Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach

Need winter warmth? Arrive through the manicured tropical rain forest setting to an open-air lobby reception desk. Dorado observes the charming welcome chilled drink, and with the enticing surf views on the horizon the mood is set!

I once stayed at the original Dorado Beach resort when it was a Hyatt; Chi-Chi Rodriguez was the local pro, and he still lives on the grounds and plays golf. The hotel sits on 50 acres within Dorado Beach, which was the 1,400-acre former Laurance Rockefeller estate and long ago hosted a Rockresort. The Dorado Beach resort has three 18-hole golf courses, including one of the original Robert Trent Jones Sr. East Course, which has been revamped by his son.

The Reserve has 100 spacious guest rooms and 14 one-bedroom suites. Each room with its roll-away wall of glass doors has a grand view of the sea and the setting sun, expansive light filled rooms crowned by an infinity pool and sweeping lawns rolling out to the ocean. Open bathrooms, including an outdoor shower, positioned under colossal palms and banana trees. Rain can fall and you will still relish the shower serenaded by the chirping coqui.

Two villas on property, one deserves a separate blog. The original plantation owner, built  the Su Casa hacienda, which is a scrumptious four-bedroom villa overlooking the ocean. Originally built for Clara Livingston it has been beautifully restored.

A paradise for kids and grownups – explore the grounds on your own bike. Kids pool and adult pool. You will have to drag the children away from the $12 million aquatic playground – designed to replicate a traditional Puerto Rican sugar mill. There are water slides, and a lazy river channel with wave machine, refreshments served poolside. Nighttime events complete with choreographed fountains, theatrical lighting and live music.

Indulge yourself at Spa Botánico, a natural haven designed to inspire well-being and provide pure relaxation. The five-acre sanctuary pairs local Puerto Rican ingredients with indigenous soothing traditions. Warm and cool pools, outdoor showers, and a tree house for massages. Spa day, spa week, not hard to imagine! Indulge.

There are four dining venues including Jose Andres, Mi Casa. Also deserves a separate blog, one of the most delicious meals of my life! Positivo Sand Bar, literally a large sand box serving thirst-quenching concoctions and casual meals al fresco.

Experience Puerto Rico’s natural wonders on land and sea, from coral reefs to wetlands in the exclusive hands-on eco-adventure program introducing travelers to Puerto Rico’s amazing natural wonders and culture with the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. Highlighting the traditional island Taino culture shared and taught through hiking, snorkeling and kayaking. Don’t miss an archaeological site within the massive resort grounds.

Explore the reefs and waters of Sardinera Bay — on your own or with instructors and guides — using resort equipment to snorkel, sail, kayak, paddle board, surf or kite board.

Gosh – a week here and you might not have discovered and enjoyed all at the Dorado Reserve.