Caribbean & Bermuda

Luxury Lands in Puerto Rico

written by | Posted on February 1st, 2011

Off property, clients have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the exciting nature that surrounds them. “The setting is just remarkable,” Kurland describes. “Close by, you have five golf courses within 10 minutes of the property. The national forest trails are lovely. There’s a bioluminescent bay 20 minutes away for kayaking. There’s horseback riding and zipline outings. There really is just about everything you might enjoy during a vacation.”

But with 65 acres of natural lakes and rivers, plus 75 miles of nature trails, all within the resort itself, clients might feel tempted to stay close to home—and the St. Regis is committed to preserving that feeling. Guided by the strict criteria of the Audubon Society, the St. Regis worked to become the first certified Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary in the Caribbean. “It’s really been an honor to receive that,” Kurland says. “It was only after quite a bit of work in constructing and maintaining the environment during development…. Our resort sits within nearly 500 acres. We are a small part of that; the remaining acreage has been developed into a nature wonderland” with nature trails, bird sanctuaries, a hydroponic garden and other green areas that benefit both vacationers and local plant and animal life.

Add it all up, Kurland says, and you have an upscale but low-key destination that’s appealing to just about everyone. “We target discerning guests who like to stay at the very best address within a destination,” he says. “It’s elegant and yet comfortable at the same time.”

Rates at St. Regis start at $759 per room per night dbl. The W Vieques’ Spa-tacular Escape package includes accommodations, daily breakfast at miX on the beach and a $200 spa credit with rates starting at $269 per night.

condado vanderbilt The St. Regis Bahia Beach is just the latest of the luxury resorts to hit the island. Coming soon: even more luxury—of a vastly different type—at the Condado Vanderbilt. Due to reopen in the fall of this year, the Vanderbilt is undergoing renovations to better position it within its upscale San Juan neighborhood of Condado. The result will offer an urban style of luxury, far from the plantation-style, pastoral charm of the St. Regis. But clients will be just as pampered in any of its 305 guestrooms—especially the suites, each boasting butler service, that make up its two new 11-story towers. The renovation will also add a full-service spa, complete with a hammam that’s expected to be the first in Puerto Rico’s capital.

And like the St. Regis, the Condado Vanderbilt has plenty of history of its own. The original hotel dates to 1919, with design by Whitney Warren, the man behind such iconic buildings as Grand Central Station and New York City’s Biltmore hotel. After completion, the Vanderbilt catered to celebrities, royalty and other household names, including Charles Lindbergh. So while much of the resort is receiving an overhaul, certain elements—including the hotel’s original grand staircase, floors and moldings—will be restored.

With its striking history and location in San Juan, putting guests near museums, upscale restaurants and the musical performances and other artsy events at Ventana al Mar Park, the new hotel should appeal to clients seeking culture rather than nature.

More good news for luxury travelers to San Juan: La Concha Resort has recently unveiled its new beachfront Suite Tower, a $100 million upgrade that gives guests access to studios, 1- or 2-bedrrom accommodations, all with balconies featuring ocean views and kitchens in a chic urban setting. There’s even a selection of Spa Suites with signature features like a hot tub and shower on the outdoor terrace. The new tower also adds an Ocean Lounge to La Concha’s existing amenities, with an adults-only pool, valet parking services and concierge serving only Suite Tower guests.

The new tower is just part of an overall $220 million investment into the resort, which dates back to the 1950s. The retro architectural style is still there, but updated to appeal to modern-day travelers—and upgraded as well, with restaurants like Perla, an upscale seafood restaurant with a 4,000-bottle wine cellar on site set in a shell-shaped building in the middle of a reflecting pool.

The My Puerto Rico Experience package at La Concha includes a $100 credit, discounts on Enterprise car rentals and Dragonfly adventure tours, and a guestroom upgrade, with rates starting at $239 per room per night with a 4-night minimum.