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.
Minimum stay in 3 nights and special rates are available for extended stays. This unit is often booked up to a year in advance by repeat guests, so please check the calendar for available dates.
7% room tax is now included in all rates. We are registered with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company - Hotelier ID available on request.
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, which 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 (Mormon) 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 PUEBLO supermarket is just 3 blocks away in the Ciudadela Complex. Open 24 hours so even if you arrive late, you can head to the supermarket.
Planet Fitness is just across from PUEBLO and is open 24 hours during the week. If you have a membership for Planet Fitness at home, you should be able to use this branch.
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.
- 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 to the left on Ponce de Leon has the San Jorge Hotel and Restaurant (local breakfast and lunch on weekdays), Zal Si Puedes (Escape if you Can in local slang) gay bar with drag queens on weekend nights and a cellphone store. Our guests are welcome to use the coin-laundry in the Hotel San Jorge or use the front desk to book tours and rental cars.
- Two blocks to the right on Ponce de Leon is Calle del Parque. On the way you'll pass La Nueva Escalera for great drinks and loud Dominican music, you'll see the alley where Johnny Depp filmed some of the last scenes in The Rum Diary, Godfather II Restaurant and the bus stop to Old San Juan. Look for Subway and the recently renovated Francisco Arriví Theater.
Turn left on Calle Del Parque and there is also the intimate El Josco cabaret theater and Victoria Espinosa experimental theater. You'll also find El Taco and Cafe del Parque restaurants. 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.
- Back on Ponce de Leon,you'll see Mas Café, Santurce Discount and Libros AC Bookstore and Bistro. Across the street is the plaza for Ciudadela with Pueblo supermarket, pharmacy and food court plus Planet Fitness and Yolo Restaurant.
- Just past Cuidadela is DondeSea food truck, Arturos Restaurant, Naturalismo Vegetarian Cafeteria, another Subway and the entrance to La Girafa Verde - our 'open minded' disco.
A few steps more is the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue and Farmacia Luis. 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 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). Along the way, you'll see Tia Maria (neighborhood gay bar), Mumbai Indian Restaurant, Basico Healthy Kitchen, Hacienda San Pedro (local coffee plantation's coffee-house), BarriO restaurant, Gia Pizzaria, Café de Paris for some of San Juan's best French food and El Meson for typical Puerto Rican pressed sandwiches and great coffee.
- If you continue down Ponce de Leon, it is only a 3 minute walk 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.
- Five more minutes walk brings you past Levels Disco, 3XMan Boutique, La Hoya Eco-bar, Central High School and the Big Blue Church. The street across from the Big Blue Church as Ruben's 24 hour restaurant and the street to Plaza Del Mercado.
- 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.
- A little further on Ponce de Leon takes you to the Metro Theater and Museum of Contemporary Art.
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 11:30pm. During weekdays, service is about every 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. If no space is available - just move the orange cone in front of my garage and park there.
Note: like any big city - there can be '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.
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.
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).
- Zal Si Puedes is an intimate gay bar in the Hotel San Jorge with drag queens on weekends.
- La Girafa Verde (green giraffe) is our new 'open minded' disco. Rooftop lounge and terrace and second floor disco.
- Levels Disco - across from Fine Arts - open for special parties.
- El Local is a small but very popular club near the Fine Arts Center. Follow the street by the giant Lizard mural down the hill to the stop light. Turn right and look for the storefront.
-Plaza del Mercado bars/street party on Thurs & Friday but also good on Sat and Sunday. (10 blocks away).
- Abracadabra - on the corner has Jazz every Friday night and often has theater or other performances on Wed or Thurs nights.
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 when the wind comes from the lagoons during rainy weather (we provide spay and have screens on the bedroom door/windows).
Puerto Rico Tourism Company Hotelier ID: (phone number hidden). We not have included 7% Tourism Tax in all rates.
JULY SPECIAL - I'll be traveling in July 2014 so the house will not be available for regular bookings. However, if you are an experienced AirBnb guest or host and would like to stay for the month - you can get a fantastic 'house-sitter' rate in exchange for watering plants and reporting any problems to our handyman.
This was my first Airbnb booking experience and Richard was very easy to work with. He provided a lot of information in regards to the place, the neighborhood, and getting around the city. I booked the 3rd floor suite which was great and the pictures are accurate. The neighborhood was definitely a budding art / hipster community but with a good mix of local Puerto Rican tradition. Richard provided my girlfriend and I a walking tour around the neighborhood and recommended places to eat, visit and see. There is a 24 hour grocery store nearby which we found really useful for late night snacks / drinks.
We rented a car so I planned on using the Garage that was mentioned in the description and by others but it no longer exists. We were able to park in the front of the driveway to the place so it worked out. Not sure if that is what Richard has planned for the future but ask him just in case. Overall a great place and a great host, would definitely book again.
Best we can say is Over the top. The Penthouse Suite was everything we expected. Loved the restoration, it had old world charm with top star amenities! Richard is by far the best hosts we could not have enjoyed the charm of SJ with out his tour! He was very informative about places to eat, how to navigate around the area, where the locals go for culture, fun, and awesome food!! This was our third time visiting SJ but our first time using airbnb and we will definitely be back again. Great bang for the bucks!!! Thanks again Richard:)
Great place and good care by Richard.
This is perfect place to stay in San Juan. Richard is a great host. We stayed in penthouse and i was bowled over by the interiors. It was totally what i had expected and Richard takes care of every small thing to make the stay memorable. The house is in very safe neighborhood. For all future guests, do not miss neighborhood tour with this amazing host. He showed us places which we could have never discovered on our own. New San Juan is culturally very rich and you will get to know it if you go out with him. Richard gave us some amazing food recommendations and since we were vegetarians that was very helpful..We totally enjoyed our stay.
So many good things have already been said about Richard that I feel like a broken record by repeating them. So instead, I will say how much we agree with the other great posts and re-emphasize how much Richard is willing to go out of his way to show you around and help you have the best possible experience. I guess I can sum up by saying we have stayed a couple times now, invited my friends to join us on one stay and this time rented the second floor for my sister to experience this great place. Already booked again and know it won't be the last one! The place has the old world charm depicted in the pictures and is just far enough from the tourist area to experience the real Puerto Rico. At the same time, it is close enough to the tourist areas that you can enjoy both worlds on the same visit. Great job Richard!
Fantastic host. Richard gave us a little tour to familiarize ourselves with the neighborhood when we first arrived, and he was very accommodating. The living space had almost everything you need, just in case you forgot to pack something. Bug spray, sun tan lotion, first aid kits, shower items, beach towels, you name it. It's really easy to get to Old San Juan, you just take the 50 cent bus right around the corner.
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!!
This is the final rate, including any fees from the host and Airbnb.