Over on Calle Loíza, the rise of independent restaurants and culinary talent has sent fast food chains packing. “All fast food chains such as Wendy’s, Burger King and Church’s Chicken shut down, and locally owned shops reopened instead,” says Stephan Watts, co-owner of The Dreamcatcher hotel. “A trend that is pretty impressive and contrary to what’s happening anywhere else in the world.”
The Dreamcatcher is located in Ocean Park, one of the best areas of San Juan for its proximity to the ocean and urban life as well as its low-rise Modernist buildings. The Dreamcatcher is undoubtedly the best place to stay in this area. It’s intimate, with just nine rooms and three suites. Set in a beautiful old house, its vegetarian food is well-known and mostly sourced locally. A relaxing, homey place to base yourself.
Join a community service project. Book an eco-yoga New Year's Eve retreat. Or enjoy a relaxing stay at a boutique hotel like the Dreamcatcher, purposefully situated, according to co-owner Stephan Watts, in San Juan’s last remaining beach neighborhood where “buildings are under 30 feet tall, vehicles are restricted, and guests can follow a hand-drawn map to beaches and local businesses all within walking distance.” The hotel features boho-chic rooms; private outdoor showers; small-group, off-the-beaten-path hiking excursions; starlight yoga; and a locally-sourced, all-vegetarian menu of dishes like papaya-topped pancakes and hibiscus flower juice—a delicious way to start the new year healthy.
VACATIONS ARE TYPICALLY filled with fun, frivolity and food. Ah, yes, the food. Whether you’re traveling near or far, there are infinite options for enjoying local cuisines, even at your hotel. However, for vegetarians, the perfect getaway can be challenging if the hotel restaurant doesn’t offer a substantial plant-based menu.
“I’m really in love with the Dreamcatcher. It’s small and chic, and they have yoga and meditation right on the beach, plus massage, salsa classes, and cooking classes. They brand themselves as a vegetarian hotel; breakfast and brunch are vegetable-focused and they do vegan dinners. It has a really great vibe — the rooms are nicely decorated with furniture by local designers and most of them have terraces. It feels very natural. And you are right in Ocean Park, steps away from the beach. The owners are hands-on and their customer service is fantastic.” —Paulina Salach, co-founder of Spoon Food Tours
"Last year, Hurricane Maria canceled my solo stay at this 12-room oasis, and I’m so looking forward to rebooking now that San Juan is back on its feet for tourism (and in need of the financial support it provides). Though much of the Puerto Rican population is still working toward recovery, the Dreamcatcher staff reports the restaurants and shops in the neighborhood have reopened and the nearby beach is as beautiful as ever. The rooms have so much personality, the food gets rave reviews, and the activities on offer range from moonlight yoga to rainforest hikes to hands-on volunteer projects." — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor
This bohemian bed and breakfast only has 12 rooms but each comes with its own name and is decorated with crochet bed covers, Berber rugs, retro wallpaper and 70s light fixtures, reports the travel publication.The accommodation encourages guests to socialise and has plenty of public spaces and a shared kitchen. There are sunset yoga sessions on the outdoor terrace but you can also arrange a rainforest tour or a paddle-boarding session down on the beach at the front desk.
Chef Jerome Valencia brings artistry to the vegetarian culinary scene in Puerto Rico. As a follower of the Rastafari movement, Jerome and his friends began a campaign in a place where there wasn’t even a market, leading to a decade-long sojourn that Jerome refers to as his life’s path. Equal parts chef, musician, and visionary, Jerome is propelled by a different way of seeing things, a consciousness that’s rooted in the art of soulful living, and very, very delicious cooking.
On an island largely known for being carnivorous—where fried cheeses and heavy meats fuse together in almost every meal—just like Chef Jerome, The Dreamcatcher is a change-maker: Allowing only vegetarian meal prep in its communal kitchen, guests of bed and breakfasts flock to the idyllic retreat for a healthy break from their routine.
Sylvia de Marco was one of the pioneers of Calle Loíza’s renaissance, opening her vegetarian haven in 2012 and festooning it with hammocks, plants, buddhas, candles and, yes, dreamcatchers. The vibe is resolutely new-agey: you’re thanked for “sharing your energy in our home and being part of the beautiful menagerie that creates the Dreamcatcher”. And while guests can cook their own (meat-free) food in the two kitchens, it also has a chef, the talented Jerome Valencia, whose daily three-course veggie breakfasts are more luxy than hippy: pumpkin porridge with papaya and nuts, then scrambled eggs on portabella mushrooms with spinach, cheese and guava salsa, and indulgent chocolate and avocado mousse.
Everything about this inn promotes relaxation, from its location in a quiet, residential seaside neighborhood to the hammocks hanging in unexpected corners, and the flower-filled garden dotted with buddha statuettes. All ten rooms are furnished with handpicked vintage, themed pieces: pendant lanterns and kilim rugs in the Moroccan suite; built-in bookshelves painted bright green in the library. Sign up for a yoga class, held at sundown around a fragrant lemon tree, or for a paddleboard lesson taught in a nearby pond."
If you are lucky enough to make a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, you’ll have a plethora of options for places to stay. Beyond the high rise hotels in Isla Verde and Condado, where the pools, rooms, staff and scenery look more or less the same as their neighbors, there’s a seriously special guest house, tucked away in a gated community with access to pristine beaches, local culture and a space to lay your head that will make you feel like your dreaming as soon as you enter its gates.
I heard about the Dreamcatcher Guest House from multiple friends, from both coasts of the U.S., and the word was, ‘you must visit this amazing space.....
The Dreamcatcher Guest House, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was chosen as one of the top ten bed and breakfasts in the world by the trade publication,Bedandbreakfast.com.
“We started the year with a great achievement. We are honored to achieve this recognition that benefits the entire tourism industry of Puerto Rico at a time when our economy needs it most,” noted Sylvia de Marco, owner of Dreamcatcher Guest House, in a press release.
She said it is the first guest house on the Caribbean island of its kind to receive this recognition, awarded by a panel of expert judges and tourists who wrote reviews for Bedandbreakfast.com.
Health-conscious travelers thrive at at Dreamcatcher, where vegetarian communal breakfasts are served every morning and yoga, meditation, and quiet time is highly encouraged. The intimate two-year-old guest house put relaxation in high regards, from its location in a quiet, residential seaside neighborhood to the hammocks hanging in unexpected corners, and the flower-filled garden dotted with buddha statuettes.