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Urban Casita: Arts District near Ciudadela/Lote 23

SuperhostSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Entire apartment hosted by Richard
2 guests1 bedroom1 bed1 bath
Entire home
You’ll have the apartment to yourself.
Clean and tidy
4 recent guests said this place was sparkling clean.
Richard is a Superhost
Superhosts are experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests.
Great location
100% of recent guests gave the location a 5-star rating.
20+ time Superhost. Unique historic house in San Juan's Arts District - Santurce.

The 1st floor casita is like having a traditional Puerto Rican country cottage in the center of the city.

I'll meet you for check-in & take you on an Arts District tour ending up at 'La Placita' - market/restaurants/bars.

My hotel/tourism consulting office is onsite - so I'm here for any assistance.

If you appreciate art, culture, music & history in a typical San Juan neighborhood, this may perfect for you!

The space
The casita suite is at the back of the house on the ground floor. There are two steps to from the street to the lobby and then two steps to the 'sunken kitchen' if access is an issue.

Guests use the main entrance and reception gallery to the house, but you have a private locked gate to your casita's exterior courtyard. From the semi-covered 'gazebo' courtyard, you enter your bedroom/ensuite private bath on one side and your ’sunken kitchen’ with a sit-up bar/counter on the other.

The bedroom has a king size bed, flat-panel TV with Cable Channels + Roku, Free Wi-Fi Internet, air conditioning, ceiling fan and closet area with robes and iron/board. The ensuite private bathroom has a sink, toilet and shower (no bathtub). Clean sheets and towels are provided on arrival. If you stay more than one week, we provide clean linens once a week.

The casita has a semi-open "sunken" kitchen (sink, gas stove (no oven), full refrigerator/freezer, microwave, coffee makers (Mr. Coffee, French Press, Nespresso and traditional stove-top moka espresso maker), electric kettle, blender, toaster, rice maker/steamer).

NOTE: The casita suite does not have an enclosed 'living area'. The bedroom and kitchen open to a private courtyard with 'gazebo-style' covering that keeps light rain away and provides shade during the day. However, when it rains heavily, the courtyard does get wet - so you may get wet going from the bedroom to the kitchen. You should not leave computers, papers or anything in the courtyard that may get wet, since we can have short showers anytime in the tropics. (See photos for reference).

NATURE ALERT: The house has a very open design that encourages open doors and windows. There may be small lizards in the courtyard (we like them - they're cute and they eat mosquitoes).

Small birds and hummingbirds are common. If you're lucky, you'll hear a 'coqui' tree frog singing outside your gate til about midnight.

Mosquitoes blow in when the wind comes from the lagoons during rainy weather (we provide spay and have screens on the bedroom doors/windows) and the fan in the kitchen usually keeps them away.

We also have rather large 'palmetto bugs' that look like roaches and only live outdoors - these are common all over the island, even in resorts, so if you freak out at bugs, be warned. They only come out from the gardens on certain nights and local lore claims that the males expire after mating. They do not live indoors, they love gardens - so if they do find their way near you it is usually by accident.

Finally - we have a phenomena here in PR called 'Sahara Dust' or 'Bruma' - where sand from the African desert blows across the Atlantic Ocean and lands in PR. This is not pollution - but can cloud the sky and leave lots of gritty dust on the floors. Locals walk around the house in socks to keep it from sticking to feet - but its easy to clean up with the swiffers we provide in each unit.

Guest access
All guests enter the house through the same gate and front door. Please make sure to always double-check the front door and the front gate by pulling it with your hand to make sure that it is securely locked.

You'll enter the lobby and have access to beach towels/chairs, suntan lotions, yoga mats, bug stuff, umbrellas, tourist info/guides and our coffee/tea bar.

Follow the garden passage to the right and you'll find your courtyard gate.

Other things to note
Effective September 2019 we will no longer have traditional CableTV.
There is optical fiber WiFi throughout the house and each unit has ROKU TV.
We provide Netflix access. GadeTV has live news channels CNN, Fox News & MSNBC.
If you have traditional cable at your home - bring your user name/password and you can access channels from your home cable provider. You can log-in to Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Hulu or other subscription channels with your id and password.
Our VPN network is set to a Miami ISP to avoid geo-blocking.
We also have access to local Spanish language TV through digital antennae.
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Puerto Rico Tourism Company Hotelier ID 1113.
AirBnb will calculate and charge PR Room Tax as part of your invoice.
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A note on our 'open design': Although 99% of our guests love the 'indoor/outdoor' living, we've had some comments lately about noise.

