xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#> The Luxe Lane: Weekend in Puerto Rico - The Ritz Carlton San Juan

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekend in Puerto Rico - The Ritz Carlton San Juan

   "I'm sorry sir, the rain forest and El Morro are closed due to the government shut-down."
Aargh! Everything reopened a day after our return! As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"
We were disappointed but not for long, as we were content to fill our days at beach.

It took just 10 minutes and $14 to arrive at our destination, the Ritz Carlton San Juan. Check-in was flawless, no line, and Emily, the front desk agent, was welcoming and efficient. We had booked one run-of-house room at $339 and one ocean view at $539 through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program. The program gave us complimentary buffet breakfast everyday, a $100 resort credit and the possibility of an upgrade if available. The ocean view room was immediately upgraded to an ocean front room with a balcony. A small snafu, the second room had a king instead of two beds, couldn't be rectified for the first night, but received an upgrade to an oceanfront with balcony for the rest of the stay.
  The rooms and the property were lovely, but not as luxurious as other Ritz Carltons we have stayed at. The breakfast buffet was fine but the lunch and poolside offerings were mediocre. The Ocean Bar and Grill, the beach side concession is under construction, so maybe it will improve when it reopens.
   That being said, the luxury of staying here is the beach; it's easily accessed, the sand is powdery soft, the water warm and plenty of staff to take care of you. At many resorts, you have to get up at 5 am to claim your lounge. Happily, this was not the case. Even when we got to the beach at 11, attendants had us choose our spot and cheerfully set-up umbrellas and cushioned lounge chairs. Waitstaff roamed by consistently, ready to take a beverage or food order, bring a cup of water and offer an occasional complimentary snack. The beach was wide, the ocean floor free of rocks and vegetation and the water very gentle. Perfect for young families and midlife folk, maybe a bit too calm for tweens and teens.
The Ritz also gets high marks for service. From the bellmen to the front desk and waitstaff, they were all friendly and efficient. The concierge, Dominick, after telling us the bad news about El Morro and the rainforest, came up with a walking tour along the waterfront of old San Juan that was a charming prelude to dinner. He also made three nights of dinner reservations for us that were all winners. He chose Cafe Puerto Rico for us to sample local cuisine and Marmalade and Pikayo for chic global fusion cuisine.
#ritzcarlton #puertorico #marmalade #pikayo #cafepuertorico

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