InterContinental San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by mikew99, Feb 24, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. mikew99
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    mikew99 Silver Member

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    Here's a report about my experience at the IC San Juan in January 2011:

    Location: The IC San Juan is located in the Isla Verde area of San Juan, which is very near the airport. Although there are a lot of hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs in the area, it's a good distance away from the historic sights in Old San Juan. Expect to pay a fixed rate (it was around $10) for the 7-minute taxi ride from the airport.

    Cost/Value: I wanted to use a new-style BOGO certificate, so I had to book the Ambassador Certificate rate (usually equivalent to the Best Available Rate), which was about $330 for the holiday weekend I stayed there. This was about $60 higher than the AAA rate that I was also entitled to. Taxes of 11% and mandatory hotel service charges of 16% added almost $90, for a total of about $420 for the first night (with the second night being "free").

    Upgrades: I booked the cheapest available IBAMB rate for a STANDARD ROOM CITY VIEW. A day before arrival, my room was changed to a 1 KING BED STANDARD ROOM (which I don't think is an upgrade). On arrival, I was given what I think was an upgrade to a 1 KING BED OCEAN VIEW ROOM, which would be a 2- or 3-level upgrade.

    Appearance: The IC San Juan isn't an especially pretty hotel. It has that "concrete hotel block" look, which means that it fits in well with the theme of the rest of the hotels and condos in the Isla Verde area. :)

    Room: My room was furnished in a mismatch of styles but was large enough to have a sofa, chair, coffee table, work desk, and a flat-screen TV.

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    Comfort: The bed and the room were both very comfortable; no complaints here.

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    Bathroom: The bathroom wasn't very big, but it was quite adequate. There was a separate vanity area that could be used outside of the bathroom.

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    View: The ocean view from the balcony of my 12th-floor room was quite nice. By contrast, the rooms on the other side of the hotel (towards the road, probably the city-view rooms) likely have a dreary view of the buildings and the highway, making the ocean view rooms a much nicer option, from what I could tell.

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    Internet: I was not charged for wireless Internet access. I don't know if it was free for Ambassadors or for everyone.

    Pool/Beach: On approaching the pool area, I was prompted to show my room key before entering the area. I hardly ever use hotel pools or go swimming or sunning at the beach -- it's just not my thing -- but they were very nice to look at! The pool had a swim-up bar. The beach area in front of the hotel seemed popular with local residents as well as hotel guests.

    Breakfast: Although I booked the IBAMB rate, I was told that a partial buffet breakfast (cold items only) in the hotel restaurant was included for 1 person due to my company affiliation. When I explained this to the waitstaff in the restaurant, they insisted I avail myself of the entire buffet, including the hot items and the omelette station. Breakfast was very good, and the staff was very attentive.

    Check-in/Check-out: On check out, I found that I was charged extra for the full breakfast buffet. I explained that I was told to enjoy the full buffet, and with a little persuasion, the upcharge (but not the taxes) was removed.

    Summary: My reasons for staying at this IC were to experience a stay in the Isla Verde area (I have previously stayed in Old San Juan and in Condado) and to use a soon-to-expire BOGO in a place where I could get a lot of value from it. The IC San Juan is quite expensive, and together with the ocean-view upgrade, it was a reasonable value. Fr the same price, I could have stayed at the Caribe Hilton for 2 nights for what I paid for 1 night at the IC San Juan, but I have no status with Hilton, so that helped to tip the balance toward the IC.

    Although I enjoyed my stay, I'd recommend the IC San Juan for Ambassadors and RAs (who can upgrade out of the city-view rooms) who can find a good rate (or are using a BOGO) and who want a beachfront hotel experience in San Juan.
     
  2. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    I am not particularly impressed with this hotel.

    We first received an "upgrade" to a pool view, but from our room were able to see absolutely nothing except a roof. I said, "no way" and they moved us to another "pool view" room which was even worse--the roof of the other side of the hotel buildings. Sitting on my couch, it looked a lot like something you would see in a bad part of LA. This just didn't seem like good Ambassador treatment. Maybe we are just spoiled. ;)

    Finally I said, "Put me anywhere, even a city view is fine, just so I am not forced to look out on a roof" and they moved us to a room with a view of the ocean. You can still see the roofs if you stand on the balcony and look down, but just looking out the window, we see the ocean. Our current room and the view are exactly as Mike described them in his previous post.

    The fees kind of make me crazy--$25 resort fee, $2 maid fee, and a $9 bellman fee? What bellman. We only do carry-on and never use a bellman. I would complain if I hadn't already been so insistent on room with a decent view of something other than a roof.

    The grounds are really, really nice and it was a wonderful setting for a wedding and that is really the only important part of being here this time around.

    We ate lunch at the hotel restaurant at the beach and it was so-so, but very expensive. That is the only meal we ate in the hotel.

    The buses run right in front of the hotel and for $.75 either the A5 or the 53 will take you right into Old San Juan. Otherwise you can take a cab for $20. We took the bus yesterday and will probably take the bus today when we move down to the Sheraton in Old San Juan.
     
  3. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    A couple of things I forgot. They have very nice big towels, and real cups and real glasses. I like that a lot.
     
  4. kellio
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    kellio Gold Member

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    Not impressed and in fact quite furious right now.

    I'm supposed to be checking in tomorrow but noticed I have no reservations! Called customer service and was connect to a great supervisor named Eric. Turns out the IC SJU decided to cancel my reservation on March 13 but didn't even have the courtesy to contact me! Eric spoke directly to the hotel to get them to honor the reservation and rate and they pretty much told him to go take a hike. IC gave Eric the reason of "Global 2" for the cancellation but no one at IHG has ever heard of Global 2.

    Eric turned a pretty bad situation into a good experience. I'm booked at a lesser hotel, for a much higher rate but they are treating this as a walk and will be reimbursing the 1st night stay and taxi fare.
     
  5. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    I had an experience with this hotel, when I BRG'ed a free night stay as part of the UA $133 DFW-SJU fare sale. Although booked a month in advance with the BRG approved, the hotel wouldn't even acknowledge IHG had approved the BRG until the time I checked in (despite multiple calls). In fact, IHG had already put in writing they would reimburse my stay at the IC if the BRG were not honored. At that point, I wanted the hotel to flake out of the BRG to accrue all the points for the room rate and credit card ...

    On my trip, I did acknowledge that the IC had made a few modifications for Ambassadors - there's now an Ambassador wing and the Ambassador lounge was a fantastic touch, with a l'aissez faire approach to attire.
     
    kellio likes this.

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