by Lissa Poirot
After years of flying into San Juan only to make a connecting flight to another island destination in the Caribbean, we decided it was time to see what San Juan had to offer. The Marriott Stellaris is a great place to stay due to its close proximity to the airport, attractions and city life. The bustling resort is a hot spot for short-stay visitors, especially cruisers spending an evening or two before they embark on their Caribbean cruises. It’s central location also makes it a top choice among business travelers, so when stepping into the lobby be prepared to encounter a hodge-podge of business men in suits, the fun-loving travelers enjoying poolside drinks or the lobby casino, and families with small children.
The lobby is truly crowded with people at all hours of the day and can cause long lines at the desk. This is not a tucked away beach resort on a quiet Caribbean island; this is smack dab in the heart of San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico. And just like a visit to our nation’s capital or New York City, the hotel is filled with energy. As the hotel’s general manager claims, this hotel is not for the families who want to sit still, but those who want to explore and experience life in San Juan. None of this is a bad thing! But it’s important to remember this is a city hotel that happens to also be located on a beautiful beach.
Our Editor Loves
- 15 minutes from airport
- Full-scale city hotel with beach and pool
- Centrally located near San Juan's best attractions
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 527-room resort consists of two towers, the Main Tower and the Cabana Wing. Select an ocean-view room in the Cabana Wing for the best views, as the Tower has a smaller number of rooms that fully face the ocean (the rest overlook the pool or the neighboring condo, although views of the ocean can be seen from the balconies). The hotel has a smoke-free policy, and all rooms feature balconies. A third of the rooms available are adjoining rooms for families. Cribs and rollaway beds are available.
Rooms are available with two double or one king bed, the largest of which are the corner rooms, which will cost a little more. A mini-fridge and coffee maker are also available along with bottled water, for a fee.
Additionally, one-bedroom junior suites, located in the Main Tower, provide king beds and sofa beds in a separate living room area.
This place has everything you need: beach, pool, restaurants, room service, gym, spa, casino, helpful staff, close to Old San Juan. The restaurants on the property are pricey but hotel staff was very helpful in directing us to great reasonably priced alternatives. Extra bonus is car rental at hotel in case you want to take a spontaneous day trip to explore the island.
What a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the wonderful amenities of San Juan. Right on the beach with the best in service and luxury. The staff are wonderful trying their best to make your stay one of your Lifetime memories. Staying on the ground floor in a Cabana room gave us a patio right at the pool and pool bar. Wonderful place to stay.
While the front of the resort is a bustling cityscape complete with honking taxis and crowds of pedestrians, the rear of the hotel is a calm, beach reprieve. The tan sand may look coarse, but its sugar-soft feel will provide a perfect pillow for sleepy moms and dads, as well as perfect sand-castle-building consistency. Chairs are available, towels are provided, and servers will bring lunch and beverages directly to your perch.
The kids won't even notice the beach with this kid-friendly pool complete with fountains and waterslide. The lagoon-style pool is surrounded by palm trees with bridge walkways and plenty of chairs for families to stake out private spaces. Towels are provided poolside, and lunch and beverage service is provided, or just walk right up to one of two bars to place an order or grab a drink. Daily activities like volleyball and scavenger hunts gets the kids to mingle.
La Isla Beach Bar
Located off the beach and near the pool, the Beach Bar is open for lunch, snacks and beverages.
Coffee Merchant Treats to Go
Located in the lobby, the coffee and pastry shop is a quick place to grab breakfast or lunch. Made-to-order breakfast and sandwiches are available, as well.
La Vista Latin Grill & Bar
The place to go for breakfast buffets, the American restaurant provides breakfast and dinner indoors or al fresco overlooking the beach.
Red Coral Lobby Lounge
Smack dab in the center of the very busy lobby is a lively bar that on weekend nights becomes the place to see and be seen with lively music, dancing and theme nights, including Arabian, Brazilian and Retro Nights. Fun for parents, you may want to keep the kiddies tucked away from this hotspot.
Gelato & Co.
For a sweet treat, head to this Italian gelato shop any time.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Resort Fee and Wi-Fi
As common in Puerto Rico, the resort charges a 18-percent resort fee that includes Wi-Fi and casino coupons, among other things.
A special computer kiosk in the lobby is available for online airline check-in-only. It connects to all airline websites and allows guests to check in and print boarding passes before leaving the resort.
A fitness center with cardio and weight machines is available.
The Art of Smart Timing
The best weather arrives in Puerto Rico from about April to June. The summer months can often see a more rainy season.
San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is a hub for flights to and from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Located in Carolina, Condado Beach, where the Marriott awaits, is about 15 minutes by cab.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, which means a passport is not required for entry. It's a wonderful way to escape to the Caribbean and enjoy the country's international flair without a passport, but if you'll be continuing on to other Caribbean islands, a passport will be needed.
Cabs are inexpensive, and the city bus is easy to find and use, so forgo the car rental and let someone else do the driving.
For Mom and Dad
If you are the gambling kind, the onsite casino and gaming room is sure to make adults happy.