by Michael Blanding
Just a few minutes from San Juan’s airport, the Embassy Suites is all about affordable convenience. The large and spacious suites make it easy for parents and kids to find their own space while still being together as a family. It’s the little touches, however, that make the resort an especially good choice for families. Breakfast is included, both in the room and at a buffet in the lobby, and suites include a microwave and full-sized dining table to supplement meals or heat up leftovers. To help kick things off the right way, the hotel offers free cocktails and snacks in the lobby bar during happy hour, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
The main lobby has a garish touch of Las Vegas going on, with a towering central atrium lined with the balconies of the 260 suites rising up high overhead. The area can be bustling and crowded, with several onsite restaurants and a casino. But the pool area, located in the back of the building, has plenty of space for guests to spread out, with a wide terrace overlooking a large meandering pool. The one drawback of the resort is its lack of direct access to the beach, though it is only a five-minute walk up streets with wide sidewalks that are well lit at night. The hotel’s off-beach location also keeps prices more affordable than some neighboring beachfront properties, making the Embassy Suites a good value for the money.
Our Editor Loves
- Spacious suites, perfectly laid out for families
- Large swimming pool and play area
- Complimentary perks including breakfast, beach chairs and cocktails
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As the name implies, all of the rooms at the hotel are suites with two rooms, including a bedroom with a king-sized or double queen-sized beds, and a living room with a pullout couch. The dÃƒÂ©cor is what you'd expect of a mid-range chain hotel, with an uninspired palette of white, beige and burgundy. The rooms are clean and spacious and offer a number of amenities that make traveling with the family easy. All rooms include a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and two flat-screen TVs, so kids and parents can watch separate programs. They also have a separate, spacious dining area, with a full-sized dining table and four chairs. The family can spread out with takeout or microwave meals when they don't feel like making the trip to (or spending the money on) a restaurant. Bathrooms are above average, with marble vanities and both showers and large Jacuzzi tubs.
Second time staying... never had a situation. Friendly staff... loved the Room Service. Great Salmon and Pasta. Bed was super comfy. Big hotel room for price. Love the location. Sparkling Wine was delicious.
We stayed here with a group prior to our cruise and had an excellent time. We spent the day at the pool, the bartenders were so nice, evening reception did not disappoint- strong drinks, comfy beds- def get the suite if you have a few people in the room, breakfast was very good but seating was limited. Best advice- don't order from the Outback in the hotel- it was super pricey, heard there were decent less expensive places couple blocks away. The pizza in the hotel was very good. Overall, would stay here again.
Although the Embassy Suites lacks direct access to the beach, it does its best to make up for it with a large, secluded pool area behind the hotel. At its center is an enormous free-form pool that winds its way for nearly 50 meters, ranging in depth from three to four and a half feet, with a waterfall structure in the middle. At one side is a stepped terrace that is shallow enough for young kids. While the property doesn't have a formal kids program, it does have a separate area for small children by the pool, with a separate small wading pool and playground area. For older kids (and adults), there is also a pool table in the back area.
The beach is only a five-minute walk down a moderately busy street. It's worth the trip to experience San Juan's beautiful white sand beach. As a bonus, the hotel has its own beach chairs, towels and umbrellas on the beach, so guests can settle down and relax. Vendors along the beach offer Jet Ski rentals and other watersports, including parasailing. In addition, the resort's Tour and Travel Desk helps arrange activities including golf, tennis, horseback riding and tours to places like the El Yunque rainforest and other local attractions. The historic district of Old San Juan is a 15-minute, $21 cab drive away.
The resort has several casual and family-friendly restaurant options for dining. In the middle of the lobby is El Patio Latin CafÃƒÂ©, which soaks up the energy from the surrounding dÃƒÂ©cor of towering plants, waterfalls and the bustle of hotel guests making their way to and from the nearby casino. It is open for lunch and dinner, with a menu offering up Caribbean and South American cuisine, including grilled skirt steak, Jamaican chicken with guava and rum sauce and a Puerto Rican sandwich with steak and plantains. In the morning, a breakfast buffet is set up in the lobby with a spread of hot and cold items.
A quicker and quieter option for lunch is La Plantain CafÃƒÂ©, a small shop off the lobby that sells premade sandwiches, salads and drinks along with sundries including snacks, bathing suits and beach toys. A few tables are available for in-house dining. Out by the pool, the El Coqui Pool Bar is a typical Caribbean poolside bar, mixing up daiquiris and piÃƒÂ±a coladas under a thatched roof. But it also serves plenty of kid-friendly meal items such as hot dogs, chicken strips, burgers and pizzas. Though the menu is generally kid-friendly, it also has a separate kids menu with items including cheese quesadillas and sliders. The bar is only open for lunch and late-afternoon snacks until 5 p.m.
Finally, for a little taste of America--by way of Australia--there's also an Outback Steakhouse in the lobby.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The hotel includes a small fitness room, with treadmills, cardio cycles, free weights and exercise balls. Massages are available in a secluded spa area behind the pool. Babysitting can also be arranged through the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
Puerto Rico has an almost perfectly consistent climate, with temperatures hovering around the 80-degree mark year-round. The biggest crowds and highest prices are between Christmas and late March, while rates drop in late spring and summer. Even August can be surprisingly crowded, however, since that's when many locals take their own vacations. Puerto Rico has a rainy season from about April to November, when showers are possible (though, for the most part, they don't last long.) Days when rain is persistent are few and far between.
Flights to Puerto Rico arrive at Luis MuÃƒÂ±oz MarÃƒÂn International Airport outside of San Juan. Rental cars are available at the airport, but most of them are located offsite, which means taking a 10- or 20-minute shuttle to pick up a rental. Alternatively, you can take a five-minute cab ride to the hotel, which is located just at the far end of the airport area.
For Mom and Dad
The hotel's large and active Oasis Casino is always filled with a high-energy crowd. The nearly 8,000-square-foot space was recently renovated to include more than 800 slot machines and eight table games including blackjack, poker and roulette. Weekend nights from Thursday to Sunday are particularly spirited, with live jazz and Latin music in the lounge area.