Gran Meliá Puerto Rico Golf Resort
It’s not every day you get to vacation in somewhere bordering both the azure ocean waters and a verdant rainforest. Heck, most people will probably never vacation somewhere that euphoric. Except, you will – that is, if you stay at our crowning glory selection, Gran Melia Golf Resort.
We knew our list of Top 10 Puerto Rico Resorts would be lacking if we didn’t include luxury resorts like this Coco Beach beauty. But boy, we would have really been in hot water – and not just the effervescent waves of the onsite YHI Spa, either – if we would have forgotten to include Gran Melia. Surrounded by the El Yunque rainforest and garnishing not only 20 two-story bungalows but also two 18-hole golf courses, this northeastern Puerto Rican resort is anything but forgettable. The Trump International Golf Club is home to the Puerto Rican Open – the country's inauguration to the ranks of the PGA select – and serves as your driving home – nay, dynasty – on your island adventure. And you’ll feel like you’re part of a dynasty once you get the Gran Melia Golf Resort Royal Service. This exclusive, extremely personalized upgrade program includes Royal Service Ocean Junior Front Suites featuring on-terrace whirlpools, plus access to the adults-only private pool!
200 Coco Beach, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 00745
Gran Meliá Golf Resort Puerto Rico is a 2009 Pinnacle Awards recipient.
Tennis courts, nightly entertainment, casino, salsa and meringue dance lessons, activities center and a kid’s club.
El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa
While we could have easily split up our No. 2 Puerto Rico pick into five entries – we decided to make you a deal. A five-for-one, if you will. El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa is made up of more than just a handful of four-diamond hotels – it truly epitomizes the Island of Enchantment.
Resting high above the cerulean Atlantic atop a 300-ft. cliff sits this massive island retreat. We could barely wrap our minds around the idea of there being not one, not two, but five villages with accommodations, including the soothing Las Brisas and La Vista. But once we took the tour and discovered just how splendid, varied and real the grounds were, we could rest assured that if we blinked, they would still be there. We loved Las Olas Village, built into the side of the cliff and boasting dreamlike ocean views from the private balconies. But if you’re up for a slippery adventure, we recommend staying in La Marina Village – next to the new Coqui Waterpark and private marina. After you’ve explored the villages, head down to the shore and hop a catamaran. It’ll take you to Palomino Island, El Conquistador Resort’s 100-acre private unspoiled tropical paradise. Heaven meets earth on this piece of land, strewn with lounge chairs, hammocks and waiters ready to bring you the chilled concoction of your choice.
100 Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo 00738, Puerto Rico
El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa is only four miles from downtown Fajardo and Las Croabas!
Related Onsite Offerings
World-class golf, a spa, a casino, a waterpark, wind surfing, scuba diving and fishing.
El San Juan Hotel and Casino
If you thought beds were just for sleeping, you were wrong. At least when it comes to the ones at our third Puerto Rico retreat – especially the day beds around the pool! And trust us; you’re going to want to save your slumber until the wee morning hours at El San Juan Hotel and Casino!
Why is that? Because this Isla Verde virtuoso features 15 acres of elegance wrapped perfectly into a palm tree-laden paradise. Here, pools featuring ever-pouring waterfalls complemented flawlessly by overflowing piña coladas will make you realize that life’s not meant to be lived pushing pencils in a dreary cubicle all day. Now about those day beds. After an afternoon lazing in an euphoric coma around one of the many sparkling pools, slip into something comfortable and test your luck at the 13,000-sq.-ft. onsite casino. If you’re up for some offsite exploration, take a 15-minute trek to Old San Juan where you’ll find historic architecture and a thriving culture brimming with bold, beautiful color. And if you’re anything like the shopohalics that we are, you’ll be happy to know that the Caribbean’s premier shopping mall, Plaza Las Americas, is just a few minutes away!
El San Juan Hotel and Casino is only five minutes from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport!
Related Onsite Offerings
Traveling with your entire family? Stay in the Two Bedroom Ocean Suite with two bathrooms – enough room for everyone!
From Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, exit the airport toward San Juan. Take the first exit to the right before the overpass. Turn left at the stop light onto Isla Verde Avenue. El San Juan Hotel and Casino is located two blocks ahead on right.
We know it’s hard to imagine anything other than miles of warm white sand, turquoise surf and clusters of fragrant flowers when you hear someone mention Puerto Rico, but our No. 4 resort will give you a different take. Puerto Rican Art Deco comes alive at Rincon of the Seas – Grand Caribbean Hotel.
From the leaded glass gracing the walls and entryways of this seaside resort to your very own suite, you’ll be immersed in colorful glass and hand-painted murals splashed with a palette drawn from the island itself. Custom-made furniture and art from around the globe pull Rincon of the Seas together and creates your exotic island destination. But the beauty doesn’t lie only within the walls of this hotel. Out the terrace doors and into the courtyard you’ll find masterfully manicured botanical gardens – a great place for an unforgettable photo-op! If you like the idea of stripping off your duds, squirming into a swimsuit and doing a cannonball all in 60 seconds flat, then you’ll adore the beach cabana rooms. Located on the courtyard level, they are only a hop, skip and a jump – err, dive – away from the free-form pool.
After a few laps in the pool, head to the pool bar and treat yourself to a much-deserved drink– you know, the kind with the sugar on the rim and a wedge of fruit?
The Art Deco Suites feature not only pretty decorations, but upscale extras like a private garden area with loungers, 12-ft. ceilings and direct access to the beach!
Related Onsite Offerings
Rincon of the Seas offers a Family Package, complete with accommodations, breakfast and lunch!
Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino
As the only luxury resort overlooking both the coral-rich Atlantic Ocean and warm Condado Lagoon, Condada Plaza Hotel and Casino will likely be the only place you’ll remember when you leave Puerto Rico. But let’s not talk about leaving so soon!
We’ll try our best, but there are just no words that can describe how the cool ocean breeze feels when it washes over your face as you watch the vast horizon swell with vivid hues during a Puerto Rican sunset. And there’s really no expressions for the zeal you’ll feel when you learn that you can see this natural, daily phenomenon from the comfort of your Bahia Vista guestroom balcony. We can, however, inform you that you surely haven’t experienced anything like the Condado Plaza Hotel in your life. At least we hadn’t. This resort not only features jaw-dropping views of both the dawn and dusk skies, but also a 24-hour casino brimming with slots, tables and high-stakes surprises for those who prefer indoor light shows of glittering rooms, neon signs and illuminated machines.
999 Ashford Avenue, San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico
Condada Plaza Hotel and Casino is only five minutes from Old San Juan!
Related Onsite Offerings
Saltwater pool, two freshwater pools, toddler pool, Jacuzzis, watersports, massage services, restaurants and a bar.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
The stone lion heads spouting water out of their mouths and into the fountains and pools gracing the grounds of our No. 7 pick may look a little foreboding, but The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan is anything but. Boasting stately, turn-of-the-century-style architecture and accents, you’ll feel more like royalty than tourists, here!
An eye-catching, high-ceilinged lobby invites you to gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows at the lush gardens and lawns surrounding this eight-acre beachfront property. Whoever said chain hotels all looked the same will be highly disappointed if they pass over this dignified jewel. Lucky for you, we can dispel any of those rumors of bland guestrooms, boring poolscapes and yawn-worthy views. This Ritz-Carlton hotel is definitely unlike any other we’ve seen. Whitewashed French doors open into a spacious master bedroom from the living area in the Executive Suites, our favorite at the hotel. But don’t worry; all 416 guestrooms and suites are well worth the stay. The pool screams sophistication, with its six full-bodied stone lions lined up like protective guards. And the view from the sundeck? Spectacular!
6961 Avenue of the Governors, Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979
Looking for a Puerto Rico wedding venue? The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan features 30,000 sq. ft. of conference and banquet facilities, including an 11,840-sq.-ft. ballroom.
Related Onsite Offerings
Court Lady Luck at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan’s 24-hour casino!
