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The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

Old Nov 23, 10, 9:08 pm
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Arrow The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

Just returned from the weekend at the Bahia Beach St. Regis outside of San Juan, and I hope I can answer a number of questions that some of you have about this hotel. Overall, this already is a superb property and will get better as the staff gain more experience. Upon completion of our stay, we decided that we needed to again stay at this property (see below).

We had planned to stay at the hotel for two weekend nights and made our reservation with the Platinum concierge at the end of August, even though we did not know that the hotel was to open on its planned date, Nov 4, We posted on this board on another thread about the property and called the Platinum concierge on a number of occasions and was assured that the property would open. Despite Cheap Elite's recommendations, we did not have a back up plan if the hotel did not open, believing that some how Starwood would get us into the W in Viegues if all failed.

Based on the discussion on the board of the expensiveness of the hotel picking up hotel guests or a taxi at SJU (over $100), we rented a Dollar Car
for less than $25 per day using the AA website. However we arrived at 8:15PM and neither our Garmin GPS, the rental car company, or the hotel directions provided error proof routes for us to the hotel. Garmin did not list the hotel, as the address was State Road 187 rather than a street number, and when we got lost (see below), my wife's cell phone did not work in P.R.
I thought about RTWStarAlliance's directions for how to reach various hotels in Japan, and thought how unfortunate he was not here earlier to provide his specific, detailed directions that are the standard for us to follow. Needless to say, the supposedly 30 minute trip from the airport took us 2 hours to complete because we got lost a number of times. To arrive at the hotel, route 66 from near the airport is listed on the hotel directions, and one travels to the end of this toll road to route 3. Make a right on route 3 to route 187, where one makes a left. Route 3 is easy to find, as just 4-5 car lengths before it is the second overhead crosswalk over route 3.
Route 187 is a nightmare, as one follows the route signs into Rio Grande. Route 187 becomes one way in two different directions and we continued following the signs--big mistake--as we missed the turnoff. We went over route 3 again as it looped around Rio Grande, and then decided we needed to come back into Rio Grande, again crossing route 3. Fortunately we saw a police office in a car, and after flagging him down at almost 10 PM, got directions to make a right about 2 minutes up the road. In less than 2 minutes, we saw a sign for Bahia Beach, and followed Route 187 until we came to the resort on the right side of the road. We were stopped at the gate for our ID and told to enter the property, continue up the road, and make the first right at the fountain. We followed directions, but the first right led us to the end of the property, so we retraced our route back to the fountain and made the second (2nd) right. In about 3 minutes we came upon the hotel. I have spent too much time on the directions on how to get to the hotel, but in our view, signage and directions to the property are the most important problem that needs to be rectified immediately. Others at the hotel had acknowledged that many guests have had this problem, so beware. Also make sure if you are planning to stay at the hotel you print out the directions and map for the hotel's web site, as this was the best aide we could find (although not very easy to understand) to get us to the hotel.

When we drove up to the hotel, I had a hard time trying to decide where I needed to drive to be in front of the hotel. For those driving, be sure not to go along the koi pool in front of the hotel, as I predict that within the year, some guests will drive their car into the koi pool, as it is poorly differentiated from the driveway in front of the Main House.

The hotel is situated around the Main House with 4 "Casas" located to the left of the hotel and 8 "casas" located to the right of the hotel. The Casas were located in a semicircle around the Main House and are numbered from 1 to 12, and are either 2 or 3 stories high, with the two story high properties located at either end of the arrangement. The pool, the major attraction near the hotel, is located behind Casas 5, 6 (our Casa) and 7. Casa 1 and 2 were not located with a view of the ocean, but rather had golf course views, and were not open during the time we arrived. It also appeared to us that Casa 3 was not opened as construction trucks were parked behind the hotel, in woods. The 2 story Casas did not have elevators, whereas the 3 story Casas had either 1 or 2 elevators.

