Thursday, September 30, 2010


I must say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease sometimes. 

Let me start at the very beginning.  Beau and I have been planning a vacay to Puerto Rico for many, many months.  Actually, wayyy prior to finding out the news of the impending arrival of the chick pea.  Based upon the excellent travel advice of our friends, Paola and Jose, we booked it and are headed to Vieques, an island off the coast of PR,  in a couple of weeks.  Cannot wait as my favorite activities are traveling with Beau, particularly to beachy "tropical" destinations!

Beau and I in Belize, 2008.  Our most recent "big" beach trip. 

My hand in Miami...a tiny taste of the beach this past February.
(Our worst offense?  Not taking any pics together to document any of our travels or adventures!)

A small part of the vacay will include a visit to Old San Juan.  Although there are some seriously ah-mazing beachy resorts in San Juan (Ritz and La Concha), we figured that we would like to experience the charm and history of Old SJ for a bit, especially since we will have been beaching like whales for a week already (quite literally for me these days). 

After reading a ton of reviews, asking all Puerto Rican friends or past visitors, and checking out the pics, we excitedly settled on El Convento Hotel in the heart of Old San Juan.  I called about three months ago to reserve a spot for us for one night on our way back from Vieques, but my attempt was thwarted.  BUMMER.  They have a two night minimum stay.  I will spare you the painful details, but let's just say that I called back about five three times and finally! the hotel agreed to let us book only one night.  I am many things, one of them being perseverant!

El Convento in the heart of Old San Juan.

I really don't think I can describe my anticipation to check out Old SJ with base camp being El Convento. One of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" collection, El Convento was constructed as a convent in 1646.  It operated as a convent for 252 years, prior to operating as a flophouse and finally undergoing a massive renovation in the 60s. I adore a smaller boutique hotel steeped in history, which is why I knew we "had" to stay at EC. 

Now, the good stuff, the pics.

This place seems to perfectly combine old world elegance with some comfy amenities.  I am most excited about the evening wine and cheese hour, complementary to the guests and served on the rooftop!  (I will only take a couple of sips of vino, I promise...)

If anyone has any Old SJ recs that they would like to share, we are all ears.  Still researching restaurant options for our last night in beautiful Puerto Rico.  I am hoping we are sunkissed and relaxed from Vieques as we enjoy all that El Convento and San Juan have to offer, even if it is just for about 15 hours.  I will keep Gimlet Nation posted as we continue to plan our adventures in both Vieques and San Juan.



P.S. I love a good "after!"  Remember E.Lee's post on painting tips from a pro

Here was the subject in question.

E. Lee's inherited "factory lacquer" finish dining chairs.

Well, here is a delightful little updated "after" she sent me.  Check it:

Here is her end chair bedecked in beautiful ikat!  So fresh...and no factor lacquer in sight!  
(If you would like a source for her fabric, you can email me or E.Lee)


  1. "Small luxury hotels" are always fab! I am sure it will be DE-lightful!

  2. So excited for your vacation! It is going to be amazing and well deserved!

  3. We look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. Please feel free to contact us if you need information about tours or things to do during your trip ( It will be our pleasure to help you.

    See you soon!

  4. JG says he's been to the El Convento and that it "has a cool bar"! Looks delightful! Where are you staying in Vieques??

  5. One of my fav lunch spots in Old SJ is "El Jibarito" ... inexpensive and they serve awesome PR food. "Marmalade" has amazing reviews - -BUT I have never been. "Picayo" in Condado is another excellent option... Then BLT & Il Mulino at the Ritz in Isla Verde (15 minute cab ride). I love the decor at BLT and the service is amazing, but not many veggie options. I'll send more recs later...