Let me start with the conclusion: I would most certainly return for the right price. It is a very nice upscale resort and offers a beautiful beachfront location that is a short distance to Old San Juan and most of the destinations you want (business or pleasure).
However, I did not feel that I was at a top luxury resort. If you changed the brand name to Marriott I probably would not have noticed the difference. However, my personal experience is that luxury levels in the Caribbean are lower than most of the world and against those lower standards the Ritz Carlton San Jan counts as a luxury resort. Otherwise, imagine a very nice four star resort. The staff are wonderful in their attitude, always pleasant and helpful and yet many lack polish with ties poorly tied, jackets threadbare and presentation styles that are at times almost comical (but sincere and well intentioned).
The arrival was just plain poor - we had made a request in advance which was first declined and then after a second request it was granted. However, upon arrival there was no evidence they had received the request! No one greeted our taxi and we lugged our bags to check-in without comment from any staff. In fairness, our future interaction with the door staff was very positive. At check-in the GSA made a big mistake by ignoring my wife - I am still hearing about it!! But that is poor and we had to ask to add her to the reservation despite a call to ensure it was done earlier that week.
None of these things would ruin a stay but they certainly don't indicate a luxury hotel. On to good things - the spa was nice although difficult to book (we would have booked at least two more treatments but couldn't get appointments). The beach service was great and the Ritz team there very friendly and helpful. The restaurant BLT Steak was MUCH better than than the NYC version. We stayed on one of the club floors and the Ritz team in the club lounge was wonderful. We might return just for them!
One more issue - we paid a $45 PER NIGHT resort fee (16% of room bill) which I find obscene. This was to pay for access to the fitness center, selection of fitness classes, wifi in rooms and public spaces, limited business services, and use of float mats and snorkeling equipment. Thus I paid $45/night for wifi as I didn't use the other items (and could have lived without wifi!). I understand the fees and how they help hotel profitability but 16% is just obscene. All of those items offered are normally complimentary at most hotels with the possible exception of wifi, and that is normally only $10!!
We enjoyed the Ritz Carlton San Juan but all of our stories will revolve around that resort fee and the lack of value offered. Was that what they really wanted? I can see myself returning as we truly enjoyed our visit but will assume a room rate 20% higher than quoted when comparing prices with other destinations.
In summary, a nice four star resort with wonderful, friendly staff and an incredibly greedy, soulless owner.
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel Isla Verde
- Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa And Casino
- Ritz Carlton Carolina
- Carolina Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Carlton Puerto Rico
- Ritz Carolina
- The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan Puerto Rico/Isla Verde