We turned our Dollar Rent a Car over to the doormen who took our luggage and directed us to the lobby of the main house, where two clerks sat at desks awaiting guests who arrived. We were congratulated on being one of the first (not the first when we pressed the clerk) Platinum member staying at the hotel. Our butler appeared who showed us to our second floor the room in building 6. Yes, we were upgraded to a suite, and we took the elevator which served just 4 rooms on floors 2 and 3, to our floor. The Casa also has a second elevator which serves the rooms on the mirror image other side of Casa 6. Our room was immense with an entry foyer containing our second bathroom, a closet and a bar. The entry foyer connected to the living room and on the right of the living room was our bedroom. Toward the front of our bedroom was the bathroom that contained a superb shower that covered a 6 feet by 6 feet space. There also was a balcony extending along the bedroom and living room that overlooked the pool, and ultimately the ocean. We would highly recommend this suite, but the best suite on the property was rooms 322-324 in building 3 containing the "Governor's Suite" (My wife and I are willing to anoint each of you traveling to this property as a "Governor" so that you may qualify for this 3600 sq foot suite).

The hotel's food serves some notice, as the restaurant in the Main House is a Jean-Georges restaurant, a very famous chef that we know well here in NYC and other locations throughout the world. This restaurant, named the Fern, far exceeded the hotels other dining facilities, and if you follow our lead, we would recommend the Fern for all meals (Remember to ask for a table outside the restaurant around the walkway of the Main Lodge). We disliked the food at the pool, as on one occasion, we ordered the Cioppino as the appetizer and found it even more substantial than any other entre that one could choose. I also thought that some of the wine selections were very over priced, being marked up approxiamately 5 fold over what I usually purchase in the high rent district of NYC (For example, I remembered Summarocca Cava at our wine store at less than $10/bottle, and the pool restaurant's price was $48. I checked with our wine store on return, and they told me they usually pay about $8 for this Cava). For one breakfast, we were sent by the hotel's front door staff to Molasses, the restaurant at the golf club, that required the shuttle for transportation. Upon arriving, we were told Molasses was closed for a birthday party of an 8 year old. We had the staff call the shuttle to return us to the hotel for breakfast.

What were the other problems? Well upon checkin, we were promised a bottle of wine as well as newspapers and neither arrived, although a card from the manager of the property along with a small plate of chocolates were left in our room. At night it is hard to tell one Casa from another as the signs announcing the buildings are not lighted and are nearly invisible.

The property is stunning with elevated boardwalks extending though the forest near El Yunque, and the vegetation carrying labels of their names and origin. Most guests spend significant time near the pool, the beach, or the first-rate spa. The staff mainly is young and inexperienced, but there are key personnel with previous experience in opening a St. Regis, another non Starwood hotel, or working at another upscale P.R. hotel. I noted that the hotel manager spend significant time talking to guest, looking to find out what the shortcomings might be so that improvement could occur. Like other St. Regis manager that I have met over the years, he was extremely personable and well liked by the hotel personnel. Overall the staff appeared young, inexperienced, but energetic and interested in the guests satisfaction. I suspect they will get better in a few weeks, and will somehow coordinate their questions to guests about the adequacy of the service they are rendering. One of the staff members told me he was excited about working at the hotel, as one of the perks was 5 days at other St. Regis properties that were free, and it was chance for him to travel and to see how other properties did his job, and what he could learn from these other properties.

Based on the recent discussion on this board, I must mention that there is a Resort Fee of $55/night, as well as a tax on the Resort Fee. My wife was ill with the flu during our stay and I asked to stay until 4 PM on Sunday. I was told that it may not be possible, but the would check on it and call me, as the hotel was fully booked for the evening we were checking out, and their guests were expecting to have a room on arrival. When I re-inquired on Sunday morning, I was told that late check-in at 4 PM did not pose a problem.

Needless to say, we were impressed with our stay, and on our flight back to JFK, we talked about revisiting the hotel in the near future. However, the next night when I began checking for weekend availability, I came up empty for the next 6 weekends other than the holidays. I then began looking in March, and also came up empty so I called the Platinum desk. The agent told me that the hotel was almost completely booked, but on the weekend was considering suites were available. I asked how much the suite was that I stayed in, and was told $1583.33/night, but if I wanted a larger suite, it was available for $1733.33. If I choose to use points, it was 60,000/night.

