The Condado Plaza has a ton of activities and spots to eat, including a cafe, fancy restaurant (which I will get to), a casino, asian food, and Starbucks. There’s even a Denny’s across the street that’s open 24 hours for those late nights (we practically lived in there, shame on us). The hotel was so beautiful, I was able to shoot an entire swimsuit lookbook there.
WHERE TO EAT
Di Parma Trattoria
What kind of New Yorkers go to Puerto Rico and have pizza? We did, and it was absolutely worth it! Our first night in San Juan, not much was open on a Monday (note: almost nothing is open in San Juan on Mondays except for restaurants) so we strolled down Ashford Avenue and happened upon this Di Parma Trattoria. The restaurant is right on the water, so we got the balmy ocean breeze while we sipped amazing
re: strong drinks, and shared pizza pies. The waiters were so much fun, and brought us extra shots because they knew we were looking to party. As you can see in the picture, we each got our own pizza, but they are very filling and a table of 4 would be okay with two pies.
Pikayo at Condado Plaza Hilton
Pikayo is such a beautiful restaurant – I felt like we were back in New York. We made our way here for Stephanie’s birthday celebration and it was well worth it. Many traditional puerto rican cultural staples are deconstructed on this menu, and recreated in such elegant, proportional ways. Pictured above are plantains stuffed with shrimp and guacamole – it was divine. From appetizer to Stephanie’s birthday dessert, Pikayo was our treat to ourselves (and a bit of a dent to our wallets). If you feel like being fancy for an evening, I’d definitely recommend it.
Yantar was such a posh, metropolitan retreat in San Juan. On our final night, we strolled down Ashford Avenue
again and toasted to a fantastic vacation while we gazed over the ocean (I honestly could never get enough of the ocean views). It was tres Sex and the City. The hostess was the mostest – she was actually a fashion blogger and added to the chic element of the establishment (check out Miss Gala!).
WHERE TO PLAY
La Factoria in Old San Juan
I felt the most comfortable at La Factoria in Old San Juan during our vacation. It reminded me of a small bar in Williamsburg (partially because there was Janelle Monae playing and partially because the owners were hipsters). The bartenders were true mixologists and did not hold back when it came to drinks. That lit room to the right is actually a secret passageway that leads to a wine bar and a back room for private parties. It was still being constructed when we visited, but we ventured back there anyway and met the owner and a couple of friends – which led to a pretty interesting night (doesn’t the randomness always lead to fun while on vacay?). Sip on some high-grade cocktails and sit in the low windows as you catch an ocean breeze to some good tunes at La Factoria. Definitely a place to visit while in Old San Juan.
So, remember when I mentioned that nightlife was dead on Mondays in San Juan? It’s because everyone is at La Respuesta. It’s the polar opposite from La Factoria. The drinks remind me of college dive bars, the crowd is fairly young, and the music is loud and full of bass. I can’t even find the words to really describe this place – it felt shady and it was kind of dark, but I had SO much fun. I haven’t been to a party like this…ever. There were competitive dance circles, choreographed group dances, and people just having FUN. We even got in on the dance circle at some point! La Respuesta was a night I will never forget. It’s definitely worth the cab ride.
Historic Old San Juan