Have you ever been to a place that completely shocked you? You landed and you’re walking to baggage claim to grab your bags. You walk across the street to pick up your rental and you find yourself staring out the window whilst driving down the highway. Staring because you can’t believe you’re in a new place and staring because you’re shocked at how much you already love this new place. Well for me, this new place is Puerto Rico. Sure it has a bad rap right now but I’m telling you, this is a place you need to see for yourself. Besides, didn’t your parents teach you not to judge a book by its cover?
Oh, the Enchanted Island of Rhythms and Flavors. When you find yourself staying in the city of San Juan you’ll want to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Aside from its luxurious name and reputation, this hotel is in the perfect location for just about everything. You’ll be 15 minutes away from the airport and just 15 minutes away from the cosmopolitan culture of Old San Juan. Staying true to Caribbean style the hotel is both elegant and casual, ideal for Summer getaways! And if you’re from the States it’s just a plane ride away. For us East Coasters we can get there in a quick four hour, non-stop flight. Sweet paradise.
The Ritz-Carlton boasts 416 amazingly modern rooms including one Ritz-Carlton Suite, six Executive Suites and four Garden View Suites. Our room was perched on the 10th floor so it’s safe to say we had the best view in the hotel!
Our room was spacious. Not too big and definitely not too small. And the bed? It was so hard to wake up in the morning because I was so comfortable. Also worth noting our room had my two favorite accents: dark wood and marble. SWOON. Not to worry, there is a fully, and I mean FULLY, stocked mini bar and snack bar. I think there was every type of water, juice, alcohol, and snack in there.
I’m a pretty picky eater and definitely hard to please, especially when it comes to food. When I travel I’m always nervous about the food situation. Will I like it? Will there be health(ier) options? Will there be chicken or fish (I don’t eat red meat)? What will the salad dressing be like? Will the berries be fresh or soaking in a sugary syrup? Okay you get it.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan has five, yes five, delicious dining options. There’s Il Mulino New York, an Italian inspired dinner spot. Bring your significant other here. Then you’ve got BLT Steakhouse. This spot offers delicious cuisine in a cozy, French bistro setting. Mares serves island cuisine with many Caribbean influences. In the morning Mares doubles as the breakfast spot of the hotel. For breakfast, you can either order from the menu or the buffet. Go for the buffet. Outside of Mares is a complimentary coffee bar. Late sleepers beware: it is only open until 8 AM. For a quick bite, cup of iced coffee or just a drink head to The Lobby Lounge. Sit indoors or outdoors and enjoy Spanish, Taino and African flavors. Order a mojito, you won’t regret it. Oh, and in The Lobby Lounge there is a brand new sushi bar. You’ll find some of the best sushi and it’s all prepared to fit each order.
My favorite spot is the Ocean Bar and Grill. I don’t know if its because of the ocean views or the food. Either way, both are good reasons to love this place. We enjoyed an oceanfront dinner at sunset… talk about dreamy. We wined and dined until we couldn’t wine and dine anymore. Be sure to get the ceviche as an app! It was to die for. For an entree go with a fish dish. Why? Because this is some of the freshest fish I’ve ever had. The special of the night was halibut wrapped in prosciutto and a side of lemon garlic risotto topped off with sundried tomatoes. Obviously I ordered that. Also worth noting are the plantain buns with coconut butter. This is Puerto Rico’s version of dinner rolls. Bonus: they’re gluten free! Be sure to get dessert. We went with the coconut leché flan but if that’s not your style there also a Puerto Rican chocolate fondue for two served with fruit, passion marshmallows and banana bread. Ugh now I’m drooling!
The Ritz-Carlton Experience
Just like every other Ritz-Carlton property across the globe you have the option of upgrading to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Ritz Carlton, Club Level grants access to the Club Lounge along with many other exclusivities like a private beachside cabana! It’s sort of like a hotel within a hotel. The Club Lounge offers complimentary food and beverages, daily continental breakfast, light lunch, snacks and sweets. All of which you can enjoy on the ocean view balcony.
When you’re traveling, well at least when I’m traveling, I always make sure to find my way to two places. The spa and the fitness center. Let’s talk about the 12,000 square foot spa at the Ritz San Juan. It has 11 treatment rooms, a co-ed sauna, steam rooms, a whirlpool and a full service salon providing hair, makeup and nail services. Signature therapies include a detoxifying body scrub enhanced by Puerto Rican coffee and a deep moisture massage applied with warm coconut milk. They sound good enough to eat, amiright? The perfect way to soothe the soul and rejuvenate the body. You can even have some services outside. We chose to forgo an outdoor massage to enjoy an indoors couples massage (our very FIRST couples massage) at the Ritz-Carlton Spa. To be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way! It was exceptional.
Guests of the Ritz Carlton can also enjoy the 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour outdoor pool and hot tub, casino, tennis lessons, spin classes, yoga, and so much more. You also have full beach access, in addition to the pool, complete with chairs, towels, and a full service food and drink menu.
Whether you’re a hotel dweller, adventurer or somewhere in between the Ritz-Carlton San Juan is the perfect spot to be. Puerto Rico’s culture and flavors mixed with luxurious hospitality makes for the perfect summer getaway.
A special thanks to Melissa, Chef Rivera, Patricia and the rest of the Ritz-Carlton, San Juan employees for making our stay so special!
The Sunny Side of Things was a welcomed guest of Ritz Carlton, San Juan, however, our opinions are always our own.