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June 16, 2009

Old San Juan: A Perfect Quick Getaway

http://concierge.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c5a2653ef01157025930f970c-pi
Newlyweds on San Juan's
Caleta de las Monjas.

Photo: Graciela Cattarossi
for Condé Nast Traveler

Restored to its original glory, Old San Juan makes for a perfect quick getaway. "The trip is easy and the change intense," writes Amy Engeler in Condé Nast Traveler's June issue. Here are some of her favorite spots in this storied island outpost:

* The Hotel El Convento is still the Old City's loveliest, with wrought iron canopy beds, mod cons, and Spanish colonial elegance. There's also a terrace plunge pool and a hot tub overlooking the cathedral (787-723-9020; doubles, $160$260).
* Da House is also a fun spot to stay. A former Franciscan monastery, it is now an eclectic hotel on the stylish side of bohemian. Air-conditioning but no elevator, some nighttime noise (787-366-5074; doubles, $80$120).
* At Marmalade, try the ambitious rich dishes: signature paella starter, snapper in parchment (787-724-3969; entrées, $19$29).
* For lighter fare, go to Toro Salao, which serves stylish tapas in a two-story townhouse. Outdoor seating across the street (787-722-3330; entrées, $8$24).
* It wouldn't be a trip to the Caribbean if you didn't check out the live bands and dancing at Escenario. The bands come out Thursday through Sunday; flamenco shows are on Sundays. The music starts around 10 p.m. (Calle San Sebastián near Calle San José).

For more on San Juan, pick up a copy of the June issue or read "Treasure in a Teacup" at cntraveler.com.

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