Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Gallery Inn -- 204 Calle Norzagaray, Old San Juan



I went to Puerto Rico for work last week and stayed at The Gallery Inn in Old San Juan. My colleague (JD) had been to San Juan previously, and stayed at The Intercontinental Resort. I'm a bit more adventurous in my dining and lodging, and I got some adventure.







My room was smallish -- probably 20-feet square -- but had a queen-sized bed and a private bathroom. It was clear that the building had undergone a lot of work. The house itself was 300 years old, but everything was in basically good shape.

There were numerous courtyards, and semi-indoor/semi-outdoor rooms adjacent the courtyards where I saw folks conversing.

Each room I saw has doors facing a balcony overlooking a courtyard. My second-floor balcony had many potted plants immediately outside the door. They have small fountains, so you could always hear the sound of running water.


There were lots of neat plants that I certainly didn't recognize. I enjoyed the greenery.





Besides plants, there was sculpture everywhere. I got the sense that I was in an artist colony or a university art department. I came across a memo to staff about the dress code; it had separate directions for the maintenance staff and for the "artists". I don't know the whole story, but it seems that the inn was started by a couple, Jan and Manuco, and they have a lot of artists living there.





Cleanliness: Everything was very clean, but not necessarily new. Nothing had an odd odor. It helped that my room floor was brick.



Security: You enter the inn's outermost courtyard through a closing gate, but it can be unlocked easily from the outside. Then you enter the house to reach the rooms. The lock you could use from the outside would not lock, but there was a sliding lock on the inside that did work. So I couldn't leave anything valuable in my room when I left.





Breakfast: The breakfast was good. The waitstaff apparently didn't speak English, and I didn't speak Spanish, but they tried very hard. You can eat in any of the courtyards at some tables, and they'll serve your food there. Every morning I had some cut and peeled fresh fruit, reasonable coffee, and toasted rolls with butter and guava paste. The coffee was OK; they should invest in a better coffee maker, I think. The percolator is a bad idea.

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