PMM Travel: My Solo-cation at The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with many beautiful resorts and locations for you to enjoy. This year, I decided to treat myself to a long weekend for my birthday and I coined it the #PMMParadiseGetaway. I traveled alone for the very first time on a “solo-cation” (meaning I went alone) and decided to stay at a location I had never been to before, the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino, located on the beautiful Condado Beach.
I’m a stickler for good customer service. I was greeted with a friendly smile and all of my questions were answered in a kind manner. I was greeted by random hotel staff as I moved about the hotel during my stay. While laying on the beautiful beach, I noticed there was a fair amount of staff and lifeguards looking at the water. When a guest found herself too close to the rocks, one of the staff members ran into the water to help the woman move away from the rocks. She was brought to a safer distance and the young man who assisted her, walked out of the water, shoes and clothing completely soaked! The hotel guests clapped for him in appreciation as he walked right back to his post.
A clean and beautifully decorated room is like a warm robe after a bath. This is where you will lay your head and relax after a full day of activities. As an entrepreneur, I’m always CONNECTED even when I should not be, so the FREE wifi was a dream for me as well as the roomy desk right next to the balcony. Oh, did I mention the balcony overlooking the ocean? The sunrise was breathless! You also can’t have a good stay if the bed is not comfy and roomy. The bed was fabulous and the room was very clean as well.
Key Points: Clean room and bathroom. Plenty of sockets for charging cameras and mobile devices. Ironing board, full size mirror and hair dryer are included in the room. Free wifi!!!
If you watch as much Dateline as I do, then you know that traveling alone means you need to be extra cautious. One of things I first noticed was the amount of security they have on the premises. From the moment you walk in, there are two security guards that greet you and point you towards the front desk. Security also walk the floors, the wellness center, common rooms, pools, restaurant and stand guard during the nightlife hours. I LOVE THIS!!!! Whether I’m traveling alone or with my family, being safe is the number one priority for me. This sold me from the moment I walked in.
The Beach and Pool
You would think that a beach is just sand and water… well not quite. Some beaches can be very “rocky” and walking into the water can hurt your feet and can be dangerous for kids. The beach area is really big and the way our beach chairs were placed did not have us too close to each other. I like my space to move around and follow the sun as it moves.
The beach staff is VERY helpful. The young man that helped me get set up on the beach saw me walking to the restroom and since I was alone, I had to leave something behind on my chair. He offered to watch it from his post for me.
A note for my plus-size ladies, the beach chairs were sturdy and big enough. I don’t like feeling like my body is falling off the sides so I appreciated the width of the chairs. The staff comes around to offer you a menu, drinks, water, etc so you literally don’t have to leave your chair or area.
The pool was intimate and very clean. The pool bar drinks were AMAZING! I asked one of the bartenders if she liked what she does for a living. She just seemed so happy to me. She said, “What is there not to love? I work in paradise at a great hotel.” She had been an employee at this resort for five years and loves meeting people and being able to provide them with a good experience. I thought that was really sweet of her. Mind you, she had no idea that I would be blogging about my experience at the hotel.
Key points: Cleanliness of the beach/pool area and superb staff.
Wellness and Fitness Center
If you follow me on Instagram (@plusjones), you may have noticed that over the last two years I have been really focused on getting healthier. Having a special needs child and running a business is not easy and very stressful. On my first day at the hotel, I scheduled myself for a personal massage specifically tailored to what I wanted.
After changing and securing my personals in a locker, I was asked to wait in a waiting area. The room was dimly lit and smelled of delicious oils. The soft music made me relax and even though I had my mobile phone with me, I just wanted to embrace the moment and prepare my mind to unwind.
My massage therapist was excellent. After discussing what I wanted, she waited outside for me to disrobe and lay on the table. She began with my neck and shoulder area and addressed some very tight areas with just the right amount of pressure. Just when I thought it was over, she asked me to turn around and she did my arms, legs and shoulders. I did not want it to end but assured her I would be back.
The next morning, I worked out at the fitness center. Even at 7am, there was a fair amount of people in the room. Each treadmill had a docking station for your phone and a TV with a headphone connection. There is also an area to work out without machines, which is where I was able to take a quick picture after working out my abs and legs.
Key points: The robes were roomy as well as the table where I was laying during the massage. The fitness center was not intimidating and I love that you had the option to watch what you wanted on TV while on the treadmill. Music was also playing throughout the room. Security was available. The Fitness center is available 24 hours.
Since I had opted not to go too far from the hotel on my “solo-cation”, I was hoping my food options would not be limited. Thankfully, they were not. The breakfast buffet was extensive and whether you were eating in the dining room, pool/beach restaurant or enjoying room service, the food options were extensive.
They also have Chinese food available inside the casino and a fresh Italian gelato restaurant right on the premises. In addition to the restaurant services, there is a little sundries store, which offers snacks and drinks as well as toiletries and other miscellaneous things you may have forgotten while packing.
Key points: The food is very rich and portions are ample. Drinks are not watered down so pace yourself! And did I mention there is a Starbucks right across the street? Yes!!!
Casino and Nightlife
I lived in Puerto Rico until I was 9 years old. My family then moved to NYC. So I did not return to the island until I was an adult. What impressed me the most when I returned was the culture that I missed out on by not growing up on the island. People work to live; they don’t live to work here. In other words, they enjoy life and once work is done, it’s DONE!
I met some amazing locals who came to the hotel to enjoy the live band, drinks/food and enjoy LIFE! They know many of us are not local and are probably shy about getting on the dance floor so it’s not a big deal to be taken by the hand by a local and brought to the dance floor. If they are happy, they want YOU to be happy and have a great time as well.
The night before my birthday, I went to the bar area located on the main floor and met with Suzanne from www.su-style.com . We celebrated with a beautiful homemade brownie cake and some drinks. The bartender alerted the band that it was my birthday and they sang “Happy Birthday” to me. They also stopped to take a photo with the birthday girl. After we ate, drank and danced the night away, we tried our luck at the casino.
The casino was amazing! Whatever your game of choice is, it’s there. I’m a slot girl so I look for the most pink or girly slot machine and sit at the slots and enjoy drinks while pouring money into the machine.
I have stayed at many different places on the island and I have to say in all honesty that I felt the most safe and at home at The San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino. Whether you want to experience a few days of relaxation alone or a few weeks with the family, this hotel is managed for the comfort of its guests. We are all VIP when we walk in through those doors and that is something I could get used to. 🙂