NOTE: For all reservations starting May 1, 2014 there is now a 7% short term rental tax administered by the Puerto Rico Government Tourist Office on all AirBnb and other short term bookings. Since there is no way to charge this via AirBnb - 7% of your base rental amount (excluding cleaning fee and AirBnb fees) will be collected in cash at check-in.
The penthouse suite occupies the entire third floor of '456 Saldaña'.
You have to climb two sets of stairs to get to the penthouse, but the steps are worth it...
The penthouse level has a dramatic vaulted entry where the original cistern for the house was located. On one side of the passage is a bedroom with king bed and an 'invisible wall' that you can open or close for privacy/airco. The other side has a 'club style' TV room with overstuffed leather club chairs, flat panel TV and access to the rooftop patio. The wrap-around patio has a garden, fountain, birds and our own 'coqui' - yes, he sings at night 'coqui, coqui, coqui'.
There is also a kitchenette with mini fridge, coffee maker, toaster and microwave. There is no stove and it is not suitable for cooking other than a microwaved snack, so if you want a kitchen to prepare meals, the casita or second floor suites are better options.
There is a walk-in closet, make-up station and large bathroom with double sinks, urinal (no fights about seat up or down), bidet and glass-walled shower (no tub).
The vibe is 'urban santuary' with lots of space and privacy.
The door to the penthouse level has a lock and key and patio doors all lock for security.
The penthouse suite is perfect if you don't mind steps and you don't need a full kitchen. If you need easy access without stairs and your own dedicated kitchen, please consider the Casita del Coqui on the first level.
Feel free to contact with any questions prior to booking. We keep the availability calendar up to date - so if you see that the dates are listed as available and don't have any questions, you can go ahead and make your booking right away.
Airport Transportation: There are no public busses from the airport - so a taxi is the best choice. Rates are fixed so you don't have to worry about the price. Fixed price is currently $18 plus $1 for each piece of luggage (tip not included). Late night arrivals may have a $2 surcharge.
After you complete your reservation, I'll send complete arrival map and instructions.
Location: The house is located in Santurce, which is about a 10 minute walk 'across the highway' from the Condado and Ocean Park tourist areas. We're just a few steps from Ponce de Leon Avenue, that has frequent bus service to Old San Juan. This has become the center of San Juan’s new ‘Arts & Culture’ redevelopment area.
The house is across from a condo, next to a small residential hotel. A LDS church is on one end of the block and a Pentecostal church on the other. Abracadabra arts-café is right on the corner with Ponce de Leon.
New SELECTOS supermarket is just 3 blocks away in the Ciudadela Complex.
Planet Fitness has just opened across from SELECTOS and is open 24 hours during the week. You can join for $10/month (but make sure you cancel on your last visit to avoid recurring charges).
Easy access to theaters and museums and the bus to Old San Juan are the main attractions. Beach is about a 15 minute walk or 4 min. drive.
Arts & Culture:
- Abracadabra - a 'counter-café is located just a few feet away at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Calle Saldaña. Great food, local gourmet coffee, local craft beers and one of the best weekend brunches in San Juan. Frequent performance nights ranging from jazz to theater, circus arts, film festivals, comedy, magic and more...
- Two blocks away on Calle del Parque, you'll find the recently renovated Francisco Arriví and Victoria Espinosa Theaters. There is also the intimate El Josco cabaret which features Teatro Breve - San Juan's improv theater. Further down the street is La Respuesta Arts Space which features arts performances, exhibitions or becomes a nightclub featuring different bands or themes each night.
- Continue walking down Ponce de Leon for 5 minutes walk and you'll fine the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue. This is the traditional center of Santurce's Arts District. In the 1960's this was called the 'Times Square' of San Juan. Today, it is re-emerging as the center of the Arts District and there are new restaurants, shops, clubs and nightlife opening all the time.
