Hotel Review: Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Caribe Hilton sits just outside of Old San Juan and is a popular hotel for both vacationers and events (like weddings and work conferences). When Gerrit and I visited Puerto Rico for an anniversary trip, we stayed here while we were in San Juan. Below, you’ll find our Caribe Hilton review plus everything you need to know about this hotel if you are thinking of booking a stay!
The Caribe Hilton actually has a pretty interesting history for a chain hotel. First off, it was the first Hilton hotel built outside of the continental United States when it was built in 1949.
It also claims to the birthplace of the piña colada. Their bartender, Ramón Marrero created it in 1954. However, the hotel also shares this claim to fame with Barrachina, a restaurant in Old San Juan.
But let’s get to all the features of the Caribe Hilton!
Overview of Caribe Hilton
Caribe Hilton Location
Caribe Hilton is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s just a few minutes east of Old San Juan by car, and it’s next door to the Condado area of San Juan.
It’s located right on the water, so there are beautiful views all around plus beach access.
While you will have to take a car to get to most of the places you will want to go while you’re in San Juan, it’s still a beautiful and convenient location!
Caribe Hilton Lobby
You get your first taste of the tropical paradise of Puerto Rico with this semi-open-air lobby. It’s a nice space with cool tile floors and huge windows looking out into the pool area and the ocean beyond. I could be really picky here and tell you that it’s not the most luxurious lobby I’ve ever seen, but it’s still really nice!
In the lobby you’ll find plenty of seating areas and one of the hotel’s restaurant and bars. Right off of the lobby you’ll also find several of the property’s other restaurants.
And don’t forget to pay a visit to the two macaws that live in the lobby. You can find their cage toward the front of the lobby across from the front desk.
Caribe Hilton Rooms
Caribe Hilton is a HUGE property, and the rooms are divided up into three wings: the Beach Wing, the Garden Wing, and the Wave Wing.
All rooms are decorated in soothing blue and green tones. They also all have either a private balcony or terrace.
The Beach Wing is the original wing of the hotel. It’s the easiest to access from the lobby, as you’ll find the elevator up to the rooms right across from the restaurant area.
The rooms in the Beach Wing will either have an ocean view or a resort/garden view. Note that because there are parts of the hotel below the Beach Wing on either side, you’ll be looking over the rooftop of some hotel areas. The higher up you go though, the less obstructed your view will be. Both sides of the hallway should have mostly ocean views though.
The Caribe Hilton Garden Wing is located toward the entrance of the lobby. If you are facing the pool area at the very front of the lobby, you’ll turn right and go through some doors to find the entrance to the wing.
Your views will vary in the Garden Wing. Lower floors will have views of the garden. Some of the rooms on higher floors on the Northeast side will have ocean views. Rooms on the Southwest side will have less ideal views, looking out at the building next door.
The Wave Wing of Caribe Hilton is located back toward the road off the lobby. In fact, once you check in, you’ll walk back toward the front of the hotel and will almost feel like you are about to leave the hotel before you find the entrance to it.
The views here will either be resort view, garden view, or ocean view. We stayed in the Wave Wing on our visit, and honestly I think we ended up with the best view in the hotel! Our room faced Northwest, and we had incredible views of both the ocean and beach area of the hotel as well as Old San Juan in the distance.
Caribe Hilton Restaurants
Caribe Hilton has lots of on-site dining options, ranging from super fancy to super casual. And while I really think its worth getting out of the hotel to try some of San Juan’s local restaurants (and it’s important to spend money locally too!), some vacation days you just don’t want to go anywhere except down to the lobby. And luckily you’ll find some great options.
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Morton’s is by far the fanciest restaurant on property. It’s definitely where you’ll want to go if you’re celebrating a special occasion on your trip. Here you’ll find a menu of steak, seafood, and steakhouse sides (which are honestly sometimes my favorite part of a steakhouse). You’ll get to enjoy it all while looking out over the ocean.
Note that Morton’s does have a dress code of smart or business casual. Men should wear collared shirts. And women should wear dressy-casual attire.
Morton’s is only open for dinner. Reservations are required.
Rustica Ristorante would be my second choice if you are looking for a restaurant with a more up-scale feel. It’s not nearly as fancy as Morton’s, but it’s a still a nice place.
And listen. Even though it’s in Puerto Rico, I thought this Italian restaurant was delicious. I had the carbonara. Was it authentic? Not really. But was it maybe one of my favorite things I ate on our entire trip? YES.
Lola’s Puerto Rican Cuisine
Lola’s Puerto Rican Cuisine is located right next to Rustica Ristorante. In fact, you can usually order off of either menu at both restaurants (I think they share a kitchen).
Here, you’ll find traditional Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo, skirt steak, and fried pork.
Mojito’s Caribbean Fusion
Located next to the Wave Wing, Mojito’s Caribbean Fusion serves up dishes inspired by both Caribbean and Spanish dishes. You’ll find everything from mofongo and paella to seafood and steak.
Mojito’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast menu has more traditional items, as well as things like skirt steak and quesadillas.
Caribar is the restaurant and bar you’ll find directly in the lobby of Caribe Hilton. THIS is where you want to go if you want to have a piña colada where it was invented. The restaurant also serves a variety of other cocktails and wines as well as tapas and a select number of main courses.
Caribar is open for dinner.
Néctar del Caribe
This is the on-property breakfast restaurant on Caribe Hilton. They have a buffet and an omelet station, although I’ll be honest…I wasn’t particularly impressed.
