In my earlier posts on Old San Juan (read Part I and Part II), I mentioned that we had the opportunity to stay at The Gallery Inn and declared that it was worthy of it's own blog post! As promised, here is a highlight of our time spent there.
As the name implies, The Gallery Inn is a place that marries art and history in a truly unique setting, poised on the edge of Old San Juan. Paintings, sculptures and reliefs greet you at every turn, and the many porticoes and patios lighten the feel of stone arches and stucco walls. This is one of those rare places that manages to suspend the feeling of time as soon as you enter and enchants you with its old world charm.
Let me not forget to mention the ever present classical piano music that echoes throughout the halls! The Gallery Inn serves as a recital location for the local Steinway Piano Club- you may just be lucky enough to encounter a concert during your stay! Toss all this together and my facebook post on the place earned the hashtag #coolestplaceihavestayedEVER.
Possessing a degree in art history, I insisted to my husband that I MUST stay at this place if we were in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At first, I anticipated that children would be unwelcome but, on the contrary, my daughter was greeted by the owner, Jan D'Esopo, who encouraged her to explore and engage in a scavenger hunt amongst the art.
While there was much to discover throughout the inn, Rayna's favorite activity was finding and watching the birds. She was delighted and entertained by the friendly parrots who hang out in the patios and even throughout the inn. Campeche, a white cockatoo, did tricks for us and spoke on command!
While all the art was captivating, one painting in particular caught our attention. In case you weren't aware, there is a museum doppelganger/look-alike challenge that is popular and I found mine at The Gallery Inn! Rayna also had fun posing as we tried to re-create the feel of old world paintings!
Our room was part of the original 17th century mansion that was first purchased by Jan D'Esopo in the 1960's. Jan, an extremely prolific artist, has created most of the beautiful works on the premises. Over the last few decades, she has slowly restored and renovated neighboring apartments to a now boastful inn with 27 unique guest rooms. I doubt you'd be disappointed with any of them but they do offer a range of sizes, including a family suite. I highly recommend booking directly through their own website (thegalleryinn.com) and not using a third-party booking site - they offer rates 10% cheaper than anywhere else online.
While this place would not be ideal for families with babies or small children, don't strike it off your list completely. Older children and teens would be entranced with the meandering places to explore and it provides exposure to some wonderful art, music and history!
<<Trip Tip>> Another option is to simply visit The Gallery Inn for a quick tour, even if you do not stay overnight. Located just a few blocks from Castillo San Felipe del Morro, it is convenient to stop by as you explore Old San Juan. I would suggest emailing or calling before dropping in to make sure it's a good time to visit.
I wanna know: What's the coolest place you've ever stayed? Comment below!