Want to stay in a renovated, historical convent or a building that once served as Puerto Rico's National Center for the Arts?

How about overnighting in a small property with a Christmas theme or another that embodies Spanish colonial heritage?

The accommodations scene in Puerto Rico runs the gamut from deluxe boutique hotels and beachfront resorts to grand properties in the upscale Condado section of San Juan. 

Posada websites

With the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.'s (PRTC) launch last October of the first two properties in its Posadas Program, travelers now have another quite different option in accommodations selections. 

"This program was two years in the planning stages," said Juan Vega, the PRTC's director of the program's planning and development. "Posadas are historical buildings that have been reconstructed and restored. Each posada is PRTC-certified and offers a themed experience that reflects the history and culture of its municipality."

Posadas are different from paradores, which are part of a network of 15 small, family-owned inns, usually located in the countryside.

"Posadas promote the culture of the city," Vega said. 

The lobby of the Colonial Hotel in Mayaguez, formerly a convent.
The lobby of the Colonial Hotel in Mayaguez, formerly a convent.

Puerto Rico has 78 municipalities. The principal criteria for a posada is that it be located in a town's historical center, offer between 10 to 50 rooms and carry one theme throughout that is oriented to the history of the building or the town. 

"We feel that one-third of the downtown areas in Puerto Rico offer the right location," Vega said.

"Posadas are not on the beach or in a forest or in a mountain setting," Vega said. "They are centered in historical towns with walkable access to restaurants, shops, theaters, museums and events."

The two properties currently in the program are the Hotel Colonial and Da' House Hotel; a third will be added this month and another three by the end of the year.

The Hotel Colonial in Mayaguez in western Puerto Rico originally opened as a convent in the 1920s. The 29-room, now-restored property revolves around a religious theme, the center of which is the remodeled portico from the convent.

Nearby attractions include the Yaguez Theater, another historical landmark that now operates as a performing arts center, and Our Lady of Candelaria Cathedral.

Rates range from $59 to $109 per room, per night, double, including breakfast and WiFi.

Da' House Hotel in Old San Juan is a hotel/art gallery, themed around Puerto Rican art and music. The 27-room posada is staffed with hotel personnel who serve as cultural hosts and art experts.

Da’ House Hotel in Old San Juan is a hotel/art gallery, themed around Puerto Rican art and music.
Da’ House Hotel in Old San Juan is a hotel/art gallery, themed around Puerto Rican art and music.

Nearby attractions include the Nuyorican Cage on the hotel's first floor, which features live salsa music, and the Old Harbor Brewery, the country's only microbrewery.

"The next to open will be the newly built, seven-room Posada Navideno in Orocovis, the geographic center of the island, and its theme and decor will center on Christmas," Vega said.

Rates will range between $150 to $200 per room, per night, double, with breakfast.

Others, still in the planning stages, include the Posada San Blas near the island's south coast and another in the Porta del Sol (Doorway to the Sun) tourism region in western Puerto Rico.

"When we have several more posadas operating, we plan to offer combination packages so that travelers can drive from one to the next," Vega said. "The island is small and easy to do by car."

Each posada has its own website, brochures in English and Spanish in hotels and tourist offices and descriptions in Que Pasa, the official tourism guide publication.

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