by Andrea Guthmann
Note: This resort has suffered damage in the 2017 hurricane season and is not taking reservations through Oct. 31, 2017.
If you’re looking to escape the ordinary and enjoy beautiful beaches, a cobblestone historic district, world-class museums and the pulsating rhythm of Latin culture, San Juan, Puerto Rico is a great option. Plus, there’s no need for passports or currency exchanges. But which hotel is right for your family? Between pricey beach resorts and the boutique inns of the colonial district, which are often better suited for adults, the Doubletree by Hilton San Juan is perfect for families.
The hotel strikes an excellent balance between business and family. And although it’s a name brand property, it has the feel of a boutique hotel. There’s the hip, yet cozy lobby with board games for all to enjoy, an onsite restaurant, kid-friendly pool with waterfalls, and, of course, those signature chocolate chip cookies at the front desk.
It’s also a two-block walk to the beach or the world-class art museum, three miles to Old San Juan and a 45-minute drive to El Yunque National Forest. There are a number of restaurants just around the corner from the hotel, too, and there’s a clean, convenient 24-hour supermarket directly across the street.
Only five miles from the airport — another convenience for families — the hotel is easily accessible and affordable by cab, and families can go without a car during their stay. If you’d love to rent a car for a day trip, however, an onsite car rental service is of great help.
The front desk happily provides guests with comfortable, portable beach chairs, a cooler and beach towels — free of charge — to bring along to nearby Condado Beach. Guests at the DoubleTree also have resort privileges at two sister properties along Condado Beach.
The hotel’s pool and Jacuzzi area has a children’s pool and is nicely landscaped with multiple waterfalls, but it doesn’t have the rowdy waterpark feel of a mega-beach resort. At the DoubleTree, you can sit on the plush outdoor furniture or at one of the tables, easily keep an eye on your child and have a relaxing day in the sun.
Our Editor Loves
- Tropically landscaped pool and Jacuzzi
- Giant outdoor chessboard and board games
- Freshly baked cookies and welcome amenity for kids
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
This mid-size hotel has 184 rooms and plenty of amenities for the average family. All rooms are decorated in contemporary, yet warm, welcoming colors, along with splashes of red, to match San Juan's vibrant personality.
The 450-square-feet standard rooms come with one queen bed, but guests can choose to stay in a slightly larger room with one queen bed and a sofa bed. King beds are also available. (Tip: Ask for a corner room, as they are a bit larger.) Complimentary cribs and air mattresses can be added to all rooms.
If looking to be closer to the warm air and pool area, choose a room with a patio. These rooms have large patios leading out to the pool and are the top category rooms. They are by far the best choice for families. You can choose between patio rooms with one king bed, or one queen and a sofa bed. Larger families can book both of these rooms together as a connecting suite.
Guestrooms are equipped with 32-inch flat-screen TV's with cable channels. Rooms also come with complimentary high-speed and wireless Internet access. Each guestroom has its own coffee maker with coffee service by Wolfgang Puck, complimentary bottled water, a refrigerator, microwave and MP3 compatible alarm clocks.
Rooms have upscale marble bathrooms with luxurious walk-in showers, robes, hair dyers and Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities. Most rooms do not have bathtubs, except the corner rooms in the Tower building, and the rooms with two beds in the Garden building.
Very friendly staff that go out of their way to accomadate guest request and needs. Beautiful hotel and convinent location.Room was clean and very modern. The lobby and pool areas are a tropical paradise. Great place to relax and chill. Free shuttle ride to and from the beach is a huge plus!
very happy with stay, good location, lots of restaurants , staff is good everythig walking distance, safe to walk in night and very close to water, old san juan is walking distance , love this place, will go back again
When in San Juan, the beach is a must. Stop by the front desk and pick up a beach kit that includes a beach towel, portable cooler and comfortable beach chair with back straps so it can easily be carried two blocks to the popular Ocean Park Beach.
Families will love the tropically landscaped pool and Jacuzzi area with multiple waterfalls and a separate children's pool. Plush outdoor furniture and shady tables invite guests to linger for the day in this laid back courtyard, and an oversized outdoor chess board and Ping-Pong table add to the fun.
One of the best hotel perks at the DoubleTree is reciprocity with the hotel's two nearby sister beach properties -- the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort and the ultra-hip La Concha Resort, which has one of the coolest oceanfront pools you'll find in San Juan. Just ask the front desk staff and they'll provide you with an introductory letter allowing you to spend the day at the partner resorts, where you can enjoy the pool, ocean, restaurants and casino. Note: During busier travel times, DoubleTree guests will not be allowed use of La Concha Resort facilities, but the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde is always available to DoubleTree guests.
When you need a break from the sun, it's a two-block walk in the other direction to the world-class Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. If you know this masterpiece is going to be on your itinerary, consider booking the hotel's Arts & Culture Package, which includes complimentary admission to the art museum. The lower level has a fun kids gallery with hands-on art activities.
