Home Video in San Juan, Puerto Rico
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published July 2011
Words by: Collin Ruffino
Photos by: Michael Yu
I was recently in Puerto Rico with Home Video playing a festival in Aguadilla, which is about an hour and a half west of Old San Juan.
Since there was nothing particularly special about the area where the festival was, we decided to extend our stay and chill in Old San Juan for 48 hours.
The hotel we stayed in, sadly for only one night, was El Convento. It is a restored, 350-year-old convent from Spanish Colonial times and it is stunning. We had a hard time manifesting the desire to leave the hotel at all. The entrance alone seduces you immediately–a spacious hallway, with marble floors and thick, ornate wooden doors three times your size, all lit in Caravaggio-chiaroscuro.
There is a courtyard in the center of the building, open to the air, with tropical trees, lined with plant life, where you can sit and have a drink from the bar.
We were upgraded to the Presidential Suite, which was excessively impressive. There were two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a dining room/living room with a handful of chandeliers scattered around, a dining table, a vintage couch, and various ornate furniture crafted from dark, heavy wood. The master bathroom had a giant jacuzzi, a separate shower room, a distinct room just for the toilet and a walk in closet. The bathroom alone was bigger than most apartments in New York.
The hotel offers free alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea, and snacks (fine cheeses, bread, etc.) on the third floor for a few hours everyday and has an open bar honor system at all other times. We took our drinks up to the roof where we later had a dip in the mini-pool and hot tub. The hotel is on the more expensive end, but definitely worth every penny. I think even if I were on a tight budget, I would at least include one night at El Convento.
After a night of indulgent sampling of the local beers and liquors, we found the perfect brunch/lunch spot called St. Germain Bistro and Cafe. Two of the four of us are vegetarian, so it was generally hard to find anything to eat in Puerto Rico, much less great food. Our first meal in PR was a quick stop at Burger King, where we were forced to eat their crappy salad, which we had to pick the bacon off. St. Germain was veggie friendly and had a local/organic ethos. They have different soups daily, quiche, ceviche, gourmet sandwiches, salads, and pita pizzas. I had the potato-spinach soup, vegetarian quiche, a salad, and a local espresso. The soup particularly stirred my soul to the point that I suspected a meat stock base (which it didn’t have). They also serve brunch, which we had missed but looked delicious: Lebanese Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Baked Eggs with Salmon.
The ambiance matched the quality of the food, and the service was super friendly and relaxed. We got a free round of chocolate croissants for dessert for “liking” the restaurant on Facebook. After leaving the restaurant to walk around and see the city, we actually shamelessly tried to come back later, but it wasn’t open for dinner yet.
Home Video is an electronic rock and (slightly) pop band and production duo based in Brooklyn. They’ve played with Blonde Redhead, Justice, Yeasayer, Flying Lotus and Colder, and have remixed Bear In Heaven, Faunts and Bang Gang among others. Their latest album The Automatic Process is out now.