- If you continue down Ponce de Leon, it is only a 3 minutes to San Juan’s Fine Arts Center (Centro de Bellas Artes) with 4 theaters ranging from cabaret & experimental spaces to large theaters suitable for Broadway musicals, opera or concerts. The new Symphony Hall is just across the large plaza and home to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
- If you take a right turn on De Diego Avenue, its a 5 minute walk to the Puerto Rico Museum of Art (MAPR) with its intimate Raul Julia Theater and Laurel Kitchen|Art Space Restaurant by celebrity chef Mario Pagan (The Next Iron Chef
- Other performance venues are easy to reach by the M3 Metrobus that runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music are about a 5-10 minute bus ride. Old San Juan theaters such as the historic Teatro Tapia, Ateneo Puerto Puerto, or Casa de España take about 15 minutes by bus. Hato Rey theaters and the Coliseum area about 10 minutes in the opposite direction - but require a change to the new Tren Urbano for the 3 minute ride to the Hato Rey station.
The MetroBus M3 runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue from Old San Juan to the Tren Urban stop at Sagrado Corazon. Bus costs 50 cents - exact change required.
Busses start about 5:30 am and run until about midnight. During weekdays, service is about ever 10-15 minutes - slower on weekends and holidays.
Old San Juan takes about 15 minutes on the M3. Get the bus one block away opposite Godfather Restaurant.
Tren Urbano is only two stops in the other direction. Get the bus just at the end of our block. At the Urban Train you can change for the elevated train for the Coliseum, Rio Piedras Shopping, University of Puerto Rico, Centro Medico, Bayamón’s Sports Center or Bayamon Pueblo (town center).
Plaza Las Americas can be reached with the Metrobus 2. This bus runs about every 45 minutes and runs through the Hato Rey Business District before turning and running along Roosevelt Avenue to Plaza Las Americas – the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. This bus is .75 exact change and stops at the corner of our block.
A taxi from the airport is approximately $20 -$22 one way depending on luggage and how much you tip.
PARKING: There is street parking outside the house. However, there have been a few rare 'smash and grab' situations - especially if people have GPS or leave items in the car. This happens all over San Juan, so its nothing special in this area, but it can ruin a day of vacation if you have to deal with reports/insurance, etc. We are now recommending that guests consider parking in a secure garage that is 3 blocks away in the Ciudadela complex. The garage is only $5/day and you can come and go as you please if you pay in advance.
Ocean Park Beach: The best beach in San Juan is a 15 minute walk to “Parque del Indio” that divides Condado from Ocean Park. You can rent beach chairs/umbrellas - but there are no public changing facilities or bathrooms on this beach.
Escambrón Beach: You can also take the Metrobus #3 and get off near the Caribé Hilton at Parque Munoz Marin for Escambrón Beach which has rest rooms, changing facilities, food vendors and is very popular with families. It is also has San Juan’s best surfing at ‘El Ocho’ when the surf’s up! The bus ride takes about 15 minutes and then there is about a 7 minute walk through the park to the beach.
Isla Verde Beaches: You can also take the T5 bus by the Museum of Art to Isla Verde Beaches.
We provide beach towels and usually have some sun screen that other guests have left.
Banks: ATM (ATH in Puerto Rico) - There are two bank machines on Calle del Parque - just 2 blocks from the casita. Both accept major networks, but if you want to check on any fees, they are First Bank of Puerto Rico and BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina). There is also a Banco Popular branch with ATM at the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue.
-On the corner: Abracadabra - a counter café: New restaurant with young, hip, attitude open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a 'healthy, creative' menu that is not exclusively vegetarian - you can also get a burger. They have 'Hacienda San Pedro' gourmet coffee from Puerto Rico and Old Harbour Beer (the brew pub in Old San Juan). Very 'artsy' clientele - there is even a small stage for occasional performances.
-One block - Godfather (Dominican/Caribbean & Breakfast - open 24 hours on weekends). Caesar's Café - lunch. Cafe San Jorge - breakfast & lunch.
-Two-Three blocks - La Casona (very elegant Spanish & Puerto Rican cuisine), Subway, Natural Food Shop with cafeteria, Arturos, Sabores.
-Five blocks - Tren Urbano: Chinese, Al's Bakery, Don Juan Rotisserie Chicken.
