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“Beautiful setting with some service problems” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

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Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   100 Dorado Beach Drive, Dorado 00646-2000, Puerto Rico   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Dorado
NJ
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting with some service problems”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

Spent 3 nights at the end of June in a plunge pool room on the west beach. The grounds of the resort, the room design and furnishings, and the architecture of the public spaces are all beautifully done. Almost every employee had a welcoming smile and was friendly and eager to please. The food was mostly very good. However, there were a few service and quality issues which, at this price point, prevented me from giving the property 5 stars. We take 1-2 vacations per year and we are not overly picky travelers, but we expect to get the quality of service that we pay for. When we stay at a Marriott, we don't expect the same level of service as a Ritz-Carlton. But I had very high expectations for the level of service at this resort and I left a little disappointed.

We had a somewhat negative impression before we even arrived because of the terrible traffic we encountered driving from the airport to the resort. Be aware that if you fly in on the weekend, there may be a lot of beach traffic. We booked a private car through the resort (and our driver was terrific; the traffic was not his fault). But the fact that it took so long to get there made me wonder if we had made a mistake booking a hotel so far from the airport. When you are only spending 3 nights, you really want to maximize your vacation time. When I mentioned at check in that our drive out to the resort had been uncomfortably long, I received no apology or commiseration or offer of a complimentary bar drink to soothe my nerves. I thought that was what 5-star service entailed.

I was disappointed with the embajador service. The embajador who showed us to our room on the first day offered to deliver a daily newspaper which we never received. We were not even offered a daily coffee delivery, as other reviewers have mentioned. The embajador also did not know when we had dinner reservations or spa treatments booked. I had spent several minutes on the phone prior to arrival with an efficient employee who handled all of those reservations. I would have expected the embajador to know our itinerary. Once we told her that we had dinner reservations at Encanto that night, I would have expected an offer to pick us up and drive us there, but she did not. These details were small, but I expected more from both the cost of the room and the Ritz's reputation of 5 star service.

The food and beverage service on the beach was a little slow. I think they were lightly staffed, because the property appeared largely empty for the days we were there. There was a bit of a language barrier with the pool/chair attendants. While the beach was mostly empty, allowing for a pretty private experience, be aware that the sand to the water is quite sloped and we found sitting in the lounge chairs to be rather uncomfortable. I wish there had been more flat sand at the top of the beach leading down to the water's edge. There is an area closer to the pool that has a more flat sandy area, but the chairs there are more crowded together. One of the selling points of the plunge pool room for me was the ability to walk from the room's terrace right out to a lounge chair on the beach. It was unfortunate that they were so uncomfortable. Also, dirty glasses with cigarette butts in them were left on a beach table for more than 24 hours. Again, a small detail, but one that bothered me more and more when I considered the cost of the room.

Breakfast service at Mi Casa was inconsistent. One morning we had a lovely server who was friendly and very eager to help. Two other mornings, the service was slow and not as friendly. For example, we were the only people in the dining room one morning and we could not find our server to bring us our check when we were ready to leave. Dinner at Mi Casa was wonderful. The service and food were top notch. We had two dinners at Encanto, which were also great. One night the restaurant was practically empty and the sushi chef came over to talk to us, a personal touch which I enjoyed.

Highlights of our visit included a long bike ride through the property. Be aware that there are a few hills that could challenge you. We also visited the water park and thoroughly enjoyed it. We arrived right when it opened and it was not crowded, and it soon rained, but I imagine it could get very crowded on a nice day. Also, the Encanto beach club pool was very busy on a Saturday evening when we went for dinner. The main pool near reception appeared to be much more quiet and private.

My husband I had tree house massages at Spa Botanico. It is the prettiest spa I have ever been to. You could definitely spend a few hours relaxing here. One drawback was that it rained on the day of our spa visit, so in order to enjoy the warm and cold plunge pools, we had to sit out in the rain. Not a big deal until it started to thunder. Also, although the attendants were helpful and friendly, when I did have a few questions I could not find anyone to help me. My massage therapist was wonderful. I did hear a little construction noise during the massage, but the gentle breeze blowing through the trees made up for any extra noise.

I had wondered which resort rooms were more desirable. I am glad I chose a west beach room, because I could walk out to the beach. The east beach rooms may have a little more privacy, but in my opinion the beach in front of them was unpleasant. It is too rocky for chairs and difficult to even walk on. The sound of the surf pounding on the rocks was just as loud and soothing on the west beach side. We loved the plunge pool, but be aware that there is no privacy; anyone walking by your room will see you. And the pool attendant arrives every morning to provide maintenance, so if you are a late sleeper you might want to make sure your shutters are closed.

Another note about our room: the light in the closet was not working properly. It would flicker and then die. This was problematic because it made it impossible to see into your suitcases; the light from the dressing area was not bright enough to light the closet. We called maintenance and we assume they visited while we were out, but later that evening the light was flickering again, and we had to bang on it every time we entered the closet for the rest of the trip.

Final tip: bring your bug spray! The mosquitos made it uncomfortable to sit out on the terrace by the plunge pool.