The renovation of the house has been done with a very open layout - French doors open to the terraces, open eves and arched windows create a 'natural chimney, windows are mostly louvered wooden windows that allow trade winds to flow through the space.

Because of this open design - you will hear urban traffic sounds, plus the chirps of coquis (they stop about midnight), crickets that can be loud at times and some music from the recording studio next door, the artists' collective next door, or the dance school behind our house which rarely go past 11pm.

Air Conditioning is only provided in the bedroom. For guests who prefer non-air conditioned sleeping, open doors can provide great breezes - but also allow a higher exposure to urban sounds.

If you are used to central air conditioning and sealed windows - please realize that this house is not sealed and controlled. It would not fit the nature of the 100 year old historic structure.

We have also had some comments about 'dirty floors' from guests used to central air conditioning and 'controlled environments'.

All floors in the house have floor tiles and are mopped the morning prior to your arrival. However, since the design of the house is very open - the constant tropical trade wind breeze brings in a fine soot-like dust that is common throughout San Juan and eastern Puerto Rico at certain times of year.

This is especially common in the summer/fall when extremely fine dust blows from Africa's Sahara desert all the way across the Atlantic and covers the island. Puerto Ricans have a special local word for it - 'BRUMA' which is included in daily weather reports - with special updates when the dust will be heavy.

The 'BRUMA' brings natural fertilizer to the island, but also can also cause delays at the airport and form a layer you can see in the air when there is no breeze (check it out when you land at the airport - its not smog, but part of the Sahara desert suspended above San Juan).

The BRUMA dust/soot can appear even if floors are mopped every day - especially if you are barefoot- it is so fine that it sticks to your skin. Since we have open windows and doors in every unit and don't provide daily maid service, it can make the floor seem 'dirty' in a matter of minutes or hours depending on how the wind is blowing.

I provide a 'swiffer' in each unit so you can quickly give the floors a cleaning each day. However - if there is a heavy BRUMA - it will be 'dirty' again in a short time.

Local residents face the situation on a daily basis - so we tend to wear socks rather than go barefoot if we don't live in central air conditioning (our house only has airco in the bedroom of each unit - so BRUMA is a factor in other rooms).

This is a fact of life throughout San Juan and not something unique to this house or neighborhood. This is part of the 'charm' of the house, or could be a reason not to stay here, depending on your lifestyle and point of view.

This has been a factor for a very small percentage of guests - but since we are dedicated to guests having the very best vacation experience possible, I want to make sure that you are aware of this if it is a consideration for your lifestyle and choice of accommodations. Plus - the housekeeper asked to explain so you won't think he didn't do his job :)
20+ time Superhost. Unique historic house in San Juan's Arts District - Santurce.

The 1st floor casita is like having a traditional Puerto Rican country cottage in the center of the city.

I'll meet you for check-in & take you on an Arts District tour ending up at 'La Placita' - market/restaurants/bars.

My hotel/tourism consulting office is onsite - so I'm here for any assistance…

Sleeping arrangements

Bedroom 1
1 king bed

Amenities

Room-darkening shades
Laptop-friendly workspace
Smoke alarm
Air conditioning
Fire extinguisher
Kitchen
Iron
Hangers
Cable TV
Hair dryer

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4.96 out of 5 stars from 123 reviews
4.96 (123 reviews)

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Location

San Juan, Puerto Rico

When you arrive, I'll take you on a walking tour of the neighborhood and show you all arts venues, restaurants, bars, supermarket, ATMs, way to the beach, bus stops, etc. and end up at Plaza del Mercado.

The Santurce area of San Juan was the center of all business, shopping, restaurants, theaters and nightlife from the 1940's - 1980's. Often referred to as the 'Times Square' of Puerto Rico. Our area of Ponce de Leon had so many exclusive shops and boutiques it was called 'The Fifth Avenue of the Caribbean'. There was an elegant 'Rainbow Room' style dinner club one block away at 'Top of the First' and the highest concentration of movie palaces in the Caribbean.

