Once the National Center for the Arts, the Da House Hotel now doubles as an art gallery. // © 2014 Puerto Rico Tourism Company
Feature image (above): Guests can explore Old San Juan, Puerto Rico when they stay in Da House Hotel, one of the accommodations in the Posadas Program. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Travelers looking for an intimate and culturally rich experience in Puerto Rico need to look no farther than their hotel room. As of late, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) has been creating a web of small historical buildings-turned-hotels, known as posadas, in the urban regions of Puerto Rico.
Renovated and restored, the posadas requires unique qualifications in order to be certified by PRTC. They must be sustainable, contain seven to 75 rooms and center around a theme that is reflected in its design, staff and activities. The theme also should illustrate the culture and history of its municipality.
The program launched in October 2014 with the opening of Posada Hotel Colonial in Mayaguez and Da House Hotel in Old San Juan. PRTC approved almost 60 rooms in 2014 and plans to certify an additional 100-plus in 2015.
The first hotel to be certified, Hotel Colonial was restored with a $60,000 investment. The building served as a convent in the 1920s, and its religious history permeates the design of the hotel and the 29 on-site guestrooms. Nearby landmarks include Teatro Yaguez (Yaguez Theater), a former movie theater that is now a performing arts center, and Cathedral of Mayaguez (Our Lady of Candelaria Cathedral).
Guests interested in a more artistic experience can stay at Da House Hotel, which doubles as an art gallery. In the 1970s, the building held the National Center for the Arts. Now, this posada’s staff boasts art experts, and the walls display Puerto Rican paintings from the likes of Rafael Tufino and Eli Barreto.
Guests searching for nightlife can head to Da House’s first floor for live salsa music at Nuyorican Cafe. Meanwhile, the nearby Old Harbor Brewery, Puerto Rico’s only microbrewery, is a must-see for those yearning for cold beer.