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We booked a fabulous Southern Caribbean cruise! Sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, we decided to fly in the night before. You never know when something might happen with a flight and we felt more relaxed being at the departure port on the eve of our cruise. We needed a hotel in Old San Juan.
I found the Casablanca Hotel the same way that I find most of my hotels when I travel – through TripAdvisor reviews. After weighing the cost, the location, and the reviews (both good and bad), I decided that the Casablanca Hotel fit the bill.
The hotels in Old San Juan do not have their own transportation to and from the airport. A few hotels have arrangements with a transportation company, but for most, you’ll have to find your own way there. We opted to take a taxi from the airport. The entire process is very orderly, with a set line where personnel assign you to a taxi. The fare is pre-set. During our May 2018 trip, the cost was $24.
Arriving at the hotel, the Casablanca theme was carried throughout. If you haven’t watched the movie, you can watch it in the lobby since it plays on a constant loop across multiple screens.
There is also a bar in the lobby area, which was closed when we visited. The after effects of 2017’s hurricane are still evident in many places.
The Casablanca theme is carried right through to the room. The room was small, which I already knew before we arrived due to the reviews (I took this photo from behind our door!). Our room had a window that opened to the elevator shaft (Room 3G). This meant that we had no view. Surprisingly, we couldn’t hear the elevator going up and down and with the shutters closed, we couldn’t even tell that is what it was. But let’s face it, if you’re staying at the Casablanca hotel in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, you’re not going to be spending a lot of time in the room!
I enjoyed the iPad by the bed that gave some basic information about the area. The room had all the basic necessities we’ve come to expect – TV, coffee pot, toiletries. There is a wardrobe, not a closet, and there are only a handful of hangers. But you wouldn’t be unpacking here anyway for more than a few days. As you can see from the photo below, I took this from the bed, and it is tiny!
The real reason I chose to spend a little extra on this hotel – the fabulous stone bathtubs found on the rooftop! I had this great idea that Allan and I would get to enjoy watching the sunset while sipping some champagne. But in was rainy the entire time we were there and the hotel bar was closed. While there was a couple soaking in the tubs during the night, we passed. Of course, the next morning we got up early, I put on my bathing suit, and even though it was drizzling, I got in the tub for the photo!
The Casablanca Hotel is ideally located on Fortaleza Avenue in Old San Juan. You’re in the middle of the tourist area, so walking a few blocks in any direction will lead you to whatever attraction you seek. An Irish bar down the block supposedly served the best mojitos in town. They were fabulous!
Everything was within a few blocks walk from the hotel. We enjoyed mojitos at the famous El Convento hotel. While walking around, we saw a couple getting married. Since the pina colada was created here, we sampled one and tried the mofongo at Barrichina. The Casablanca Hotel in Old San Juan was ideally located to easily walk to all the tourist areas.
Lots of cruisers stayed at the Casablanca Hotel. It really is the perfect place to stay if you want a hotel in Old San Juan prior to or after a cruise. I don’t know that I would spend more than 48 hours in Old San Juan, but it would be a great place to start the rest of your vacation or go explore the rest of Puerto Rico.
Have you ever picked a hotel because of a quirky detail like the stone bathtubs? Let me know! I might want to check it out!
Annick, The Common Traveler