All this changed when TV came to Puerto Rico. While the US mainland had their 'golden age' of TV in the 1950's, it wasn't until the 1970's that Puerto Rico developed their own local programming. After this, people could just sit at home for entertainment and no longer supported so many theaters. At the same time, the Hato Rey business district was created - luring many businesses out of Santurce. The final blow came when Plaza las Americas opened in the 1980's and Ponce de Leon Avenue was no competition for the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. The neighborhood gradually just faded away with abandoned buildings and theaters on every block.

But like many urban areas - artists and creative entrepreneurs discovered a wealth of great spaces - just a few minutes walk across the highway from the best tourism areas of Condado and Ocean Park. Started as a 'grass roots' effort with private clubs, galleries, bars, etc. in the areas surrounding the Fine Arts Center (4 theaters and Symphony Hall).
The Arts District was formalized with the opening of the Puerto Rico Museum of Art in a former hospital, The Museum of Contemporary Art in a former public school and the Conservatory of Music in a former Catholic School.
With the Miramar Historic District at one end and Sacred Heart University at the other - it now forms the highest concentration of arts in the Caribbean.

The neighborhood is still evolving - so some blocks are still abandoned and a bit shabby around the edges. This isn't a Disney-style gentrification area, but a real urban neighborhood that has everything from homeless to ultra-chic condos and lots of artists and interesting characters in between. But even the bad blocks are considered safe for tourists and have some of the best urban art in the world!

If you want a generic resort vacation, this may not be for you... but if you want a fascinating local experience with easy access to great beaches, Old San Juan's UNESCO World Heritage, authentic Puerto Rico living and some of the friendliest people in the world - the Arts District might be perfect for your trip to San Juan!
When you arrive, I'll take you on a walking tour of the neighborhood and show you all arts venues, restaurants, bars, supermarket, ATMs, way to the beach, bus stops, etc. and end up at Plaza del Mercado…

Hosted by Richard

Joined in November 2009
  • 477 Reviews
  • Identity verified
  • Superhost
Living in San Juan for 20 years. Originally from Connecticut, but lived in New York City for many years working in the travel industry and helping develop early online travel applications including Travelocity. After the 'internet bubble' I moved to the small Caribbean island of Saba and ran a boutique hotel with my Saban cousins on one of the most unique islands in the world. My years on Saba were the most amazing experiences and a true 'Don't Stop the Carnival' lifestyle. When Hurricane "Geroges" destroyed the hotel I decided to combine online marketing and hotel operations experience and move to Puerto Rico to work as a tourism consultant. Clients included the Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization plus hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Asia and Europe. Now also a licensed real estate broker in Puerto Rico - so if you visit and fall in love with the island like I did, I can help you find your perfect home or condo! Travel extensively in the Caribbean for work, all over the globe for fun - but always glad to come home to San Juan!
Living in San Juan for 20 years. Originally from Connecticut, but lived in New York City for many years working in the travel industry and helping develop early online travel appli…
During your stay
On arrival - I'll meet you outside the house and give you an orientation in the lobby at check-in before showing you to your suite.

After you get settled, I'll give you a tour of the neighborhood so you understand the history/development of the Arts District and where to find supermarkets, banks, restaurant, museums, bars, clubs and galleries.

We'll end at Plaza del Mercado where you can find restaurants/bars and the weekly 'street parties' on Thurs, Fri and Sat nights.

I'll also point out how to get to Old San Juan, the beach at Ocean Park and the bohemian/hipster Loiza Street area.

I have my office hotel/tourism consulting and real estate at the back of the museum just off the lobby and is available from approximately 9am-9pm.

I'm always happy to help with directions or recommendations and love getting feedback on your adventures in San Juan.

My office is not open to the public - it is by appointment only, so there are no issues with strangers having access.

And of course, you're always welcome to visit the Museum or Art Gallery.
On arrival - I'll meet you outside the house and give you an orientation in the lobby at check-in before showing you to your suite.

After you get settled, I'll give you…
Richard is a Superhost
Superhosts are experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests.
  • Languages: English, Español
  • Response rate: 100%
  • Response time: within an hour
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Things to know

House rules
Check-in: After 3:00 PM
Checkout: 11:00 AM
Not suitable for children and infants
No smoking
No pets
No parties or events
Safety & Property
Carbon monoxide alarm
Smoke alarm
Security Deposit - if you damage the home, you may be charged up to $100