Every year our family takes a trip to our favorite island in Mexico, but since we weren’t able to go this year, we decided to try somewhere new! We wanted a place that was an easy flight from NY and still had warm weather in October. After lots of research we decided to take our mother daughter trip down to the beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is known for it’s old city, but we were there for the beach and sunshine.
I have to say, I have been on lots of vacations in the past few years, but I do not remember the last time I was this relaxed. We did absolutely nothing but sit by the pool and bask in the sun for 6 days and it was absolutely marvelous. The perfect medicine after finishing up a rotation and starting the next. Needless to say, I do not have much to share except for eats and a review of our wonderful hotel. Sometimes that’s just watcha need, a lot of good food and peaceful beach time.
I have to say, we did not have a bad meal the entire time we were there. Every single restaurant we went to was impeccable. Not only was the food divine, but the overall ambiance and experience was perfect.
This is one of the most unexpected places you would expect to find a 5-star restaurant. You walk up to a building with doors on the bar and immediately begin questioning wether or not your Uber driver dropped you off at the right address. When the doors open you are transported and feel like you have found a secret spot. Santaella serves local, contemporary puerto rican cuisine. Order a few tapas for the table or an appetizer and entree for your self. You can’t go wrong either way.
I am not a huge red meat fan but every once in a while I will go for a steak if I know it’s worth it. The filet at Sage was top notch. This spot is tucked away in the bottom of a boutique hotel in Condado. The menu is crafted by one of San Juan’s most well-known chefs, Mario Pagan. He adds his local flare to traditional steak dishes and sides. Once you finish your meal, head up to the rooftop for a night cap with a view of the bay. There is plenty of room for you and your friends to take over a corner and lounge for the remainder of the evening. I would love to go back for happy hour to watch the sunset.
We had the best time at Condal. The food was to die for, but the staff made it quite the experience. From the moment we arrived, our waiter gave us quite the show. If you are not a foodie, or don’t like someone making decisions for you, then you might not have loved our waiter. He chose our appetizers and entrees, and it was so good I was not mad about it one bit. This is hands down the best place for paella in San Juan. They serve a mix of puerto rican and Italian, which was confusing, but so good I didn’t care.
I have been to quite a few sub par hotel restaurants so I am always nervous to try them. This one was perfect, serving up all the fresh seafood and pasta. Our hotel is owned by the Serafina Restaurant group. If you have been to NY, you have probably seen one of their locations. We are huge Serafina fans so this was a bonus for us. We ate a breakfast, lunch everyday and two dinners at aMare. We were even able to order it for room service. Not much is better than eating pasta in bed post spa day. Even if you aren’t staying at the Serafina hotel, this spot should be on your list.
I found this spot one night when I got a little sweet tooth. They have a huge selection of popsicles and most of them are made with fresh fruit and no dairy. This was such a good find I wish I would have discovered earlier in the trip.
I love a good beachside dining spot. We saved this one for the last night of our trip since we knew it would be so special. We started on the terrace, but unfortunately the rain came and we had to move inside. Even with that, we had such a nice time with the rain on the roof and the twinkle lights around. The scallops were to die for, probably some of the best I have ever had in my life. all of their ingredients are locally sourced, with unexpected flavors combined with caribbean flare. Panoramic sea views with fresh seafood, and amazing wine, it doesn’t get better than that.
Things to do: The Spa at Condado Vanderbilt
Normally whenever we go on a beach trip we like to do a boat day, but this time we nixed it and headed straight to the spa. Our hotel did not have a spa, but we were lucky enough to have the best spa in San Juan right next door! We went a little early to enjoy the sauna and steam room before our services. I had the 80 minute deep tissue massage and my mom got the facial. Spa days are such great way for me to re-center myself and get back in tune with my body. After my massage I took a few minutes to enjoy the facilities. The overall experience was unparalleled to any other spa experience I have ever had.
We had the best stay at the Serafina Beach Hotel. It is only 1.5 years old so we were a little unsure when booking it because we had never heard anything about it. We booked it solely based on reviews, and the fact that we love all of the Serafina restaurants. We are boutique hotel people so only having 96 rooms was a plus for us. It also helped that we went during off-peak time so there was hardly anyone there. Our room had gorgeous floor to ceiling windows with a stunning view of the ocean to wake up to every morning.
The hotel is a quick 20 minute ride from the airport, situated right in the heart of Condado beach within walking distance of everything. It was so easy being able to get everywhere and not have to worry about an Uber. It is situated right on the beach with an infinity pool touching the water. The best part was that because of how it is situated, there was always a breeze so you never get hot! All of the staff was super friendly and always helpful. They went above and beyond to make our stay special. Any time I had a question or needed something, it was handled within the hour. They are always offering great deals so be on the look out and plan your trip to Condado Beach soon!