San Juan Marriott Resort Impresses My Passengers
I’m sitting on my room balcony at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Casino, enjoying the perfect temps, cloudless blue skies and stunning views.
Yesterday my group of 52 gathered at Toronto Pearson in the early AM for our American Airlines Flight to Miami connecting to San Juan. Anymore it is so important that you give yourself 3 hours at Pearson to check-in and go through US custom/immigration procedures. It took many of my passengers almost 3 hours before they arrived at the boarding gate.
Since I knew we were going to have very little extra time instead of including airport lounge passes like I usually do, I gave everyone $30.00 USD to grab a bite to eat either at the airport or on the plane.
We had a good flight to Miami. By the time the plane was de-iced in Toronto we were 30 minutes later than scheduled departing but the Captain announced we were not going to be able to depart any earlier than 6:30am anyway. Other than maybe 5 minutes of turbulence it was smooth skies.
On arrival in Miami there was enough time for lunch before connecting to our San Juan departure. We remained in the same terminal which was a bonus and the walk between gates was an easy one. Everyone had breakfast money left over so it easily covered lunch too. I enjoyed charbroiled salmon – excellent. There are many small food stands in this terminal offering a bit more upmarket take-out. Well done!
Its a 2 hour flight to San Juan but you need to add an hour with the time change. Since it was a short flight there was no snacks/food items for sale on the plane so luckily we had time to grab something in Miami.
It was an uneventful flight – smooth the entire way. I sat next to a lovely lady from London, England. She was very talkative so the time flew by. The views of the island on arrival were stunning.
A young lady greeted us at baggage claim with a “Travel With Bradley” sign and in no time all our luggage arrived in the terminal and she then escorted us a short distance to our chartered motor coach for our journey to the 4 star Marriott Resort and Casino. Our driver spoke little English but was a very kind and attentive man.
We are all surprised how large the population is on this island. We traveled through the main resort area and in this section there are few visible signs of the destructive hurricane other than a vacant 10 story building that I can see in the distance from my hotel balcony. Last night I noticed that building was dark/no lights on and today on closer inspection its obvious that its been abandoned, but its been closed up in such a professional manner that at first glance you don’t notice.
This resort is EXCELLENT. The staff was SO well organized for our arrival and there was a crew of bellmen that delivered luggage to our rooms very quickly.
San Juan is a very expensive resort destination. Its big bucks to stay at this resort and others on this island. Not all hotels have re-opened so those that are can charge because of high demand and limited rooms. Airfare to this island is also VERY expensive.
Instead of a formal group dinner I presented everyone with $40. so they could do as they wished. It was a lengthy travel day and many were tired. A large group dined outside on the pool deck overlooking the ocean. Some went directly across the road to the very fun Hard Rock Cafe. Others grabbed a light meal at Starbucks which is also across the road.
The hotel concierge of course recommended a very expensive restaurant to me so I asked one of the hotel retail shop employees and she told me about a restaurant that attracts the locals and her because the seafood is fresh and reasonable. It was only a 5 minute stroll from the Marriott.
I could not have asked for a better recommendation – enjoyed freshly squeezed passionfruit juice, avocado salad (1/2 of a massive avocado on a bed of lettuce) came with no dressing as it wasn’t needed – without an exaggeration the most delicious avocado I have ever eaten. For my main I took the servers recommendation – local caught salmon with a white caper sauce on the side and the daily mash which was some purple looking vegetable I never heard of before but so good….
The restaurant was packed, service top notch. Pricing with the US exchange similar to eating at the Keg at home but so much better.
I casually made my way back to the hotel and as I was walking along I thought I heard a quiet “Bradley?” – I turned and Oh My Goodness there was an amazing friend of mine and the Walters family, Ryan Joyce – definitely the best Canadian illusionist there is, hailing from Fergus, ON. Ryan is so busy performing and as you know I’m either at the theatre or on tour with my groups so Ryan and I stay in touch via social media. I haven’t seen him in a few years. What are the odds we would run into one another on a street in San Juan!
It gets better though – its a long story but Ryan quite unexpectedly is going to be performing on the Celebrity Summit! He is so excited that I will have a Canadian group in the audience and my passengers will be thrilled when they hear the news.
Breakfast buffet at the hotel was excellent – everything you could ever want and the fresh fruit awesome – especially the purple dragonfruit!
At 9am today as always I was going to make sure that our luggage collection had started – walked into my room from the balcony and my luggage was already gone – no call needed – this resort really has their act together.
At 1030am I asked my group to gather as I want to make sure they all see their luggage before its loaded onto the coach. At 1045am we will head to the beautiful Celebrity Summit.
I have a bit of a problem though – my passengers love this resort and don’t want to leave!
Our Caribbean cruise is about to start! Sad to hear that at home a major snowstorm hit yesterday. With 30% of flights cancelled at Toronto Pearson it might be true – that horseshoe always seems to look out for me and my groups!