Arriving into El Salvador & the Princess Hilton

When I had the chance to spend a full day in El Salvador, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. As I’d gotten ready to leave Costa Rica and head to Chile, I’d originally planned to just get there as soon as possible.

Then the flight gave me a 12 hour layover, maybe enough time to see El Salvador… maybe? Not really, it was a night arrival/morning departure.

So I decided to alter my trip, spend one extra day in El Salvador and leave for Chile one day later. My flight from Costa Rica was on a propeller plane, with the large turbines and everything. I can’t remember I flew as a passenger on a plane with propellers, though it was actually a fairly large plane, with seating capacity for maybe 100 people.

We had just about 10 people though, so it was a quick flight. I booked it through United with Ultimate Rewards Points, though Avianca was the actual carrier.

Knowing I’d only have one full day to see the city of San Salvador, booked a spot at the Princess Hilton. I’d been a bit tired from a lot of back and forth travel and the location close to downtown with a reputable name like Hilton and I knew I’d be taken care of.

El Salvador has a bit of a reputation in the crime department (I didn’t tell my mother I was headed here until after I came back… Because after all, there was no reason to make her worry when she couldn’t do anything).

So in line with that as brave as I might be, I decided not to go the $5 hostel route down a back alley.

The Hilton

The hotel itself was perfect. Maybe a bit out of place if anything only because it had quite a high luxury feel in an area that didn’t quite fit. The service was good and the rooms were clean and spacious. As a Hilton Honors member I was upgraded to have access to the Executive Suite, which is a private room serving snacks, light dinner and drinks.

My only negative with the hotel was the handling of the shuttle service. The airport is not close to the hotel, about a 25-30 minute drive, although the Hilton website does promote “Airport Shuttle Available for a fee.” So the hotel can arrange transportation, but it’s not complimentary.

The problem comes with arranging the shuttle. As I’m traveling, I can’t always get to a phone or make calls to other countries, so I wasn’t able to call the Hotel in San Salvador. When I reached the Hilton main line, I spoke with three different reps who passed me back and forth when I asked how to arrange the shuttle.

I was finally told there would “certainly” be some type of courtesy phone there and to call then. When I arrived, and determined the hotel was much farther from the airport than I’d thought, I didn’t see a phone. One of the taxi driver’s lent me his phone and I called the Hilton directly.

The young woman told me what I’d feared, that I needed to arrange it, and that it would be leaving in a half hour to make another run. This meant I’d be waiting around for at least an hour. I decided to go the taxi route instead. A small hiccup, but not the best way to start the trip. I’d recommend the Hilton Princess be a little more clear about this on their website.