I could have discussed other issues about this property, but in my view these were the most important issues to members on this board. We look forward to the reviews of others of this property.
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Old Nov 23, 10, 11:16 pm
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There is an existing thread on this property, no?
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Old Nov 24, 10, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
There is an existing thread on this property, no?
Not really. There has been speculation about this property in another thread, but this is the first report of a stay or a visit.
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Old Nov 24, 10, 4:51 am
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very informative post .. thank you for taking the time.
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Old Nov 24, 10, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by Life_Platinum View Post
Not really. There has been speculation about this property in another thread, but this is the first report of a stay or a visit.
Ahh...hmm...why wouldn't we just want to keep the one thread and change the title indicating that the hotel is now open? Is there no useful information in that thread at all? Why two threads?
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Old Nov 24, 10, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Ahh...hmm...why wouldn't we just want to keep the one thread and change the title indicating that the hotel is now open? Is there no useful information in that thread at all? Why two threads?
Simma down now! JKFSFOLAX, my friend, this is the way the master threads have been handled for a while now.

Someone starts a thread on a property, we have much discussion and speculation. Once the first trip report for the property is posted, it's been split out of the speculation thread and a master thread has been created.

I like it this way. Keeps all the fluff and BS out of the thread.
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Old Nov 24, 10, 11:25 am
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Great report, Life_Platinum. Thank you for taking the time and being the first to give us a stay experience.
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Old Nov 24, 10, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Ahh...hmm...why wouldn't we just want to keep the one thread and change the title indicating that the hotel is now open? Is there no useful information in that thread at all? Why two threads?
For those looking for hotel reviews it definitely helps to not have to wade through many pages of opening information and speculation about the property before getting to the stay reports.

The pre-opening thread is still available to view and none of the information provided has been deleted.

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Old Nov 29, 10, 12:18 pm
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Do they have rental car kiosks at the hotel? Just in case, I want to rent a car?

I do not plan on renting at the airport -- probably just take a taxi to the hotel.
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Old Nov 29, 10, 1:36 pm
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Having vacationed extensively in Puerto Rico (since I was a teenager), I would highly recommend renting a car. Granted, I have never been to the St. Regis so they may offer a self-contained resort facility (and for a $60 resort fee, I hope that is the case). And, they may offer transportation to the rain forest, etc. But, I couldn't imagine vacationing in PR without a car.
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Old Nov 29, 10, 3:55 pm
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Just finished a 4 day award stay at the new St Regis Bahia Beach Resort on the NE side of Puerto Rico.

Originally Posted by Life_Platinum View Post
Route 187 is a nightmare....
Too funny, I feel the exact opposite about 187. We hadn’t been to Puerto Rico in quite awhile. After picking up our rental car, I did remember that in no way did I want to take Route 66 or 3 out west towards the resort; instead I took 187 which is extremely easy to access and is just outside the airport exit. 187 in my opinion is one of the most beautiful roads in all of Puerto Rico, usually one is whizzing by beach/ocean views or driving in a tree/palm canopied area, simply a marvelous way to drive to the resort. There are a few towns one goes through but they have some delicious food shacks that serve local cuisine and beers for a VERY cheap price. The entrance to the St Regis is on 187. A normal drive will take 30 minutes but if leaving during busy traffic times, plan on 45 but no more than an hour. There is resort shuttle (we noticed a couple using the resort’s Lincoln Navigator for their airport transportation). I do now know the cost for utilizing the resort’s airport transportation option. Cost to valet is $22 per night, there was no self park option that I was aware of. Edited to add: I wouldn't take 187 all the way from SJU to the resort at night, you miss out on all the beauty.

Two large iron leaves mark the entrance to the resort. After a short curve, one comes to a very large gatehouse with substantial wooden gates. An attendant will come out and ask your purpose for visiting. They will then check the list, open the gate and provide directions as to how to get to the Plantation House, which is the heart of the resort.

After making the last curve, we came upon the Plantation House, a large two story square wooden building with a 2nd story balcony surrounding it. There are two large square koi ponds on either side of the walkway to the House, along with multiple flaming cauldrons (gas flame). The wooden door into the House is a monster of a door, but swings easily if there is no one to open it for you.

After opening the door, you’ll look through the seating area for the Plantation House bar, onto the great green lawn which stretches to the beach and then the ocean, BEAUTIFUL.

There are two check-in sit-down desks, no usual counter check-in. We were offered either champagne or mimosa; I think that you could ask for a different drink if you wanted as I noticed some others upon check-in drinking a glass of wine (or sangria). As a plat I was told we were upgraded to a luxury room from our award reservation (which is a standard room).