I didn’t think the food was anything spectacular, especially for how expensive it was. Because of my husband’s Hilton status, we had a free buffet, but had to pay to upgrade it to include warm items. And even then, I’m not sure it was worth it.
Next time, I would bypass the full breakfast and get a dependable pastry at Starbucks that costs a lot less.
Bagua is the pool bar! There is both a swim-up bar area and a patio seating area, so you can choose whatever is best for you. Here, you’ll find cocktails and drinks, as well as sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.
There’s nothing particular special about the food. But it was a fine option for lunch, especially if you’re out by the pool anyway.
There IS a Starbucks on property right in the lobby, so you’ll have no trouble getting your coffee fix. I especially appreciated that Starbucks was open earlier than any of the other restaurants on property, which meant when we were heading out early in the morning it was easy to grab a pastry for breakfast.
Ice Cream & Cookies Co
I will ALWAYS find the dessert on property, and my favorite thing about this little ice cream shop is that they are open all day, late into the night. The highlight here is the ice cream, but they also have a couple other small desserts you can choose from.
Caribe Hilton Pool
Caribe Hilton has a really lovely pool area for the whole family to enjoy!
The pool has several different sections that are all connected. It includes the main large pool, a swim-up bar, an infinity pool, a hot tub, and a children’s splash area.
There is seating all around the pool. But if you are there on a busy day, it can get crowded, so you’ll want to find your seat early. (I do think they put seating out depending on the amount of guests they have though. We were there during a less crowded time and there was sufficient seating, but not a ton of it. I’ve seen photos with more chairs out though!)
You can also get towels at the towel stand, so no need to bring your own.
Caribe Hilton Beach
Caribe Hilton has its beach area for you to enjoy, and they have some really great features!
The main beach area is just to the north of the hotel building. Since there are some wave breakers, the water here is relatively calm. There are beach chairs you can use, or you can choose to rent a private cabana for up to six people.
There are also several other features I love about the beach area of the Caribe Hilton hotel. All along the front of the property, there is a walk way looking out over the ocean. It’s perfect for a relaxing stroll, and you’ll also find chairs here to sit and just watch the ocean. (You can’t get to the water from here though.)
Between the main beach and the pool, you’ll also find a hammock area. It’s in a grove of palm trees where they have several hammocks hung up for you to enjoy. There are also lights strung up between the trees, which makes this area especially lovely at night.
There is also a sun deck between the pool area and the beach with lots of seating to lounge on and take in the sun — particularly useful if you want to enjoy the sun and be by the ocean without getting sandy!
If you’re looking for something to do, there are several on-site activities you can take part in. While there is not much offered during the week, on the weekends the resort has lots to do. There is a morning yoga class, aqua aerobics, Spanish lessons, and dance lessons. You’ll also find live evening music at Caribar on the weekends.
Caribe Hilton also partners with Aqua Adventure to provide scuba diving, snorkeling, and private reef tours. Inquire with the hotel if you’d like to book one of these opportunities.
Kids at the Caribe Hilton
I’m just going to be honest — if I was traveling with kids, this wouldn’t be my first choice of a resort. While there is a great pool and beach area as well as a small playground for kids, Caribe Hilton doesn’t offer any particular kid-focused activities.
For example, there is no kid’s club you can send your child too, there are no water water slides, and while their website mentions daily activities, I haven’t seen them listed online and I didn’t see any happening while we were there.
While it’s perfectly okay to bring your kids to this resort, don’t come to it expecting any kind of kid-centric experience.
Spa & Fitness Center
Caribe Hilton has both a fitness center and spa.
The fitness center overlooks the ocean for amazing views while you work out. They have treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, free weights, and weight machines. Attached to the fitness center, you’ll also find tennis courts you can reserve.
Next to the fitness center is the Zen Spa Océano. In addition to traditional massages and beauty services (including a hair salon), the spa also has a hydrotherapy room, a sauna, a steam room, outdoor heated whirlpools, and a relaxation lounge.
Caribe Hilton hosts lots of corporate events! They have over 65,000 square feet of meeting spaces, including four ballrooms, an auditorium, and lots of meeting rooms.
They also host weddings in these spaces and their outdoor spaces. If you are interested in getting married here, the hotel can provide you with event services. They also offer destination wedding packages to make things simple.
Caribe Hilton Pros & Cons
The Caribe Hilton is definitely a great hotel! But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Here are the pros and cons of this resort.
Caribe Hilton Pros
- Beautiful beach and pool area with walkways, seating, and amazing views.
- Some great on-property restaurants (though some are better than others).
- Lovely rooms with private balconies.
Caribe Hilton Cons
- Not within walking distance of anything you may want to do in San Juan.
- If you are here for vacation, it can sometimes feel “corporate” if an event or conference is going on.
- Lack of kid-focused activities and spaces if you are traveling with your family.
Our Caribe Hilton Review
Here’s the bottom of line of our Caribe Hilton review: we truly loved our stay here! We thought the property was beautiful, the pool area was lovely, and restaurants were pretty good on the whole. While we couldn’t walk to any local attractions, it was easy to take an Uber from the hotel into Old San Juan.
However, it was definitely not our favorite resort we stayed at during our Puerto Rico trip. That goes to the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve. However, since that hotel is SO far away from anything else, this hotel was a perfect base for our time in San Juan.
If you are looking to visit Puerto Rico and get in BOTH the city and the beach in one go, Caribe Hilton would be a great option! It is close enough to the city so you can explore easily, but you can also just spend days at the resort or nearby beaches relaxing.
Puerto Rico Travel Resources!
Book your room at the Caribe Hilton here.
Find things to do in San Juan here.
Buy travel insurance here.