Overall, I am glad I was able to experience this resort, but I left feeling like I did not quite get my money's worth. I am not in a hurry to return.

Room Tip: West beach rooms have direct access to the usable beach. Building one is farthest west, away from t...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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322 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
New York City, New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

Great location, well done rooms and landscaping but not sure what the ritz was going for here. If you are a couple without kids - definitely don't go here. Half of the guests here were under 10 - the main pool was a nursery when my wife and I were here.
Then there is the whole "reserve" bit - granted this is much nicer than a normal ritz but service is definitely at a Marriot level. We had maintenance fixing something in our room everyday. Had to call for basic things like towels, which housekeeping had overlooked, or minibar which was not stocked, or coffee at breakfast which never showed, at least twice before the request was honored.
I don't think I would recommend this place or ever go back to it. We booked it because it was an easy weekend and it was highly hyped but in retrospect I would have spent a few more dollars and gone to the amanyara in Turks and Caicos.
Unfortunate since this is a beautiful location and staff is very nice.

Room Tip: Stay on the east beach if you want any possibility of privacy. The west beach is a much better beac...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

We just got home from 5 nights at the Dorado Ritz reserve. We traveled with our children and there is something there for everyone. We were nervous due to some of the reviews here and had high expectation as well. That being said...totally worth it. This was the most spoiled we've ever been on a vacation & we have stayed in Ritz and Trumps multiple times.

Room/location: We stayed in a ground floor plunge on east beach and it was beautiful beyond words. So peaceful. I think the whole time only one person walked by our back door. It was immaculate which is a must. Outdoor shower is a nice touch but the inside one is great too. Huge soaking tub a plus! Tidy up was twice a day & pool serviced and cleaned each morning. We were very happy with our location, direct access to the water to swim (it is small here the larger beach is on the other side of positivo). It was a quick short walk to the other beach and pool area. Beds were comfortable and rooms spacious. The plunge pool was relaxing and got daily use. One small difficulty was getting used to all the coqui's at night but we are city dwellers so it could just be us!

Spa Botanico: Didn't get a chance to have any services but the place is gorgeous. The entrance alone is a place you could sit for hours and contemplate anything and everything. The girls in the shop were super helpful as well.

Service: The service in every area was exceptional! Our two Embajador's (Jaime & Jennifer) really went out of their way for us. Jennifer aided us with travel arrangements off site. Jaime toured us around on multiple days and always made sure we had what we needed. We ate in every restaurant (positivo, encanto & mi casa) as well as at the pool and the beach and never had an issue with long waits or being unattended. All of the staff was polite and attentive. One of the young men even brought the kids some sand toys without us saying a word. They saw a need & filled it without any prodding.

Activities: Our kids are on the young end and wanted one thing - to swim. The west beach is perfect because of the lagoon and not too deep. They could snorkel all day then go to the pool. The beach by ambassadors of the environment (east beach, barlovento) had many activities to offer for all ages and a larger beach with full ocean access for water sports etc. We also really enjoyed using the complimentary bikes to get around and go on the Rockefeller trail. Even in a bit of light rain it was relaxed fun.

They do have off site activities but this is a laid back area. Anything more adventurous is a bit of a drive & should be taken into account if you really want to be off site. Our feeling was for the money we spent we really wanted to veg out and enjoy some peaceful down time. We really did! There is always something relaxed to do on site if you want or nothing at all if you want that instead! Not the place for you if you are looking for nightlife or a town to walk around in for the evening. Again, it was totally worth every penny spent and we are so glad we got to come here before everyone catches on!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mt. pleasant sc
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a 4 night stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We were looking for an extraordinary, romantic, uncrowded, getaway in a beautiful setting and this resort truly delivered. Upon arrival our embajador/butler Javier oriented us to our room and the grounds with a big smile and enthusiastic, helpful attitude. It's great to see someone take so much pride in customer service. We had a king ocean plunge pool room with high ceilings, gorgeous wood and marble work, awesome indoor and outdoor showers, and a memorable view of the ocean and lush grounds.
The covered patio/pool area was a great place to relax and dine on room service and the beach was just thirty steps away. Impeccable landscaping, zen-like architecture, and smiling eager-to-please staff made this a vacation we will always remember. There are tours on the island available for purchase but we were happy to stay on site for the four days. Breakfast at Mi Casa was delicious and on three mornings my husband and I enjoyed free coffee and pastries at the Livingston library. Our favorite restaurant, which was open air and overlooking the beach, was Positivo which has a tapas style menu and tasty drinks. The food was very flavorful and beautifully presented and all of the servers were pleasant and efficient. Special thanks to chef Diego and server Sudelys for making our anniversary dinner one we will never forget. We also rode complimentary bikes around the grounds and my husband said the massage at Spa Botanico was the best he has ever experienced. My only suggestion would be for the resort to have a shop that carries a wide selection of reasonably priced local artisan crafts as we love to bring home handcrafted items reflective of the local culture. Overall, the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach exceeded our expectations and was an amazing place to celebrate our lives together.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Rico
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

Mr. Rockefeller's legacy was preserved, and still this magnificent property, incredible surroundings and landscape overwhelms you. The lobby is a state of the art design... like a sacred sanctuary, a temple from a Hollywood movie nested by a scenery that speaks of tropical beauty...yet so silent. The secluded pristine beach is the main course for many....for some others is Golf...but most definitely...you feel you have arrived to paradise.

