The Traveling Steve's

San Juan Saturday

Hola!  Greetings from sunny San Juan! IMG_8440

We flew down from Miami yesterday for a quick Saturday night stay at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan.  I used my Hilton Diamond points so the stay was free, and they even upgraded us to a nice Junior Suite overlooking the water – quite nice indeed!


Our flight from Miami to San Juan was just over a couple hours, and as we left at 11am and in First Class, we were served lunch.  We flew on the new Airbus 321 with Sharkets, which has individual TV screens for everyone and lots of entertainment choices.  IMG_8392 IMG_8402

The flight went by super quick, so quick in fact I missed the last 20 minutes of the movie “Risen” which is a story of the resurrection of Christ.  This is truly a very moving and thought provoking movie, and I looked up some more information about it when we landed, which filled in some of my questions.  The movie is very accurate with a ‘historical fiction’ part added; i.e. the story-line of the resurrection is true, yet it broadens the role of the Roman guards who crucified Christ, and is seen from their perspective..  It’s one of those movies that really makes you think and wonder what it was truly like in the days of AD 33 at the time of Christ’s crucification, and how those loyal to him (as well as yourself) might have acted in the situation of the times – the movie quite brings to life the reality of the moments as they are happening.  Highly recommended, and I haven’t even seen the end of the movie yet.

After we landed in San Juan, we took a cab to our hotel, the Caribe Hilton, which is a flat rate of $24, which we rounded up to $30 with tip.  As it was a Saturday, the trip to the hotel was a quick 20 minutes. IMG_8425 Once at the hotel, we had a slight wait to checkin, as it was only 2:30pm, and our Junior Suite was still be cleaned.  Not a problem, we walked around the property a bit and took a few photos, and had a refreshing drink at the pool bar while we waited.


IMG_8437Once in our room in the historic (original section of the hotel – room 901), we appreciated the wait as it was a larger room the the standard room we had in April, and located at the end of the hall, was very quiet too.  As always, we love balconies, and this room had a great view of not only the water, but the city and hotels along the coastline as well.

IMG_8480 IMG_8478 IMG_8477 IMG_8476 IMG_8481

We then took a long walk around the property, and then leaving the large hotel complex walked over the bridge to the Plaza Condado Hotel which we can see across the water from our hotel.  DOS stopped to get us each a bottled water from a street vendor, as we glanced back at our Hilton complex. IMG_8452 (1)

This whole area has been revitalized and upgraded recently and is an area now a very upscale area called Paseo Caribe.

IMG_8454 (1)


IMG_8439 IMG_8449

As we continued on, we walked across a long bridge, admiring the beautiful water, the couple sailing pedaling along the water on their surf boards, and the beach along-side the Condado Hotel.

IMG_8463 (1)IMG_8457 (1) IMG_8459 IMG_8462

The Condado Hotel has been there for years, and is also a Hilton property, although it has changed owners several times.  We took a few photos of the property, including the lobby lounge and outdoor adults pool, and main pool with its swim up bar.

IMG_8471 IMG_8470 IMG_8469 IMG_8466

Later back at our Caribe Hilton hotel we showered and had a quick nap before getting ready for our 8pm reservation at the nearby Fogo De Chao restaurant.  We went downstairs and sat outside the lobby bar area which overlooks the water, pool, and swaying palm trees.  IMG_8493 IMG_8492 IMG_8501 IMG_8500At 6:30pm, the evening skies look magical and as last time we were here, enjoyed a sunset drink in the balmy weather, highlighted by the nice sea-shore breezes.  We were served drinks by Israel, who remembered us from last time we were here in April!  We had chatted with him about the Normandie Hotel next door, which he had worked at years ago.  This historic hotel is closed, now and hopefully will be renovated and reopened one day, although the cost will be astronomical to due so  due to its age, condition, and code regulations since it’s on the National Registry of Historic places.  Built by the original owner to resemble the ocean-liner Normandie, it still has it’s distinct ship-like shape, even though it’s boarded up and missing windows.IMG_8542

After the sunset drink we quickly changed into our ‘dinner wear’, which consisted of tan cackies and a polo shirt for DOS/Hawaiian shirt for me, and walked over to Fogo De Chao for dinner.  We love this restaurant chain, and one of the waiters also remembered us from last time we were here in April, no doubt due to the nice bottle of wine we ordered and he decanted for us; this time Groth Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – exquisite!


We both went to Fogo De Chao intentionally hungry knowing what a full meal it would be.  First the huge and varied salad bar, with our favorite Pargiano Regiano Cheese among the many, many other items.  The Regiano goes perfectly with the Cabernet!


After the salad bar we began the meat quest, turning over our red/green cards to ‘Green’ signally we wanted meat to be served by one of the ‘meat servers’ that carve your beef for you table side to your temperature liking.  IMG_8511

With so many choices served throughout the evening, we had to ‘pause’ our green card to ‘red’ to take a break every now and then.  Our favorite for the night were the delicious ribs, followed by a close second with the Filet.IMG_8512 (1)

After a couple hours, I was quite full with the meal as was DOS, but he saved just a bit of room to get a chocolate dessert, which we shared – him more than me!  I had a treat of 20 year old port from the cordial trolly, which went great with the chocolate and ice cream dessert.

IMG_8530 (1) IMG_8538 (1)

IMG_8523 (2)

IMG_8506After dinner we walked back to the Caribe Hilton, changed back into shorts, and sat outside for a while just outside the lobby bar where we could hear Caribbean music and watch the now darkened sea, lit up only by the lights of the grounds. With the palm trees swaying, and the night breeze blowing, we both agreed it was truly a wonderful day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *