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SanJuanMarriottWhether you’re a family of four, a group of girlfriends, or a young couple on a tight budget, you know that tropical travel can come with a high price. Sure, all-inclusives offer the bang-for-the-buck factor, but what they provide in savings they often lack in culture and distinctiveness.

For all of the above travelers (and anyone in between), the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers the best of both worlds: comfort and culture at reasonable rates. Rooms start as low as $185 per night in low season; about $200-$220 in high season. (Note: there is an 18% resort fee per room, per night.)

With its oceanfront location in bustling Condado, there are more restaurant and nightlife choices than you’ll have time to hit, and the variety means there’s something for every budget (and taste). It’s all walkable too, meaning no expensive taxis. Add to that one of San Juan’s most beautiful, dramatic beaches, and two swimming pools – one child-friendly, one mojito-friendly – and there’s truly no need to leave the resort and the surrounding neighborhood.


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But what really gives the San Juan Marriott its value factor is the design and décor; your eyes will swear you’re at a five-star bank-breaker. They recently completed an $8 million renovation of all 525 guestrooms and balconies, adding warm and welcoming design details, 47-inch TVs, plush carpeting, beautiful bathrooms, and an overall feeling of comfortable luxury.


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Beyond that, the lobby and Red Coral Lounge received a $2.2 million makeover in 2010, giving the space an open look that is modern and oh-so-cool, complete with a wooden coral reef sculpture designed by Puerto Rican artist Neftali Maldonado. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy the insanely good Dragon Berry Mojito.

Three restaurants each offer food that’s as good as or better than any you’ll find at an über-luxe resort, and happy hour and late-night specials make them even more affordable. Their sprawling breakfast buffet tastes even better with a two-for-one price ($24.95).

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