Posted Dec 6th 2010 04:08 PM
From quiet cottages to boisterous megahotels, there's a little something for everyone at the top four luxury oceanfront resorts in Puerto Rico
With two 18-hole golf courses as part of the Trump International Golf Club
and home to the Puerto Rico Open, this 486-suite resort is the perfect getaway for travelers who love the links. Naturally, having two courses means having a lot of property, which gives the peninsular Gran Melia a feeling of true privacy and seclusion (it's three miles away from the nearest town). Being all suites, the rooms are spacious, and the resort accommodates seven restaurants, from a simple swim-up poolside bar and grill to an Asian bistro to more traditional local fine dining.
Located on Vieques
, one of Puerto Rico's outlying islands, the W Retreat and Spa lives up to its namesake, a bucolic place you can run away to and loosen the nerves. Away from the hustle and bustle of the Puerto Rican mainland, the W has crafted a serene experience perfectly suited to Vieques' calmer (and less commercial) tempo. At night, the beach is unlit to protect the native sea-turtle populations and the sounds of Puerto Rico's coqui frogs fills the air. Amenities include the W Spa, tennis courts, fitness center, and the resort's vaunted "Whatever/Whenever" service which purports to give the guest exactly that (for a price, of course). And if you can't leave home without Fido or Spot, you're in luck: The W Retreat and Spa is pet-friendly.
A more family-oriented luxury resort, the Wyndham Rio Mar's proximity to San Juan
, large size (600 rooms), many restaurants, and location along the Atlantic Ocean make it perfect for small and large groups, while its significant sprawl means you can kick back on the sand without feeling like you're at a crowded mega-resort. The property does feel insulated from the city, but its shuttle services and transportation make it easy to get out and experience Puerto Rico, from shopping in Old San Juan, to the island's many historical forts, to its famed bioluminescent bay.
Las Casitas ("the cottages") takes its name from the 157 villas the make up this Waldorf-Astoria-owned luxury property. Located in the northeast side of the island, the resort is a slice of verdant beauty bracketed by the ocean and the nearby El Yunque rainforest
. There's no shortage of activities to keep you busy, from teeing off at the Arthur Hills Golf Course to relaxing at their 26,000-square foot spa, to snorkeling off the resort's private island for guest use or hitting the blackjack tables at the on-site Caribbean Casino. With 24-hour butler service you don't have to lift finger except for the fun, Las Casitas is an exceptional luxury oceanfront resort, and one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico.
Photo by Gordon Tarpley via Flickr