Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



TRAVEL San Juan, Puerto Rico: Lovely and lively
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

Looking to get away from the incoming icy weather? Well, then, look east—to the lovely island of Puerto Rico and the capital of San Juan, which hosted a writers' retreat recently. What ensued was a montage of captivating sights and experiences.

Staying in a ( former ) convent

Upon arriving in San Juan, I was immediately whisked away to Hotel El Convento ( 100 Calle del Cristo; ). When picturing a hotel in the tropics, this was the type of getaway I pictured—a hotel amidst sultry ( OK, sweltering ) weather with friendly, great-looking staff. ( An aside: Actually, everybody in San Juan looked great. Maybe it's something in the water. )

Shortly after getting to my room in this AAA Four-Diamond property ( which required using my key to access the ground-floor elevator ), the writers convened by the pool for a reception—and took in the sights of San Juan. I was starting to leave the big-city stress behind already.

Hotel El Convento, a former convent, is a 58-room hotel with a roof terrace, plunge pool and Jacuzzi area with lounge chairs; three on-site restaurants; a chapel; multiple private rooms/meeting spaces; and a beach club off-site.

Speaking of restaurants, we hit Salon Martorell ( in the hotel )—a colorful area that also functions as an event space—later that night. The dishes varied from simple to very complex, but they were all delicious.

Afterward, it was time to sample San Juan's nightlife. We hit La Factoria, a vibrant place ( even on a Thursday ) that has several rooms, including one where salsa is played and the "Red Room," which had some cool dance songs ( like a remix of Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" ) as well as a sign that made someone's thoughts about President-elect Donald Trump known.

Seeing San Juan; experiencing La Concha

After having breakfast in the hotel's Patio del Nispero, it was time for a tour of Viejo ( "Old" ) San Juan.

Tomas—who proved to be a very animated guide—took us on a journey that encompassed history and provided some eye-popping visuals. Highlights included the forts El Morro and San Cristobal, the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, the Plaza de Armas, statutes of several U.S. presidents ( including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Barack Obama ), sites where movies ( including the Antonio Banderas/Sylvester Stallone film Assassins ) were filmed and the Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery.

Then it time to leave the cozy confines of our host hotel and travel to another AAA Four-Diamond property, La Concha ( 1077 Ashford Ave.; )—although this one has a much different vibe. Whereas Hotel El Convento has a more boutique-y feel, La Concha conveys a trendier vibe.

Units range from $219 to $359 a night, and are just as chic as one might imagine ( complete with a full-size refrigerator ). At one point, I literally had cake by the ocean ( to reference the DNCE hit ) as I ate dessert while sitting on the balcony.

I then had a facial at signature facial at the Condado Vanderbilt ( 1055 Ashford Ave.; ), a nearby hotel in a trendy neighborhood that features everything from high-end stores to the Puerto Rican Walk of Fame ( which features the names of Ricky Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda and singer Chayanne, among others ).

The spa was very contemporary and the facial gave me the glow I wanted. The only thing that threw me off was that ( unlike other spas I've experienced ) the stillness room wasn't all that, well, still. Several other clients milled around while I was trying to contain myself in my robe. Again, it wasn't bad; it was just unexpected.

Then it was time to visit La Concha's Presidential Suite, atop the Ocean Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Condado district. The suite features master bedroom, expansive living room, a huge bathroom complete with a bidet, and an 1,175-square-foot outdoor terrace with a custom-made whirlpool.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is every bit the tropical getaway that it's advertised to be. It has something for everyone, whether you're into heat or history.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TRAVEL Louisville: Putting a twist on Southern hospitality 2019-11-27 - The South is renowned for many things—including food and its vaunted hospitality. However, it also has been maligned for, among other things, what ...

Gay News

The Camino Project, an experiment in travel 2019-08-20 - Far removed from the constructs of your typical theater experience, Theatre Y evokes participation, both physical and emotional. The Camino Project is an ...

Gay News

DINING Travelle dinner, National Bao Day, Winestyr Fest, ladies' night 2019-08-20 - —On Wed., Aug. 21, Travelle at The Langham Chef Jeff Vucko will collaborate with Granor Farm Chef ( and Ruffage author ) Abra ...

Gay News

Event promotes LGBTQ tourism in Israel 2019-08-16 - On Aug. 8 at Goddess and the Baker, 225 N. Lasalle St., the Israel Ministry of Tourism hosted a happy hour. The ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Driftless and daring: Mineral Point, Wisconsin 2019-08-07 - Thousands of years ago when the glaciers razed the Midwest and flattened the landscape, they left certain areas untouched, unmarred. These areas—known as ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Arizona: Hot and cool 2019-07-15 - "Arizonans are like lizards." I heard this sentence while recently visiting the neighboring cities of Phoenix and Tempe—and it certainly wasn't meant to ...

Gay News

Gay tourism group cancels Ethopian trip after death threats 2019-06-26 - Dan Ware, the owner of Chicago-based Toto Tours—which has a mostly gay clientele—has cancelled an October trip to Ethiopia after receiving death threats ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Portland: Something for everyone 2019-05-24 - First things first: Portland isn't nearly as granola as I thought it might be. Before visiting the Western city for the first time, ...

Gay News

LGBTQ activists travel to Springfield for Advocacy Day 2019-05-19 - On May 15, Equality Illinois hosted the annual Advocacy Day in Springfield, Illinois, in partnership with other statewide LGBTQ organizations. The daylong event ...

Gay News

STAYCATION REVIEW The Langham Chicago 2019-05-08 - The Langham Chicago ( 330 N. Wabash St.; ) has earned plaudits from various publications, including five stars from Forbes. However, I ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.