Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Following the acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton hotel collection by Marriott International, the Ritz sought to rebrand – planning 20 ultra luxury properties worldwide – dubbed Reserve Properties. Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico is one of the first two (the other, Phulay Bay is in Krabi, Thailand) Reserve Properties.
Formerly a plantation owned by Laurence S. Rockefeller, $342 million has been poured into Dorado Beach making it an ideal vacation and restoration destination.
A trip to Dorado Beach is 45 minutes by car from the San Juan airport. Arrive and find yourself swarmed by friendly and eager to please staff. A short walk beside a beautiful lily pad adorned water feature, and you’ll spend as little as 60 seconds checking in to the hotel. Staff show you to your room, and you are off and running (or resting)!
Dorado Beach can accommodate the most active of guests. The golf aficionado will enjoy the three distinct courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Senior. Complimentary bicycles are provided to guests to explore the 50-acre sanctuary or you can hike the historic Rockefeller Trail.
For the adventurer, a short bicycle ride along a golf cart path will take you to Goodwin’s Surf Shack – who supplies a myriad of water sports activities–all types of surfing (board, kite, wind), paddle boarding and sailing. World-class tennis programs are also offered year round on the five courts.
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program introduces guests of all ages to the natural wonders of Puerto Rico on land and sea with hiking, kayaking and snorkeling excursions. Unique offerings abound–including underwater photography instruction, exploring nightlife on the reef, and visiting an archaeological site directly on the property.
The Watermill is an aquatic playground complete with water-slides and a lazy river–all tastefully designed. And at La Cocina Gourmet Culinary Center guests can partake in exclusive culinary classes and wine theme dinners set in a contemporary kitchen against an oceanfront backdrop.
But if a relaxing and rejuvenating experience is what you seek, Dorado Beach can deliver that as well. Simply enjoy the spectacular vistas–particularly from the infinity pool–which incorporates lush vegetation and includes ‘bubble beds’ to massage your aching body and private cabanas (more like outdoor canopy beds) from which you can laze away the day.
Don’t miss the outstanding frozen coconut mojitos as you watch the sunset. Treat yourself to an array of healing spa treatments administered in the serene spa or in a tree house pavilion overlooking the botanical sanctuary. Let your butlers (known on the property as “ambajadores”) meet any special requests and cater to your needs while you relax.
Recharge with a stroll on the beach and enjoy a swim in the waters (made lagoon-like with the addition of large rocks which stifle the potentially rough surf). Indulge with the tasting menu at Mi Casa restaurant by famed Spanish chef Jose’ Andres.
Staying in a room on the East Beach will afford you the most privacy, which you will appreciate as you take in the ocean views from your private plunge pool.
Overall, the experience is outstanding, as is the ability to recover, restore, and recharge. However, the resort is expensive – avoid the high season (November-March). The service was generally outstanding throughout the property, but unimpressive at Positivo Restaurant. And don’t expect the shops to open on-time. Finally, when you plan your stay, it is best to avoid Puerto Rico’s holidays.
*San Juan is serviced directly by all major US carriers from 17 US cities.