-Five blocks - Fine Arts Center (8 min walk): Denny's (24 hours)
-Five blocks - Museum of Art (10 minute walk): Bistro de Paris (elegant French cuisine), Rigeletto (Pastries, Paninni, light fare, espresso). Hacienda San Pedro (Starbucks style coffeeshop), El Meson Sandwiches.
-Five Blocks - Condado (10 minute walk): Bebo's Café (Puerto Rican Food), Under the Trees, Silk Road.
-10 blocks - Plaza del Mercado (15 min walk or short bus ride): Santurce's historic market has many popular restaurants that surround the traditional Puerto Rican vegetable/fruit/spice vendors. On Thursday and Friday nights there is a very popular 'happening' here where young hip executive types hang out, listen to music, drink and eat inexpensive Puerto Rican 'street-food' (you can also dine at the more traditional restaurants
Nightlife: The nightclub scene is constantly changing and like most major cities - what is hot today is 'not' tomorrow. However, here are some of the current favorites
-La Respuesta is an arts space/disco/club featured in the NYTimes last year and still very popular with the young, hip, crowd. (2 blocks away).
-The Plan B is a pizzaria in the evening and turns into San Juan's favorite dance club at night. This area on Loiza Street in 'downtown condado' is emerging with lots of small pop-up clubs that can be interesting. (5 blocks away).
-Tia Maria is Santurce's neighborhood gay bar (4 bocks away).
-Heaven & Hell is the hottest gay disco (but everyone goes). Rooftop lounge is all white for drinks/conversation. Middle floor is all-red disco. (4 blocks away).
-New Disco across from Fine Arts - will update as available. (5 blocks away).
-Plaza del Mercado bars/street party on Thurs & Friday. (10 blocks away).
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 see a 'coqui' tree frog. Mosquitoes blow in from the lagoons during rainy weather (we provide spay and have screens on the door/windows).
This place is great! Richard is an excellent host who is super knowledgeable about the city and happy to help out with all questions. We've been to San Juan many times and stayed in many different neighborhoods and places but this one was the most cozy ever. We felt like we lived there. I loved waking up with coffee on the terrace next to the fountain with sun filtering through the plants. We're really excited to get back there soon.
This was our first experience with airbnb , couldn't have been a better choice! When we arrived at the airport taxi driver was not sure where Richard's place was. Called Richard and he spoke directly with our taxi guy and delivered us safely. Richard was outside and waiting for us. Loved our haven on the 3rd floor. Outside space was enclosed with lovely herbs, flowering bushes, and water fountain which enhanced the privacy in the middle of the city. What better way to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or evening glass of wine! Richard does a wonderful job of taking you out on a short tour of your local area to help familiarize you something he was there! Kitchen is limited to microwave, coffee machine, toaster but it was clearly stated in his listing and we knew this. If you want full kitchen, 2nd floor can also be rented, we were able to see it in between guest and has a lovely front and back porch with full kitchen and we are actually going back in March to rent both penthouse and 2nd floor with family. For local flavor instead of tourist area we would highly recommend Richard's place!! Wonderful privately owned museum located on first floor which you have the privilege of seeing upon request!
We had a wonderful time staying at the Penthouse. The space itself is beautifully furnished, bright, peaceful, comfortable. And it was easy to get to everywhere from here -- an easy walk to the beach, the mercado, and an easy bus ride to the old city. We visited during Christmas, so sadly the neighborhood was quiet, but things were picking up by the time we left. Another great reason to stay here is Richard, who was very helpful in showing us the neighborhood, where to find food when everything was closed, and who had thought about practically everything to make our stay enjoyable -- bath towels, change for the bus, sunscreen lotion etc. Richard, thanks for being such a good host!
We wouldn't stay anywhere else for our next trip to San Juan, and there will definitely be a next trip. We loved the apartment, it was exactly what we had imagined. Richard is a great host, he loves and knows this neighborhood/community well and it shows. This area is perfect for young, artsy travelers. To compare San Juan neighborhoods to NYC neighborhoods, staying in Old San Juan would be like staying midtown Manhattan, filled with other tourists, while staying at Richard's place is more like staying in a Brooklyn neighborhood, surrounded by local coffee shops and artist spaces. We had the best trip, already trying to figure out how soon we can get back here!!