A note about the rooms. A standard room is a single room that contains the bed, TV, etc, they are 740 sq feet. The other classes of room are an Astor or Luxury, the layout on these is basically the same all through the resort, these are 1200 sq feet rooms with a full separate sitting area (living room), bedroom, HUGE shower room with both an wall mount and overhead mount, (if including the large tub, the room is 15 x 20), a full 2nd bathroom w/shower, and a bar area with bar sink & college dorm room fridge with not much mini-bar items in it so there is plenty of room to put your own water, beer, champagne in it. The difference between an Astor & Luxury room is Astors are located on the garden level with a patio as opposed to the Luxury which is either on the 2nd or 3rd floor with a balcony. Our luxury balcony contained a table with four chairs as well as a couch with hassock. This seemed to be the case resort wide. There are only a few grand suites, more on those later.

At check-in we were informed that we were to receive a free movie per night of our stay. Even though this was an award stay, there a resort fee of $55.05 (plus $4.95 tax) brings the total resort fee to $60 per day.

After check-in we were introduced to our bellman who escorted us & our luggage to our room. The individual buildings (which for Luxury rooms contains 4 to 6 Luxury units (depending upon height of building)) are all connected by a wooden walkway which for most of it’s length was 1.5’ above the surrounding ground.

The walkway is wide enough to allow a golf cart and a single person to pass. It can be a bit of a hike to the further buildings. Music speakers are situated every 10’ or so, pumping out smooth jazz world pop music. On a personal note I found this ok during the daytime but at night when the sounds of the jungle are prevalent, turn the music off is what I kept thinking each time I was on the walkway, it takes away from the tranquility. We were told the resort was 85% full while we were there, that said we normally didn’t pass any other guests but almost always passed various workers going about their jobs. The one gripe (besides the night music) I have is during busy evening times (like 6:30pm), there are multiple carts whizzing along delivering rooms service; it quite disrupts the peaceful walk to the Plantation House. I fail to see why a ‘cart only’ path couldn’t have been constructed a bit further out from the buildings so that this cart issue wouldn’t occur.

Originally Posted by Life_Platinum View Post
At night it is hard to tell one Casa from another as the signs announcing the buildings are not lighted and are nearly invisible.
hmmm, we found the signs in front of each Casa (with the name of the building & room numbers) were very well lit/easy to see at night.

The business center is in located in the conference center building in a room called ‘the office’. There are 3 HP PC’s as well as a high speed copier/printer for one’s use.

There are 6 buildings that have ‘unobstructed’ views of the ocean, I put ‘unobstructive’ as these buildings are some 70 yards from the beach, in between lies a combination of lawn, as well as lots of palms/trees. There are no rooms which sit right on the beach/ocean. Personally I think this is a good thing. Two of the buildings are to the west of the Plantation House. The furthest building to the west is the Governor’s building which contains the 3 ultra large 2500+ sq feet Governor’s suites. I doubt one would ever get upgraded to these from a base reservation, but one could hope. The other building just to the west has luxury rooms described above. There is a similar building just to the west of the Plantation House. While the views might be nice from both of these buildings, personally I think that the buildings are too close to the Plantation House so one would perhaps smell the restaurant smells as well as hear guests, however I did not stay in these buildings so I can’t say for sure.

Further to the east are 3 more buildings that have ocean views. All are called Casa Atlantico so if you have a room in these buildings, you’ve done well. The furthest building away from the pool/Plantation House has rooms 1211, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224. The ocean view building just to the east of this has rooms 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124. The ocean view building just the east of this building and next to the pool area has rooms 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1021, 1022, 1023, 1024.

Our room's AC system was very loud, changing the fan speed did nothing to change the loud 'whooshing' noise of the air being forced through the vents. We still were able to sleep, just not as quiet as I would have expected a St Regis AC system to be.

Speaking of the pool, it is a multi tier pool with lots of curves so that one isn’t looking a football field of chairs. The pool chairs are quite wide and very cushy which is a pro. The only con is that the hinge of the chair is mid torso, so if one is 5’ 10” or greater, your back will be bent in the upper section rather than at the hips, if I slid up the chair so that I was bent at the waist, my upper shoulders and head were above the cushion and therefore I could not rest them. Very poor design. For shorter folks & kids, this won’t be a problem. There are 9 cabanas at the pool, as well as a few beach cabanas. I didn’t think much of the pool cabanas but the beach ones were quite nice and away from the grouping of beach chairs.

