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Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve: Puerto Rico

I recently had the privilege of visiting Ritz Carlton’s newest Reserve property, which is located on 1400 stunning acres on the northern coast of Puerto Rico.  Dorado Beach is only the second Reserve property to open in the world, and it has quickly become one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive and luxurious new hideouts.

Entrance at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
Entrance at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

It’s difficult to earn the title “Reserve,” and these resorts have a very different feel from a typical Ritz Carlton hotel.  To qualify, a Reserve property must feature low-rise buildings, be no larger than 150 rooms, and provide a two to one staff-to-guest ratio.  Additionally, the staff undergoes extensive training to ensure guests receive the highest level of personalized attention.

Pool staff at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
Pool staff at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
Relaxing by the pool
Relaxing by the pool

As a result, Dorado Beach has a unique feel to it that I haven’t encountered anywhere else in the Caribbean.  No detail was forgotten, and the rooms, grounds and public spaces are unbelievably gorgeous.  Thousands of mature palm trees (some of them over 100 years old, dating back to the time when the land was a coconut plantation) surround the buildings, providing natural shade and the feeling of having escaped to a mogul’s personal estate.

Paradise at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
Paradise at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

I stayed in a Reserve Plunge Room, which sat directly on an unspoiled beach of golden sand and offered every creature comfort imaginable. The highlight was the spacious plunge pool with uninterrupted views of the water and direct beach access, but I also adored the beautiful outdoor garden shower area.

Reserve Plunge King
Plunge Reserve King
Reserve Plunge King
Plunge Reserve King
Outdoor shower of Reserve Plunge King
Outdoor shower of Plunge Reserve King

Spa Botanico was nothing short of jaw-dropping.  Guests approach the hacienda-style building with no idea that a one-of-a-kind “Portal Apothecary” will greet them upon entering its doors.  The area is filled with local botanicals, many of which hang in unique, chandelier-type arrangements I’ve not seen anywhere else in the world.  The spa is comprised of five acres, and to say it’s a memorable experience is an understatement.  No expense was spared in the design of this place!

Approaching Spa Botanico
Approaching Spa Botanico
Apothecary Portal at Spa Botanico
Apothecary Portal at Spa Botanico
Apothecary Portal at Spa Botanica
Apothecary Portal at Spa Botanica

The food at Dorado Beach has a strong emphasis on local culture and ingredients.  A classic example is the story of the head chef of Mi Casa, who spent weeks checking out roadside stands around the island in search of inspiration for the pork cooked there.  I sampled some of the most amazing dishes during my stay.

Memorable dessert
Memorable dessert
Sand Bar, a great spot for lunch or dinner
Positivo Sand Bar, a great spot for lunch or dinner

Dorado Beach will appeal to couples and families alike.  I toured the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s “Ambassadors of the Environment” facility and was duly impressed.  The staff of trained naturalists lead excursions which will show guests Puerto Rico’s best natural offerings and leave everyone with a deeper understanding of the rich history, culture and environment of this often over-looked island.

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment
Enjoying my last day at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
Enjoying my last day at Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

Since Brownell is a Ritz Carlton STARS agency, my clients receive the following amenities when I make their arrangements: daily full breakfast for two per room in Mi Casa by Jose Andres, and a $150 resort credit, personalized welcome amenity, and early check-in/late check-out based on availability.