San Juan Ritz Carlton

The Most Overrated Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Luv Aviatrix at The Ritz Carlton San Juan Puerto Rico

As a flight attendant, I travel a lot and stay in hotels over 200 nights a year.

 

The airline I work for has contracts with various hotel chains ranging from Marriott to Hyatt to Hilton, ect. When choosing a rewards credit card, I went with the hotel chain that I most enjoy staying at. For me, Marriott is generally the most consistently pleasant to stay at.

This is why for my most recent getaway, I made sure to book at a Marriott property. Since my adventure to Puerto Rico was supposed to be a romantic getaway for my boyfriend and I, we opted to stay at a Ritz Carlton property.

 

For those of you familiar with hotels, the Ritz Carlton is generally known as a very nice resort to stay at. My prior stay at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale is a prime example of the luxury and service that is often found at Ritz Carlton properties.

 

My review of the San Juan Ritz Carlton is less enthusiastic.

As a matter of fact, on Trip Advisor, I gave the hotel a very meager 2 stars.

 

Do I have high expectations when I travel and stay away from home? Yes.

Did the San Juan Ritz Carlton meet them? Not by a long shot.

 

As a matter of fact, you could not PAY ME to stay there again.

At one point during our stay, my boyfriend even offered to pay for a different hotel for the rest of our stay if we could move to another resort. That’s how bad our experience was at the San Juan Ritz Carlton, that he was willing to double pay for accommodation during our time in Puerto Rico.

 

Before I get into what we liked and didn’t like about our stay at the San Juan Ritz Carlton, I should offer the disclaimer that often when reviewing luxury hotels, I’m going to sound like a spoiled brat with lots of first world problems…But I want my readers to know when they are going to get when they choose to stay somewhere, especially if they’re spending a good amount of money on accommodation.

The Basics of the San Juan Ritz Carlton San Juan Ritz Carlton

Cheapest Room: $429 (weekend price ) for a “city view” room
Oceanview Balcony Room: $565 (weekend price)
Executive Suite: $1,100 (weekend price)
Resort has one pool, a casino, gym and a few restaurants on site.

 

Now, a quick rundown on what I liked, and what I didn’t like.

After stepping into my “City View” room, I was immediately disappointed. My “City View” was actually an airport view. Great, exactly what I see every day at my job. The website advertises a city view, to which I thought we could take in the romantic lights of the city in the distance, but actually, we would be looking at runway nights and listening to runway noise, which yes, you CAN hear at all times during your stay.

 

To get out of our not-so-luxurious room (no oversized tub, ect), we headed to the pool to grab a drink and appetizer. After sitting down at the pool bar, we were brought some chips. Our very first food after arriving in Puerto Rico…was completely stale. I gently let the waitress know so that we could have some fresh ones and she offered me a look of complete disdain and go to “verify that”. Seriously? You’re going to verify that I’m telling you the chips are stale? I feel like it’s pretty obvious if chips taste stale.
From that very moment, we got a taste (pun intended) of how the rest of our stay and customer service experience would be. Our waitress returned and informed us that the chips were not stale.

 

San Juan Ritz Carlton
We didn’t order any food from the Ritz Carlton Resort for the rest of our stay. When choosing our romantic resort, we had every intention of fancy steak and wine dinners, but after the experience we had by the pool right upon our arrival, no way would we pay $100 when obviously the San Juan Ritz Carlton does not care about their customer’s dining experience.

 

We decided to either eat out or grab snacks from the local grocery store for late night cravings. We noticed that our room did not have a refrigerator. I called down to have one brought to my room and was told that it would be $25 to rent. Guess a fridge isn’t included in the expensive daily resort fee… This is a far cry from my recent stay at the Fort Lauderdale Ritz Carlton that brought a fridge up to our room super quick and at no charge.

 

While we’re on the subject of room service/needs not being their finest at the San Juan Ritz Carlton…

 

We made the mistake of leaving a bottle of water on the bed with a leaky lid and quickly realized that our entire bed was soaked through. Comforter, sheets, all of it. I called down and explained what happened and that we would need all of our bedding replaced. I said we’d be happy to do it ourselves, but that we would need fresh sheets and comforter. The first time that housekeeping arrived, they brought sheets. Okay wonderful, but now we need a comforter. It took an hour before we finally received all the bedding we needed. On vacation, time is precious and the last thing we wanted to do was mess around, waiting for housekeeping that couldn’t seem to figure out what we needed the first time. We still never got a duvet cover, but gave up trying to get anything we needed that night.

 

The pool

 

The lion fountains are cool, but compared to other resorts in the same price bracket, the pool is small, cramped and let’s face it…not sexy. You know what I’m talking about, the infinity pools with ocean views…not so much at the San Juan Ritz Carlton. The giant cement wall between the resort and the beach inhibits most of the view when hanging out at the pool.

 

San Juan Ritz Carlton

 

This is the only glimpse of the beach from the pool/bar area. It makes for a good spot for an Instagram pic, but honestly, I’d rather just have an uninhibited view of the Puerto Rican sand and surf.

 

Another drawback that fellow coffee addicts can appreciate

 

I departed around 0500 in the morning to return home and found out there was no coffee in the lobby. Seriously? I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that a luxury resort wouldn’t either offer coffee or water to it’s guests at all times. To me, a luxury resort is about anticipating it’s customer’s needs.

 

Speaking of customer’s needs…How about the need for a working elevator? 

San Juan Ritz Carlton

That’s right, one morning I woke up and found out that ALL elevators on our side of the resort did not work. Luckily, they had worked the day we checked in, but I watched many other guests arrive and depart, having to lug their own baggage up the emergency stairwells to their rooms. I cringed when I saw women coming out of the stairwells in sky-high wedges with their giant vacation suitcases. For an expensive resort, this is unacceptable. If the staff at the San Juan Ritz Carlton knew that the elevators were going to be out of commission for so long, they should have contacted customers that would be checking in and informed them and given them the option of luggage service. But that would mean that the Ritz Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico is managed well…and it’s clearly not.

 

For all the money spent on the resort, what exactly are we getting? It’s definitely an older resort and the customer service is extremely lacking. You will not be treated like you’re a valued customer, which is far from what Marriott and Ritz Carlton generally strive for.

 

A positive thought regarding my stay at the San Juan Ritz Carlton

Best Cocktail at San Juan Ritz Carlton

At the Casino, the bartender left a lasting impression on my boyfriend and I. Thank goodness, or else we would have completely hated the resort. But the fact that they can employ someone as awesome as he, leaves some hope that they do value customer service. He made as delicious mojitos with cucumber that he said was his own recipe.

Best Cocktail at San Juan Ritz Carlton

 

 

We talked to him for quite some time and enjoyed watched him use a mortar and pestle to grind the mint and cucumber together. The drink was the best one we had during that vacation and quite possibly one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. The bartender was from Turkey, but definitely made us love Puerto Rico a little bit more also.

 

The Final Verdict

 

I love Puerto Rico, but I would never stay at the Ritz Carlton San Juan ever again.

 

As a rewards member, I think that a closer look should be given to this resort because it certainly does not represent the usual high caliber of service or luxury found at Ritz Carlton Estates.

 

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

The Luv Aviatrix in San Juan Puerto Rico

The most overrated hotel in Puerto Rico