The chairs at the beach are a metal chaise lounge type chair, with wide plastic straps (much firmer & wider than avg beach lounge chairs. We found this very comfortable. There was generally one bar open at the beach, 50% of the chairs had a service flag one could raise to indicate you wished service.

The beach is what I would call a working beach, it is brown coarse sand. There is a tractor that hauls a sweep/pick up trailer behind it to sweep up the bits of plastic, glass and other man made materials that will wash up on the shore. The ocean had good sized waves, I don’t picture this beach to be a good swimming beach but if the wind shifted from the south, perhaps the waves would calm down. There always seemed to be rough chop in the water, so I don't think this is a good snorkeling beach/location either. The ocean has a green color here due to the waves and shallow bottom. The St Regis has one of the largest beach fronts of the resorts I’ve been to in Puerto Rico, but it also has the same problem. Lots of trash outside the area where the sweeper cleans. Tires, 5 gallon plastic buckets, plastic water bottles were all washed up when we took our ½ mile stroll down the beach away from the resort. This should be cleaned up, period, no excuse for the trash not to be picked up.

The remainder of the buildings are situated in a roughly in a shallow U shape behind the Casa Atlantico buildings and pool area. This is where we were. We found our room to very quiet and enjoyed sitting out on the balcony listening to the frogs/jungle. The walkway that the carts use it is a shallow U behind all the buildings. All rooms face the ocean with the exception of a couple of buildings called golf view rooms. These a ‘far away’ from the House and beach, personally in no way would I want one of these rooms.

We had a spa afternoon, Mrs. Sweet Willie enjoyed the mani pedi she received and I really enjoyed the massage. In the same building that houses the spa is the workout room, I looked in and saw 4 elliptical trainers as well as 4 treadmills. I did not see much in the way of resistance/weights but as I said, I only looked in. The mani was $30, pedi $75, 60 minute massage $165. Also offered are couples massage, beach front massage and in-room massage.

There is no lounge; breakfast is served at the Jean-Georges restaurant Fern located on the 2nd floor of the Plantation House. It did have some of the most delicious French toast I’ve ever had. There are perhaps 12 tables out on the balcony facing the ocean, a very nice place to take breakfast. There is quite a bit more seating inside. At night if it is windy, they have large shades that can be lowered to fend off the wind.

We did dine one night at Fern; after all it is the famous Jean George, so one has to right?

The menu consisted of:
Starters ($14-19, foie gras $25):
Rice cracker crusted tuna, spicy scallion sauce
Salmon tartare, avocado & ginger dressing
Butternut squash soup, mushrooms & chives
Steamed shrimp salad, tender greens, avocado & champagne dressing
Black pepper octopus, sweet onions & aji dulce
Peekytoe crab cake with ginger marinated chironja & cilantro
Foie gras brule with pineapple-lemon jam
A couple pizzas: black truffle & fontina cheese or mushroom & goat cheese

Mains ($29-45)
Slow cooked salmon, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts & truffle vinaigrette
Roasted Grouper, aromatic black beans, avocado & scallion
Wood roasted Maine lobster w/local oregano & lemon
Parmesan crusted organic chicken, salsify & lemon-basil sauce
Rack of lamb w/smoked chili glaze, broccoli rabe & leek fondue
Grilled pork chop w/bok choy, green chili butter, mint & lime
Beef tenderloin w/gingered shitake mushrooms, soy-caramel sauce

A tasting menu is offered as well for $78, which included starters of tuna, fois gras, soup, and mains of grouper, tenderloin.

Also one could choose from a number of different meats (salmon, snapper, lobster, chicken, pork chop, lamb chops, beef tenderloin) as well as some various sides.

For both of us the ultra hit of the night was the black pepper octopus, TERRIFIC !!!

We also dined a few times at Sea Grapes, the pool side restaurant. Good sandwiches, decent pizzas, delicious smoothies.

