By: Peter Frank, TRAVEL + LEISURE – Link to Article –
A surge in investment has given San Juan newfound sophistication.
Puerto Rico, and San Juan in particular, is one of the best places to visit if you are travelling on a budget – especially if you are solo travelling. There are lots of hotels which you can find for excellent prices, and I will list some of my favourites below.
The revamped 319-room Condado Vanderbilt Hotel-a 1919 Spanish Revival landmark where Charles Lindbergh, FDR, and Bob Hope stayed-adds some glamour to the beach strip with 108 roomy suites, butler service, a farm-to-table restaurant, and the island’s only hammam.
Around the corner, O:live Boutique Hotel has 15 small but stylish rooms with sleigh beds and Moroccan throws, as well as a rooftop terrace with a bar, plunge pool, and views over the Condado Lagoon. Access to swimming pools at hotels like this is limited to when there is a lifeguard available. If there isn’t a member of staff on duty and someone was to be injured in the pool then the hotel is vulnerable to being sued by a personal injury lawyer (learn more). However, the Olive Boutique Hotel has excellent staff who will make your stay as comfortable and as safe as possible.
Eight years after opening his namesake restaurant in the Santurce neighborhood, José Enrique still draws lively crowds with his ever-changing, contemporary tropical menu, which includes dishes like sous vide veal cheeks with greenbanana escabeche. now, if you’re not a foodie then you might not know what sous vide is. It’s basically a way of cooking food in water under a consistent temperature for a long time while it’s contained in a vacuumed bag. It’s best for making tough meats like cheek extremely tender. It’s a great machine to have at home so check out this sous vide comparison to learn more. Restaurants like José’s like using the sous vide method to bring extra moisture and flavor to their dish.
Nearby Santaella serves novel twists on local favorites-yuca fritters topped with blue-crab salad-in an Edison-bulblit dining room.
At La Jaquita Baya (787/993-5359), in Miramar, chef Xavier I. Pacheco adds Mediterranean and Asian touches to carefully sourced ingredients: his seared tuna comes with ponzu sauce, avocado, pineapple, and housemade longaniza sausage.
San Juan’s art scene is small but dynamic, with such established artists as Arnaldo Roche and Allora & Calzadilla paving the way for Angel Otero, Gamaliel Rodriguez, and other up-and-coming talents. Walter Otero Contemporary Art is the nucleus, anchoring the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood of galleries and design shops near Old San Juan. Dynamic art scenes like these can often be incubators for the next globally recognized talent to rise to prominence and result in their artwork becoming highly valued. Those who want to buy shares of valuable artwork can do so – check out this Masterworks review to see how it works. Investing in an up-and-coming artist at just the right time could prove very lucrative indeed.
For a grittier but no less engrossing experience, stroll Calle Cerra and the surrounding blocks, where the street-art collective Santurce Es Ley has commissioned a series of murals as part of an effort to revitalize the community.
Peter J. Frank is T+L’s director of editorial product development.
Looking for more on things to do in Puerto Rico? Read T+Ls Guide To Puerto Rico.