The first time I laid eyes on Hotel El Convento in San Juan, Puerto Rico was in these photos by Timothy Lee and Mel Barlow of designer Ceci Johnson's wedding, featured on Style Me Pretty.
The frescos! That courtyard! Those floors! How could you not be enchanted be the place?
The Hotel El Convento is housed in a restored, 365-year-old Carmelite Convent, a gorgeous example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the heart of historic Old San Juan. The public spaces are open and old-fashioned and grand, with black-and-white checked floors, intricately carved wood doors, and antique furnishings. A courtyard in the center is home to a century-old Nispero fruit tree, standing guard over diners sipping strong Puerto Rican coffee at Patio del Nispero restaurant.
The 59 guest rooms are as colorful as the neighborhood's rainbow-colored row houses, with vibrant fabrics, carved chairs and headboards, and Andalusian tile floors. There's a small plunge pool on the roof overlooking the ocean, perfect for a quick dip after a day spent wandering the shops and cafes of Old San Juan, nearby historic fort Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and the San Juan Cathedral, adjacent the hotel. End the day here with a rum drink on the roof for the sunset, followed by tapas and cocktails made from herbs grown in the hotel's garden at the pretty, lantern-lit terrace restaurant El Picoteo, overlooking the courtyard.