We wanted to end our evening with one of the free movies but on each of our nights, Lodgenet was not working so no movies, quite a bummer. Our butler stated a case had been opened with Lodgenet and they were working on it but it didn’t help us on our stay.
We had brought in some beer & a bottle of champagne to enjoy. The room’s bar did come with some nice options (wine & champagne was ½ bottles, hard liquor was 375mls): La Crema Pinot Noir & Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay ($18), Don Q rum, Chivas Regal, Bailey’s, Patron Silver (roughly $15). A few different kinds of beers/cans of soda ($5), Fiji water ($4). The bar did come with 2 pieces each of glassware: rocks, tall, wine, champagne as well as a wine opener and a muddle stick. Missing from the bar area was a small knife so I could cut some limes up.

For supplies, less than 5 miles away is a Walgreens (very nice as I actually needed a prescription filled), a supermarket as well as some various fast food outlets (McD’s, Burger King). Also less than 10 miles away is El Yunque rain forest national park (good for some hiking) as well as one of my favorite beaches anywhere, Luquillo. Luquillo is a public beach so don’t go on weekends when it will be packed. It is an old coconut plantation. A ¼ mile down Luquillo beach, one can access various food shacks for cold Medallas and cheap grilled eats.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the manager David, a very warm person who in my opinion really had a passion for the property. We spoke about service overall in Puerto Rico, (which has increased in its quality IMO), their strategy was to hire younger (so no bad habits) and mould these folks into the St Regis service philosophy. It has worked, there were a couple service errors (nothing too terrible) and overall the service level here is fantastic for Puerto Rico. Lots of warm smiles & can-do attitude. We overheard a few comments about how long things took but this never happened to us and quite frankly these folks sounded like the type that are never pleased anyways.

The property is only 3 weeks old, so there are still some signs that it is newly opened. Along the walkways, one can see a bit of construction debris (cut wood, odd cement chunks) but this is rare, not common, as most construction has been cleaned up. There are a number of palms on the property & by the pool, that still have their 2x4 bracing on them to hold them up until the roots take hold. Again, with time the bracing will be removed.

There were a number of dogs on the property, clearly strays. While most were always off in the distance or would move away, I did see a dog that was spooked by a stroller, bark at the couple that was walking along the path, I’m sure not too comforting for those guests. Some days we didn’t see any, some days we did.

While we very much enjoyed the food at the St Regis; I do dislike only dining at a resort, so we asked the concierge for some nearby restaurant suggestions, stating local, not polished atmosphere places were ok with us. He recommended Riche’s Café ( https://www.facebook.com/RichiesCafePr/ ) and printed out directions. I looked at the Google directions and they seemed ok to me. So we started out, knowing that some good restaurants in Puerto Rico are tucked away in spots, we searched for 50 minutes before calling the St Regis via cell phone. Within 3 minutes I realized that I knew exactly how to get to this restaurant and that the directions were totally wrong. In my opinion the concierge should have EXACT directions and know for certain that the directions they are providing are accurate. BTW, Riche’s Café was a really fun place; it is on an open air restaurant on a tall hill top overlooking the some buildings to the ocean. Our mains of pork tenderloin w/tamarind glaze, & skirt steak charrasca with chimichurri sauce & a guava BBQ sauce were delicious; this hit was the appetizer of baby conch served in a warm garlic sauce (I’m going to be dreaming about this one for awhile)

The only other service issue that bugged me was there were times were NO ONE was available via phone. At 6:30pm I tried to call valet, our butler & the front desk. Not one person answered with me giving ~20 rings. Of course when we walked to valet there were 6 guys standing around, not one near the valet phone. Then at 10pm, I tried front desk, no answer. I was able to get a hold of our butler and she said she would try. She couldn’t locate any front desk staff.

I rarely golf on vacation, the golfers I did speak with raved about the course. So if you are a golfer and didn’t bring your shoes/clubs, the St Regis has them there for you.

There were a number of young children at the resort, all seemed very happy partaking in the St Regis kids club and seemed to enjoy their ‘care-taker’.

We requested a 'late' check out of 1pm and it was granted no problems.

While it was the most costly award stay we’ve had with SPG to date, it was a fantastic stay and we can’t wait to get back.

I do have pictures to post and as soon as I figure out how to do so, I’ll post them.

