sanctuary. There’s also a packed schedule of activities on offer every day, including sandcastle building, fish feeding and hula-hoop contests. Just make time to sample a fruity piña colada by the pool – especially as the drink was invented at this very hotel in 1954.

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  • Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

    Luxury, Independent Hotel
    Map View
    Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
    Courtesy of Condado Vanderbilt Hotel / Expedia

    This landmark Puerto Rican property was built by Frederick Vanderbilt in 1919 and has attracted visitors including Errol Flynn, Charles Lindberg and President Roosevelt. Now grandly refurbished and featuring 323 guest rooms and suites, the hotel still draws the glitterati to its upmarket casino, spa and hammam, martini bar, cigar lounge and sumptuous fine-dining restaurant from Michelin-star chef Juan José Cuevas. Guests are even attended by a private butler on the beach, delivering snacks, sun cream and fresh towels as required.

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    Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach

    Resort, Hotel
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    Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach
    Courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach / Expedia

    Worried you’ll be bored by lazy beach days? At this resort near Old San Juan, there’s plenty to occupy even the most reluctant sunbather, including an on-site casino, a huge fitness centre and nearby water sports including sailing and scuba diving. You can even borrow a complimentary Linus Bike to tour the local area. When hunger strikes, choose from seafood fine dining, Puerto Rican specialities and even an ice-cream parlour.

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    The Dreamcatcher

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    The Dreamcatcher
    Courtesy of the Dreamcatcher / Expedia

    Food is the focus at the only vegetarian hotel in San Juan, with just nine delightful rooms and three suites. The hotel is renowned for its organic and locally sourced breakfasts and brunches featuring home-made hemp milk, while four-course vegan dinners are prepared by visiting guest chefs. Decorated with ethereal dreamcatchers throughout, the hotel also offers yoga and meditation classes, bicycle rental and nature adventure tours away from the island’s most touristy offerings.

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    These recommendations were updated on January 18, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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