Richard's availability and his knowledge of San Juan combined with his first quality apartments made the best possible travel experience in San Juan. The Penthouse is elegantly designed and meticulously maintained. Richard gave us several private tours in the neighborhood so we had a chance to see how local people live and eat real local food with fresh fish! If this is your first time in San Juan, don't hesitate to book it. It's only ten minutes drive from the airport and the public bus takes you to the Old San Juan for 50 cents. Thank you again, Richard!
my husband and i came for a week. Richard was nice enough to show us around the neighborhood and tell us about the history. He was always around for any questions and wend above and beyond to help us find places we can go and where they are located.
he is very knowledgeable and the Pent house was charming. we spend a lot of time relaxing on the porch connected to our bedroom and living area.
he also had all amenities we may need. like beach towels and sunscreen available to us. Basically a nice guy with a great place
This property is not on top of a touristy destination and has a very special feel. It's tucked away in an urban neighborhood in the midst of renewal. The penthouse apartment which Richard designed and had custom built, is a unique escape, a hide-away, villa, garden and "urban tree house" all wrapped into a very relaxing stay. It is a beautiful, spacious, private,calming space and if we come back to San Juan we'll stay here. The space alone was a treat, made us feel special, and that we we were on a true vacation. It's a great value too. You would pay 5-10 times Richards asking price if this space were at a 5 star beach hotel. It isn't on the beach, however we felt we were actually better here than captivated in a hotel room with expensive lobby bars and hotel restaurants. We felt like we were residing on a bigger campus (greater San Juan) rather than in one spot. Parking is a breeze (and inexpensive) and we were literally a stone's throw from the best beaches in San Juan. We were near major access points for exploring the area. We could also jump on the bus (never waited long) or in our car outside our door and be somewhere new in a few minutes. This gave us more variety to our vacation and enabled us to splurge even more by taking advantage of anything eastern PR has to offer; the best 5-star quality restaurants and excursions. Very convenient location and 2 doors from a bus stop which takes you into San Juan in @ 12 minutes for 50 cents (bus runs all the time). Richard is a professional and runs his place like a hotel (he's sort of a concierge) and is vested in the local economy and culture. Everything was as advertised, and more. If you like the flexibility of vacationing the way we did, then this is a place you'll high five over.
Overall it was very peaceful, private, hassle free , a has a nice feel and helpful to have Richard as a guide when needed.
Thanks to Richard our stay in San Juan was beyond amazing! He gave us a phenomenal tour, and was super helpful when it came to navigating the city. Richard certainly went above the call of duty, and not to mention his place is a small piece of heaven. If you are considering staying in San Juan this is the place be. You will not regret it!
Richard was a great host. Very informative. Took the time to show us around the neighborhood. Comfortable accommodations. Thanks Richard!
My husband and I stayed in the Penthouse suite of Richard's fabulous house in Santaruce. First of, the house is absolutely gorgeous, traditional style but completely modernized with beautiful and tasteful decor. The patio in the penthouse was great and my husband and I sat out a lot, enjoying the plants and the peaceful sounds of the fountain. There even was things like bug spray available for us to use in our suite and downstairs by the main entrance.
Richard was always very responsive by email and made the booking process extremely easy. Despite having another appointment when we landed, Richard had someone meet us at the house (Billy) - who was amazing and took us on a quick walking tour of the neighborhood. My husband and I are both vegetarian and Billy actually took the time to go in to a few restaurants with us to ask about vegetarian options!
Richard was an extremely hospitable and friendly host. Always around the house and available for a quick chat or to answer any questions. He always had ideas on things to do and helped us organize and plan our trip better once we got there and talked through it. Richard also told us about local spots to hit and we truly experienced local Puerto Rican flair!
I would definitely recommend staying with Richard if you're planning on visiting San Juan! We'd go back and book with him in a heartbeat!