My wife, two kids and I recently stayed at the new Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton Reserve hotel in Dorado Puerto Rico. I must say that this is an exceptional resort in an incredible setting.
Dorado is a small very clean town about 30 minutes west of San Juan. Getting there is very easy on the highway. Once you get there, you are taken into a Avatar type exotic beautiful landscape of a beach front manicured tropical forest. As strange as this may sound, it is more beautiful than any mental picture you may have of a tropical paradise. Something like fantasy island on steroids. The landscape architects went out of their way to create this beauty. As you drive towards the hotel inside the private property, you will see the golf courses on both sides of the road, behind the tall bushy trees.
The architecture of the hotel is high-end, modern, tropical, very classy and unique. The hotel integrates with perfection into nature without disrupting it. It seems as if the plants and trees walk in and out of the open areas because every day you notice some plants you have never seen. Once you arrive to the main driveway, you see a beautiful huge reflection pool with tropical floating large plants. Then you walk up the open stairs to the reception area, you will be astonished with the view of the open hotel with the infinity pool and beach as a backdrop looking west. The view of the sunset is gorgeous. The place is quiet and all you can hear are the Coquis at night "a local unique frog that makes bird like sounds", quite a treat.
The staff is Ritz Carlton quality with few exceptions particularly at the bar areas. I am sure this will get worked out soon as the place matures.
The rooms are separate from the main hotel and you get there either walking or on a golf cart. Not far at all. The rooms are spacious, beautiful and right on the beach. The beach is second to none you see in the caribbean. Crystal waters, no waves or currents, palm trees, warm powder like beige sand etc. Everything is new and well thought out. For example, the glass doors facing the beach hide on the walls giving you the impression that you are in your own private beach front property. We stayed on a first floor room which has its own private small infinity pool. The room amenities are second to none including the bathroom which includes an outdoor private shower area, perfectly integrated into the rest of the bathroom. Room service is good.
OH wow!!! This is what you here when you enter this open spa from other guests and what I was thinking. If it sounds too good to be true, it is is more that surreal. It is perfection. There is even more attention to detail to this spa than the hotel itself. The architects created this spa within the forest and I would not hesitate to give them the Spa Oscar. They grow their own aromatic plants which you can later select for your treatments; they have grotto style chilled and hot pools open to the sky, a beauty salon with Thailand furniture, resting areas, store, reflection pools etc. The spa is divided in two wings; his and hers and a third area for couples treatments. I counted about fifteen buildings hidden in the landscape. You feel outdoors all the time even though there is complete privacy. Masterful. I will not comment anymore on the spa because it will make this review too long. Just make sure you get a massage in one of the tree houses overlooking the gardens.
The main restaurant is called Su Casa which is operated by chef Jose Andres from Spain. He is known for his inventive fusion of tastes and styles. I must say that the food at the restaurant is good yet the portions are rather small, like a tasting menu. I personally cannot rave about the food or restaurant service when compared to other top restaurants in the US but some commented that it was terrific. A matter of taste and opinion, I guess.
Breakfast is also served at Su Casa and could be better. Lunch is served at the open restaurant next to the infinity pool. The food here is good. Service could be faster, more polished, and more synchronized. They need someone to run the show in this regard. Things you would expect for a hotel in this price range.
There are many many things to do. Top golf courses along the beach, tennis, pool, beach, gym, basketball, sailing, snorkeling etc. The resort has an area called Plantation which is just amazing. It has a large river pool called The Watermill which is like a fusion of roman baths with a tropical river. Very unique, large, well maintained and definitely entertaining for the kids and family. It has its own cafe, spiral like huge water slides hidden behind a large plantation like wall, jacuzzi areas, cascades, waterfalls, kids areas, toddler areas, you name it. In front of this pool, there is the most amazingly designed gym you can imagine. It looks like a sugar cane rancho house with two story high glass walls overlooking the golf course, river pool, and tennis center. It has all the amenities; sauna, steam room, free weights, machines, treadmills, yoga room, attentive staff, etc. etc. A must see by its own.
The Ritz Carlton Reserve at Dorado Beach is definitely a world class prime property and resort worth seeing and close to the mainland. The attention to detail in design, landscaping and service is everywhere. We will return to this place again in the near future. Hope this review helps...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Somewhere between idyllic and perfection sits a Puerto Rico resort of such intimate luxury and rare character, it calls to those who believe every journey should be a voyage of discovery. Once a 1,400-acre sugar plantation owned by the Livingston family, Dorado Beach caught the eye of conservationist visionary Laurance S. Rockefeller, who in the 1950s transformed the lush landscape into one of Puerto Rico’s most exclusive luxury resorts. With its serene coastline, private residences, spa sanctuary, golf courses and a harmonious sense of place that blends masterfully into the natural surroundings, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve invites guests to arrive spellbound – and depart speechless. ... more less
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