Also, the cobblestone streets of historic Old San Juan are only three miles away. Live out your Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy at Castillo San Felipe del Morro, known to everyone as El Morro. Your first mate will feel like a swashbuckler as he pretends to man the cannons of this sprawling fortress overlooking the Atlantic. The acres of front lawn are perfect for flying a kite -- buy a $5 kite from one of the vendors and join the crowds of kids enjoying this favorite pastime on the weekends.
A smaller business hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan has a surprising number of good dining options for families, from room and poolside service to a popular restaurant and bar in the lobby. There's also a Starbucks along with a hip Asian restaurant in the adjacent building.
Other perks include free coffee in the lobby each morning, and free, freshly baked cookies, a guaranteed hit with kids. Unfortunately for some, however, the cookies have walnuts and have a nut warning on the wrapper.
This small, yet charming and tastefully decorated bar and restaurant off the lobby offers a buffet breakfast ($17 for adults, $8.50 for children) and an a la carte lunch and dinner menu. The hearty buffet breakfast includes an omelet bar along with stations for French toast, pancakes and a variety of sides. There's an assortment of fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, yogurt and juices. Lunch and dinner menus include burgers, salads, grilled salmon and ribs, along with a kids menu including a hamburger, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and pasta. Kids items are about $7 each and entrees range from about $13 to $20 each.
Order anything off Cafe Pierre's menu and have it delivered to your room between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Breakfast can be ordered from room service from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., and includes omelets, fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, cereal with fresh berries or a banana and a variety of other options.
The DoubleTree has a nice tropically landscaped pool area with plenty of shaded tables, which make for a perfect spot for an al fresco lunch or dinner that won't break the bank. You can order a salad, sandwich or pizza, while the kids play in the pool. Waiters walk through the pool area periodically asking for drink and food requests, or you can just order from the poolside restaurant phone.
Decorated in modern far Eastern decor, this hip Asian-inspired restaurant, adjacent to the hotel, features a sushi bar and a variety of Chinese and Asian dishes. Guests can charge the restaurant bill directly to their room, as with the other dining options. Children are welcome and high chairs are available, though Silk is probably better suited for a date night.
Located next door, this Starbucks has indoor and outdoor seating.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There's a small fitness center overlooking the pool with three treadmills, two stair masters, a stationery bike, rowing machine, weights and yoga mats.
Guests also have access ($10 per day) to the top-of-the-line LIV fitness center, which opened in 2013 in the adjacent building. There's every imaginable piece of exercise equipment; a long daily list of complimentary exercise classes, including yoga, Pilates, cycling and zumba; and a juice bar.
Next door to the poolside fitness center is a single room used for massages, facials and manicures and pedicures. It's open by appointment only and the front desk will get you the phone number to set up a reservation.
Guests looking for a more luxurious day spa experience can head to the YELO spa, which opened in 2014 in the adjacent building, right next to the LIV fitness center. Services include massages, facials, hair and nail services.
The hotel caters to a lot of business travelers, so its technology amenities are plentiful. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the hotel and there are three computers with touchscreen capabilities around the corner from the front desk.
The lobby also has laptops set up for guests to use, and a large monitor that posts the daily airline schedule, making delays easy for travelers to track. Along with printers and copiers in the business center, front desk staff will fax for free. You can also print directly from your own laptop to the business center's printer.
There's a coin operated washing machine and dryer next to the pool.
U.S. citizens can use cell phones without incurring additional out-of-country roaming charges.
The Art of Smart Timing
The weather is consistent throughout the year, pretty much always between 75 and 85 degrees. The high season for tourism is mid-December through mid-April, when northerners like to escape the winter chill. Be aware of hurricane season, which is June through November. Plenty of tourists still come to Puerto Rico during this time, as it doesn't rain much more than the rest of the year; however, visitors run the risk of experiencing storms during their stay.
Puerto Rico is the most accessible of the Caribbean islands, with direct airline service from cities throughout the U.S. Because it's part of the United States, U.S. citizens will appreciate not needing a passport, having to wait in line at customs or exchanging their dollars into a foreign currency.
It's five miles from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to the DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan. The cab ride is $20 for four people.
It's not necessary to rent a car, since the beach is only two blocks from the hotel, the grocery store is across the street and Old San Juan is just three miles away. Parking in San Juan can get pricey, and you'll also save the $15 overnight self-parking ($20 overnight valet fee) for the hotel. Should you decide to drive to El Yunque National Forest or rent a car for a day or two of adventure, there's a rental car agency at the hotel and the front desk will reserve a car for you.
For Mom and Dad
For a cheap and convenient date night, enjoy a bottle of wine by the pool/Jacuzzi with the sound of the waterfalls in the background, or head to the hotel's hip Asian restaurant, Silk, for a nice meal out.
Looking for more nightlife? Walk two blocks to the Condado Beach area, a bustling strip lined with al fresco bars and restaurants. Think of it as the South Beach of San Juan. You could also try your luck at one of the casinos in the larger resorts along Condado Beach.