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Puerto Rico has some of the Caribbean’s most fabulous resorts. While the island suffered significant damage during Hurricane Maria, properties spent many millions of dollars to make their resorts even better than before. Visitors flock to the island for incredible beaches, a national forest and a vibrant food scene and Puerto Rico’s best resorts cater to sun lovers, families with kids of all ages, those in need of some serious spa time and nature fans.
For the ultimate in luxury, spend your holidays at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. This sprawling property was originally a plantation and it has been recreated keeping in mind the legacy of its original developer, Laurance S. Rockefeller. The property is remote, but once you arrive there is almost no reason to leave. The rooms are stunning, the beach is spacious, the pools are heavenly, the spa has locally inspired treatments and the five restaurants have superb and varied menus. Golf and a nearby water park provide additional activities.
One of my favorite Puerto Rico resorts is the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. The stunning property has unlimited activities, including tennis, golf, kayaking, sailing, fishing and more. The rooms are luxurious and include butler service and the food is first-rate. But it is the location that really sets the St. Regis apart. The resort is just a short drive from El Yunque National Forest, which has 28,000 acres of hikes, a waterfall and a zip line. The nearby Espritu Santo River is an ideal place for bird watching and the Fajardo Bioluminescent Bay provides the perfect night-time adventure.
La Concha is beloved for its modern design features, making guests feel that they are staying in a hip, tropical escape. An undulating ceiling in the spacious lobby and a shell-shaped restaurant are just two of the signature features. The main pool is a multilevel infinity pool with connecting waterfalls and is perfect for people-watching. (An adults-only pool provides serene privacy.) The rooms are artfully furnished, the beachfront location is close to town and the resort boasts a unique oceanfront nightclub where you can drink, dance and indulge with a view of the Atlantic.
El San Juan Hotel
El San Juan
The historic El San Juan Hotel has recently undergone a major renovation and both the rooms and the facilities now shine with upgraded features. Happily, the resort’s classic vibe remains and the original carved mahogany walls and ceiling from the 1950s have been restored and look terrific. Loyal patrons love the fabulous pool, sandy beach and great on-site activities including tennis, basketball, water sports and a pool table. Dining options include a lovely beach-side meal at Aquarelle, serious steak at the Meat Market, great Italian food at Trattoria Napoles and an authentic drinks menu at the Rum Bar.
It will be hard for fun-loving families to beat the offerings of the San Juan Marriott Resort Stellaris Casino. The property boasts a fabulous pool, complete with a water slide and mini water falls, a perfect beachfront location, and free bikes. Kids will be kept busy with a slew of activities such as scavenger hunts, sand castle building and hula hoop contests. A recent $20 million renovation has created sleek, hotel rooms, newly outfitted balconies with ocean views, and a spacious wellness center. Children love the gelateria and adults appreciate La Panaderia, the new signature coffee house. The children’s meals are plentiful and free Wi-Fi keeps the teens happy.
Horned Dorset Primavera
The Horned Dorset
Rincón, one the western coast of the island, has some of the best surfing in the world. Even if you don’t surf, beach lovers will enjoy the less crowded feel of the area and the casual seaside restaurants. Where to stay? The Horned Dorset Primavera is the area’s best-known resort. The property has created a sprawling luxurious retreat where Moroccan-inspired villas are spread across lush tropical gardens. All suites have private plunge pools and there are two freshwater pools and a yoga pavilion.