July 6, 2006 email@example.com - Galloway, NJ
After more than a year of planning, and searching for the perfect location throughout the Caribbean, we settled on Villa Montana Beach Resort, in Puerto Rico, on the North West shore, for our June 17, 2006 wedding. And without ever having seen it until we arrived, 5 days prior to our wedding day! I must say I did rely in part on Trip Advisor reviews and photos providing by the resort.
We flew into San Juan and rented a car. It takes an hour and a half if you’re good at driving in traffic. I highly recommend you find a way to arrive using the airport at Aquadilla, only ten minutes from the resort. The last mile or so we began to wonder what we had got ourselves into, as the road narrows to almost one lane, and we thought we were in the middle of nowhere! Then we came around a corner, saw the gated entrance, and drove into one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.
We had 43 friends and family joining us for the wedding, and every one of them loved the resort, and the surrounding area. They had a ball! I reserved a 3 bedroom villa for my fiancé and me, plus our kids (this was the second time around!) and it was right on the beach, nicely decorated, and as the 3 br is really a 2 br joined with a 1 br, the extra small kitchen was perfect for our son and grandchild. We loved the outdoor shower off of our master bedroom! The villa was well maintained, and any minor items were taken care of quickly, based on island time. (A note here to TripAdvisor readers: we are experienced travelers and have stayed at 4 and 5 star resorts and hotels throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, England, Scotland & Ireland, as well as the USA. If you think of house keepers, food servers and hotel staff in general as servants there to do your bidding, demand instant service, and have no interest in, or respect for, the local culture, well you probably should stay at home. We have found that if we introduce ourselves to staff and local people and show a sincere interest in them, there culture and language, we get great and genuine service. Sorry for the lecture, but not one negative thing we read among the mostly positive reviews regarding this resort ever happened to us, or the 43 people who joined us. Your attitude directly reflects the level of service you receive.)
Some of our guests stayed in villas, and some in hotel rooms, all were pleased. One had asked for a king bed, when shown to the room and it had a queen, they were quickly upgraded to a one bedroom with a king. The pools were clean and well maintained. The grounds were stunning and constantly attended to. A group of 9 of our guests arrived at 11:30pm and the staff were waiting at the reception area to greet them. The bartender stayed open until probably 1am, and the staff even prepared sandwiches in case they were hungry! One night I called the front desk at around 11pm to ask if they had a corkscrew, as the one in our kitchen was broken. They said they would check, and a few minutes later one of the managers, Edna, arrived on a golf cart with a corkscrew she had taken from the bar. We opened our wine, she left, and the next day we had a new corkscrew in our villa.
Things To Do:
There is horse back riding available adjacent to the resort, Tropical Trail Rides owned and operated by Michelle and Craig Barker. Considered by many the best on the island, most of our group went. The ride on the beach is incredible.
I also have to mention the Ocean Front Hotel & Restaurant, just a few miles from the resort, right on Jobos beach. They have an air conditioned restaurant, but the fun is out on the ocean deck. The bar and deck are covered, and the staff was great. We went by ourselves our first night, and the food was very good and inexpensive. Two nights later we went back with our two sons and daughter and 19 month old grand daughter. We had such a great time we decided to have all our guests come back with us on Friday night. I called the owner, who was kind enough to set up extra tables for us, and we showed up with 40 of our friends and family! They just loved it. It’s very laid back, the view is fantastic, and we had so much fun that most of us went back on Sunday!
It was a beautiful setting on the grass by the ocean, (note: in the photo of the wedding gazebo, the chairs had all been covered in white, but had been removed due to the rain. See the Villa Montana web site for a photo of the wedding gazebo all set up) with the wedding gazebo decorated with fresh flowers and flowing linens. The path covered with flower petals. The guest chairs all lined up. Then the heavens opened and it poured! I mean serious cats and dogs rain! So while we waited in our villa, and our guests mingled by the bar, the staff moved everything onto the restaurant patio, which was covered, so the ceremony could start. But then there was a break, and Diana, our wedding planner, and that Edna again, knowing we really wanted our wedding on that beach, moved it all back outside in no time! It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful setting. Following cocktails on the lawn we moved to the terrace of the Eclipse restaurant. The terrace was also gorgeous, with long tables we chose (at the suggestion of Diana) instead of round, flowers everywhere, and wonderful lighting that gave it a magical air. The menu, prepared by Executive Chef Jeremie Cruz (named Caribbean Chef of the Year 1997 -98) was excellent, and served in a timely manner; there when needed, but not rushed. Diana, our wedding planner was there throughout to oversee. And when my 82 year old Mother, who uses a cane, was ready to go back to her villa, there was Edna with the cart! The next morning we hosted a breakfast for everyone and once again, the food was great and the service fine. (Here I will offer a suggestion to management: people will wait a long time for their breakfast, with that beautiful ocean view, but they need their coffee and juice quickly. A coffee thermos placed on the table means your staff doesn't have to keep checking, and won't forget, and the customer doesn't have his nice hot breakfast in front of him but no coffee to drink with it. Minor detail, but island time aside, more than several people mentioned this.)
Since we have arrived back home we have talked with all 43 of our guests and all agree it was a well run wedding, and a beautiful resort, and not one complaint. That’s hard to beat! We can’t say enough about the staff throughout the hotel. The bartenders, food servers, house keeping staff, and front desk were all very accommodating, always friendly, and ready to help. The hotel general Manager and owner, Jessica Tiphaine, came out several times to greet us and ask how everything was. And last, Diana Perez, our wedding planner. We thank her for all her effort, before and during our stay. She helped us to make decisions on the ceremony and reception, and saw to it that all went as planned. She was in on her day off, waited with us until 11:30 one night for guests to arrive, and just simply went above and beyond to insure our wedding was perfect. The other special mention is Edna Bosques. She was always there, always helping, and we loved her attention to detail.
We will go back, and some of our friends and family are already talking about a return trip.
We left Puerto Rico for our honey moon, and went to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to the Hotel Villa del Sol on La Ropa beach. I will write a review of that experience shortly.
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Montana Beach Hotel Isabela
- Hotel Montana Beach
- Resort Montana Beach
- Villa Montana Beach Resort Puerto Rico/Isabela