Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thank You and End of Year Wrap Up!

I wanted to send out a heartfelt "Thank You," to everybody who continues to read this blog. It's always fun to write, and I look back and see that I started this blog a little over three years ago; which is remarkable and exciting to see that there is always something to write about.

As the year comes to a close, many people are running ragged trying to complete their holiday shopping, end of year goals or simply trying to stay above the fray in their day-to-day lives. It's not always easy, but we can only do our best. This year has been a mix of incredible highs, and significant lows too, but that is life. We can only do our best. With that being said, I hope that everyone out there is able to reach out to those who are important to them, and let them know how much they have brought to their lives. It's easy to let the days, weeks and months slip away without telling people how important they are to you, but I strongly encourage everybody to do just that - reach out and embrace the ones you love. I've been blessed to accomplish a lot this year, and I am optimistic about doing even more in 2013!

Enjoy the remainder of 2012, and look forward to more hotel, restaurant and entertainment postings in 2013.

All the best,

*Photo taken in Intercontinental Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico by That Chick Té


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Conrad Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico

 Ahhhh, Christmas in paradise, well, Puerto Rico, that is! I just got back from a wonderful trip to Puerto Rico. It's one of the best places to mix business with pleasure - I can personally attest to that.

The photo is of a communal Christmas tree that was right off of the beach in the Condado area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. I went for a two hour walk the day after arrival, and passed by the tree. I had to take a photo of the Pepsi Christmas Tree! Yes, the decorations are essentially Pepsi ornaments, so my assumption is that the tree was displayed and sponsored by Pepsi, but then again, you know what they say about assuming anything.

Alright, now, down to business. On this trip, I was scouting properties to hold an event next October, 2013, so I saw some incredible hotels during my visit (St. Regis, Water & Beach Hotel, Intercontinental, The Horned Dorset). I stayed at the Conrad during this trip, which is a property that my business partner likes (although I think that's because she was there during the Latin Music Awards, that was held there a few years ago),  but to be honest, it left me feeling a bit...blah. Don't get me wrong, the rooms are comfortable and well appointed. The decor is modern, without being too outlandish, but the service and general vibe left me feeling less than warm and fuzzy. Most of the staff that I encountered appeared to be less than enthusiastic to be there; with the notable exception of our bartender at the Aqua Bar & Grill, and our bartender at the Moon Bar (situated in the lobby area of the hotel). Both of these individuals were engaging and funny; however, the rest of the staff fell flat. Rarely did I see a genuine smile, nor did I feel that they were excited to be working. Even the doormen/valet were a disappointment (especially considering that one of their main competitors down the street has a phenomenal doorman/valet).

The overall property is fairly well maintained and clean, but it seemed to lack any real personality. I think the liveliest place on the property was the casino area, located on the 4th floor; however, it would have been a disappointment if it hadn't been lively because, well, it is a casino! I will say that the food I had was decent. My business partner and I had two meals while we were staying there. One was at Eight Noodle Bar, where we shared some spicy tuna rolls and chicken chow mein, and at the Aqua Bar & Grill, I had a nice chicken sandwich (with fries, but of course), and my business partner had a chicken quesadilla and wings. While not culinary cuisine, all of the food was well prepared and the appropriate temperature when served (I have a problem when food is lukewarm when it's supposed to be hot).

  • Clean
  • Well appointed rooms
  • Centrally and conveniently located in the Condado area of San Juan
  • Close to Old San Juan 
  • Rental car agency on site (Enterprise)
  • In walking distance of a lot of great restaurants and activities
  • Seemed to lack personality
  • Staff did their job, but didn't really go above and beyond to provide that WOW  factor that I look for in properties
  • Pools and beach on property were just, ok
  • Cleaning staff was hit or miss - the first couple of days the room was cleaned very well and all towels and toiletries were well stocked, but the last three days, the room wasn't cleaned as thoroughly, nor were towels and toiletries restocked 
  • Also, when I attempted on several occasions to call the wake-up call number, nobody answered???? Fortunately, I used the alarm in the room, as well as on my phone, because I was there on business and had daily appointments 
All in all, the property is a solid 3* property, and despite my lack of "warm and fuzzy" feelings about the general vibe of the property, it is not a bad place to stay; however, I don't think I'll be staying there again anytime soon.

Finally, just a little bit of the sigh...factor:

It really couldn't get any better than this! I MISS YOU PUERTO RICO! I'll be back soon!

*Photos taken by That Chick Té