Former Monastery HotelA landmark monument , Hotel El Convento in San Juan, Puerto Rico showcases a timeless aura of Old World charm and splendor. Befitting its origins as a Carmelite convent 356 years ago, this hotel is a loving restoration of Spanish Colonial architecture and design. As the first Carmelite Convent in the Americas, it housed the nuns for 252 years until closing a few days before Christmas in 1903. Vacant for a decade, the abandoned building served as a retail store, a dance hall, and, for the next 40 years, a flophouse without running water, sanitary facilities, or electricity. Opened on Jan. 27, 1962 as El Convento Hotel, it offered a tranquil, European-style alternative to the existing hotels.