Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 17, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: The Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

      I'm well overdue to recap the amazing Puerto Rico trip that I went on last summer with my friend Liane! We stayed at the well-known Caribe Hilton in San Juan, which quickly became one of my favorite Hilton properties that I've ever stayed at. I truly don't think that we could've found a better hotel for the trip that was both of our first times in Puerto Rico! Excited to recap this wonderful hotel for you today. And very soon I'll be sharing a San Juan Travel Guide, too! 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!

      The backstory on my Puerto Rico trip is that my friend Liane invited me to be her plus-one for a work conference in Puerto Rico, since her husband was unable to attend with her. I jumped at the chance to have an unexpected trip to the Caribbean and get to explore a new-to-me island. Liane's conference was at the Caribe Hilton, so she booked our lodging at the same hotel since they were offering a good rate for conference attendees. 

History of the Caribe Hilton

      I don't think this could've worked out any better, as I absolutely loved the hotel! The Caribe Hilton holds a wealth of history in Puerto Rico. It opened to the public in 1949 and was the first major hotel catering to US and international tourists in San Juan. The hotel is known to be the official birthplace of the Pina Cola cocktail! Rumor has it that a bartender at the Caribe Hilton made the first-ever Pina Cola in 1954. Unfortunately, Hurricane Maria greatly damaged the hotel in 2017, but it underwent another massive renovation and reopened once again in 2019.

      Today, the hotel has over 600 guest rooms, and a variety of restaurants and attractions on the property. This hotel truly felt like the best of both worlds to me when it comes to Caribbean travel! It has the feel of a large all-inclusive Caribbean resort (it is not all-inclusive but has similar design and amenities to those that are), yet it's under 10 minutes away from beautiful Old San Juan, as well under 10 minutes away (the other direction) from some modern city neighborhoods and large shopping malls. 

They had a whole wall in the lobby documenting the creation of the Pina Colada at the hotel!

Beautiful views of the Condado area of San Juan from the back of the hotel property.


     I absolutely loved our room! We had one on a higher floor in the newer building of the hotel that had the most amazing views of the Condado area of San Juan. I could've stared at that view for hours! I feel like my pictures don't do it justice. It had two comfortable queen beds, and a really generous amount of space as far as hotel rooms go. It didn't feel cramped to stay here with my friend Liane, as we both had plenty of space for all our stuff.


     The Caribe Hilton has nine different eateries on the property, ranging from the very casual swim-up pool bar to a high-end steakhouse. Although the hotel property has a very similar feel to Caribbean all-inclusive resorts, it is not all-inclusive, which means that dining is not included in your hotel stay. I did find the menus at most of the sit-down restaurants at the hotel to be a little pricy for what they were, if I am being honest. Liane and I ended up decided to do all of our dinners out in Old San Juan, but we did lunch every day at the hotel restaurants. 
      The hotel's breakfast buffet restaurant is called Nectar, which has ocean and pool views from the dining area. Their food looked good, but since breakfast wasn't included in our stay price, I decided to save money on breakfasts and grab stuff from Starbucks each morning, or things I had in the hotel room like granola bars. (Side note: Starbucks in Puerto Rico did have a few delicious breakfast food items that I haven't seen in the US before! I really enjoyed a ham and cheese sandwich that was served on a yummy sweet roll.)
      For lunches, we ate at Mojitos, Lola's and Rustica on the various days. Mojitos has both American and Puerto Rican favorites, Lola's is Puerto Rican, and Rustica is Italian. They were all okay!! Not bad, but not amazingly great either. My favorite meals of the trip were definitely the ones that we had for dinners in Old San Juan. But I did love the convenience factor of having so many restaurants right at the hotel for easy lunches. My favorite thing I had at the hotel (that wasn't a cocktail) was a milkshake I got with lunch at Mojitos. They put edible glitter on top of it and it was so fun!! I have a picture below.
      I also enjoyed getting a few drinks during the stay at both the lobby bar and the swim-up pool bar. Drinks weren't the cheapest, but when on a nice vacation you need to treat yourself. Obviously, I had to have some pina coladas, since they were literally invented at the hotel! 

Pool and Beach:

     The absolute highlight of the Caribe Hilton is their wonderful pool! (I loved spending time here so much that it made my list of my five top memories of 2022.) The pool here is very spacious with multiple parts to it. There were a lot of guests at the hotel when I was there and being in the water never felt crowded. I would try to get to the pool fairly early each morning, and I never had trouble finding a lounge chair as long as it was early enough. (It could be a little harder to find a chair if I went back after lunch.) I'd go out for a few hours at a time and alternate between reading on my lounge chair and then going for a quick swim. There is also a large hot tub, and a splash pad area for kids. I feel like my pictures really don't do justice to how nice the pool was!

      There is also a small private beach at the Caribe Hilton! I was surprised though to find that I really preferred spending time at the pool versus the beach (normally I'm more of an ocean beach fan). There was a ton of seaweed on the beach, and the ocean wasn't as warm or clear as I thought it would be. But I thought it was still really nice that the hotel had both pool and beach to choose from. The ocean sure was beautiful to look at every day! 


      I tried to take advantage of as many of the resort activities as possible! Why not right? Another way that this hotel reminded me of an all-inclusive is that they do have some free activities going on each day for guests. For free activities, I enjoyed going to a morning poolside yoga class, and afternoon bingo at the beach! The yoga class was truly a highlight of my stay. They also offered other types of free fitness on other days of the week that I wish I had gotten to try.
      I also treated myself to a massage at the spa on the property on the last full day of the trip! I'd say their prices were comparable to most resort spas (not cheap, but not crazy expensive). I never treat myself to spa treatments in my daily life at home, so it is nice to do on vacation when I am able to! 

     I truly loved staying at the Caribe Hilton for so many reasons! I especially loved the room, the pool, the free activities for guests and the amazing location within San Juan. The only major con I had with the hotel is that food on the hotel property could be a little pricy for what it was, and I wasn't wowed by anything. But it is so close to other areas of San Juan that it isn't hard at all to eat off hotel property if you want to. My friend Liane was here for her work conference, and it seemed like the hotel had a great set-up for large scale events! I attended the big banquet dinner with her during the final night of her conference, and I was impressed at how the hotel ballroom did for accommodating a group that large. 

      Stay tuned for a San Juan Travel Guide soon!

      God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

No comments

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for reading Southern Belle in Training! Comments make my day- so feel free to share your thoughts on this post! I read each and every comment.
If you have a question in regards to one of my posts, or just want to say hi, the best way to get ahold of me is by e-mailing me directly at: I am better about responding to e-mails than blog comments sometimes!

Blog Design Created by pipdig