Last edited by Sweet Willie; May 10, 16 at 12:58 pm Reason: update
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Old Nov 29, 10, 8:17 pm
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Wow. Amazing Trip Report. Thank you.
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Old Nov 30, 10, 7:23 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Wow. Amazing Trip Report. Thank you.
Thanks, I sure hope you get to go^
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Old Dec 2, 10, 12:33 am
  #14  
 
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There have been some GREAT (extremely detailed!) reviews above, but I thought I'd add my two cents:

Suggestion:

If staying for longer than a 3 day weekend, I'd highly recommend a car, if for no other reason than you have the option to visit the rain forest for a day (highly recommended), you can purchase groceries & booze to bring back to room & you can enjoy a nice off-resort meal (suggested restaurants below).

Location:

The hotel is about 30-45 minutes from San Juan. If driving, I'd recommend taking Route 3 to the resort, not just because it is faster (although 187 is a scenic view), but because en-route there is a brand-new supermarket (Ralph's) about 1/4 mile (on the right) before you turn from Rt. 3 onto 187, about 10 minutes from the resort. Again, for longer stays, I'd highly recommend buying at least snacks (as food on the resort is quite $$$--especially for Puerto Rico). The grocery store also sells beer, wine & liquor (and there is a mini-fridge in every room). The resort is also about 20 minutes from the entrance to the Caribbean National Rain Forest, which is a great day trip.

Resort:

First off, I want to say that I (like other posters) all stayed within the first few weeks, and it's clear that the employees are still learning. Having said that, I'm glad I was staying on points and not paying the $700+ the rooms are going for. While the service at check-in was exceptional, the pool & butler service are pretty spotty (and require lots of patience). This would have bothered me less if the hotel wasn't asking for (an exorbitant) $60 day resort fee, for which you still only receive the basics: towels, some swim gear & possibly some court time to play tennis.

As to the resort itself, the rooms are beautiful, the pool is wonderful & the outdoor poolside restaurant (where you always get a nice sea breeze) feels good. They have a very neat wooden boardwalk connecting all of the separate huts (this isn't a cookie-cutter resort!) to the pool & main house. This resort could be the most relaxing Starwood resort in North America, if not for the other glaring problem during my visit: there were young children EVERYWHERE. Frankly, the number of parents with 1-8 year old kids baffled me. I actually felt it was rude of the parents to bring children that young (and who are the opposite of the calm environment most of us want on a vacation) to a 5-star St. Regis Resort. I do think the resort bears responsibility for this issue as well, though, by not creating a separate family area at the pool and for not limiting the age at the lone hot tub (which always had a minimum of 5 kids in it). I don't mean to sound anti-children, but if I were staying at the Westin Swan Resort (in Orlando), I'd have the expectation that there would be lots of children--I wasn't expecting kids at this resort. I have a feeling the hotel will deal with this issue quickly though, as I overheard other guests commenting that they "couldn't get away from the kids" at the pool or hot tub.


Food:

As the previous poster mentioned, there are three restaurants on resort. Sandwiches are $18-20 at the pool and drinks are $14-20. Entrees at the restaurants run $20-50 for dinner & even breakfast is $15-25...so be prepared for the costs. Again, I'd highly recommend bringing some food (+ drinks) in with you. We bought a handle of Rum and two 2 liters of soda at Ralph's. It costs about $25 and I probably saved $400+ (if I had ordered the drinks at the resort, instead). I found the restaurant at the pool the best (because you're outside), but two people for lunch can easily run you $80, after tip and with only one drink each. After a few days, we started venturing into town for dinners and I'm glad we did. Not only did it get us out of the resort, but we found some great places. A good nearby restaurant is Lolita's (about 20 minutes away) that serves Mexican. There's a good American bar-style restaurant called Brass Cactus also about 20 minutes away. Both restaurants have english menus (which we found, is not necessarily common in the small towns around the resort). If you're even more adventurous, there are very small restaurants called 'Kioskos' (there are a strip of about twenty of them) that are about 15 minutes from the resort.


Overall:

This is a beautiful resort. The quality of the rooms is fantastic. The poolside lounge chairs are amazingly relaxing and the beach is only steps away. The staff is also very kind (even if some are still learning). I definitely plan to return sometime in the future, but I'll definitely check this thread first to make sure the "kid issue" has been dealt with.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 6:59 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
Cost to valet is $22 per night, there was no self park option that I was aware of... Even though this was an award stay, there a resort fee of $55.05 (plus $4.95 tax) brings the total resort fee to $60 per day.
you pay $60 for a resort fee and it doesn't even include parking... wth? sorry, but that is a joke.
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