The rooms are very spacious and overlook the ocean, decorated with simple, yet elegant tropical design. Comfortable Balconies invite you to enjoy the pleasures of this retreat as the wind and the sea hit the coral reefs.

The spa is one of the most incredible spas I have visited. Designed to awaken your senses, the lobby warms you with a mixture of aromas from dry flowers, spices, and herbs hanging from the ceiling. A private party was held, so some of the areas were "unavailable". It is expensive, but worth the visit. The little store needs some attendance and additional inventory.

Restaurants offer limited menu, but there is a variety of choices along the property; from asian, spanish, caribbean to international. Prices are as expected. The main restaurant, Mi Casa from José Andrés has a very nice lounge and bar area. Ambiance is inviting, bar-tending and service is great. We were not as impressed by the food as we had expected. Presentation, flavors and options were as good as any other nice restaurant in the island...not as one you would expect from an international acclaimed chef like José Andrés.

Our experience for Room Service and concierge was not very true for such a luxury Hotel. Please take note on a very important promise of world class service, not only for important visitors from all over the world, but also for every returning fan from the island.

Welcome Ritz Carlton to Dorado! Paradise is in your hands.....

Room Tip: The property is big. Take into consideration your favorite activities. If you like to work out reser...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

I rely on Trip Advisor for lots of help picking places. I am spending $700 a night here for an AMAZING room that is expensive - yes - but had the best bed on the planet - and the most beautiful view of the beach I've ever been to. So, I can only give this place top notch ratings. The people are wonderful - service is close to perfect. The place is gorgeous and breathtaking. A pond full of flowering lily pads? Come on! It is relaxed and spread out so you do not feel the intrusion of others. The pool is like a negative edge to the sea. You have private, cozy "cabanas" that are right there to take - no reservations or cost. Honestly, I could write up a long review, but why bother. Everything is really wonderful here. Just don't pick on a few things that might not be perfectly timed or exact since it's a new place (open 6 months) and you are relaxing on vacation. No need to stress or worry. We had a guide take us to the Rain Forest today and were just amazed by his ability to inform, entertain, and make it fun. He made our day. His name was Gus, so ask for him. Hospitality A-1 all around. Come and relax and have empanadas by the pool with your favorite drink - enjoy room service for breakfast like we did - amazing food and such a wonderful deck to sit out and enjoy the morning. Bikes they bring to your door and leave there for the whole stay so you can ride around the property and enjoy yourselves. So much fun.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 621 - upper floor and very close to the pool and bar - but far enough to have no n...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hunterdon County, NJ
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

If you can afford to visit PR and stay at the Ritz or if you have friends on the island / in Dorado, a visit to Spa Botanico is a must. Everything that other reviewers have said is true: they have thought of EVERYTHING you would need (toiletries, towels, hair products, soaps, robes, sandals, tea, dried fruits/nuts, etc.) for your visit. The only thing you need to do is bring your wallet, a great book and clean clothes to change into once your time there is spent. The only way to properly enjoy this spa, if you are traveling with your dear husband and darling children is to tell them up front you are gone til late afternoon and that you all are going out to dinner. The glow and relaxation of the day is worth carrying thru real life as long as possible! I normally could never justify $300 for a 90 min massage, but I did this time visiting my friend, with the idea that we would experience EVERY amenity offered and take our time. So, traveler, I suggest you plan a service at 11am or 12pm, show up not later than 10am, use outdoor shower to clean up, then do steam room til you can't stand it another second, then do cold plunge pool (AMAZING), then do the 2 things i just mentioned again (and forget your suit or sarong - who knows how to tie a sarong anyway? not I. just use the robe given, disrobe for plunge pool, use a towel in steam room). Then wait on lounger by plunge pool til you are collected for your service. Your muscles will feel like jello. The Bamboo/stone massage is the most amazing thing i have ever experienced. Perhaps every spa employee is excellent, but I would go broke if I lived in PR because I'd be back to Luis Antonio every quarter for this massage. 90 amazing minutes. I was near tears with gratitude when he finished. Then get your book and rest in the relaxation room and read, sip tea and eat snacks and take in all that just happened. Shower again, clean clothes and you will be okay to finally leave this piece of heaven by around 3 or so... The Ritz did it right. Every employee bent over backwards to make sure we (my friend and I) wanted for nothing. It was immaculately clean, beautiful and quiet. Beware of tree massage only due to construction noise.

Room Tip: dont know about room as i did not stay in the hotel.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Address: 100 Dorado Beach Drive, Dorado 00646-2000, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Dorado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Dorado
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 114
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will usher in a new level of luxury travel. This intimate resort retreat will be the first of its kind in the Americas, with its secluded location, intimate accommodations, exclusive amenities, and private butler service. ... more   less 
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