Thank you so much to Casa Saffra for hosting us during the majority of our stay in Puerto Rico!
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Looking for places to stay when planning a vacation can be the most difficult part of planning a trip. We just got back from a 6-day trip to Puerto Rico and we were lucky enough to stay in 2 different places while there. Both were fantastic but unique and completely different in every way. In past trips to Puerto Rico I have stayed in both resorts, condos and in family homes. Each has their own benefits so it depends on your personal preferences. For the majority of our trip we stayed at Casa Saffra but for the very first night we stayed at El Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.
El Condado Vanderbilt
We we arrived in Puerto Rico we stayed the first night at El Condado Vanderbilt. This resort is nothing short of amazing but it is very pricey. You can expect to pay around $300 per night for the cheapest room, so if you love luxury then this is a great option. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option then this is definitely not the place for you. Again, it all depends on your personal preferences.
About El Condado Vanderbilt Hotel…
El Condado Vanderbilt is a oceanfront property with spectacular Caribbean views. The hotel itself has an amazing vintage vibe and was built in 1919 by the Vanderbilt family. Since then the hotel has undergone several renovations but still maintains it’s historical charm. It was also one of the very first luxury hotels in Puerto Rico which is pretty cool! Keep in mind this hotel is NOT all-inclusive you will probably spend quite a bit there.
Service from the front desk is amazing as well but again this is a typical high end resort. They are very attentive and friendly to all of the guests staying there. We stayed in one of the basic rooms and they are very comfortable with a refrigerator and standard amenities that you would find in any nice hotel. They do stock the rooms with complimentary sodas, snacks and bottled waters. There are also several options of wine and liquor which are extra. Downstairs there are several nice lounges if you want to grab drinks in the evening but we chose to pick up our own local beers and bring them back to the hotel instead.
For breakfast we went downstairs to “Ola Oceanfront Bistro.” The latte I got was so so good and the buffet spread was one of the best I have seen! There was lots of fresh local fruit, pastries, yogurt and an omelet station. The buffet was $35 per person though and I wasn’t that hungry so I opted to skip the buffet. Instead I got their salmon and avocado toast and it was perfect! My husband got a Puerto Rican style eggs benedict which was served over pernil and alcapurria. He was in absolute heaven!
Right outside of Ola Oceanfront Bistro is the pool area and a bar as well as private cabanas you can rent. There is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean and it has a great view of the city as well. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to enjoy the pool area because we had to go check in to our rental house. If I wasn’t on a time crunch I definitely would have loved to enjoy a drink in one of these beautiful pools!
Casa Saffra is such an amazing home….
If you are looking for a more cultural experience in Puerto Rico I highly suggest renting a private home. My friend Megan actually found this incredible home right before we left Atlanta and I’m so glad she did! The owner of Casa Saffra, Monique, was so sweet and a fantastic host. We could call or text her anytime we needed anything which is very important when staying in a rental home! She owns several rental properties in the area and we stayed at Casa Canals. This home is located in the historical neighborhood of Santurce in San Juan. This was my first time staying in Santurce and I fell in love! I’ll get to that later in an upcoming blog post but first I want to tell you about this beautiful house!
The outside is a mural of gorgeous flowers, people and symbols that represent Puerto Rico. If you look closely you will see a Flamboyan Tree, El Morro, Los Reyes, and a Taino symbol. There is also one flag in the upper right corner as well as a smaller black and white flag. In case you were unaware the black and white flag represents mourning as well as the resistance of the Puerto Rican people against the corruption in the government. Then on the side of the building the murals show many well-known influential people not just from Puerto Rico but in Latin music in general. Some of the famous faces include Marc Anthony, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and more. The artist S. Urbain did an amazing job!
One if the things I love about this home was that there is gated security. There are also cameras surrounding the property so it is very safe. Once you enter the gate there is parking in the back. There are several residents that live in this building full time but there is still plenty of parking available. Next to the parking area there is a small pool as well, perfect for lounging around, having drinks with friends or taking an evening swim!
The inside of the home has a bit of a 60’s feel to it which I loved. Cleanliness is very important to me as well and this rental was immaculate! You actually get the 3rd floor and 4th floor units included with the rental. There are 5 bedrooms total and each unit has it’s own kitchen. The 4th floor portion also has a washer and dryer in case you need to do laundry. The kitchens are also fully stocked with everything you need to cook and make coffee. Wal-Mart is not far away so you can stock up on groceries and anything you need.
Throughout the rental you will also see metal shingles the flew off of the roofs of buildings during Hurricane Maria. They were hand painted by local artisans and glessed and turned into beautiful artwork that now adorn this home. This is just a simple reminder of how resilient the Puerto Rican people are that they can turn a tragedy into something beautiful. Even in the midst of the hundreds of earthquakes that have ravaged the island in recent months, businesses are open and depending on your tourism!
Words of Wisdom and Inspiration
“Nothing is better for your soul than to visit Puerto Rico. “
OUTFIT DETAILS & SIZING:
For reference, I’m 5’1″ & around 104-106 lbs. I normally wear the following sizes: Shoes (6), Tops (XS), Jeans (24/00)
SATIN SLEEP ROMPER (SZ. XS): Victoria’s Secret
One of the other features I loved about this rental is the rooftop patio. I’m a huge fan of outdoor spaces and this one is perfect! Whether you are having morning coffee, drinks in the evening or just enjoying a meal in the open air this is a great space! I loved having coffee out here in the morning and checking out the people walking around below! From the patio you smell fresh food cooking from nearby homes and businesses and the sounds of Latin music coming from the nearby placita!
I truly fell in love with Casa Saffra during our stay. Out of the two places we stayed it was definitely my favorite. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture of Puerto Rico. Renting a home as opposed to staying in a huge hotel is a great option for any size family and helps local home owners earn a living. Monique and her sister (the owners), also spends a lot of her time helping victims of the recent earthquakes and people that are still in need since Hurricane Maria. By renting with Casa Saffra you investing your income directly into the local economy. In turn you are also assisting those in need! I hope if you are traveling to Puerto Rico in the near future you will consider Casa Saffra because I know you will love it just as much as I did!