Puerto Rico

Published on June 1st, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut

Hotel Review & VIDEO: Olive Boutique Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Check-in: The reception desk at Olive Boutique Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

During my recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I was a guest at the island’s newest luxury hotel: The Olive Boutique Hotel. In this exclusive video and article, I review the experience. 

THE ARRIVAL: Even though I was just steps away from Condado Beach, I felt like I’d left the bustling Condado district as soon as I stepped into the small lobby of the Olive Boutique Hotel, which opened in May 2012. Tranquil and tastefully decorated, the reception area feels like the living room of a wealthy friend, with comfy couches and a coffee table strewn with decorative items (the giant hourglass caught my eye). One wall is covered with large, beautifully framed photographs made by the owners in various parts of the Mediterranean, a theme that runs throughout the hotel. (The fact that a fashion photo shoot was taking place on the day of our departure is proof of the property’s allure.)

The hotel is a decidedly stylish repurposing of a three-story former office building on a side street in Condado, less than a block from the soon-to-open Condado Vanderbilt hotel and the ocean. Pleasing earthy colors, subdued yet stylish décor (including gorgeous doors and desks made from the crates in which the furniture arrived) and extensive amenities help create an upscale, comfortable ambiance — making it easy to understand how this new property obtained membership with the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (only the second hotel in Puerto Rico to do so).

Elegant accommodations: A room at the Olive Boutique Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

THE STYLE: After check-in, I rode to the third floor in the glass elevator, which offers a pleasant view of the peaceful Condado Lagoon. The hotel overall has creative, well-thought-out details — for example, the guest rooms don’t have numbers; instead, each room has a Moroccan tassel of a different color, which matches the key chain the guest is given. My partner and I had the white room, a lovely corner room with three windows and a view of the lagoon across the street.

Our room was not large, but it was well appointed with a queen-size bed, recessed lighting and attractive décor. Especially cool was the Grandstream GXV3175 telephone, which is essentially a tablet that allows you to watch Youtube, use Facebook and even take photos with the phone.

I also really liked the glass box-style shower stall, which was a spacious, modern centerpiece in the room. Free WiFi is a big plus too.

Dinner time: Oliva Restaurant, at Olive Boutique Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

HOTEL FEATURES: We had a delicious gourmet at Oliva, the hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant where the very attentive wait staff served us delicacies including Spanish-style octopus, leg of lamb over especially tasty couscous, tender filet mignon and a Kahlua-infused bread pudding. The restaurant also has a small outdoor seating area (and valet parking is available for non-hotel guests).

My partner had an apple-watermelon martini, one of the cocktails developed by Roberto Berdecía, mixologist for World Class for the hotel (other options include the tasty-sounding Mediterranean Cocoa).

Olive is a short walk from the main stretch of Condado Beach, but beachgoers can make use of the hotel’s shuttle service to Hosteria del Mar, a sister beachfront property in the quieter neighborhood called Ocean Park, where that property can offer plenty of amenities and services. 

Soon, the hotel will debut a rooftop deck that will have a lap pool, bar and food service centered on an open grill.

Overall, the hotel’s best selling points are an interesting combination of location (in the heart of San Juan’s Condado district) and the peaceful, upscale ambiance that makes you feel like you’re far from the hustle and bustle.

BEST FOR: Business travelers and vacationers seeking unique, tranquil upscale accommodations and attentive service in a central location. Room rates about $279 and up. 

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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