We just completed a five night stay at the St. Regis in Puerto Rico, January 2012. Over the past year, we have been fortunate enough to stay at St. Regis Hotels in DC, San Francisco, Monarch Beach, and Florence. The St Regis Bahia Beach is truly the most beautiful of these properties. This hotel is also your best Starwood choice when visiting Puerto Rico. We recommend it "slightly" over the W Hotel - Vieques, where we stayed last year (read our review). Here's why:
Property/Grounds - The hotel was built on a former coconut plantation. Even though the property is only about a year old, the gardens are mature and magnificent. The beauty of the resort primarily comes from the trees and plants that surround you. Our daily walks along the golf coarse and river felt like having your own private botanical garden. The hotel has twelve separate guesthouse buildings. Buildings 1 & 2 are located on the golf course while 3 through 12 face the ocean. All are beautifully situated, but if you want to hear the ocean sounds, chose from buildings 3 through 12
Rooms - We were fortunate to be upgraded to a suite in Building 6 on the second floor. This was one of the best Starwood hotel rooms we have stayed in. The bathroom was luxury perfect which included a 6x6 rain shower, king size tub, signature TV in mirror, heated floors, and double sinks. The living room included a 42 inch TV, Bose Audio/DVD system, comfortable sectional sofa, refrigerator, tray ceiling & wet bar. All was beautifully decorated. The outdoor terrace was spacious and comfortable for morning coffee or in room dining. Remember free in-room coffee is include with butler services. If not, complimentary coffee/tea is available in the Plantation House each morning till 10:00am.
Pool/Beach - The pool area is spectacular with ample space for all. Cabana's were available for an additional fee, but not needed since the design of the pool area naturally provides individual spacing. For those wishing to sun by the water, chairs, towels, and umbrellas were readily available. The beach is great for sunning/relaxing, but the water was rough and not swimmer friendly.
Dining - The St Regis is home to three restaurants; Sea Grapes which is basic pool side food. Molasses which is located at the golf club which specializes in local food, and Fern which is located on the second floor of the Plantation House. All are very expensive. Our best meals were not at the St. Regis.
Customer Service - The customer service was very good. From the moment we arrived we received first class treatment. Butler services were included in our suite room charge. Concierge, butler and maid services were outstanding. All staff made it a point to greet you with a smile. You could tell a few servers were newly hired and were still in training.
Amenities/Resort Fee - The hotel charges a $60 resort fee in addition to your daily room rate. This type of fee as been instituted by Starwood at all of their resorts. It just another way to help the hotel make a profit, similar to the airlines charging for luggage. Unfortunately, the fee does not cover parking, which is another $22. Your resort fee covers Wi-Fi, gym, pool, and non-motorized equipment. Boche ball and croquet are also available.
Overall, we loved staying at the St. Regis Bahia Beach. The property is new, gorgeous and first class. This hotel is about relaxation. The palm trees, rooms, beach and acreage lends itself to decompressing from the corporate world. Bring your best resort attire and pretend your last name is Trump or Kennedy. You'll have the time of your life.
Helpful Hints -
1. Rent a car. This property requires your ability to come and go as you please.
2. Eat off site whenever possible. The food on site is average and over priced.
3. Stop a Ralph's Grocery for miscellaneous items to save a few bucks. Red Box also available.
4. Day Trips- if you're looking to occasionally get out of the resort visit the rain forest, Old San Juan, and Ponce. There's even an outlet mall about 15 minutes from the hotel for those rainy days - Route 66.
5. First Day - Spend the first day of your stay on site to acquaint yourself with all the St. Regis has to offer. This will help you determine how much extra time you'll have for off-site activities.
6. Morning Walks- Get up with the sun one morning while walking on the beach. You'll remember the morning for years to come.
7. Bring your best resort attire - This property deserves your respect and for you to look your best.
Helpful Hotel Suggestions -
1. Why charge a separate fee for parking? Just include it in my resort fee. It just feels like you're nickel and diming your customers.
2. Your Sunset toast is very odd. You invite your guests to watch/listen to a champagne tradition. You open a bottle yet don't provide any complimentary drinks. That's like inviting someone to dinner and then ask them to pay for it. Where are your manners?
3. Beach Front Needs Work - The weakest part of your property is your beach front. The sand and area for your guests is not well kept and feels more like staying at the Sheraton rather than the St. Regis. It's high time you hire an architect and designer to improve this space. It should look like a picture out of a magazine.
4. Beach Lighting - Some of your guest have compared your resort to the Four Seasons in Hawaii. This is a huge compliment. One of the things they do at night is light up a small section of the oceanfront at night. It provides a reason for your guests to come out at night before retiring for the evening. We recommend you light up the estate lawn looking out to the ocean till Fern closes. It's a gorgeous area that disappears after the sun goes down.
5. Plantation House/Fern - Fern is definitely the best restaurant on the property. It deserves white table cloths and better lighting to accent it's importance. We also believe the second story front balcony is a special place that should be used as a sunset bar or after dinner gathering place. Most of your guests don't even know it exists.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Designated as Puerto Rico’s first and only AAA Five Diamond resort and the leader in luxury on the island and in the Caribbean, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico has been designed with the entire family in mind, providing a variety of extraordinary services and activities that will keep all guests entertained from sunrise to sunset. Located on a former 483 acre coconut plantation, it is nestled between El Yunque National Forest and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. Certified Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary, the lush Resort features a tennis center, a golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., as well as 4 miles of nature trails, 70 acres of lakes and a boat house for water sports. The intimate St. Regis Bahia Beach boasts 139 rooms including 35 suites, where The St. Regis’ iconic Butler service is available. Most of the guestrooms overlook amazing ocean and garden views setting a new standard in luxury accommodations, service levels and facilities for the Caribbean. An indulging Remède Spa and the exquisite dining options will delight all senses, including Fern Restaurant, featuring culinary creations by world famous Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Molasses Restaurant, St. Regis Bar and Seagrapes. In addition, abundant banquet space is available to accommodate a variety of outdoor or indoor events. Featuring amazing ocean or garden views, it is the perfect setting for small or big gatherings as well as weddings. The elegant tropical magnificence of The St. Regis Bahia Beach creates a world for its guests that they will never want to leave. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Hotel Rio Grande
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort Puerto Rico/Rio Grande