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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Between City and Sand in San Salvador

Once dominated by civil war, El Salvador’s capital city now offers a vibrant urban culture plus nearby escapes to towering volcanoes and Pacific beaches.

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1. Where to Stay


The recently renovated Holiday Inn is among the city's affordable upscale hotels.  

Book a room in one of the city’s surprisingly affordable five-star properties. The resortlike Sheraton Presidente (from $169), located in nightlife-centric Zona Rosa, is where President Obama and other heads of state prefer to sleep. Alternatively, opt for the Real InterContinental (from $129), which is close to a handful of the city’s best restaurants and the three-story Metrocenter, the largest mall in Central America.

Choose from one of six daily breakfast options at the nine-room Villa del Angel (from $56), a fashionable B&B opened last August by a young local couple. The pair designed all of the locally produced furniture in each room, and the hotel’s Colonia Escalon address puts it close to high-end shops and indie boutiques.

Stay at the most recently renovated of San Salvador’s upscale hotels at the four-star Holiday Inn (from $129), located in the quiet, leafy Antiguo Cuscatlan district near the U.S. Embassy. Skip the merely decent in-house restaurant, Essenza, for a taste of the justifiably famous grilled chicken at Pollo Campero in the mall next door.


Published on May 12, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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