Mayaguez Resort and Casino
We admit that just the thought of trying to plan a super-fun, family-friendly vacation is reason enough to throw up your hands and put it off for yet another year, but you don’t have to! The Mayaguez Resort and Casino is not only friendly to your little conquistadors, but your wallet, too!
And, it lays claim to one of the best water diversions on the west side of the island! Riverpool Village isn’t just your run-of-the-mill hotel pool and waterslide layout. Unless recreation pre-Columbian ruins snaking with coiled waterslides is what you call typical! We aren’t ashamed to admit it; we were squealing with the other tykes when we saw the glistening lazy river, meandering through towering palm trees and flourishing foliage. And the colossal, lifelike waterfall set our hearts aflutter. Of course you can always head to the nearby beach for some saltwater surf and Mother Earth-inspired waves, but don’t miss out on grabbing a bite to eat at the award-winning El Castillo Restaurant. And if you want to wait awhile to ensure no post-meal cramping in the water, we bet the entire family will be keen on the Puerto Rico Zoo, just 10 minutes away!
The Mayaguez Resort and Casino is set upon 20 acres of scenic terrain boasting a spectacular bay panorama.
The Mayaguez Resort and Casino is just 15 minutes from the heart of the city.
Related Onsite Offerings
Looking for a deal? Check out The Mayaguez Resort and Casino’s vacation packages for couples and the whole family!
Hotel El Convento
Old San Juan,
It’s no surprise that our No. 9 Puerto Rico retreat has been nicknamed the grand dame of Old San Juan hotels, considering it’s the oldest member of Historic Hotels of America. And it’s definitely not a shock that you’ll feel like you’re in heaven once you get to this Spanish Colonial monument.
Besides Hotel El Convento’s hallelujah-worthy luxury guestrooms – rich with wrought-iron accents and revolutionary technology – this AAA Four Diamond property was a Carmelite convent more than 350 years ago. No, you won’t find any habit-wearing women around the grounds anymore; in fact, the only habits you’ll encounter here are the ones you’ll acquire, like waking up each morning to watch the sun rise over San Juan Bay, or taking a daily dip in the onsite plunge pool. Of course it’ll be tempting to stay snuggled in your guestroom bed all day, but we urge you to wander the property grounds awhile. A true testament to the Conquistador Age, the lovingly restored Hotel El Convento offers you a glance into the heydays of Old San Juan. And it’s only a few minutes from mesmerizing city landmarks, like Castillo de San Cristóbal!
Hotel El Convento was named the only Small Luxury Hotel in Puerto Rico.
Take pleasure in Hotel El Convento’s Daily Manger’s Reception, including a variety of wine and hors d'oeuvres on La Veranda Terrace.
100 Cristo Street, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Our final Top 10 Puerto Rico Resorts pick is a far cry from the 350-year-old transformed convent featured in our last entry, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find anything divine at San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel. Sublime nightclubs filled with godly bodies make for pure bliss here!
Continually called “hip,” “chic” and “trendy” by today’s revered leisure and travel media moguls, this beachfront boutique hotel is the place to be and be seen in San Juan. From the moment you walk into the theatrically-lit lobby and take the elevator – with glass-enclosed waterfalls, mind you! – up to Wet, the hottest open-air, rooftop lounge in the city, you’ll be entranced. And we should probably remind you to wipe that drool off your chin before you bump elbows with one of the many TV, music or movie stars you’ve heard frequent this Puerto Rico resort. While Wet is definitely worthwhile, don’t neglect the hotel’s main bar, Liquid, or Tangerine Restaurant, known as one of San Juan’s top eateries. And after a night of margaritas and celebrities, there’s no better way to recover than with a rejuvenating yoga lesson on the warm Isla Verde Beach.
2 Tartak Street, Isla Verde, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00979
San Juan Water and Beach Club’s Wet bar and lounge features the best sushi bar in San Juan.
Conde Nast Traveler said San Juan Water and Beach Club is “one of the world’s coolest hotels.”