36 Hours in San Juan
11) 10 a.m. Spa splurge
Grab a quick café con leche and drive 30 minutes west to the Ritz-Carlton Reserve at Dorado Beach — arguably the most beautiful resort in Puerto Rico — for an indulgent massage. Because of extensive hurricane-related damages, the sprawling waterfront property remained closed for nearly 18 months. It finally reopened in October, with redone rooms and public areas and a refreshed, mostly al fresco Spa Botánico, ensconced in fruit trees (more than 300,000 plants were added to the resort’s gardens as part of the renovations). End your trip on a luxurious note with the manos santas massage, which uses local botanical oils inspired by folkloric healing practices (60-minute treatments from $185).
12) Noon. El brunch
Sabrina Brunch and Bistro Bar doles out brunch classics with a Caribbean twist, including poached eggs atop mashed plantains with sliced avocado on the side. This cheerful restaurant on Loiza Street takes its name from the classic Audrey Hepburn movie, but the interiors call to mind Carmen Miranda’s “Copacabana,” with tropical flowers painted on the walls, neon pink signs and potted palms (brunch runs about $25). Or, if you prefer your last meal here to be outside, head to Lote 23, a food park with hipster vibes and young chefs offering everything from slow-roasted Puerto Rican pork to Asian noodles and Peruvian anticuchos.
Set in a former Carmelite convent across from the street from Old San Juan’s cathedral, El Convento is one of the most atmospheric hotels in town. Its 58 spacious rooms feature a mix of contemporary and colonial details, and its plant-filled interior courtyard, home to a bar and restaurant, was recently renovated. Doubles from $205.
The El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, known for its opulent lobby crystal chandelier from the 1950s, reopened in December after extensive renovations and repairs. This amenities-laden, 388-room hotel is perched on Isla Verde Beach. Doubles from $239.
Condado is a central, walkable neighborhood near the water that is dotted with pleasant cafes and shops. Airbnb has several listings for two-bedroom apartments there for about $100 per night.
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